y2k fix?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Here's an article claiming a temporary fix for the y2k glitch.

What do you techies think? A possibility? Or wishful thinking? http://www.techweb.com/wire/story/y2k/TWB19980930S0013

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), October 01, 1998


There is nothing special about this concept, which is to modify the DATA rather than mess with the computer CODE, which would seem to be a real life-saver when you have missing SOURCE code, etc. The problems are many: 1) you have to understand exactly how to modify the data, not always obvious, especially if it is in binary (non human readable) format -- data files are often more poorly documented than source code; 2) the code itself could still have certain date specific dependencies such that putting that back before, say, 1980, would be a problem; 3) if the code is attaching sigificance to "special dates" like 9/9/99, this will really cause problems; 4) I heard of an instance where since Martin Luther King's birthday was not a holiday in 1972, this caused problems for an application that needed to factor holidays in; 5) this does absolutely nothing for all the non-Y2K compliant operating systems, embedded systems, etc., etc.; 6) its too late to try to fix anyway (the article did not note this, but you can bet this software product is only for a very limited number of computer platforms (probably mainframes, probably IBM, probably MVS or similar). But John Q. Public will read this and say, "They are fixing it! No big deal!"

-- Joe (shar@pei.com), October 01, 1998.

As the most extreme alarmists like to point out, "There are no silver bullets." While that is true, there will be thousands of different solutions depending on the systems involved and how they use dates. We can assume that this might be one solution.

I agree with you that the public, and of course many reporters, might look at stories like this and think everything will be fixed.

-- Buddy Y. (buddy@bellatlantic.net), October 01, 1998.

Good post, good answers. The solution suggested in the article will certainly work in some applications, but certainly not in all.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that city officials were going to roll back their traffic light computers to 1972, to give them time to fix the bug. So it's not unheard of.

But yeah, Joe Public will dovetail such things right in with their "oh everything's fine" perceptions. Such things just can't happen, because they never have before.

In Noah's day, people said the same thing about rain falling from the sky.

-- John Howard (Greenville, NC) (pcdir@prodigy.net), October 01, 1998.

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