The Internet and the Millennium Problem (Year 2000)
RFC 2626

Document Type RFC - Informational (June 1999; Errata)
Author Philip Nesser 
Last updated 2020-01-21
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Network Working Group                                     P. Nesser II
Request for Comments: 2626                  Nesser & Nesser Consulting
Category: Informational                                      June 1999

          The Internet and the Millennium Problem (Year 2000)

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.


   The Year 2000 Working Group (WG) has conducted an investigation into
   the millennium problem as it regards Internet related protocols.
   This investigation only targeted the protocols as documented in the
   Request For Comments Series (RFCs).  This investigation discovered
   little reason for concern with regards to the functionality of the
   protocols.  A few minor cases of older implementations still using
   two digit years (ala RFC 850) were discovered, but almost all
   Internet protocols were given a clean bill of health.  Several cases
   of "period" problems were discovered, where a time field would "roll
   over" as the size of field was reached.  In particular, there are
   several protocols, which have 32 bit, signed integer representations
   of the number of seconds since January 1, 1970 which will turn
   negative at Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 GMT 2038.  Areas whose protocols will
   be effected by such problems have been notified so that new revisions
   will remove this limitation.

1. Introduction

   According to the trade press billions of dollars will be spend the
   upcoming years on the year 2000 problem, also called the millennium
   problem (though the third millennium will really start in 2001). This
   problem consists of the fact that many software packages and some
   protocols use a two-digit field for the year in a date field. Most of
   the problems seem to be in administrative and financial programs, or
   in the hardcoded microcomputers found in electronic equipment.  A lot
   of organizations are now starting to make an inventory of which
   software and tools they use will suffer from the millennium problem.

Nesser                       Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 2626  The Internet and the Millennium Problem (Year 2000)  June 1999

   With the increasing popularity of the Internet, more and more
   organizations use the Internet as a serious business tool.  This
   means that most organizations will want to analyze the millennium
   problems due to the use of Internet protocols and popular Internet
   software. In the trade press the first articles suggest that the
   Internet will collapse at midnight the 31st of December 1999.

   To counter these suggestions, and to avoid having countless companies
   redo the same investigation, this effort was undertaken by the IETF.
   The Year 2000 WG has made an inventory of all-important Internet
   protocols that have been documented in the Request for Comments (RFC)
   series.  Only protocols directly related to the Internet will be

   This document is divided into a number of sections.  Section 1 is the
   Introduction which you are now reading.  Section 2 is a disclaimer
   about the completeness of this effort.  Section 3 describes areas in
   which millenium problems have been found, while Section 4 describes a
   few other "period" problems.  Section 5 describes potential fixes to
   problems that have been identified. Section 6 describes the
   methodology used in the investigation. Sections 7 through 22 are
   devoted to the 15 different groupings of protocols and RFCs.  Section
   23 discusses security considerations, Section 24 is devoted to
   references, and Section 25 is the author contact information.
   Appendix A is the list of RFCs examined broken down by category.
   Appendix B is a PERL program used to make a first cut identification
   of problems, and Appendix C is the output of that PERL program.

   The editor of this document would like to acknowledge the critical
   contributions of the follow for direct performance of research and
   the provision of text: Alex Latzko, Robert Elz, Erik Huizer, Gillian
   Greenwood, Barbara Jennings, R.E. (Robert) Moore, David Mills, Lynn
   Kubinec, Michael Patton, Chris Newman, Erik-Jan Bos, Paul Hoffman,
   and Rick H. Wesson.  The pace with which this group has operated has
   only been achievable by the intimate familiarity of the contributors
   with the protocols and ready access to the collective knowledge of
   the IETF.

2. Disclaimer

   This RFC is not complete.  It is an effort to analyze the Y2K impact
   on hundreds of protocols but is likely to have missed some protocols
   and misunderstood others.  Organizations should not attempt to claim
   any legitimacy or approval for any particular protocol based on this
   document.  The efforts have concentrated on the identification of
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