The “Effect 2038” threatens to overcome the “Effect 2000”

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The “Effect 2038” threatens to overcome the “Effect 2000”
The “Effect 2038” threatens to overcome the “Effect 2000”

It has been two decades since 2000 and the famous eponymous effect, also known as the Year 2000 problem. A computer problem caused by the century’s failure to store data that wasn’t as virulent or devastating despite the real danger it posed. We did not go from January 1, 2000 to January 1, 1900 as everyone expected.

If the doomed apocalypse was averted, it was because of the investment in upgrades worldwide and in all kinds of computer equipment. The only solution that will require the bug that threatens to be, potentially and according to some experts, more catastrophic: the 2038 effect. A problem that has a date, but also an exact hour, minute and second.

For the 2038 effect, the date, hour, minute, and second are set for the possible disaster.

What is the 2038 effect?

The problem of the year 2038, effect 2038 or Y2K38 is primarily based on The representation of the time is based on the POSIX system and the restrictions of 32-bit systems, An explosive combination that can jump through the air on January 19, 2038 at 3:14:07 AM UTC.

A second after this day and hour 32-bit systems can no longer count time, this January 19 will appear on December 13, 1901 if the systems are not updated as before 2000.

The display of the POSIX system time counts the number of seconds that have passed at midnight UTC since January 1, 1970, and that is a problem

The reason for this phenomenon is that maximum bit capacity of these systems still exist in society, public institutions and companies in teams of a certain antiquity. In short, they work by executing their processes with 32 binary digits, numbers one or zero, with a total of 4,294,967,296 possible combinations.

Create notes as if you were in the opening of ‘Game of Thrones’, ideal for people with visual memory
Create notes as if you were in the opening of ‘Game of Thrones’, ideal for people with visual memory

These combinations are positive or negative, with 2,147,483,647 positive values ​​greater than zero, including zero itself, and 2,147,483,648 negative values. This restriction contributed to the fact that the representation of the time was based on the POSIX system that It counts the number of seconds that have passed since January 1, 1970 Assume a 32-bit computer can only count until midnight UTC until January 19, 2038 at 03:14:07 UTC.

One second after January 19, 2038 at 03:14:07 UTC, 32-bit systems will run until December 13, 1901

A second after that moment 32-bit computers will theoretically run until December 13, 1901, exactly 2,147,483,648 seconds before January 1, 1970, reference date for the count.

The effects are beginning to show

The effects are beginning to show
The effects are beginning to show

Although we will likely be up to date, we will overcome it and nothing will happen in the world – not because the concerns were not real, but because many have done their job by properly updating the systems – The effects seem to be showing, already in 2020.

This true horror story for any programmer is told by John Feminella, a software engineer who has told in his Twitter account by means of a thread the problem faced by one of his clients, responsible for several of the hundred most important pension funds in the world, and himself. A story that we have learned through mixx.io and that is not the only one about the 2038 effect.

“The moral of the story is that the 2038 effect doesn’t” come “. It’s already there. Fix your things.”

And the problem, of course are the dates and future calculations, Feminella’s client, he explains, was doing a night job that consisted of calculating the contributions required for pension plans based on forecasts made after 20 years. however One day it stopped working: January 19, 2018, Only two decades before 2038.

Nobody knew what happened in the beginning, the person who wrote the code responsible for the operation had been dead for about 15 years and the first possible solutions only aggravated a problem that turned the company upside down. The matter was resolved once the problem was found and one Hotpatch of script, Beyond the damage caused by not being able to make the required contributions that day, The race to catch up cost around $1.7 million.

“The moral of the story is that the 2038 effect doesn’t” come “. Is already there, Fix your things, “recommends Feminella. And he can’t be more right.

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