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Year 2000 Compatibility (aka "Millennium Bug")

As management understanding of the Year 2000 problem (aka, "The Millennium Bug") increases, more and more companies are demanding official statements from the vendors of their hardware and software as to how their product will handle the year 2000 date rollover.

Organizations that use UNIX® and Unix-like operating systems such as FreeBSD are already one step ahead of the problem. FreeBSD will properly maintain time long after year 2000 passes.

Background information

(This section based on the text from the Linux Y2K compliance page)

As with all Unix and Unix-like operating systems, time and dates in FreeBSD are represented internally as the number of seconds since the 1st of January 1970 (the Unix "epoch"). Currently, that figure is stored as a 32 bit integer, and will run out part way through 2038. By then we should (hopefully) be using a counter of 64 bits (or greater) which should be good until the end of the universe.

Note that the OS being Y2K compliant will not fix errant applications that are not Y2K compliant.

Note also that the OS expects to read the current date and time from the CMOS clock of your computer. Not all of these devices correctly handle the year 2000. You are advised to test each platform individually to ensure that your hardware clock behaves correctly when going from 1999 to 2000, and that it correctly interprets the year 2000 as a leap year.

What you can do

FreeBSD will continue to properly maintain time well into the next century. Third party applications, however, might not. Your best defense against year 2000 issues is a good offense. Listening to stories claiming the coming meltdown of the world as we know it are not the way to solve the millennium bug. Nor is waiting until the last minute. The FreeBSD Project recommends that your organization apply sound system administration principles as the millennium approaches.

FreeBSD Year 2000 Statement

"After extensive analysis and testing, we believe that FreeBSD is 100% Y2K compliant. In the unlikely event that something has been overlooked, we will do our best to fix it as soon as possible."

David Greenman
Principal Architect, The FreeBSD project

Fixed problems

The following Y2K problems have been identified and fixed in FreeBSD.

Several programs have a hardcoded 19%d in responses for the year. Affected programs include: yacc, ftpd, and make. [Fixed: yacc v1.2 1999/01/18; ftpd v1.7 1996/08/05; make v1.4 1996/10/06; fixes in FreeBSD-2.2 and above]
The sed script in /etc/rc.local that builds the host/kernel ID line for the message of the day relies on the year not going past 1999. [Fixed v1.21 1996/10/24; fixes in FreeBSD-2.2 and above]
The etc/namedb/make-localhost command generates the DNS serial number as YYMMDD. In the year 2000, this will be generated as 1YYMMDD. [Fixed v1.2 1997/08/11; fixes in FreeBSD-2.2.5 and above]
gnu/4930 and gnu/8321
groff tmac macros have hardcoded 19 for generating some dates. [Fixed: tmac.e v1.3 1998/12/06; doc-common v1.10 1999/01/19; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
In its obsolescent form, touch doesn't treat the two digit year specification correctly. Years in the range 00-68 are treated as 1900-1968 instead of 2000-2068. [Fixed v1.7 1999/01/05; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
The leap year calculations for the number of days in a year, and the conversion of DCF77 time to seconds since the Epoch were wrong. These errors affected all years. [Fixed v1.6 1999/01/12; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
Function Convert() was hard-coded for two digit years in range 70-99. Now adjusted to allow two digit years for 1970-2069. The function does not allow for century non-leap years - y2k1 alert! [Fixed v1.4 1999/01/12; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
The HTTP protocol includes an obsolete date format which uses a two-digit year. Previous versions of fetch would interpret all such dates in the 1900s; subsequent to this revision, the pivot described in RFC 2068 is employed, which causes two-digit years to be interpreted as always belonging to the current century unless they would be 50 or more years in the future. Since the HTTP servers which use this obsolete format are no longer widespread, this is not expected to have a significant impact. [Fixed v1.24 1999/01/15; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
The `edithook' script in the CVSROOT directory uses a raw tm_year and will therefore display 01/01/100 for 2000-JAN-01. [Fixed v1.2 1999/01/17; not relevant to FreeBSD releases]
Several cvs contrib files are not Y2K compliant. The and sccs2rcs.csh scripts prepend `19' to the year resulting in a display of 19100 for 2000. The script uses a two digit year in one place and in another place assumes that the tm_year is year within century rather than years since 1900. [Fixed: v1.2 1999/01/15; sccs2rcs.csh v1.3 1999/01/15; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
The groff number register `yr' is assigned from a (struct tm).tm_year and therefore represents the number of years since 1900, not the year within the century (see definition in troff/ [Fixed, now set mod 100, troff/ V1.2 1999/06/03; fixed in FreeBSD-3.3]
PicoBSD's simple_httpd uses a raw tm_year and will therefore display 01/01/100 for 2000-JAN-01. [Fixed v1.2 1999/01/16; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
Adduser uses a raw tm_year and will therefore display 100/01/01 for 2000-JAN-01. [Fixed v1.42 1999/01/15; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
Cron uses a raw tm_year and will therefore display 100 for 2000. [Fixed v1.7 1999/01/16; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
tcpslice(8) uses a raw tm_year and will therefore display 100y01m01d... for 2000-JAN-01. For compatibility, use a two-digit year until 2000.[Fixed v1.8 1999/01/20; fixes in FreeBSD-3.1 and above]
Date command does not take thousand/hundred digits. [Fixed v1.31 1999/11/10]
Chpass has a problem using 00 for expiration year.
bin/15852 and gnu/16045 and bin/16207
Groff predefined \*(DT [\*(td] string has Y2K bug. [Fixed with import of version 1.15 2000/01/12]
at(1) has a problem with valid time specifications if tm_year is 100, reports `garbled time'.
KerberosIV install does not work properly because there is a hard-wired expiration date of 12/31/99 in the Kerberos source for the ticket granter. [Fixed v1.24 1999/09/19]

More information

If you have further questions about FreeBSD's year 2000 compliance, or you have discovered an application running under FreeBSD that is not Y2K compliant, please contact the project at