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Bug Software Linux

Y2K38 Watch Starts Saturday 542

Jon Masters writes "I just wanted to remind everyone that Saturday, January 19th 2008 will mark the beginning of the 30-year countdown to the Y2K38 bug, when Unix time will overflow 32 bits. Some 30-year loan calculation software might start having problems with this over the weekend."
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Y2K38 Watch Starts Saturday

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  • by corsec67 (627446) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:47PM (#22056836) Homepage Journal
    And, wouldn't 50 years or longer loan terms have shown this before now?
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:48PM (#22056850)
    Well, its kind of hard to compute payment dates if your date representation ends at 2038, and you have something longer than a 30 year mortgage.
  • by Malevolent Tester (1201209) * on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:48PM (#22056854) Journal
    Apocalyptic event? Last time I checked, the world was still here. Epochal, perhaps, as I suspect it will be the defining event for my generation, much like the moon landing or JFK forgetting to duck, but in the grand scheme of things it was no more apocalyptic than the 2005 tsunami.
  • by merreborn (853723) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @04:59PM (#22057100) Journal

    I always found it interesting that 1 billion seconds happened 2 days before 9/11.

    You can come up with any number of numerological associations for any event. Seriously. Try it some time. Pick any event, and you can come up with a dozen, if you try.
  • End of the world (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:04PM (#22057196)
    Lots of over priced consultants will charge a fortune to fix a problem we negated years ago, then when the day comes and nothing happens they will claim it's a resounding success.
  • Re:2048 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Inquisitus (937664) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:19PM (#22057422) Homepage
    Who the hell stores years as 11-bit integers?
  • by wytcld (179112) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:21PM (#22057440) Homepage
    Most often when I've set up date fields in databases, I've used the YYYYMMDD format (e.g. 20080115, YYMMDDHHMMSS of course is also an option). The simple regex to construct it and read it is barely more code than translating in and out of Unix timestamps, and there's the great advantage that the dates are human-readable in the tables, and ad hoc queries are easily constructed. So I should be good until the year 10,000. Am I the only one? It's always seemed the obvious best way to do it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:25PM (#22057472)
    I think your scales are off. The 2004 tsunami was a massive loss of life (225,000 people in eleven countries) compared to the 2,999 people killed in the airplane attack of 9/11/01.

    I was a little appalled at the lack of coverage and donations given to the victims of the tsunami compared to the massive outpouring given to the 9/11 victims. It must just be that fact that I am in America now, and the media / government is so stuck on only looking inside the country and not what happens in other countries (unless it involves oil).

    I am also continually amazed at how the governments of the world (mainly US and UK, but others too) are using the two events (9/11 and 7/7) to push all of these "security" measures. As a child growing up during the IRA bombings, I find it easy to compare the IRA to al-Qaeda, but the reactions of the governments are way out of proportion. Never did anyone think that a national ID should be implemented, and the background checks now-a-days are beyond what is needed.

    If 9/11 defines that generation, then I'm so happy to be an old fart. I never would let a terrorist act define me.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:29PM (#22057524) Journal
    This is nothing like the two-digit date problem of Y2K. The conversion process shouldn't be anywhere near as complicated, since 32bit dates are just an arbitrary subset of a larger bit-count dates. There are really only two cases, signed and unsigned, and casting things into larger containers isn't exactly all that difficult: if unsigned, stick a bunch of zeros on the front. If signed, stick a bunch of zeros on the front, then swap the previous MSB with the new MSB.

    Furthermore, C programmers haven't exactly become a rare commodity in the intervening time like with COBOL. Y2K wasn't a problem, so why should we expect Y2K+38 to be a problem?
  • by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:45PM (#22057784)
    It's a dumfuk comment in the summary. If you're calculating payments on a thirty-year loan, you sure as heck don't convert all your dates to seconds since the epoch ("Unix time"). What would be the point? You don't compound your interest by the second, and if a payment is due on such-and-such a date, you don't specify the exact second it's due.

    I expect loan software converts dates and lengths of time if at all to months, that being the typical interval when you compound interest. So even on 32-bit Unix you're not going to have trouble until your loan period exceeds 4294967295 months.
  • by Zadaz (950521) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:53PM (#22057904)
    Yeah. And we all know you can't use numbers bigger than 8-bits on a 8-bit CPU.

    What. What? And this got moded "Informative"??

  • by Shados (741919) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @05:54PM (#22057942)
    Don't know about others but me I just use a DateTime field and stick a date object in it, and let the drivers handle the conversation... Now -that- to be seems the obvious best way to do it... Why convert at all, unless someone's using an archaic and incomplete RDBMS.
  • Re:I can't wait! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:06PM (#22058126) Homepage Journal
    Though I highly doubt much will be in operation in 30 years. ... said the COBOL developer in 1970...
  • by gnuman99 (746007) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:35PM (#22058528)
    9/11 was man attacking man. Heck, non-US people attacking US people. Ominous. We got 2 wars with 100,000+ people dead and millions displaced out of this.

    '04 Tsunami was nature with man in the way. Happens all the time. The number of casualties was the only thing that was ominous. No wars out of this.

    This explains the press coverage.

    The "security" stuff is kind of like the old cold war crap. You know, watch out for the "red commies" or "capitalist pigs". How many trillions were spent on that? The people making money just needed another funnel and terrorism/security is it. That's why there is so much more attention now vs. IRA days. The good old saying will probably never die - follow the money.

  • Y2K38? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by STrinity (723872) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @06:36PM (#22058550) Homepage
    "Y2K" was a stupid appellation to begin with, but at least it saved one character compared to "2000." "Y2K38" on the other hand is one character longer than just 2038. You're just wasting electrons writing it the other way.
  • Re:I can't wait! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash@nospAm.p10link.net> on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:20PM (#22059228) Homepage
    stuff has a nasty habbit of sticking arround longer than you expect. You plan a system to last say 10 years at the companies current growth rate. After say 7 years your company reaches it's growth limit and becomes an income company or worse there is a rescession in your industry and your company teeters on the edge of bankrupcy. The system keeps running with few changes until it is say 20 years old at which point the hardware is becoming difficult to obtain but noone really understandards how the system works so rather than trying to port it they put it on an emulator. Before you know it the code has been running for decades.

    File formats also have a nasty habbit of sticking arround longer than the software that works with them and file formats very often contain embedded binary date formats that were chosen simply because they were the default types for the platform in question.

  • by tengu1sd (797240) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @07:31PM (#22059388)
    Older code is running on emulators now a days. The fastest VAX ever [softresint.com] is modern Intel box emulating the older hardware. This allows older applications to continue to run, covering the loss of source code in some cases.

    The issue will be what's running in the back room. Just like Y2K, anyone who wants to be in business and avoid the lawyers is going to have to do some prep work.

  • by cnettel (836611) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:14PM (#22059948)
    Naively, though, there seems to be limited reason to store integers that are on the order of the square of the number of electrons in the observable universe. This means that we should stop at 256, if not earlier. There are pure physical reasons for why will never use up that address space for any kind of real memory. With limited use for the numbers, and limited use for the addresses, increasing the width seems quite strange. The bus width is a different thing, of course, and you can have a maximum word for SIMD operations, but by that logic all Pentium Ms are 128-bit chips already.
  • by rk (6314) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:36PM (#22060184) Journal
    Given the housing market, that could be pretty accurate. :-/
  • by Tango42 (662363) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @08:52PM (#22060320)
    The IRA's bombings weren't (in most cases) intended to kill people, they even gave warnings so the appropriate areas could be evacuated. I guess they just wanted publicity for their cause for the most part. Al Qaeda are very fond of indiscriminate killing, which is much more likely to cause hysteria.
  • by repvik (96666) on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @09:18PM (#22060536)
    gniting almost 7 years of war on civil rights and liberty
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2008 @11:17PM (#22061802)
    Did you know that the war has nothing to do with donations sent to Tsunami relief?
  • by aproposofwhat (1019098) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @05:00AM (#22064098)
    Groups like the IRA and ETA are generally composed of local people fighting on what is basically a local issue.

    We understand the causes of their frustration, and their targets were / are generally predictable.

    The PIRA in particular rarely bombed without telephone warnings, usually accurate enough to allow an evacuation to take place.

    Bin Laden, on the other hand, holds beliefs that are alien to our culture, and unbelievers sit next to dogs on his scale of values.

    Islamic extremist bombers are unlikely ever to give adequate telephone warnings, since they value human life far less than the Catholics of the PIRA and ETA.

    Having said that (and probably being of an age with you, having grown up in the late 60s and early 70s), the current rage for intrusive and unwarranted legislation is, I believe, more of a product of the CYA culture and the 'preventative approach' mentality than it is a reflection of any real threat.

    Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have empires to build and budgets to inflate, and politicians have no spine in the face of public (read Daily Mail) opinion, so I see little hope of this trend ending soon.

  • by 16Chapel (998683) on Wednesday January 16, 2008 @07:24AM (#22064762)
    The IRA didn't just plant bombs - they shot taxi drivers, grenaded army barracks, kneecapped people etc. etc.

    Yes, the IRA gave warnings before they bombed, but don't think that meant they were honorable or nice and fluffy - they sometimes gave deliberately false and confusing warnings that led to more deaths / injuries to innocent civilians (see the Omagh Bombing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omagh_bombing [wikipedia.org])

    Don't get me wrong: the loyalist groups were just as bad. Most of the deaths in the Troubles were not bomb victims but tit-for-tat killings between Catholics and Protestants, as one side retaliated against the other in a horrible spiral of violence.

To iterate is human, to recurse, divine. -- Robert Heller