[TUHS] The 2038 bug...

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Fri Jan 1 07:34:30 AEST 2021

On Thu, Dec 31, 2020 at 11:37 AM Theodore Ts'o <tytso at mit.edu> wrote:

> Twenty years ago, one of larger customers for the company I was
> working for at the time (VA Linux Systems) was one of the new
> electronic stock exchanges, and they were using Linux boxes with
> PDP-11 emulators because their stock trading software was written in
> Macro-11 and running on RSTS/E.  They had tried three times to rewrite
> it so it could run on something more modern, but each time, the
> rewrite had ended in failure.  So they simply sharded the problem, so
> one x86 server running RSTS/E in emulation would service stocks
> symbols AAAA--ADZZ, and the next would service stocks AEAA--AFZZ, and
> so on.  Given that this was back in 1999, I assume they had solved the
> Y2K problem one way or another, but even if they hadn't yet, I suspect
> it would have been easier for them to fix the problem by asking their
> dedicated Macro-11 Software Engineering team to fix it, than to ask
> that same team to help the other team put themselves out of a job
> (which for some reason, never seemed to happen successfully...)

This is the sort of reason why QBUS x86 machines exist...  Not cheap, or
easy to come by these days, but they filled a niche of emulation but with
access to real hardware... Nor easy to find with a web search, it seems :(.

There's a number of nuclear power plants that employ MACRO-11 programmers
because they can't swap out the old gear w/o going through a prohibitively
expensive recertification process... It's cheaper to hire and train good
programmers than it is to go through that process :(.

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