Linkage programs, Y2K, software publishers

Gerard Tromp tromp at
Fri Jan 22 17:43:12 EST 1999

Eric Rouillard wrote:
> I was just wondering if anyone has tested the LINKAGE programs to see if
> they pass the year 2000 test ?
> More specifically, I was wondering about helper programs like LCP, since
> there are dates in the shell script. Could the code stop because of an
> "irrecoverable error" ?
> It would be great if this information could also be made available on
> websites like,,
> and all other centres that "publish and distribute"
> software for linkage.
> Thank you in advance,
> Eric Rouillard.
> PS: I could do some of the corrections myself, but I'm not a fan of
> doing something that has been done already.

Perusal of the LINKAGE utility code reveals that those dates are derived
from the time_t structure (access and modification times of the files).
These are OS dependent and on most Unices are in seconds since 00:00:00
UTC, Jan. 1, 1970. That means they will not cause the software to fail
sooner than the OS will, i.e. sometime in 2038 (I forget when exactly --
some time around April 15). If the OS goes to 64 bit time then we delay
that problem for some number of thousands of years. The fact that two
digit years are used in the output of the linkage utilities is solved
quite readily but is cosmetic. All time calculations appear to be using
system time structures (and conversions to and from seconds since
00:00:00 UTC, Jan. 1, 1970).

Gerard Tromp, Ph.D.
CMMG, Wayne State University    vox:	313-577-8773
3116, Scott Hall		fax: 	313-577-5218
540 E Canfield Ave		e-mail: tromp at
Detroit, MI 48201                       gtromp at

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