Friday, February 24, 2006

In the year 2038, if man is still alive...

Remember 1999, when we all figured out that the year 2000 was going to mess with computers? Everyone thought that the world would come screaching to a halt and planes would fall out of the sky, so a full out blitz was called to fix the problem. Something tells me that we humans are social procrastinators. After all, the year 2000 problem was known about in advance, but we still waited to the last minute. It looks like we'll be panicking again in 2037:
The problem affects programs that use the POSIX time representation, which represents time as the number of seconds (ignoring leap seconds) since January 1, 1970. This representation is standard in Unix-like operating systems and also affects software written for most other operating systems because of the broad deployment of C. 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 03:14:08 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, since they will see these times not as being in 2038 but rather in 1970 or 1901, depending on the implementation
I say we get on top of this one and begin the hysteria now.

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