Monday, August 22, 2011

ItsAlmost, the Year 2038 problem, and Android

By Vasudev Ram - | @vasudevram |

Seen on TechCrunch.

ItsAlmost - ( ) - is a startup that lets you create countdown timers for any date or event in the future. Here is one I created, as a trial of the site, for the year 2038 - which is when the Year 2038 problem (*) may hit us:

( The site has a limit of 20 years from now for the countdown date, so I calculated the halfway point from now, and named my counter accordingly :) If you go to that URL above, it will show a countdown in days / hours / minutes / seconds .

(*) The Year 2038 problem is something like the Year 2000 (Y2K) problem, which is now in the past, and thankfully, did not create any major issues (though it was predicted to), largely due to the efforts of lots of people who worked on fixing software for that problem.

The Year 2038 problem is related to the way UNIX-based operating systems store dates, in a 32-bit integer, though it may well affect other operating systems too, if they do the same.

Here's the Wikipedia entry for the Year 2038 problem:

Excerpt from the entry:

[ The Year 2038 problem (also known as the Unix Millennium Bug, Y2K38 or Y2.038K by analogy to the Y2K 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 farthest 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 ... ]

Just had a thought - since Android is by now probably the version of Linux which is the most widely deployed (on millions, maybe soon to cross a billion, of smartphones), and since Linux is a variant of UNIX, most occurrences of this issue may happen on Android, unless the issue is fixed in time.

Posted via email - Vasudev Ram @ Dancing Bison

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