[JDEV] Timestamp format (summary)

Thomas Charron tcharron at ductape.net
Thu Oct 14 09:26:01 CDT 1999

Quoting Zoom Juice <zoomjuice at yahoo.com>:
> --- Thomas Charron <tcharron at ductape.net> wrote:
> > Quoting Zoom Juice <zoomjuice at yahoo.com>:
> Hmm, well yes, in the interest of not getting bogged down in the minutae,
> I'll
> make this my last post on the subject.  OK, here goes...

  If you want, please, reply privately, I find the conversation interesting..  

> Setting standards by majority vote is a slippery slope.  Been there, done
> that.
> What you wind up with is usually a platypus - an elephant designed by
> committee.  

  I disagree.  Especially when we're talking about just a simple date/time 
format.  They will ALL work, now it's simply a matter of personal preference.

> The guys who put together the excellent standards on which the internet is 
> based (read almost any rfc, with a few notable exceptions) didn't do it 
> democratically - they did it by identifying the *best* approach, or
> something 
> darn close to it, and pushing it though by shear force of will - by writing


  Internet standards where the best solution that the majority of people could 
live with.  That's a consensus, and that's the IETF..

> excellent docs, by laying it all out, posting the result on the net and
> waiting 
> for the hordes of highly intelligent critics out there tear it apart.  The 
> proposals that survived, sometimes in a heavily modified form, often went
> on 
> to make a real impact. Note that this has very little to do with democracy.

  No, but the result was a consensus, which is what we have with the date/time 
format.  Most people believe that we can all LIVE with it.  While some may 
disagree about it being the 'best' approach, it's the most acknoledged.

> It has everything to do with carrying the process all the way through - 
> killing off all the ugly ducklings so that the swans survive.  Hehe, sorry
> for the mashed metaphor.

  Nope, you simply are left with, again, what most people can live with.  The 
ugly duckling sometimes survives.  IP vs ATM is a good example.  IP is pretty 
much taking things over in all areas, while ATM is falling on the wayside.  Yet 
ATM has been proven that it's the swan, and IP is the ugly duckling, but the 
majority of people find it easier to DEAL with IP instead, as well as it being 
less prone to errors simply by the shotgun approach.  Token ring is yet another 
example.  Token Ring can kick Ethernet's rear end as far as availability, but, 
becouse of 'attchments' to IBM, it's dying, becouse the majority of people 
can;t live with that, even though it really is the best answer..

> Here we've all got aspirations to being involved with something that could
> become another one of those core standards that that make the web what it
> is.
> We all think that might happen, that this thing could become as ubiqitous
> as
> a POP server, or we wouldn't spending our valuable time here.  Well, if we 
> want to go all the way, this has to be *darn good*.  Not just *kinda good*.

  Not trying to play it down, but IT'S JUST THE DATE STAMP..  ;-P  We have 
better things to be arguing about.  The usage of one datestamp over another 
makes little difference in the overall project of Jabber.

>   - What function does the "T" perform?  Is this the *only* way we can
>     find the beginning of the "time" part of the string?  Is there
> something
>     else that could follow, e.g., "P", a "place"?  (That last question was
>     rhetorical.)

  It is simply a delimeter to add a seperator.  Mostly simply for error 
detection.  It's a standard location.  If there is no T, it's a mangled date..

>   - If this is a standard, who is currently using it?  I haven't seen it
>     used anywhere at all... where is it used?  Sendmail or somewhere?
>     Personally, I've never seen or heard of it before.

  I don't know who else is using it, but it uses by far less bits then the 
'standard' date time tag the majority of the Net uses.  The many variations of:

  10 Oct 1999, 06:30 (-0700 EST)

> OK, like I said, I won't post any more on this topic, I just thought it
> would be worth making a few comments on the issues of standardizaion, and
> the design process itself.  Timestamp format is a tiny part of the whole 
> design, but every part of the thing has to be treated as if it were the
> most important issue in the world.  I forget who once said that good
> operating systems are good because they are "the sum of many subtle
> perfections".

  Then we'd argue it to death.  ;-P  Have you ever been to an IETF meeting 
before?  ;-P

Thomas Charron
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