Propellerhead Top Tip

Don’t ever say the ever-watchful Propellerhead doesn’t keep you informed. Here’s a quick heads-up for a potentially nasty little computer bug that could ruin your day on January 19th 2038… This one will only affect computers based on the Unix operating system, which includes some versions of Linux, and Windows 2000 machines running exotic applications may also be affected.

The bug is similar to the notorious Y2K bug in that vulnerable computers will register the time and date incorrectly when the bug strikes. It’s all to do with the way Unix computers work out time. Instead of relying on an in built calendar they count seconds from the notional date the system was conceived, at GMT 00:00:00, on Thursday, January 1st, 1970, and like a car’s odometer going round the clock, on bug day it will run out of digits and the counter will roll over and probably reset to January 1st 1901 or another equally invalid date.

So should you be worried? Well, as the Y2K bug experience taught us the world didn’t end and no planes fell from the sky, moreover we’ve got 32 years to sort this one out, assuming there are any Unix-based systems still operating; just don’t say you haven’t been warned… For loads more topical Top Tips head over to the BootLog website at www.rickmaybury.com

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One thought on “BUG ALERT, FOR 2038…

  • Surely it affects more than just the current time, though? I can’t believe people aren’t already trying to store dates beyond 2038 – pension maturity dates, for example, mortgages will be getting close…

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