Just found out the phone system I develop isn't compliant.

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

News from the trenches: I'm a developer, working on an small phone PABX switch for a mid sized multination, Telecom. All of our systems have been fully Y2K certified for years. I found out last week - the start of November 1999 - that some versions of our system are in fact NOT compliant. Due to a turnover of key developers and QA staff and - of course - the back covering and prevarication of management, the whole issue has escaped our attention until now. It's not a hard problem to fix, and I believe that we could, just barely, get a fix done and rolled out in time, if we dropped all development on current and future versions and put everyone on it, including chunks of production, marketing, sales and customer support. But we're not going to. It's a small product, only some "special feature" installations have the problem, and it's "just" going to cause a warm reset and restart on the rollover, so we (and by that I mean the boardroom) have decided instead that our strategy will be to contact the customers in late December to tell them their system is going to fail, and to accept any subsequent lawsuits.

I'll tell you what worries me most. It's not that the developers on a product didn't even KNOW it wasn't compliant, nor that management knew but didn't do anything about it. That's just good old fashioned imcompetence and cowardice. What worries me is that Telecom is prepared to risk the post-rollover bad press from having a certified but non-compliant system loose in the wild. The damages lawsuits aren't the issue, it's the damage to their reputation. The only reason that I can think that they would accept this is that they are betting that there will be so many other similar snafus that they can just shrug their shoulders and say "Our incompetence was consistent with industry best practice." In effect, they are very quietely betting that things are going to go so badly wrong that we are the rule rather than the exception.

Shudder. My cupboards are full, and I'm rapidly "actualising my working capital", which is how I imagine a manager might describe getting his money the hell out of the bank and under the mattress.

Incidentally, every household in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will receive a booklet next week, telling us that All Is Well, and that the biggest threat we face isn't actual disruption, or panic buying, bank runs or stock market crashes, but BURGLARS! Yes, that's right. Don't take your money out of the bank, because black-masked villains will follow you home and murder you in your bed to get at the money under your mattress. Yes, quite.

Oh, here's my question: is anyone else developing a twitch or a nervous giggle as the clock ticks off the seconds?

- Colin -

-- Colin (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 07, 1999


bwahahateeheeheeheeheee (twitch,twitch)snort

-- Dolma Lhamo (I'm@nonymous.now), November 07, 1999.

I recommend giggling over twitching.

And remember, "There'll always be an England."

-- Dr. Polymorph (youknowmore@thanIdo.com), November 07, 1999.

Hey, neat, the form censored my employer's name even more thoroughly than I did. I put "open sharp bracket" ahem "close sharp bracket", but it probably took that as HTML. To clear it up, I work for "(ahem) Telecomm". ;)

- Colin -

-- Colin (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 07, 1999.

Dude, if it's any consolation, there is probably going to be so much chaos as things turn to soup, your little telecom package won't even be noticed.

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), November 07, 1999.

Colin, Many thanks for your post. This is the type of information that we need from ALL sources.

If I understand you correctly, this particular PABX system will fail at the rollover, perform a warm reset, then restart itself. So that shouldn't cause too much of an inconvenience. But there their any telecom installations that will fail and not restart?


-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), November 07, 1999.

Colin,I work for a BIG telecom outfit. The engineers were told on Thurs that they will be working New Year's Day.

-- Mr. Mike (mikeabn@aol.com), November 07, 1999.

Personally I can't wait for the arrival of our little booklet this week, I could do with a good laugh at this point. I suppose it has the added benefit that it will burn well come next year. Heat sources are always useful in an emergency.

-- Jan (xdz79@dial.pipex.com), November 08, 1999.

Re: the question about systems failing and not coming back up. I don't know of any systems that will fail catastrophically, i.e. not come back up again. Our reset error is due to the voicemail date tagging trying to write to protected memory on rollover due to a comparison error. It won't happen again in service: not until 2100, anyway ;)

-- Colin (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 08, 1999.

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