The addition of a leap second to the Coordinated Universal Time at midnight Greenwich Mean Time last night appears to have caused site disruptions for a handful of popular Web sites and software platforms.
- The Gawker network went down, despite reporting about the upcoming leap second.
- Mozilla had an issue when Java was “choking on leap second.”
- A high number of Linux server crashes were reported.
- Australia’s Qantas airlines experienced issues, causing up to 50 flight delays.
- Reddit self-reported issues with Java/Cassandra related to the leap second.
Sites such as The Pirate Bay and Foursquare also experienced outages, but both sites claimed these were not related to the leap second. LinkedIn, 4chan, StumbleUpon, and Yelp were among others being reported as victims of the leap second.
These sites went down, but official confirmation on the reason behind it was not released at the time of this brief.
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 atomic clock issue is known and understood in the industry, however, and internet companies like Google for example compensate and avoid disruption by adding milliseconds prior to the addition of a leap second.
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.