IBM i And The 2039 Two-Digit Date Problem
June 6, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As most of you remember, the shift to four-digit dates at the turn of the millennium was a big pain in the ass, but the world did not come to an end because people got said asses in gear and rectified the problem. (Almost pun int-ended.)
Anyway, as it turns out, there is another date problem that happens in 2039 in a lot of operating systems, and this one also affects the IBM i platform. IBM had certain system values that had a two-digit date, and they natural could only span 100 years – all you can do in two digits. IBM arbitrarily set the system start date at 1940, and that means something has to be done in the system to get beyond 2039. Because you know as well as we do that IBM i platforms will still be running in a lot of places in 2039. . . . You don’t need AI to do the payroll – so long as having AI doesn’t mean there is no payroll!
“We wanted you to be aware of that because a lot of our customers are getting a little antsy as we were getting closer and closer to the end of that 100-year range,” explains Alison Butterill, one of the IBM i product managers and the one we are all most familiar with. “If you had a two-digit year that was a 60, you knew it started with 19. If you have a system date that is in the teens, you know that it starts with 20. We needed to adjust that because we are closing in on the end of our date range. So we now have a new system value for system applications that will do the two digit date range and it shifts it 30 years to the right on the calendar.”
Presumably we will need another tweak to this before 2069. We are impressed that people are planning 17 years out into the future, personally.