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2038 BUG

The year of 2038 poses a great threat to the computer world, today.

A new bug called the 2038 bug or the Friday 13th Bug has appeared, it is similar to the Y2K bug , but this time the possible disaster will occur in the year 2038. O_o

The year-2038 bug is similar to the Y2K bug in that it involves a time wrap not handled by programmers. In the case of Y2K, many older machines did not store the century digits of dates, hence the year 2000 and the year 1900 would appear the same.
Of course we now know that the prevalence of computers that would fail because of this error was greatly exaggerated by the media. Computer scientists were generally aware that most machines would continue operating as usual through the century turnover, with the worst result being an incorrect date. This prediction withstood through to the new millennium. Effected systems were tested and corrected in time, although the correction and verification of those systems was monumentally expensive.

There are however several other problems with date handling on machines in the world today. Some are less prevalent than others, but it is true that almost all computers suffer from one critical limitation. Most programs use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to work out their dates. Simply, UTC is the number of seconds elapsed since Jan 1 1970. A recent milestone was Sep 9 2001, where this value wrapped from 999'999'999 seconds to 1'000'000'000 seconds. Very few programs anywhere store time as a 9 digit number, and therefore this was not a problem.

Modern computers use a standard 4 byte integer for this second count. This is 31 bits, storing a value of 231. The remaining bit is the sign. This means that when the second count reaches 2147483647, it will wrap to -2147483648.

The precise date of this occurrence is Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 2038. At this time, a machine prone to this bug will show the time Fri Dec 13 20:45:52 1901, hence it is possible that the media will call this The Friday 13th Bug.

See the official 2038 Bug Site.

Comments

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  1. Cyberdevil
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    I am as fearful for this as I was for the Y2K bug when it hit, not at all . . . it is interesting to know though, allthough the catastrophic predictions will probably be far less drastic than people thought . . .

  2. Richy
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    The y2k bug was not as serious as they estimated and I don't think this will be either.

  3. Cyberdevil
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    Yeah, I don't think It will be anything serious either . . . It's still interesting though . . .

  4. Dave
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    Interesting.

  5. Cyberdevil
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    Are you being sarcastic Dave ??? Your comment shows no emotion . . . or emoticons . . .

  6. Joe
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    I posted about this. Who knows... I've made a test, it uses php though. It can be found here along with the blog post. http://blog.fileville.net/?p=93

  7. Cyberdevil
    Wednesday Jun/7/2006

    It seems real according to your test. O_o

  8. S3C
    Friday May/27/2016

    Just implement time as a 32 bit number! Phew problem solved. Now we can work on different things like a fully compatible Linux system and phasing out Shekelsoft and overpriced glowing fruit on the cover computers.

  9. S3C
    Friday May/27/2016

    Just implement time as a 32 bit number! Phew problem solved. Now we can usexpect the next 22 years to work on different things like a fully compatible Linux system and phasing out Shekelsoft and overpriced glowing fruit on the cover computers.

  10. Cyber
    Friday May/27/2016

    Glowing apples? Orange it strange the answers to the most complex problems are so simple! Nicely said.

  11. Cyber
    Friday May/27/2016

    And re-phrased/emoticonized.



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