GNU Software in the Year 2000

Koos Schut maintains a list of GNU Software packages with information about Year 2000 properties collected from volunteer users. That list is offered as a guide and should not be construed as the record of a formal testing program or as providing any guarantee of compliance or noncompliance.

The Free Software Foundation does not provide warranties for its software. We can't afford to. So we can't promise that GNU software has no Year 2000 bugs, any more than we could promise you the same thing about another sort of bug. But we can tell you some reasons why such bugs are probably very few.

The main reason is theoretical. GNU systems, and Unix-like systems generally, represent a date/time as a 32-bit integer, counting seconds from the beginning of 1970. This 32-bit count will overflow in 2038; but there will be no problem in that year, because by then all systems will have redefined time_t to be a 64-bit integer.

We also have some practical evidence that such problems are not widespread. Some users running a Linux-based GNU system, specifically Debian GNU/Linux, used their machines for a while with the clocks set forward to the year 2000. They reported no special problems.

You can check that you are using the latest release of any particular GNU program by checking one of our FTP mirror sites. The ls-lR file in the root directory of one of our FTP servers could be useful to get a list of all available versions.

If you do encounter any problems with GNU software, even if they are not related to the year 2000, you should send a bug report to the developers of the program.