Year 2038 Problem - Data Structures With Time Problems

Data Structures With Time Problems

Many data structures in use today have 32-bit time representations embedded into their structure. A full list of these data structures is virtually impossible to derive but there are well-known data structures that have the Unix time problem.

  • file systems (many filesystems use only 32 bits to represent times in inode)
  • binary file formats (that use 32-bit time fields)
  • databases (that have 32-bit time fields)
  • COBOL systems from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s that have not been replaced by 2038-compliant systems
  • embedded factory, refinery control and monitoring subsystems
  • assorted medical devices
  • assorted military devices

Each one of these places where data structures using 32-bit time are in place has its own risks related to failure of the product to perform as designed.

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