Euro trading : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I thought that the start of Euro currency transactions would be trigger big software problems. But not much happened. Hopefully the same will be true for Y2K!?

Anybody disagree with this and why?

-- TTR (, January 04, 1999


I heard (on NPR news) that "a small number" of traders reported "erroneous account balances." But, of course - "those problems are expected to be solved." My question is: how many is "a small number," relative to the total number of traders? A million?

E. Coli

-- E. Coli (, January 04, 1999.

a. Euro is roughly .00001 of 1 percent of the problem y2k is - you're confusing changing parts of one sector of the international economic system (i.e. the Euro situation) with a problem which will be systemic throughout the developed and developing world. Completely different by several orders of magnitude.

b. you wont hear anything about problems with Euro transactions unless:

1. they are either so obvious as to be noticable to the casual observer (if some program's gross math functions were off, that would be noticable; however if various rounding functions and time sensitive rate comparisons are off- which is much more likely - *that* will only be noticable in accrual, and after the fact.


2. the problems have already been fixed. Remember you're dealing with financial institutions here, and the LAST thing they are going to do is publicize a hole in their software. With modern EFT methodologies they could be run bankrupt in a very short time, simply by the unscrupulous exploitation of such a hole.

The only way to tell what's happening with the Euro software changes is either to be on the inside of the finacial institutions; or if that isn't possible, simply to wait and see.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 04, 1999.

Whatever the success of the Euro conversion turns out to be, it is diverting precious European resources and attention away from Y2K! Hindsight will tell the story.

-- D B Spence (, January 04, 1999.

DB you are precisely right - what a total waste of resources - typical arrogant Germans pushing to get it through - the Brits had the sense to stay the hell out of iteven though all Brit financial institutions etc. *STILL* had to be dragged into the coding waste of man-hours so that they could continue to trade.

what a bleedin STRAMASH!

-- Andy (, January 04, 1999.

Though the Euro conversion affects less total corporations, it is a MASSIVE software project for the financial institutions within the member countries.

In fact, most analysts regard it as MUCH more complex than Y2k, with an overall affect 5 or 6 times that of Y2k on those institutions.


Here we have a:

--Massive Software Project

--Simultaneously affecting the financial institutions

--With an IMPOSED and essentially IMMOVEABLE deadline

Sound familiar?

How could all these companies accomplish this conversion?

I mean, we all KNOW major software projects are habitually late, right?

AND, it affects currency conversions, which we all KNOW is the "Achilles Heel", right?


-- (, January 04, 1999.


'massive' is a relative term, if you think the Euro was massive, then y2k may very well be beyond your visible comparison between levels of effort. You might also want to check to see how many of the Asian and African countries have completed updating their systems to take the Euro, before you start saying everyone made it on time (Hint: Thailand gave up trying last fall, as did some other parts of S. E. Asia).

Finally please explain your "most experts..." statement - specificly regarding the relative complexity of Euro reprogramming as compared with embedded systems remediation in automated production facillities...I believe you're overgeneralizing a bit there, as well.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 04, 1999.

"--Massive Software Project

--Simultaneously affecting the financial institutions

--With an IMPOSED and essentially IMMOVEABLE deadline"

Not quite true, if you are not ready to trade in Euro's it's not the end of the world. The actual currency does not kick in for 2 more years. Some institutions did not make the deadline - so what? They will make it when their code is ready. In the meantime they are obviously going to miss out on trading in Euro's. Tough.

There is no doubt that the timing of the Euro could not be worse, no doubt at all - and DB is precisely correct in that there will (literally) be a lot of monday morning quarterbacking going on in a years time - what a total waste of resources, no question about it.

-- Andy (, January 04, 1999.

"AND, it affects currency conversions, which we all KNOW is the "Achilles Heel", right?"

Date Arithmetic related y2k bugs, followed by accurate currency conversion (hopefully, but who's to say?) of *inaccurate* **DATA**....


-- Andy (, January 04, 1999.

1) There are dimensions to the euro conversion that are not present in Y2k remediation (and vice versa) -- it requires changes to certain business practices, for example.

2) For both Y2k and the euro, there can be problems with incorrect data that are not detected right away.

-- No Spam Please (, January 04, 1999.

How it's possible to even do the (Euro) conversion within code which already contains Y2K problems, boggles me.

If I try to modify code within which I know of certain other problems already there, it is very hard to say "Oh, yeah, I know that other stuff is screwed up, but nevermind, I'll deal with it later." Maybe you can, but how can you be sure? Sometimes there's no going back. Sometimes there's no choice: fix it all, or don't even start messing with it. Or else be forced to do a workaround which you hope no one ever sees or identifies you as the one who did it!

And it's not like the Euro conversion is now "finished." They have to keep working on it in its real-world incarnation, alongside of Y2K now.

Well.. it's possible that while doing the conversion, some Y2K work got done also. "While we're in there let's take out the gallbladder too!" OK go ahead, but the next time there is a big digestive load (1/1/00) the patient will expire! Sorry for the ridiculous analogy but I just don't see how these two projects can co-exist.

-- D B Spence (, January 04, 1999.

I've been involved with quite a few large software projects, thank you. I stated at the top that the Euro affected fewer companies in total. But yes, WITHIN the affected organizations, the Euro conversion is costing 5 to 6 times the estimate for Y2k; if you want specific URL's, I'll provide them. So to the individual institutions, the Euro conversion IS massive, and at LEAST on par with Y2k.

As for the complexity, I've seen this quoted multiple times. The one URL I have on hand is:

And gee, how could I forget the *infamous* "date-related arithmetic" errors?


-- (, January 04, 1999.

sorry AG, but I need to ask you for clarification:

*the url to which you referred was from October 1997 and didn't reflect current y2k cost estimates - which are much higher than those cited in the article. A current cost comparison would be appreciated.

*The article also doesn't address the embedded systems issues at all, indeed PLCs are conspicuous by their absence in that piece.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (, January 05, 1999.

With all due respect AG - you're talking crap.

"So to the individual institutions, the Euro conversion IS massive, and at LEAST on par with Y2k."

That's right, *the individual institutions*.

Are the oil refineries in Kuwait and Venezuela coding for the Euro? No. Are they coding for y2k and looking for embedded chip/system problems? Hopefully, yes.

Ditto for major shipping lines worldwide.

Ditto for ports worldwide.

Ditto for airports worldwide.

Ditto for any level headed manufacturer worldwide.

Ditto for any entity worldwide that could give a rats ass about the Euro.

The Euro is nothing more than an unnecessary encumbrance to already stretched IT resources worldwide.

The deadline of 1st January 1999 was decided by examining tea leaves at the Maastricht treaty back in 1991 - before y2k was even (and apparently still isn't) on the horizon for those lame-assed bureaucrats in Brussels.

But oh nooo, "ve haff a dedline to meet und ve vil meet it!!!"

Don't compare the Euro to y2k - it's like comparing a pimple to an Elephant's behind.

Finally AG, you seem to believe that y2k related date arithmetic errors are a mirage, a folly, not to be taken seriously.

Perhaps you could explain to us all exactly why this aspect of y2k code remediation should be disregarded.

-- Andy (, January 05, 1999.

Euro conversion and Y2K aren't much alike.

Y2K is pervasive: to a greater or lesser extent, it affects almost all workplace computers. Via embedded systems, it impacts on the very fabric of our society (power generation, oil refineries etc.)

That's the bad news. The good news is that it's a bug; in most cases once you've found the code that processes dates, fixing it is not hard compared to starting from scratch. (I'm quite aware of the many associated problems such as lost source code, cryptic date processing via non-obvious variables or assembly code, and testing).

Euro conversion is complementary. It affects a much smaller set of systems, but in many (most?) cases requires the addition of wholly new functionality to existing systems.

(For non-programmers: compare fixing a roof leak on every house in town, with building an extension onto maybe one percent of the houses. In both cases, before a very close deadline).

That Euro trading is up and working is good news. If many of the doom- mongers arguments were 100%, it was going to be an utter fiasco on day one and no way we wouldn't have heard about it. We'll hear about the individual failures soon enough, but no way was it a complete disaster.

But as with natural disaster analogies, it's a weak indication about Y2K. Y2K is without precedent, and affects everyone.

If you want a better Y2K severity indicator, keep listening out for major problems at organisations that start FY2000 this month, or next. By mid-February, we'll have a much better idea than at present!

By the way, I now have a London Transport annual pass expiring in '00. No problem buying it, and no problem using it in the automatic ticket gates (ie they don't think it expired in 1900!). One smallish example of a no-problem.

-- Nigel Arnot (, January 05, 1999.

The URL cited was in reference to your question on "complexity".

For current Cost Estimates: Oct 8 1998 8_215.sml

"you're going to spend between three and five times what you did on Y2K"

Note also this is another link supporting the complexity. Capers Jones calls the Euro conversion "the second largest software challenge in the world behind the Y2K it's more sophisticated".

Now, on a global scale, I'm not suggesting the Euro compares with Y2k, which again, I stated at tht top. BUT, within affected institutions, it definitely IS comparable, from the software point of view.

Again, we have a massive software project, being simultaneously implemented by multiple institutions across 11 countries. For financial institutions, Capers Jones estimates it will affect approximately 70% of the systems. It affects interfaces, both internal AND external.

Shouldn't the same metrics for software projects used to PROVE Y2k will fail, also apply to the Euro?

As for "date-related arithmetic errors", my impression has been on other forums that this was somehow *different* from date calculation errors. If not, then my apologies.


-- (, January 05, 1999.

Another example of what worked, when it wasn't sopposed to.

-- fly . (.@...), January 06, 1999.

ummm Fly, I need to register, send $10 to Sillicon Investor then wait for it to clear before I can view that link...could you perhaps copy/paste that article?

-- Chris (, January 06, 1999.

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