The 2038 time interger


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Jan 13, 2024
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Historically, Unix and Unix-like operating systems (including Linux) used a 32-bit integer to represent time, specifically the number of seconds since the start of the year 1970. While this approach has worked for years, it has an upper limit. Specifically, the number of seconds since the beginning of 1970 will be a number too high to count at some point in the year 2038. This is a well known problem and operating systems are being gradually patched to properly process dates beyond 2038 (ideally without disrupting existing 32-bit systems).
The Debian project is currently working on patching 32-bit software to keep it year 2038 compatible, as Steve Langasek writes: "A number of you will have noticed already that the 64-bit time_t transition is now in progress in Debian experimental. The goal of this transition is to ensure that 32-bit architectures in Trixie (whether they are currently release architectures, or out of archive, etc) will be capable of handling current and future timestamps referring to times beyond 2038." Additional information on this transition is presented in the Debian wiki page on 64-bit time.

see here -

i386 will be left with the existing 32-bit time_t, as a compatibility architecture for existing x86 binaries.

There's more to the paragraph, but I'm not sure how much enthusiasm they're going to get. That's why there's no 32 bit Ubuntu flavors.

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