Saturday, May 22, 2010

Year 2038 problem - not very far away

Maybe some of you have already heard about the year 2038 problem, caused by software and systems storing system time as a signed 32-bit integer. I thought it would be quite a while until I'd have to care about it, but it seems that isn't the case.

A little while ago, my yahoo mailbox was hit by a lot of spammers sending from the future date of 18th Jan 2038. Back then, I thought it was funny. Spammers always want their spam mails to appear on top by setting the date to the farthest in the future. But this is as far as they can go ;)

However, recently, I have discovered the bug lying in an authentication server by a well-known security company I'm testing. It appears all certificates signed by the server cannot have an expiry date of later than 19th Jan 2038. If not discovered early, this could cost us a lot of maintenance fee when the time comes close.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mandriva 2010

Although Mandriva 2010 was released a long time ago, I haven't had the time to upgrade until now.

Just like the last time, I received the message that "the system could not be safely upgraded to Mandriva Linux 2009" (yes, it did say 2009, probably someone overlooked that trivial bit). Nevertheless, as a professional penguin tamer, I decided to take the risk and continued. This time the estimated upgrade time was 5 hours. But in the end it only took about 1 hour and a half.

Brilliantly, the new system booted smoothly without any problems. Time to see what this great new system has to offer ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was finally released last week, and I just managed to upgrade it today. Unlike Mandriva, to upgrade Ubuntu, I needed to use the alternate CD image instead of the normal one.
The upgrade took about an hour, which was actually quite long for such a newly installed system. However, on the bright side, it could be done while the system was running.

The Ubuntu guys boasted about the 10 second startup time. And in fact, my new system booted really fast. I doubt if it's as fast as 10 seconds though :P

There's a very annoying problem with the new Gnome button layout: the minimize, maximize, and close button are moved to the top left of the windows, whichever theme you use. A guide to fixing that problem is available here: