- May 7, 2007
On January 19, 2038, UNIX-based programs and UNIX-like operating systems will run out of time. To be more precise, at 3:14:07 GMT, UNIX will be exactly 1 billion seconds old. Many see this as a milestone, but from a technical point of view, this can mean disaster for computer programs and systems around the world.
UNIX keeps track of time in a 4-byte integer that represents the number of seconds after January 1, 1970 12:00:00.
For example, a time of 60 represents the date January 1, 1970 12:01:00. A 4-byte integer has a maximum value of 2,146,483,547. This time (known as maximum time) corresponds exactly to January 19, 2038 3:14:07. This explains why UNIX programs in large, were pretty much unaffected by the Y2K bug - since it kept track of time in units of seconds. However, its own version of Y2K will occur a second past the maximum time.
QUICK!! Everyone go back to windows before it's too late!