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Year 2038 problem

by @ 9:11 pm
Filed under: computers — Tags: , ,

25 years from now we could be dealing with an issue similar to the Y2K issue, year 2038 problem.

This problem was brought to my attention by  user 'Ken' commenting on the countdown tool page on this site. Basically *nix systems keep time in 32-bit integer formats counting seconds since Jan. 1, 1970. On Jan. 19, 2038 the 32-bit integer will overflow, resetting to 0 and many systems may interpret that as year 1901.

Certainly a vexing issue, but one with some time remaining to resolve. Even better, some of us will either be retired or simply no longer around to worry about it at all.

A number of fixes and workarounds have been proposed, chiefly among them using a 64-bit integer to keep time. That will do quite nicely and we won't have to worry about the rollover issue for some 292 billions years 🙂

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