The “year 2038 problem” denotes unpredictable behaviour of programs that will likely occur in the year 2038, for programs that use a 32-bit ‘time_t’ type. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem for details.
The Gnulib module ‘year2038’ attempts to avoid this problem, by
time_t is a 64-bit type and by causing
configure to fail otherwise.
The Gnulib module ‘largefile’ also attempts to avoid this problem
when possible, because ‘largefile’ enables the widest
file-related types supported by the system and
time_t is one of
those types. However,
largefile does not cause
configure to fail when the year 2038 problem is not avoidable.
The Gnulib ‘largefile’ and ‘year2038’ modules are
recommended for any package that might be used after the year 2038 on
32-bit platforms. However, if you build such a package you can
disable its use of 64-bit
time_t by giving the
--disable-year2038 option to
configure. This may be
useful if the package links to other libraries whose user-facing ABIs
time_t to be 32-bit on your platform.