Re: 2038 and all that
when the 32-bit clock counter rolls over and we find ourselves back in the 1970's.
Depends. Real-time systems don't necessarily need to be aware of the current wall-clock time. "There's an item coming down the assembly line, it needs to be sprayed/welded/have a barcode stuck on/whatever", is not a task that requires the robot to know whether it's 19-jun-2013, 1-jan-1970 or 19-jan-2038.
In the run-up to Y2K, I was told several routers had to be replaced because their firmware was not Y2K-compliant and they couldn't be upgraded to handle the then-current firmware version that was. After a brief check I reported that the longest-running router had still 42 months to go before *it* would hit that particular date which was roughly half a year away on our calender, and that one which had just been rebooted happily lived in late 1993 with no ill effects. From which I deduced that if any of them would ever reach their Y2K-rollover, the worst that would happen was that they wouldn't be routing for a few minutes until they had finished rebooting, just as with any other interruption, the chance of which occurring would be way greater.
No routers were replaced that year.