Leap second smashes web

REDDIT, Mozilla, Gawker, and possibly many other web outfits experienced brief technical problems on Saturday evening, when software underpinning their online operations choked on the "leap second" that was added to the world's atomic clocks.

On Saturday, at midnight Greenwich Mean Time, as June turned into July, the Earth's official time keepers held their clocks back by a single second in order to keep them in sync with the planet's daily rotation, and according to reports from across the web, some of the net's fundamental software platforms - including the Linux operating system and the Java application platform - were unable to cope with the extra second.

Many computing systems use what's called the Network Time Protocol, or NTP, to keep themselves in sync with the world's atomic clocks, and when an extra second is added, some just don't know how to handle it.

The "leap second bug" hit just as the web was recovering from a major outage to Amazon Web Services, an online operation that runs as much as one percent of the internet. Some operations, including Google, saw the leap second coming and prepared for it, but others weren't so diligent.

In a post to Twitter, Reddit - the popular news aggregation and discussion site owned by the same parent company as Wired - said it was experiencing problems with "Java/Cassandra," referring to the open source database, and it attributed these problems to the leap second. Originally designed by Facebook and now used across the web and beyond, Cassandra is built with Java.

Read more at Wired.com


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