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The Linux Kernel Is Still Getting Ready For The Year 2038
The Year 2038 problem refers to the issue of a signed 32-bit integer no longer being enough storage for representing the number of seconds passed since 1 January 1970, a.k.a. the Unix time representation. After 19 January 2038, Unix times stored as a signed 32-bit integer will wrap around as a negative number.
It's not as simple as just switching to say a 64-bit integer or a 32-bit unsigned integer everywhere since it can break binary compatibility with existing code when the data structure changes and cause adverse effects. Linux developers have been working on migrating to a 64-bit time_t data structure even on 32-bit systems, among other steps, but alas the Linux kernel is very large and complex and time is very important in a lot of areas from file-system to networking.
With this next Linux kernel cycle there is another large set of core code updates in prepping for the Year 2038 update. The latest Y2038 patches were sent in as part of the timekeeping updates for this next kernel.