S.u.S.E. Linux and the Year 2000 Problem

(Received on the suse-announce-e list October 23, 1998–Ed.

S.u.S.E. will keep you informed on Y2K issues on an ongoing
basis as we approach the new millenium. The following statement is
an update to the Y2K announcement that appeared on our web site
earlier this summer.

Technical Information – August 1998

System Programs

The kernel and core tools of Linux and other Unix-like operating
systems do not store dates in a two-digit format. Time is counted
in number of seconds since January 1, 1970. A 32-bit system such as
x86 Linux should thus have no date problems through the year

The few Linux applications that stored years in two-digit
decimal formats were changed a long time ago. S.u.S.E. Linux
systems since version 5.2 have tested successfully with system
dates after the year 2000. Starting with version 5.2, S.u.S.E.
Linux also contains workarounds for some known problems with older
BIOS versions.

The “time_t” variable in the kernel must be changed from 32 to
64 bits before the year 2038. After a new compilation, Linux should
be prepared for another 292 billion years.

Application Programs

S.u.S.E. Linux is distributed with over 800 software packages,
most of which have not been developed by S.u.S.E. This reality
makes it impossible for us to test every piece of software we
distribute intensively for all possible problems.

However, the most important and most often-used programs are
programmed without Y2K errors and have been tested by us. We cannot
make this claim for every software package. The following programs,
which are only available to us in binary format, have known
problems with the transition from December 31, 1999 to January 1,

  • abuse (an arcade game)
  • beg (work environment for mocka, a module compiler)
  • mapledmo (demo for maple)
  • mocka (module compiler)
  • simcity (game)
  • vse (Visual Slick Edit, a demo for commercial text
  • wingz (a demo of an Excel clone)


No Sweeping Guarantees for the S.u.S.E. Linux Distribution

We will continue to provide our customers with the newest
information on the topic of the Year 2000 problem. However, we will
not make any binding promises about the ability of all programs to
run after the year 2000, due to the unique nature of the problem
and of our product as free software.

Although we will not give any guarantees nor assume liability,
we do not expect any problems. As much as possible, our support
team will work to solve difficulties as they arise and provide
solutions to you without charge.

Guarantees for the Fundamental Functionality of Systems We
Install and Support by Contract

We are prepared to guarantee that the central services will run
on all systems installed or to be installed by us by contract. This
includes all important server functions, e.g. NFS server, DNS,
Samba, ISDN dialup faxserver (Hylafax), Sendmail, News (INN), print
server, proxy server, firewall, WWW-Proxy (Squid), ISDN/Modem
Dialin, YP/Nis server, Apache, Apache-SSL including PHP/FI, and
Novell (mars nwe).

Bodo Bauer S.u.S.E., Inc fon +1-510-835 7873
bb@suse.com 458 Santa Clara Avenue fax +1-510-835 7875

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