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The Year 2038 Problem

As per Google's Usenet archives
[http://groups.google.com/googlegroup...ounce_20.html], the
first discussion of the Y2K problem on the Usenet was on January 18
1985 [http://groups.google.com/groups?thre...0%40reed.UUCP]. That
is a good 15 years before the problem manifested. Even then, it
turned out, we were scrambling for cover when the D-day was
approaching.

Although the Y2K scare turned out to be vastly overblown, we do have a
massive problem ahead of us ------ the Year 2038 problem. On Mon Jan
18 21:14:07 2038, the Unix seconds-since-epoch count will "roll-over".
After that, the time on the Unix systems will read as Fri Dec 13
14:45:52 1901.

IMHO, if we want to avoid the last minute panic that we witnessed
towards the end of the last millennium (while pursuing the Y2K
problem), we should begin the process of debating the viable solutions
to this problem NOW. It will take a long time for the consensus to be
built, and to come up with a solution that most (if not all) people
find acceptable. We also need considerable time to test out all
possible solutions in the real world, to decide if the solutions
really work as expected. We may also need to develop a suite of
recovery strategies should the problem manifest in some system on that
fateful Monday morning. All this takes time. So, as the late Todd
Beamer would have said: Let's roll.

Bhat
Nov 14 '05
248 10608
In article <m9************ *******@nwrdny0 1.gnilink.net>,
xx*****@yyyyyyy .com says...
"Gerry Quinn" <ge****@DELETET HISindigo.ie> wrote in message

> Although the Y2K scare turned out to be vastly overblown,
< snip >

Idiot!! It wasn't "vastly overblown" at all. The fact is,
we did a damn good job fixing it.


In countries where little or no effort was put into preventing it, no
significant problems occurred either.


Pull your head out of the sand for a moment, and take
a look at: http://www.grantjeffrey.com/article/y2kretro.htm


LOL! That article was written a mere ten days into the year 2000 by tha
author of "The Millenial Meltdown", and already he was running for
cover. He should have waited a few days, some of his his followers
might not have been down from the hills in time to read it.

He had no significant examples of serious failures to report, so he
started pushing that good old line "If it wasn't serious why did we
spend so much?". Nearly all the article is just "Everybody else said it
was serious too".

He asks:
"Those who naively suggest that Y2K was all hype should ask themselves
why banks (who are not generally known to throw their money away) would
spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of
thousands of man hours to fix the problem..."

You know, banks *aren't* known for throwing their money away - they've
got plenty of yours and mine for that! Barings, for example, or AIB.

There was a Feb 29 bug in 2000 that wasn't hyped at all, and little
enough went wrong that day either.

Truth is the Millenium Bug Disaster was a '60s science fiction scenario,
based on the assumption that all the operations that keep the industrial
world turning are done by technicians blindly obeying the orders on
punched cards that some big old computer spits out. The real world is
considerably more fault tolerant.

- Gerry Quinn


Nov 14 '05 #71
Stephen Sprunk wrote:
"Corey Murtagh" <em***@slingsho t.no.uce> wrote in message

.... snip ...

15 years after the oil runs out and we're all paying
US$20/gallon for vehicle grade alcohol :>


I assume that $20 is after inflation, which means it'll be on par
(in constant dollars) with what we pay for petrol or ethanol
today. Hardly a problem, though I'd expect us all to be running
on hydrogen by then; ethanol is a transition fuel.


And where does the power to extract that hydrogen come from? In
case you hadn't noticed it does not tend to occur in free form in
nature. However, it can serve as an intermediary between real
renewable sources and portable machinery.

--
fix (vb.): 1. to paper over, obscure, hide from public view; 2.
to work around, in a way that produces unintended consequences
that are worse than the original problem. Usage: "Windows ME
fixes many of the shortcomings of Windows 98 SE". - Hutchison
Nov 14 '05 #72
"Villy Kruse" <ve*@station02. ohout.pharmapar tners.nl> wrote in message
news:slrncbdqbn .3m8.ve*@statio n02.ohout.pharm apartners.nl...
On 28 May 2004 04:15:10 GMT,
Joona I Palaste <pa*****@cc.hel sinki.fi> wrote:
I am quite sure I've heard stories about everything having an
electronic timer stopping working in 2000.


I'm sure these stories didn't come from the professionals who knew
what they were talking about. Besides, the problem is just a small
subset of a bigger issue, namely the maximum number that can be stored
in a given variable. It could for exmple be an old cash register which
didn't allow prices above 10 dollars for example. Or fuel pumps which
got into trouble when the fuel price went above 1.00.


Anecdote:

Funny you should mention this. All of us U.S. folks are aware
of the current escalation in gasoline prices (I'm supposing a
similar thing is happening elsewhere.). But now, in the 21st
century, I was shocked to learn the other day that a local
gasoline retailer was losing money because his pumps didn't
have a '2' in the high order position. He said in a news
interview, that he was being 'forced' to sell at a loss, for
$1.99/gallon, although the average price was around $2.35.
He said he has to 'eat' the loss until his new pumps arrive
in a few days.

I told my wife I should go down there and sell him a few
pieces of cardboard, a crayon, and a handheld calculator,
perhaps for about $300. He'd get that back in recouped
losses in less than a day, and my wife and I could have
a very nice night out on the town.

:-)

-Mike
Nov 14 '05 #73
In article <of************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
Alan Balmer <al******@spamc op.net> wrote:
Oh yeah? How about all those stories about everything from your coffee
maker to your car engine's sparkplugs stopping working on the exact
second the year 1999 changes into the year 2000?
The only reason it didn't happen was because we fixed it.


Really? People upgraded their coffee makers and spark plugs?

-- Richard
Nov 14 '05 #74
Mike Wahler wrote:
.... snip ...
Anecdote:

Funny you should mention this. All of us U.S. folks are aware
of the current escalation in gasoline prices (I'm supposing a
similar thing is happening elsewhere.). But now, in the 21st
century, I was shocked to learn the other day that a local
gasoline retailer was losing money because his pumps didn't
have a '2' in the high order position. He said in a news
interview, that he was being 'forced' to sell at a loss, for
$1.99/gallon, although the average price was around $2.35.
He said he has to 'eat' the loss until his new pumps arrive
in a few days.

I told my wife I should go down there and sell him a few
pieces of cardboard, a crayon, and a handheld calculator,
perhaps for about $300. He'd get that back in recouped
losses in less than a day, and my wife and I could have
a very nice night out on the town.


You (and he) are too young. Back in gas shortage times, when
prices worked their way above 50 cents a gallon, most pumps
couldn't handle that wildly excessive level. The operators set
them to charge half-price, and created a sign stating as much.

This solution may not be complete in these days of 'charge at the
pump'.

--
fix (vb.): 1. to paper over, obscure, hide from public view; 2.
to work around, in a way that produces unintended consequences
that are worse than the original problem. Usage: "Windows ME
fixes many of the shortcomings of Windows 98 SE". - Hutchison
Nov 14 '05 #75
Richard Tobin wrote:
Alan Balmer <al******@spamc op.net> wrote:
Oh yeah? How about all those stories about everything from your
coffee maker to your car engine's sparkplugs stopping working
on the exact second the year 1999 changes into the year 2000?

The only reason it didn't happen was because we fixed it.


Really? People upgraded their coffee makers and spark plugs?


Yup. I had to flash 5 bioses for those items.

--
fix (vb.): 1. to paper over, obscure, hide from public view; 2.
to work around, in a way that produces unintended consequences
that are worse than the original problem. Usage: "Windows ME
fixes many of the shortcomings of Windows 98 SE". - Hutchison
Nov 14 '05 #76
On 28 May 2004 05:00:04 GMT, Joona I Palaste <pa*****@cc.hel sinki.fi>
wrote:
I am quite sure I've heard stories about everything having an
electronic timer stopping working in 2000.

Probably you did, but surely you didn't believe all of them.
http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/cs_y2k.shtml


Of course there were scare stories, and lots of ridiculous rhetoric,
but that's true of any issue the media decides to hype. Much of it
wasn't true, and sensible people knew better.

On the other hand, once it was past, those same news media were so
disappointed that the world didn't come to an end that they started
accusing everyone of making the whole thing up. Sensible people don't
believe that either.

The truth is that there were real problems and most of them were
fixed. During 1999, I did perhaps 30 compliance surveys among my small
business clients. Some updates were needed in nearly all cases, though
only a few would have had serious consequences (mostly in scrambled
book-keeping.) In some cases the action required was no more than
making sure systems were shut down on Dec 31 and rebooted after the
new year. One large client had issues which would have cost them
rather a lot of money if ignored.

When the new year finally arrived, I had closed up shop and moved
across the country. I had a Y2K trouble call from one former client,
which was resolved over the phone with all data recovered.

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
re************* ***********@att .net
Nov 14 '05 #77
On Fri, 28 May 2004 07:17:18 GMT, rl*@hoekstra-uitgeverij.nl (Richard
Bos) wrote:
>Oh yeah? How about all those stories about everything from your coffee
>maker to your car engine's sparkplugs stopping working on the exact
>second the year 1999 changes into the year 2000? If that's not "vastly
>overblown", what is? Dogs turning into cats and vice versa?


The only reason it didn't happen was because we fixed it.


No, the reason _those_ did not happen is because coffee makers and spark
plugs don't stop working on 1-1-1900.


As I mentioned in another reply, I was ignoring that bit of rhetoric.
Should have said so at the time.

--
Al Balmer
Balmer Consulting
re************* ***********@att .net
Nov 14 '05 #78

"CBFalconer " <cb********@yah oo.com> wrote in message
news:40******** *******@yahoo.c om...
Mike Wahler wrote:
... snip ...

Anecdote:

Funny you should mention this. All of us U.S. folks are aware
of the current escalation in gasoline prices (I'm supposing a
similar thing is happening elsewhere.). But now, in the 21st
century, I was shocked to learn the other day that a local
gasoline retailer was losing money because his pumps didn't
have a '2' in the high order position. He said in a news
interview, that he was being 'forced' to sell at a loss, for
$1.99/gallon, although the average price was around $2.35.
He said he has to 'eat' the loss until his new pumps arrive
in a few days.

I told my wife I should go down there and sell him a few
pieces of cardboard, a crayon, and a handheld calculator,
perhaps for about $300. He'd get that back in recouped
losses in less than a day, and my wife and I could have
a very nice night out on the town.


You (and he) are too young.


Actually, I'm not.
Back in gas shortage times, when
prices worked their way above 50 cents a gallon, most pumps
couldn't handle that wildly excessive level. The operators set
them to charge half-price, and created a sign stating as much.
Yes, I remember that.

This solution may not be complete in these days of 'charge at the
pump'.


Right. I also remember complaining "why can't I just
slide my credit card through a reader at the pump,"
long before that method was available. (Of course,
being a 'geek', I understood that it was easily doable,
although the typical 'layperson' did not.).

-Mike
Nov 14 '05 #79
Stephen Sprunk <st*****@sprunk .org> wrote:
"Otto Wyss" <ot*******@orpa tec.ch> wrote in message
news:1gegpbt.ot 7t0q1p5gqogN%ot *******@orpatec .ch...
The time_t might have 64-bit but are you sure that every occurence where
the time is copied or used is as well?


If someone copies a time_t into a variable of any other type, they may be
invoking undefined behavior, which means it's not the Standard's problem,
it's the coder's.

time_t exists for a reason, just like size_t. Use them.

I don't hope time_t isn't as often converted to int as size_t is. Well I
guess it won't be that big problem, I just wanted to point out that you
never should assume what other coders think.

O. Wyss

--
See a huge pile of work at "http://wyodesktop.sour ceforge.net/"
Nov 14 '05 #80

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