Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Y2038 bug may hit Unix, Linux machines

Filed under
Linux

After the Millennium bug for which several billions of dollars were committed for research and updations in computer systems the world over, there is yet another bug on the horizon. It is the Year 2038 bug that is slated to hit computer users in that year.

To be precise, on Tuesday, January 19 03:14:07 2038, machines prone to this bug will alter calendars to go back to Friday, December 13 20:45:52 1901.

Computer programmers predict that this can result in incorrect and wildly inaccurate dates being reported by the operating system and applications. It is likely to cause serious problems on many platforms, especially Unix and Unix-like and Linux platforms, because these systems will "run out of time". They are reluctant to predict the extent of the damage.

What is special about this date? It is explained that Unix and similar operating systems do not calculate time based on the Gregorian calendar. Instead, they are known to simply count time in seconds from their arbitrary "birthday", that is, GMT 00:00:00, Thursday, January 1, 1970. The accepted practice among software programmers is to use a 32-bit variable for this number (32-bit signed time_t). The largest possible value for the end integer in this calculation is 2**31-1 = 2,147,483,647. So, 2,147,483,647 seconds after Unix's birthday falls on Tuesday, January 19, 2038. And one second later, theoretically Unix systems will revert to their birth date (like an odometer switching back from 999999 to 000000).

Experts are of the opinion that Linux users will be the hardest hit, because of the wider acceptance of this OS for its security and cost features. They are feared to grind to a virtual halt or go into a loop. This Linux's own Y2K nightmare can be more damaging than the Y2K bug, because the latter basically involved applications while the 2038 bug affects the time-keeping function itself.

Linux gurus are apprehensive about the bug's impact on the embedded field, where software does not get replaced frequently. As such, major telecom gadgets and equipment will be greatly affected. However, one ray of hope is that the 32-bit processing can be replaced thus overcoming the impact of the bug -- definitely before 2038.

But, the optimism must end there. The bug can have severe impact on records created today with calculations going beyond 2038, like insurance policies. There could be error messages splashing on Unix and Linux screens then. And Linux is getting to be the popular operating system these days.

Experts say one and sure-short way to overcome the problem is to switch over to 64-bit or longer time_t data storage. Some of the existing 32-bit codes can be changed and the programs recompiled. However, all these are not very easy tasks.

Source.

Gone

I'll be dead by then so I'm not worried.

me too

that's what I was thinking... or at least so old I won't care... Tongue

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • [LabPlot] Improved data fitting in 2.5
    Until now, the fit parameters could in principle take any values allowed by the fit model, which would lead to a reasonable description of the data. However, sometimes the realistic regions for the parameters are known in advance and it is desirable to set some mathematical constrains on them. LabPlot provides now the possibility to define lower and/or upper bounds for the fit parameters and to limit the internal fit algorithm to these regions only.
  • [GNOME] Maps Towards 3.28
    Some work has been done since the release of 3.26 in September. On the visual side we have adapted the routing sidebar to use a similar styling as is used in Files (Nautilus) and the GTK+ filechooser.
  • MX 17 Beta 2
  • MiniDebconf in Toulouse
    I attended the MiniDebconf in Toulouse, which was hosted in the larger Capitole du Libre, a free software event with talks, presentation of associations, and a keysigning party. I didn't expect the event to be that big, and I was very impressed by its organization. Cheers to all the volunteers, it has been an amazing week-end!
  • DebConf Videoteam sprint report - day 0
    First day of the videoteam autumn sprint! Well, I say first day, but in reality it's more day 0. Even though most of us have arrived in Cambridge already, we are still missing a few people. Last year we decided to sprint in Paris because most of our video gear is stocked there. This year, we instead chose to sprint a few days before the Cambridge Mini-Debconf to help record the conference afterwards.
  • Libre Computer Board Launches Another Allwinner/Mali ARM SBC
    The Tritium is a new ARM single board computer from the Libre Computer Board project. Earlier this year the first Libre Computer Board launched as the Le Potato for trying to be a libre and free software minded ARM SBC. That board offered better specs than the Raspberry Pi 3 and aimed to be "open" though not fully due to the ARM Mali graphics not being open.
  • FOSDEM 2018 Will Be Hosting A Wayland / Mesa / Mir / X.Org Developer Room
    This year at the FOSDEM open-source/Linux event in Brussels there wasn't the usual "X.Org dev room" as it's long been referred to, but for 2018, Luc Verhaegen is stepping back up to the plate and organizing this mini graphics/X.Org developer event within FOSDEM.
  • The Social Network™ releases its data networking code
    Facebook has sent another shiver running up Cisco's spine, by releasing the code it uses for packet routing. Open/R, its now-open source routing platform, runs Facebook's backbone and data centre networks. The Social Network™ first promised to release the platform in May 2017. In the post that announced the release, Facebook said it began developing Open/R for its Terragraph wireless system, but since applied it to its global fibre network, adding: “we are even starting to roll it out into our data center fabrics, running inside FBOSS and on our Open Compute Project networking hardware like Wedge 100.”
  • Intel Icelake Support Added To LLVM Clang
    Initial support for Intel's Icelake microarchitecture that's a follow-on to Cannonlake has been added to the LLVM/Clang compiler stack. Last week came the Icelake patch to GCC and now Clang has landed its initial Icelake enablement too.
  • Microsoft's Surface Book 2 has a power problem
     

    Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a power problem. When operating at peak performance, it may draw more power than its stock charger or Surface Dock can handle. What we’ve discovered after talking to Microsoft is that it’s not a bug—it’s a feature.

Kernel: Linux 4.15 and Intel

  • The Big Changes So Far For The Linux 4.15 Kernel - Half Million New Lines Of Code So Far
    We are now through week one of two for the merge window of the Linux 4.15 kernel. If you are behind on your Phoronix reading with the many feature recaps provided this week of the different pull requests, here's a quick recap of the changes so far to be found with Linux 4.15:
  • Intel 2017Q3 Graphics Stack Recipe Released
    Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has put out their quarterly Linux graphics driver stack upgrade in what they are calling the latest recipe. As is the case with the open-source graphics drivers just being one centralized, universal component to be easily installed everywhere, their graphics stack recipe is just the picked versions of all the source components making up their driver.
  • Intel Ironlake Receives Patches For RC6 Power Savings
    Intel Ironlake "Gen 5" graphics have been around for seven years now since being found in Clarkdale and Arrandale processors while finally now the patches are all worked out for enabling RC6 power-savings support under Linux.

Red Hat: OpenStack and Financial News

Security: Google and Morgan Marquis-Boire

  • Google: 25 per cent of black market passwords can access accounts

    The researchers used Google's proprietary data to see whether or not stolen passwords could be used to gain access to user accounts, and found that an estimated 25 per cent of the stolen credentials can successfully be used by cyber crooks to gain access to functioning Google accounts.

  • Data breaches, phishing, or malware? Understanding the risks of stolen credentials

    Drawing upon Google as a case study, we find 7--25\% of exposed passwords match a victim's Google account.

  • Infosec star accused of sexual assault booted from professional affiliations
    A well-known computer security researcher, Morgan Marquis-Boire, has been publicly accused of sexual assault. On Sunday, The Verge published a report saying that it had spoken with 10 women across North America and Marquis-Boire's home country of New Zealand who say that they were assaulted by him in episodes going back years. A woman that The Verge gave the pseudonym "Lila," provided The Verge with "both a chat log and a PGP signed and encrypted e-mail from Morgan Marquis-Boire. In the e-mail, he apologizes at great length for a terrible but unspecified wrong. And in the chat log, he explicitly confesses to raping and beating her in the hotel room in Toronto, and also confesses to raping multiple women in New Zealand and Australia."