I need to be able to set the date on Ubuntu (8.04.4 LTS) to the year 2040 (to test something that isn't relevant to this question). Is that possible?

I can run:

$ sudo date -s "15 JAN 2038 18:00:00"
Fri Jan 15 18:00:00 PST 2038


$ sudo date -s "15 JAN 2039 18:00:00"
date: invalid date `15 JAN 2039 18:00:00'

Is the limit somewhere in 2038 (or prior to Jan. 15, 2039)? Does this change with different versions of Linux?

  • You've done well, creating two new (and perfectly valid) tags for one question. :) – John Gardeniers Jun 18 '10 at 3:04

In systems that represent time as a 32bit interger, no. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem for more details. Per that article, the latest time that most systems can represent is 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038.

Note that most 64bit systems already use 64 bits to store time, so this won't be a problem once you upgrade (which you should do anyway so you can use all that RAM you bought in your new fast machine).

  • 1
    +1, I hope there aren't many 32 bit systems left when 2038 rolls around... – Chris S Jun 18 '10 at 0:31
  • 3
    @Chris, hope all you like but just remember there are still a great many 8 and 16 bit (non-PC) systems in use today, so don't expect too much. – John Gardeniers Jun 18 '10 at 3:06

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