Monthly Archives: January 2008

30 Years from Today

30 years from today–that’s January 19th, 2038–at 3:14am, the 32-bit unsigned clocks of legacy Unix systems will roll over. They’ll read January 1, 1970.

I wrote about it here.

More serious than Y2K, since all such clocks will roll over. If you recall, with Y2K it was primarily whether the programmer used two-digit years or accounted for the 1999-2000 transition some other way.

Similarly to Y2K, only those computers making decisions based on the clock/calendar will be affected. For instance, your car won’t since it doesn’t care (or even know) what day it is.

Another similarity: we can easily categorize calendar problems from severe (loss of life) to nuisance to trivial. For instance, if some cash register receipts (or even bank statements) read 1970, that’s unlikely to cause mass insanity/hysteria.

Our best bet is that all such legacy systems will have retired by then. And that’s not too bad a bet, either.

Python beats Perl

I like this news:

The TIOBE Programming Community Index has declared Python as the Programming Language of 2007 due to a 58% surge in its popularity rating during the year, making it now the sixth most popular programming language and finally surpassing Perl. They also assert that Python has become the “defacto glue language,” being “especially beloved by system administrators and build managers.”

One of my goals in life is to never learn Perl. I had a few close calls over the years, but now I think I just might make it.

When I need to write a script, I use bash for the simpler stuff and Python for the more complicated. I used to be able to write stupefying sed/awk scripts, but now I’ll do that in Python, too.

Btw, the TIOBE link above tries to gage programming languages’ popularity, though carefully qualifying it: “Observe that the TIOBE index is not about the best programming language…”

Cast in Concrete

From RFC 3551 (RTP Profile for Audio/Video), for G722:

Even though the actual sampling rate for G.722 audio is 16,000 Hz, the RTP clock rate for the G722 payload format is 8,000 Hz because that value was erroneously assigned in RFC 1890 and must remain unchanged for backward compatibility.

Ouch. Even Internet RFC’s aren’t immune to errors, and backward compatibility will always be with us.