Re: Y2k compliance

Mike A. Harris (
Mon, 7 Dec 1998 04:04:44 -0500 (EST)

On Tue, 1 Dec 1998, Rik van Riel wrote:

>> Quick question: since which version has Linux been Y2k-compliant?
>Linux is not a single large bulky package so I cannot really
>provide a sensible answer to this question.
>I can tell you, however, that the kernel has been compliant
>for 5 or 6 years now (maybe longer, but I suspect the iso9660
>weirdness wasn't worked around back then) and the C library
>has been fully compliant for about 2 years.
>There are some obscure bugs in libc version 4, but I suspect they
>won't even show up under 'normal' use.
>Linux (and other Unices) use a 32-bit number for time. The
>number denotes the number of seconds (signed) since the
>start of 1970 -- this number won't overflow until february
>2038, at which time we will all have switched to 64-bit

Although it is likely that many machines, home computers, etc
will have switched to 64 bit or higher machines, I will put a
$10,000,000 dollar bet right now to anyone and everyone that says
there will not be a problem in 2038 due to the 32bit Unix time
rolling over. Look at the machines running right now from the
60's and 70's that they never imagined would be running in 1990's
and 2000's. If something works, and does the job, it will be
left until the last second just like Y2K has been. In fact, I
think it will be even moreso, because 2038 doesn't have a nice
marketable ring to it like 2000 does. What will we call it?
Y2.038k? Nope. 2038 will reap its own disasters, probably not
as big as 2000 will, but nonetheless there are bound to be
problems in 2038.

If we are all fortunate enough, Linux will become very
predominant, as will open-source, and the problem can be dealt
with before hand due to source code availablility.

>numbers which will remain valid for about 1200 times the
>life expectancy of the universe. This, of course, is when
>you take a very optimist approach of the universes life
>expectancy :))

I'll agree with that one, if for no other reason than that we
won't exist personally then... ;o)

Mike A. Harris  -  Computer Consultant  -  Linux advocate

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