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The Internet and the Millennium Problem (Year 2000) (RFC2626)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003213D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

P. Nesser II: AUTHOR

Abstract

The Year 2000 Working Group (WG) has conducted an investigation into the millennium problem as it regards Internet related protocols. This investigation only targeted the protocols as documented in the Request For Comments Series (RFCs). This investigation discovered little reason for concern with regards to the functionality of the protocols. A few minor cases of older implementations still using two digit years (ala RFC 850) were discovered, but almost all Internet protocols were given a clean bill of health. Several cases of "period" problems were discovered, where a time field would "roll over" as the size of field was reached. In particular, there are several protocols, which have 32 bit, signed integer representations of the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 which will turn negative at Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 GMT 2038. Areas whose protocols will be effected by such problems have been notified so that new revisions will remove this limitation.

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Network Working Group P. Nesser II

Request for Comments: 2626 Nesser & Nesser Consulting

Category: Informational June 1999

The Internet and the Millennium Problem (Year 2000)

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does

not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this

memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

The Year 2000 Working Group (WG) has conducted an investigation into

the millennium problem as it regards Internet related protocols.

This investigation only targeted the protocols as documented in the

Request For Comments Series (RFCs). This investigation discovered

little reason for concern with regards to the functionality of the

protocols. A few minor cases of older implementations still using

two digit years (ala RFC 850) were discovered, but almost all

Internet protocols were given a clean bill of health. Several cases

of "period" problems were discovered, where a time field would "roll

over" as the size of field was reached. In particular, there are

several protocols, which have 32 bit, signed integer representations

of the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 which will turn

negative at Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 GMT 2038. Areas whose protocols will

be effected by such problems have been notified so that new revisions

will remove this limitation.

1. Introduction

According to the trade press billions of dollars will be spend the

upcoming years on the year 2000 problem, also called the millennium

problem (though the third millennium will really start in 2001). This

problem consists of the fact that many software packages and some

protocols use a two-digit field for the year in a date field. Most of

the problems seem to be in administrative and financial programs, or

in the hardcoded microcomputers found in electronic equipment. A lot

of organizations are now starting to make an inventory of which

software and tools they use will suffer from the millennium problem.

With the increasing popularity of the Internet, more and more

organizations use the Internet as a serious business tool. This

means that most organizations will want to analyze the millennium

problems due to the use of Internet protocols and popular Internet

software. In the trade press the first articles suggest that the

Internet will collapse at midnight the 31st of December 1999.

To counter these suggestions, and to avoid having countless companies

redo the same investigation, this effort was undertaken by the IETF.

The Year 2000 WG has made an inventory of all-important Internet

protocols that have been documented in the Request for Comments (RFC)

series. Only protocols directly related to the Internet will be

considered.

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