Year 2038 problem

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PostTue Aug 20, 2013 11:40 pm » by Trip

Year 2038 problem

The year 2038 problem may cause some computer software to fail at some point near the year 2038. The problem affects all software and systems that both store system time as a signed 32-bit integer, and interpret this number as the number of seconds since 00:00:00 UTC on Thursday, 1 January 1970.[1] The furthest time that can be represented this way is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038.[2] Times beyond this moment will "wrap around" and be stored internally as a negative number, which these systems will interpret as a date in December 13, 1901 rather than January 19, 2038. This is caused by integer overflow. The counter "runs out" of usable digits, "increments" the sign bit instead, and reports a maximally negative number (continuing to count up, toward zero). This is likely to cause problems for users of these systems due to erroneous calculations.

Further, while most programs will only be affected in or very close to 2038, programs that work with future dates will begin to run into problems much sooner. For example, a program that works with dates 24 years in the future will have to be fixed no later than 2014.

Because most 32-bit Unix-like systems store and manipulate time in this format, it is usually called Unix time, and so the year 2038 problem is often referred to as the Unix Millennium Bug.


Early problems

In May 2006, reports surfaced of an early manifestation of the Y2038 problem in the AOLserver software. The software was designed with a kludge to handle a database request that should "never" time out. Rather than specifically handling this special case, the initial design simply specified an arbitrary time-out date in the future.

The default configuration for the server specified that the request should time out after one billion seconds. One billion seconds (approximately thirty-two years) after 9:27.28 pm on 12 May 2006 is beyond the 2038 cutoff date. Thus, after this time, the time-out calculation overflowed and returned a date that was actually in the past, causing the software to crash. When the problem was discovered, AOL server managers had to edit the configuration file and set the time-out to a lower value.

Vulnerable systems

Embedded systems that use dates for either computation or diagnostic logging are most likely to be affected by the 2038 bug. Telecommunication systems and transportation systems from flight to automobiles increasingly use embedded systems. Automobiles, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles are increasingly using embedded systems to maximize efficiency and reduce pollution.

Other automotive safety systems include anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC/ESP), traction control (TCS) and automatic four-wheel drive. New aircraft contain advanced avionics such as inertial guidance systems and GPS receivers that also have considerable safety requirements.

Another major use of embedded systems is in communications devices, including cell phones and Internet appliances (routers, wireless access points, etc.) which rely on storing an accurate time and date and are increasingly based on UNIX-like operating systems. For example, the bug makes some Android devices crash and not restart when the time is changed to that date.[5]

As of 2012, most embedded systems use 8-bit or 16-bit microprocessors,[6] even as desktop systems are transitioning to 64-bit systems.

Despite the modern 18–24-month generational update in computer systems technology, embedded systems are designed to last the lifetime of the machine in which they are a component. It is conceivable that some of these systems may still be in use in 2038. It may be impractical or, in some cases, impossible to upgrade the software running these systems, ultimately requiring replacement if 32-bit time_t limitations are to be corrected.

The use of 32-bit time_t has also been encoded into some file formats,[citation needed] which means it can live on well beyond the life of the machines on which such file formats were originally supported.

MySQL database's inbuilt functions like UNIX_TIMESTAMP() will return 0 after 03:14:07 UTC on 19 January 2038.

Data structures with time problems

Many data structures in use today have 32-bit time representations embedded into their structure. A full list of these data structures is virtually impossible to derive but there are well-known data structures that have the Unix time problem.
file systems (many filesystems use only 32 bits to represent times in inode)
binary file formats (that use 32-bit time fields)
databases (that have 32-bit time fields)
database query languages, like SQL that have UNIX_TIMESTAMP() like commands
COBOL systems of 1970s - 1990s vintage that have not been replaced by 2038-compliant systems
embedded factory, refinery control and monitoring subsystems
assorted medical devices
assorted military devices

Each one of these places where data structures using 32-bit time are in place has its own risks related to failure of the product to perform as designed.

Real time data structures with the 2038 problem
The Digital Video Broadcast system has a similar issue on April 22nd, 2038, when the 16 bits used to transmit Modified Julian Days used for electronic guide scheduling will restart from zero.
The rival ATSC system will not have this issue until 2048 due to its use of unsigned 32-bit GPS seconds that begin from January 6th, 1980.
This will be an issue for a large number of recorders and receivers in the market on these dates.

NTP timestamps

The Network Time Protocol's 2036 issue is also related to this problem.

The 64-bit timestamps used by NTP consist of a 32-bit part for seconds and a 32-bit part for fractional second, giving NTP a time scale that rolls over every 232 seconds (136 years) and a theoretical resolution of 2−32 seconds (233 picoseconds). NTP uses an epoch of January 1, 1900. The first rollover occurs in 2036, prior to the UNIX year 2038 problem.

Implementations should disambiguate NTP time using a knowledge of the approximate time from other sources. Since NTP only works with the differences between timestamps and never their absolute values, the wraparound is invisible as long as the timestamps are within 68 years of each other.

This means that for NTP the rollover will be invisible for most running systems, since they will have the correct time to within a very small tolerance. However, systems that are starting up need to know the date within no more than 68 years. Given the large allowed error, it is not expected that this is too onerous a requirement. One suggested method is to set the clock to no earlier than the system build date. Many systems use a battery powered hardware clock to avoid this problem.

Even so, future versions of NTP may extend the time representation to 128 bits: 64 bits for the second and 64 bits for the fractional-second. The current NTP4 format has support for Era Number and Era Offset, that when used properly should aid fixing date rollover issues. According to Mills, "The 64 bit value for the fraction is enough to resolve the amount of time it takes a photon to pass an electron at the speed of light. The 64 bit second value is enough to provide unambiguous time representation until the universe goes dim."


There is no universal solution for the Year 2038 problem. Any change to the definition of the time_t data type would result in code compatibility problems in any application in which date and time representations are dependent on the nature of the signed 32-bit time_t integer. For example, changing time_t to an unsigned 32-bit integer, which would extend the range to the year 2106, would adversely affect programs that store, retrieve, or manipulate dates prior to 1970, as such dates are represented by negative numbers. Increasing the size of the time_t type to 64-bit in an existing system could cause incompatible changes to the layout of structures and the binary interface of functions.

In terms of real time transmitted dates and times such as with DVB and ATSC, this issue for these standards could have been avoided, if the structure would have from the start used ISO 8601 date strings given the date is transmitted in one direction only with no way of confirming the accuracy of the received result, unlike a real time clock that acts as a counter in seconds or NTP that has a return path. ISO 8601 date strings were used in the ISO 9660 and ISO 13346 filesystems used on optical media to avoid issues such as this. However the only solution, would be a mass replacement of all receivers in the market after the dates in question or using a possible manual date setting with the guide details becoming unusable.

Most operating systems designed to run on 64-bit hardware already use signed 64-bit time_t integers. Using a signed 64-bit value introduces a new wraparound date that is over twenty times greater than the estimated age of the universe: approximately 292 billion years from now, at 15:30:08 on Sunday, 4 December 292,277,026,596. The ability to make computations on dates is limited by the fact that tm_year uses a signed 32 bit int value starting at 1900 for the year. This limits the year to a maximum of 2,147,485,547 (2,147,483,647 + 1900).[9] While this solves the problem for executing programs, it does not solve the problem of storing date values within binary data files, many of which employ rigid storage formats. It also doesn't solve the problem for 32-bit programs running under compatibility layers and may not solve the problem for programs that incorrectly store time values in variables of types other than time_t.

Starting with NetBSD version 6.0 (released in October 2012), the NetBSD operating system uses a 64-bit time_t for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. Applications that were compiled for an older NetBSD release with 32-bit time_t are supported via a binary compatibility layer, but such older applications will still suffer from the Year 2038 problem.

OpenBSD in version 5.5, to be released in May 2014, will also use a 64-bit time_t for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. In contrast to NetBSD, there will be no binary compatibility layer. Therefore, applications expecting a 32-bit time_t will, and applications using anything different from time_t to store time values, may break.

The x32 ABI for Linux which defines an environment for programs with 32-bit addresses but running the processor in 64-bit mode also uses a 64-bit time_t. Since it was a new environment there was no need for special compatibility precautions.

Alternative proposals have been made (some of which are in use), such as storing either milliseconds or microseconds since an epoch (typically either 1 January 1970 or 1 January 2000) in a signed 64-bit integer, providing a minimum range of 300,000 years.[10][11] Other proposals for new time representations provide different precisions, ranges, and sizes (almost always wider than 32 bits), as well as solving other related problems, such as the handling of leap seconds. In particular, TAI64[12] is an implementation of the Temps Atomique International standard, the current international real-time standard for defining a second and frame of reference.


Some weird random year 2038 info I found & I thought I would share, that's a long time a way, anything could happen before then, im sure it wont be a problem by then anyhow. Anyway, I thought its worth a post, its a bit different.

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PostWed Aug 21, 2013 12:02 am » by yougotOwled

i dont think we will have any 32-Bit Systems anymore in 2038 , computer evolution grows exorbitantly fast too fast to have any 32 Bit devices left in my opinion,maybe in 3rd world countries but ... yeah just my guess

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PostWed Aug 21, 2013 12:21 am » by Trip

Yeah, that's what I thought, computers will be different by then, if there is a big world war though, maybe people are running some old computers still, I found it looking for stuff on 2037 and time travel, 2037 seems an interesting year, I found this with some one talking about a what seems a vision for computers in the year 2037 might as well post, whether it holds any truth though, I don't know. another random one.

The Year 2037 and the Internet

A few days ago I was surfing the Internet doing some relevant research work for the newsletter. As I clicked through endless website pages that seemed alike, I had to constantly look up at the website address bar to make sure I was not stuck on the same site. Seeking relevant information to post-up for our subscribers, I felt somewhat bored and dissatisfied. Everything appeared and seemed the same. Nothing was new or exciting. At that point I glanced at my wall calendar and looked at the year, it read 2006.

The next day, I recalled my frustrated journey online involving searching for information. I realized that my psyche was not happy with the framework of the World Wide Web.

I sat at my desk and paused awhile, I allowed my mind to drift off thinking about super-nerds, geeks, computer techs, computer engineers, software designers, and the movers and shakers of the Internet world. What were they doing today?

The scene that came directly to my mind was a selective team of Hi-tech yuppies, maybe about twenty-five of them. They had just sat down at a round cherry inlaid conference table. The wooden table was huge, water glasses and a yellow pad of paper was at each seat.

The atmosphere was relaxed and causal. One interesting fact that stood out was the look on each of their faces. Their faces reflected their definite determination.

This was an arranged rendezvous of the Super-Masterminds of the World Wide Web. Their Agenda- Take it to the next level, It's time.

Finally a door opened, a young man about thirty two years old entered the meeting room. The man was well dressed in an expensive suit, and portraying a let's get it done attitude.

Everyone sitting at the wooden table began to pick up their pens and started writing something down on those yellow pads.

What were they writing down?

-The Year 2037-

In the year 2037 the World Wide Web has become a new favorable experience.

First, computers as we understood them are now called "C-Pods". A C-Pod does not even come close to resembling your old desktop monster.

C-Pods have a shape of being 1/4 inch thick, 8 inches wide, and 14 inches long. The top surface is somewhat transparent plastic material, supported by four 1/4 inch round titanium legs, being 3 inches long. The C-Pod looks like a coffee table for mice.

The plastic like top surface has been engineered to replace all the circuit boards, hard drives, memory chips, DVD players and power drives which we once became familiar with.

Inside the 1/4 inch thick plastic is where your computer now resides. Inside is the complex core of the system where the Meta Drives are stored.

A Meta Drive is a device that uses Meta Materials. Meta Materials are objects that gain their electromagnetic material properties from their structure rather than inheriting them directly from the materials that they are composed of.

The Meta drives work in conjunction with electromagnetic waves combined with photon crystals (a subatomic particle that is a quantum of electromagnetic energy, including light). The two systematically will be linked with each other and will substantially improve computing strength and stealth.

Data will be stored inside encrypted air packets and transmitted via electromagnetic wave beams.

Transmission of electronic data from one computer to another will be direct, no networking hubs to deal with. To make this materialize; beam steerers will be applied in an advanced system to utilize RF frequency modulation to deliver the data, no hard wires whatsoever. The Transmission rates of master data will become immediate and secure.

Hackers will be out of business. All data's transmitted will be stored in sealed encrypted air packets, and transmitted by electromagnetic waves, then trapped by end users. C-Pod encrypted receivers will only be authorized to acquire air packets at their authorized docker platforms.

Software will also advance to new levels. The new C-Pod technology has brought new challenges to Software masterminds. All data must travel at the speed of light and faster. Software will be stored in Nano chips and will utilize Meta material and advanced laser technology to travel from Meta drives to Pod Dockers. All software will be user encrypted to be only received and viewed by authorized receivers and Dockers. Software programs will be trimmed of all fat to deliver the ultimate performance and reliability.

Software programs will contain complete user friendly support. Concierge assistants will be an integral part of the Software Pod. There will be no need to source help from outside representatives because the software Pod Concierge will be present to directly answer all your how-to relevant inquiries, plus dutifully explain every significant function of the software to assure the end user renders the absolute best results from their software acquisition.

Software companies now will have to meet a rating level of 900 stars out of a possible 1000 stars to even be considered as a respectful representative of software. The competition will become intense amongst this field. Customer satisfaction will become the number one priority to stay afloat.

C-Pods will contain Docker home workstations. Dockers receive and transmit air packets of master data from server docker stations from through-out the world. All Dockers will store Meta materials and become proprietary to that system.

All C-Pods will give first class priority to interactivity by users. Interactivity will become instant, and will not breakup, or cause interruptions in transmissions.

Gaming, video, and data will all be viewed in a Helio format. Helio is the technology of projecting images within a column of air. Columns of air are projected 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide. Viewing resolutions will exceed 12,500 dots per inch. All presentations will be in full 3-D format. No head visors or glasses will be needed to experience breath taking programming.

Helio technology is now the ultimate experience. The Helio column of air will be suspended above your C-Pod 4 inches. No wires, plugs, or cables will be attached. Air packets will also be used to transmit electromagnetic waves from your C-Pod to the Helio receiver projector. These waves will also be encrypted with user identifications to secure the system from tampering or hacking.

Helio systems will additionally provide the system user a projected keyboard to any location within a 8 foot range from the C-Pod. The keyboard is also a projected light image in which colors, themes, lights, keypad style, location, and touch feel can be programmed to the user's likings. Here again, the Helio keyboard projector will contain a docker which can be upgraded to add calculators, ultra sound wave players, and all your servant commands.

The servant command section of the keyboard is where you will launch, upgrade, change, delete, survey, and command your docker station, surfboards, fetch pads, and your concierge services.

All businesses will be using Helio 360 degree conference viewing theaters. Helio card readers can be transmitted to any worldwide C-Pod docker station. With encrypted authentication contained within air packets, stealth security is never a problem. Deals and formal contracts will instantly be closed with secured Helio touch pads using defense type coding systems.

Cobra air packets will have the highest secret coding system ever developed for civilian use. The Cobra air packet system will essentially combine with the Meta materials program. As we discussed earlier, Meta materials. (Meta Materials are entities that gain their electromagnetic material properties from their structure rather than inheriting them directly from the materials that they are composed of). If any of these assigned structures are tampered with or invaded without Cobra screening approvals, the invader of the air packet will be disclosed. Within a Nano second of the security violation, Cobra with send out an electro-magnetic defense wave, and immediately nullify the invaders C-Pod transmitter.

Surfboards will become an essential part of your Docker system. Surfboards will provide you with the means to browse the Internet. All Surfboards will store user ID cards containing encrypted data and user information. The ID cards are called PIC's (personal identity coders). This is the location that will store all pertinent data regarding the user and their preferences.

Fetch Pad Dockers, will become the cutting edge when it comes to searching for pertinent data. Fetch Pads are programmed by the user to retrieve the most relevant data available that best matches your request.

When programmed, the Fetch Pad searches all possible sources for the data available on the Internet that the user has requested. Fetch Pads will contain their own algorithm systems installed that can be programmed by the user. No second party interference, biases, or advertisements will be involved or allowed.

Concierge Dockers. This Docker will become your personal Internet servant. Your personal requests can be preloaded at your convenience and upgraded at any time.

Concierge Dockers will constantly be searching the Internet seeking all pertinent and relevant information that meets your desires and demands that you have submitted. The data that the docker had obtained during missions will be stored in libraries that are contained in your Meta drives for instant access.

The Concierge Docker also contains an invaluable program called the Mentor. Yes, this is your personal mentor that is built-in to your C-Pod. The Mentor, through an algorithm software program will be able to decipher all external data plus compare the demands and traits that are contained by the user.

The Mentor will guide, assist, educate, evaluate, decide, and conclude the best paths for you to take to accomplish your goals.

Similar to today's matchmaker website's, the Mentor will also use the most sophisticated programs to match one's intelligence level, desirability to succeed, persistence of user, and the current competitive environment surrounding the user final goal.

The Mentor with each Docker will also provide PAQ's (personal achievement qualifiers) to the individual user status and transmitting Docker. The PAQ's are the most important factor to one's credibility on the Internet.

PAQ's ratings are attached to every air packet of data that will be transmitted over the Internet. PAQ's will internally assign a star rating to each user. The highest rating will be 500 stars.

Rating stars will be determined by Universal Internet Laws. The criteria to determine your ratings will mainly consist of the user's credibility, performance to achievements, personal goals (business, pleasure, or education), and usage (public or private).

Contained within every Docker will also reside a Meta Materials Operations Manager (MOM).

MOM's will become the fiduciary task force that will govern all Internet operations.

All PAQ's will contain fully encrypted ratings, credentials, authenticity certificates, and user ID's. MOM's will screen PAQ's to select right of passage, and also provide proper directions to final C-Pod Dockers.

Webmaster will now become certified by the Universal Internet Commission. The Commission will educate and supervise all webmaster to properly construct website to accept C-Pod acceptance dockers and receivers. All webmasters will also receive ratings for their ability to properly manage their website according to Universal Internet Laws.

Website star ratings will consist of a 1000 star program, 1000 being the best rating. Here again, credibility will reign supreme.

Search engines and keywords will become a thing of the past. A web site's star rating will determine the best data available for the request by the user. Relevance will only be compared to the user's PIC's (personal identifier coder). Relevance will not have any reflections on keywords, for they have now become useless.

The credibility and reliability will be the main focus of each and every website, thus promoting their website's star ratings.

Websites will become respected as an authoritarian of information and data that will be supplied to the utmost quality. Relevance will also reside within every website and be constantly updated to serve demanding user cravings for cutting edge knowledge.

Visitors to each website will also be able to cast votes on the overall credibility and relevance of the site that have visited. These votes will become paramount. These votes will add credibility to the website's Star ratings.

The Universal Internet Commission (UIC) will not allow any website to transmit without acceptable Star rating certification. Start-up sites will have to participate in an apprentice type program, and will be rated either as commercial or professional use after certification.

The apprentice duration will allow upstart website's to accumulate stars in a given period of time set forth by the commission. If the upstart website can not reach a minimum rating of 400 stars, the site will be given two more chances to qualify. If the site fails to qualify after three attempts, the site can only receive a rating of personal usage, and will not be able to transmit commercial business data.

Personal use website's will have a much lower rating of only 100 stars. Qualifying will also be much easier. Personal website ratings will be limited to a non-business application. Data can be transferred and received, but not for the use of any type of business means.

Qualifying Commercial websites will receive UIC certification along with PAQ Dockers. These Dockers are encrypted to receive all inbound PAQ's. Without a PAQ Docker, a website will not be able to receive any inbound air packets.

The Internet has now become the ultimate experience. The super-masterminds of the Internet world have pulled all the tricks out of their bags. They have provided us with the Roller coaster ride we have all been waiting for.

New developments in technology, credibility, and superior relevance to data have reached extreme levels of fulfillment for all.

These turns in events will become a new page in the history books of forward thinking. There will be new hero's to admire for their perseverance to foresee the future with their just get it done attitudes.

To close my journey to the year 2037, I've selected a new headline for my next newsletter; - Forget the new I-Pod with 200mb of storage, Just move your calendar to the year 2037 and log-on to the Ultimate Experience of the World Wide Web.

Article Source:

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PostWed Aug 21, 2013 12:58 am » by Hr2burn

I don't doubt there are issues but there was this...
This was to be huge and like someone else said, our computers will be so far beyond what they are now by then. I'm sure nuclear war will be a far bigger issue, if not then and so on and so on. Interesting post and I'm sure there would be some glitches had that be the 2015 computer bug, but I'm not skurred. :peep:
Now I'm nothing...

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PostWed Aug 21, 2013 1:51 am » by Opalserpent

64 bit will be old hat old day.

This thing is 512 Q bits

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