Sunday, July 1, 2012

Leap Second Breaks Internet

Last night [June/30/2012] at 00:00 GMT there was a Leap Second, causing a "Javapocalypse" among other crashes.

Poul-Henning Kamp did some screen-grabbing on Twitter of the many crashes of systems last night.

Several Linux based servers started to run at very high loads. I wonder if it was due to the multiprocessor leap second lockup bug that was fixed nearly four years ago?

For all of you that had crashes, you might want to fill out the U.S. Naval Observatory's UTC Leap Second Survey Form on whether to keep leap-seconds or not. They want to know what Leap Seconds are costing you.

I have covered the issue of Leap Seconds before in The current Temporal War on planet Earth and Earth's Temporal War Leaps to 2015, one Leap Second at a time, on how the there are two factions battling on keeping or eliminating Leap Seconds. The vote on the issue was moved to 2015 as no one could agree on how to fix the problem.

There are a few things we can learn from this event:

  • External influences like Time, and the keeping thereof, can impact our systems. There can legitimately be only 59 seconds, or 61 seconds in an hour according to the prevailing standards today.
  • Keep your system(s) up to date. There is always the trade off of "lets keep the bugs we know" verses "what new bugs will this update bring us". Old bugs are the ones that many people know how to exploit.
  • Don't use Java. Perhaps more of a personal issue. Every experience I've had with Java has been one of crash-prone slow, bloatware, and buggy. This just reinforces my view on that.

I'm curious how may Embedded Systems had issues last night? Leave a comment if you can across any please.