Science

2020 in evaluation: Revenge of the Y2K bug as lazy repair takes down software program

The yr started with digital havoc, when a pc glitch often known as the Y2020 bug took fee programs, parking meters and a wrestling online game offline.

Y2020 arose from a lazy repair to the Y2K (or millennium) bug. This was the priority that laptop programs that saved years as two digits – 99, say, as an alternative of 1999 – would deal with 00 as 1900 fairly than 2000. Because of mass patching in 1999, this didn’t occur. But it seems that an estimated 80 per cent of computer systems solved this utilizing an affordable and fast methodology often known as “windowing”, through which all dates from 00 to twenty could be handled because the 2000s fairly than the 1900s. When January 2020 rolled round, these programs reached the tip of that window and reset to 1920.

The problem now appears to be below management, however 19 January 2038 was set to be the subsequent troublesome date for Linux computer systems, which depend the date in seconds from 1 January 1970. The date is saved as a 32-bit integer, and its storage capability could be exceeded at this level.

Nevertheless, a possible resolution emerged this October, suspending the issue for an additional 400 years: a rise to the efficient measurement of timestamps. The function will imply that dates past 2038 received’t pose an issue till 2486 – the subsequent yr to fret about.

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