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year 2038 bug

Year 2038 will see a problem with the computer dates, similar to the one of year 2000, but this time it's not as easy to fix the bug.

The problem in question arises on systems that use dates based on the POSIX system - someone came up with a way of representing the date as an integer, based on the number of seconds since January, 1, 1970 at 00:00:00.

In order to save this value you have to use an unsigned 32 bit integer, which means that the highest value obtainable is 2,147,483,647 - which will turn up to be in January, 19, 2038, time 03:14:07.

However, the impact of this could be felt much earlier than 2038; for instance, 30-year mortgages may have been calculated incorrectly beginning in the year 2008.

The solution could be the usage of a 64 bit integer, but, this could mean losing the compatibility with lots of software. Most 64-bit operating systems use 64-bit integer time_t. The migration to these systems is still in progress and is expected to be completed well before 2038.

If this problem is solved, the next such event would occur on December, 4, year, time 15:30:08.

For an even more 'geeky' explanation, see Wikipedia.

via Ubusof