Follow-up Comment #1, bug #18472 (project freeciv):
> A better fix would try to convert negative values (which must be
> in years) to the equivalent number of turns.
...but since the whole timeline is effects-based, and not entirely
predictable in advance, it's not worth the hassle. This solution, ugly as it
is, will produce an adequate result for old savegames created with the default
settings: 2.2 savegames will have their onsetbarbs preserved. Pre-2.2
savegames with onsetbarbs=-1000 will suddenly turn into onsetbarbs=0 (turn 0,
i.e. immediate), but chances are that a savegame that old that someone still
wants to play has got past the onsetbarbs stage.
Current patch applies cleanly to trunk.
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