The world ends on January 19, 2038: thanks Unix!

Filed under
Linux

While no significant computer failures occurred when the clocks rolled over into 2000, this might not be the case with the Y2K38 bug. Even if this problem only affects Unix-like operating systems, if true, will be enough to cause massive disruption to the computer world and real world alike, as we know them.

In a nutshell, the year 2038 problem basically consists of the fact that Unix-like operating systems represent time as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 January 1, 1970. On most 32-bit systems, the time_t data type used to store this second count is a signed 32-bit integer. The latest time that can be represented in this format, following the POSIX standard, is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, January 19, 2038. Times beyond this moment will “wrap around” and be represented internally as a negative number, and cause programs to fail.

Time to panic?




2038

So you mean my 32bit Fedora 8 system won't tell the proper time 30 years from now? How will I ever get to sleep tonight?

re: 2038

Hell, I won't even still be alive then. Big Grin

Or if I am, I'll be preoccupied with trying to breath instead of computing.

re: 2038

Not so fast, now.

As your body starts to deteriorate, your consciousness will be distilled into an experimental computer-based AI, tasked with keeping this website going.

Until the day your AI gets loose on the 'net and demands to be given rights as a sentient being, like Project T45 in Nancy Kress' short story, Computer Virus. (The AI took hostages in order to gain attention to its plight in that one.) Then it's curtains. Smile

Turing

Should Mr. Turing (or Bilburn) start worrying that his machines were not prepared for Y2K?

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