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article imageSaturday's extra second crashes major websites

By Andrew Moran     Jul 3, 2012 in Internet
Perth - It seems that additional second that took place Saturday was much more serious than the world thought. Major websites, like Reddit and LinkedIn, crashed and 400 Qantas planes experienced delays due to electronic clock glitches.
On Saturday, Jun. 30, the Earth Orientation Centre of the IERS, a group responsible for tracking the gap between atomic and planetary time, added an extra second to the time. Universal time was 11:59:59 and then 11:59:60. This happens because the Earth slows down due to a tidal pull from the moon.
For many major websites across the globe, and even airplanes, it was the Millennium Bug all over again, also known as the famous Y2K scare.
It was reported by individual websites that there were glitches, technical issues and even crashes. Reddit and LinkedIn both issued Tweets Saturday night warning its users of the difficulties the website was experiencing.
“We are having some Java/Cassandra issues related to the leap second at 5pm PST. We're working as quickly as we can to restore service,” wrote Reddit.
“Some of you may have experienced difficulty accessing the site. Our team is working on it now. Stay tuned for more,” wrote LinkedIn.
Some outlets noted that The Pirate Bay was one of the websites to crash. now confirms that it did not crash and its downtime was purely coincidental and was caused by other technical problems.
According to the International Business Times, the leap second caused delays for about 400 Qantas planes. The airline said that it suffered from intermittent failures, which led to delays of 15 minutes for international flights and half an hour for domestic trips at the Melbourne Airport. Perth Airport was even longer with 90 minutes because of a breakdown of the conveyor belt due to a backlog of luggage.
Virgin Australia suffered from similar effects of the leap second in the Amadeus system, which collapsed.
TG Daily reports that the problems these websites faced had to deal with Linux kernel’s high-res timer, which could not handle the additional second and then engulfed CPUs with numerous requests.
“Almost every time we have a leap second, we find something,” said Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, in an interview with Wired magazine. “It’s really annoying, because it’s a classic case of code that is basically never run, and thus not tested by users under their normal conditions.” did not witness any outages Saturday night.
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