[erlang-bugs] R15B01 erlang:now() jumping ~24 days into the future

Patrik Nyblom <>
Tue Mar 5 08:50:42 CET 2013


On 03/05/2013 02:26 AM, Garret Smith wrote:
> I have been beating my head against a wall for weeks tracking down 
> spooky behaviour[sic] in one of our production systems.  I finally 
> tracked it down to "jumps" in the times returned by erlang:now(), 
> causing all timers in the system to expire at once.  I have witnessed 
> this bug on R15B01, both 64 and 32-bit versions running on Windows 
> Server 2008 R2, both on bare metal and VirtualBox VM.
> The time jump is always around 2126000 seconds, or a little over 24 
> days.  The now() time does not try to converge with os:timestamp() as 
> the documentation suggests, and as I confirmed it does if you just 
> change the system clock.
> Another VM running concurrently on the same machine but with little 
> load (diagnostic node & production node) did not time jump.
> Higher load seems to make the time jumps happen more often.
> Frequency between time jumps varies between seconds and hours, but 
> when a jump occurs, it is always 2126000 + (9 to 26) seconds.
> I never see the jump in logfile timestamps that use os:timestamp() for 
> tagging log messages.  I had to start tracing a production node before 
> I caught the jump.  Here are some lines from a trace, where the 
> timestamp in trace_ts is printed using calendar:now_to_local_time() 
> and then in raw tuple format:
> 2013-4-16 21:40:1.993399|{1366,173601,993399}
> 2013-4-16 21:40:1.993400|{1366,173601,993400}
> 2013-5-11 12:13:41.986961|{1368,299621,986961}
> 2013-5-11 12:13:41.986962|{1368,299621,986962}
> then a bit later...
> 2013-5-11 12:36:19.955129|{1368,300979,955129}
> 2013-5-11 12:36:19.955130|{1368,300979,955130}
> 2013-6-5 3:9:49.538830|{1370,426989,538830}
> 2013-6-5 3:9:49.538833|{1370,426989,538833}
Gah! That's obviously not supposed to happen...
> I captured many such jumps over the course of a day or so. Obviously 
> from the dates, 2 jumps happened before I started tracing.
> I was able to reproduce the bug, though not as efficiently as my 
> production system, with the following sample program: 
> https://gist.github.com/garret-smith/5087169
> It took over an hour of runtime before the first time jump.  I am 
> working on a better way to reproduce it at the moment, but it's hard 
> to test the test with a bug so intermittent.
> I am also testing various other VM versions.  My first hope was that 
> this was limited to the 64-bit version where we first encountered the 
> problem, but a change to the 32-bit version has only made the problem 
> happen less often, not eliminated it.
> We never saw this bug with R14B03 which we were running previously to 
> R15B01.  However, system load is different so I can't make a direct 
> comparison.  I did notice a few significant updates to the Windows 
> time related code between R14B03 and R15:
> git log sys_time.c
> commit 46eb4359b05b220861453a869dc734480ec045a6
> Author: Patrik Nyblom < <mailto:>>
> Date:   Tue Dec 6 19:07:16 2011 +0100
>     Emulate localtime, gmtime and mktime to enable negative time_t
> commit 913f05af100e98a8665bbb6168e89fbcfe4ece75
> Author: Bj<C3><B6>rn-Egil Dahlberg < 
> <mailto:>>
> Date:   Fri Dec 2 15:25:06 2011 +0100
>     Teach windows sys_localtime_r
Yep, that's me... But even if I gave a totally weird time back from 
those, the erlang:now logic should have stopped this from happening. 
I'll try to reproduce using your example program. If nothing else helps, 
I'll instrument a VM that gives som traces in the time code...
> I am completely stumped.  What can I do next to help track down the 
> source of the bug?
Unfortunately, so am I. Especially weird that it's load related... Maybe 
something is not locked as it should be...
> Thanks,
> Garret Smith
Thanks for reporting, I'll get back to you!

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