New Y2K Essay : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I've posted a new essay, Y2K: I know what I know, on my web site at

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


-- Ed Yourdon (, December 26, 1999



I fixed a typo and added roughly a dozen hyperlinks to the "I Know What I Know" essay. Most of the links will be familiar to everyone on the forum, but I thought it would be useful to include them in case you're showing the material to less fanatical Y2K fans in your family or neighborhood.

Thanks for all the compliments and kind words above ...


-- Ed Yourdon (, December 27, 1999.

Great essay, Ed! Unfortunately, most of those who can appreciate it are those who already understand the problem. But it needed saying anyway.

-- Steve Heller (, December 26, 1999.


Maybe it's just me but I can't find it.

Also, will you be writing a Road Warrior Journal on leaving from New York the last time before the rollover?


-- the Virginian (, December 26, 1999.

Ed: Thanks for giving us your latest thoughts, and thanks for this forum. As I have told you before, I owe you a personal debt of gratitude, for it was your books that I used 'on the job' years before I ever heard of Y2K, and it was your reputation that gave credibility to Y2K and made me take it seriously to begin with. God Bless you and yours - and a Merry Christmas too!

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@thanks.Ed), December 26, 1999.

Thanks Ed...

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and hope you have an uneventful rollover...

-- Uncle Bob (UNCLB0B@AOL.COM), December 26, 1999.

A very interesting essay. I join the chorus in saying thank you for your efforts to promote Y2K awareness.

-- Irving (, December 26, 1999.

Ok, so it is just me. :(

But still, anyone, where can the essay be found?

-- the Virginian (, December 26, 1999.


In case I don't get another opportunity soon, thanks again, Ed, for everything you've done. I truly wish you well, and respect your professionalism throughout these often trying times.

-- Steve (, December 26, 1999.

Very clear, Ed. Thanks. Best wishes.

-- Mara (, December 26, 1999.

Thank you Ed - you have inspired thousands and hopefully millions to take a second look at what we have created on this planet and the consequences.

I loved this quote in your essay.... "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people are so full of doubts."

Bertrand Russell

Boy, isn't that the truth. Everyone I know that is seriously concerned about this issue doubt themselves all the time. Read, re-read and read again. Search their minds, hearts, souls, reports, articles, books and on and on all the time. Those that I know say this will be nothing don't seem to have any doubts. We've met quite a few on this list.

-- Sheri (, December 26, 1999.


I know enough about Y2K to be strongly convinced that I have not been told the truth --

And as a result of this, Ed, how is it possible for any of us to know what is being hidden? Reality has become the casualty. At the momment we are living a fantascy.

In a few months we will know the extent of the lies and the piper will be paid.

-- Mike Lang (, December 26, 1999.

Can't find the article. Link gets me to Y2K 41 Days: Fear and Loathing in Y2K Land. Am I missing something?

Ed, thanks for your effort in beating the drum on Y2K. Regardless of what happens, things would be much worse without your leadership on this issue. Best wishes to you and your family.

-- Robie Wood (, December 26, 1999.

"What if Y2K leads an enraged population to burn every computer programmer at the stake, thereby making it impossible fix any of the technological problems?"

Thanks for planting that seed. I think you need to choose your examples more carefully, Ed. A potentially soon-to-be "enraged population" is listening. And I'm one of the programmers who'll need to be there in the aftermath.

Otherwise, I enjoyed it, as I've enjoyed all of your essays.

144 hours...

-- counting down (, December 26, 1999.

BTW Ed, I have become more accustomed to your style of writing over the last year and this was quite a strong statement. Do I detect a little frustration with those who are searching, at this late date, for some reason for you to become less concerned? :)

Thanks for all your help. It was the book by you and your daughter which has led me down the long road to this post tonight.

-- Mike Lang (, December 26, 1999.

Same here Robie,

This is where the link leads me. Could someone post the essay here? Ed Yourdon's Web Site ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Y2K-41 Days: Fear and Loathing in Y2K Land

-- the Virginian (, December 26, 1999.

Thanks Ed for your essay, nothing more can be said the foundation has already been laid.

And LL, what have you contributed to this forum of any great significance? You don't know sh*t yourself. Everytime you post you say the most stupid irrational things. Get lost.

-- ~~~~~~ (~~~~@~~~.xcom), December 26, 1999.


Thanks for the essay...I am having some trouble saving it to disk. I think that the PC world is in for quite a jolt with Microsoft's apparant confusion about Y2K software patches...Jim Lord concludes that MS's efforts are in "shambles" and that it may be a year behind at this point.

I know that is not your area of expertise, and that you once strongly urged me to buy a Mac. Well, that is H20 over the bridge and under the dam, so to speak. Considering that Microsoft products run on 90% of the world's PC's, the results could be catastrophic.

Tomorrow, I will be installing the Win 98 Service Pack after completely wiping the HD and doing a total reinstall of my Gateway supplied software. Then, for good measure, I will run Intellifix 2000. I understand that people who have followed this approach have found almost 100 files of various types to still have Y2K "issues."

Ed, thanks again for your sobering essay.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in just five, December 26, 1999.


It is obvious you will not carry on a rational dialog, It has been a long day. Here is your dil, sorry, pacifier. Be a good little girl and go to sleep. Hopefully for a long time.


-- wonder (love em@love.girls), December 26, 1999.

To Sysops...Wish I could met you all someday and shake your hands, what you have to deal with. My deepest gratitude on this Christmas Evening.

-- kritter (, December 26, 1999.

Ed -

Great essay - but do you have a thing for 20th century leaders who turned out to be less than we hoped for? Why start the essay with a quote from Chairman Mao on the importance of experience, (Chairman Mao, who elevated Marxist theory over years of Chinese history to produce some disasters of economic planning), and end by quoting Richard Nixon on the importance of the truth (yes he was a crook)??

-- kermit (, December 26, 1999.

"All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience"

A solid foundation for a believable package. Thanks much,

-- robert j. (, December 26, 1999.

Dear Ed:

Just a short thank you & blessings to you & yours during this holiday season and through the event, whatever it may bring.

-- kitten (, December 26, 1999.

Mr. Yourdon:

Thank you very much for taking the time and energy at T minus 6 days to eloquently compose your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions on Y2K. I have found Y2K: I Know What I Know, your other essays, and your message board postings to be very informative, intelligent, helpful, and persuasive. I also want you to know that I have greatly appreciated your knowledge, professionalism, intelligence, wisdom, independent thinking, courage, strength, integrity, and honesty. As Bertrand Russell did in his day, you have freely, openly, logically, steadfastly, and tenaciously expressed your point of view in spite of much criticism, ad hominem attacks, misrepresentation, and opposition from mediocre and less than mediocre minds.

I am grateful for all you have done to educate me and motivate me to research Y2K and to make extensive preparations and contingency plans. I may be grateful to you for helping me preserve my assets and save my life. We will know about this very shortly.

I know what I know: I know that I trust the warnings of Yourdon over the overly optimistic assurances of Koskinen.

Happy holidays to you and your family. Godspeed Ed Yourdon!


Tom (who's moving final preparations tomorrow to a remote location far enough away from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles)

P.S. Will I be able to return? Who knows?

-- Tom (Y2KOhNo!@Yikes!.com), December 26, 1999.


What I know:

You know more than most know and most don't know that you know more than most.

Software is created by humans. Keeping time was created by humans. To err is human.

Best wishes for the holiday season the "New" year.

Wish I could be in New Mexico, but alas I'm in a big city so we'll have a little more excitement than you I suppose (not that I wouldn't like the peace).

Interested Spectator.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), December 26, 1999.

Ed Yourdon, I say you are wonderful for taking the time to write this well thought out essay. Even though I am a 8+, every once in a while the doubts come marching in. After reading this I stand firm in my convictions that all my preps will not have been for naught. Please know you are in my heart for the relentless way you have helped people to understand the many ramifications that Y2K will bring to our society.

-- Debi (, December 26, 1999.

Well, my young son just reminded me of the power of the "Reload" button so I found the article (I don't want to scare you, but, I've been in the systems design and development business for 19 years and I still have trouble getting these confounded machines to work. Sooooo for those who really believe we are 99.9% ready to go, I've got a bridge to sell you.).

While I have not been directly involved in the Y2K remediation process, I have developed systems for large federal agencies, state agencies, county goverment, and financial institutions. Based on my experience, I certainly agree with what Ed has to say in this article. With each pronouncement by a federal agency, one after another, that "we're 100% ready to go," I became more and more astonished. Especially since some agencies, such as the FAA, were reported to be in terrible shape by the government's own report card and within a few short months were suddenly A-OK (no problems, done, fini).

As Ed points out, "I Know What I Know." Even the most successful large projects in the federal arena are never accomplished with such precision and certainty. The average project will violate at least one of the three paramenters as Ed points out--schedule, budget, or quality--and often violate all three. With this in mind, I have recently talked to a number of people involved in the remediation process (developers, managers, and IV&V folks) to get their view on what's going on. While this was by no means a scientific survey, everyone I talked to expressed that their projects were going well and finishing on time (some under budget). I've been wondering how this could be possible.

I think one plausible explanation is that the scope of business requirements is fairly well contained, in that the business rules (which have been developed over 20 or 30 years in some of these legacy systems) are imbedded in the code and are generally not at issue during the remediation project. Since we are not dealing with a scope creep in requirements, the schedule is easier to contain then it is during new system development projects. Perhaps, this is the reason for the claim to have finished on time. I think that, for the most part, government officials believe they are telling the truth when they say they are ready. The problem is--and I believe this is where Ed hit the nail on the head--that testing has been inadequate and systematic IV&V rare. I agree with Ed that perhaps they have "finished" on time and in the vacinity of a planned budget. However, we can expect that the quality of the remediated code will be poor and the interfaces prone to failure.

-- Robie Wood (, December 26, 1999.

Thank you ED.Marry Christmas

-- Bailey (, December 26, 1999.

I will try this again(need sleep) Merry Christmas

-- Bailey (, December 26, 1999.

"Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth -- to see it like it is, and tell it like it is -- to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth." Richard M. Nixon, Presidential nomination acceptance speech, Miami, Aug. 9, 1968.

Nixon probably would have been OK if he had remembered to follow his own advice...

And we would probably have been alot better off if the current crop of cockroaches, er, politicians, had followed his advice . But, after all, they are just cockroaches; what they don't steal or carry off, they fall into or mess up.

"Transparency? We don need no stinkin transparency."


-- Pinkrock (, December 26, 1999.

Dear Ed, Wonderful essay. Many thanks for all your help. You have been a voice in the wilderness. We have needed your essays to keep us on track. Thank you and the best for you and your family. Charlie

-- Charlie (, December 26, 1999.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

You've hit the nail on the head. This is what I liked so much about your book, and why I suspected that your web forum would attract people who were similarly careful about the quality of their data and what conclusions could be drawn. With obvious notable exceptions such are the people who have made this forum their home.

Just yesterday I complained about this exact problem as relates to c4i as a source of reliable information about Y2K. Their willingness to offer opinions about things that they are ignorant about forces me to substantially discount everything they say.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), December 26, 1999.

Thanks Ed for everything. Literally. It was your book that convinced that Y2K was really going to be something.

K.Stevens, try instead of the framed page. That should print out and save for you.

-- Ken Seger (, December 26, 1999.

The stress of Y2k seems to have brought out such great writers and poets. You, Cory, Paul Milne, and many, many more who express their experiences and ideas so well. I hope that when the dust clears, you find pen and paper (if not keyboard and pixels) to keep those of us who can still be reached informed of what you're doing. You are, in a way, inspirational.

-- Debby (, December 26, 1999.

Thank you for this forum.

helen, who used to watch the sun rise over the Organ Mountains. :)

-- helen (, December 26, 1999.

Ed, thank you for the best gift of all...words of wisdom!!

Best wishes to you and yours in the coming year.

-- (, December 26, 1999.

Arnie here. My 20 years of software/systems development experience tell me that Ed Yourdon's understanding of these issues is better than that of most, if not all, of the large project managers I have ever worked for.

Ed is considered a pioneer in his field because he has developed tools and methodologies for the construction of large information systems. He has introduced a structured approach to systems development where once there was only 'coders' and 'art'. I employ the tools and methods that Ed developed on a daily basis. The systems we produce are better because of the work Ed has done in this field.

The systems that I find myself producing today are typically smaller than the ones I have been involved with in the past. But the methodologies that Ed has pioneered are still a very important and integral part of the development process.

I don't know precisely what is going to happen over the next several months but I do know, that with respect to issues of complex systems analysis, Ed Yourdon rates far higher on my own credibility scale than do the likes of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Koskinen.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, December 26, 1999.

Ed, Great essay. (As always.) Thanks for the hard work and for taking the time to write this at this time of the year. Good luck in 6 days.

For those having trouble finding it: Try

This takes you to his web site, the article is on the right hand side of the browser. Also take a minute or two to look over the 'Y2K Essays' from the site index on the left. There are some great essays on the subject in there!

-- just another (, December 26, 1999.

The essay is currently at this link:

-- Linkmeister (, December 26, 1999.

Thank you, Ed. I think that for most of us who have been following Y2K these many months now, what you wrote pretty much says what we were told in the very beginning -- nobody knows, the outcome could be very bad, everyone is just trying to guess, and it just seems like the so-called "doomers" are the only ones who have the honesty to say this.

Of course, it's easy to be honest when you are prepared for the bad side of Y2K. Because you are also prepared to be wrong, and will be overjoyed if you are.

Happy hoidays,

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.cum), December 26, 1999.

I STILL can't find it- only come up with the old Nov. 20 essay- WHERE is it anyway? I even hit the 'refresh" button but still no new essay- and NONE of the links posted in this thread lead to anything but the old article for me. anyone else having this problem? Help....(yes- I know I'm a Luddite......)

-- farmer (, December 26, 1999.

I don't know what Y2K will or will not bring, but anybody who quotes Bertrand Russell, my favorite philosopher of the twentieth century, scores a point in my book. :)

-- Don Florence (, December 26, 1999.

Robbie; 17 years in the business and I have to thank you for making it OK for me to say I have the same troubles from time to time, and you are darn right, what does that tell the others?

Ed, I may never get another chance to thank you for those stupid squares I had to learn in college so I will take the chance now. Thank you. None of my systems are going to fail BUT then there were the programmers, huh?

Who knows what short cuts they may have taken. That is passing-the-buck ofcourse.

Honestly, Ed, Thanks. You were a great help.

It is time for the young ones, isn't it? Hope they can sort it out.


-- (...@.......), December 26, 1999.

Thanks, Ed, for your words and instigating this forum.

-- A (, December 26, 1999.

Dear Ed,

Thank you.

May God continue to Bless You.


-- Tess (, December 26, 1999.

Ed, if you're not a grandfather already, I think you're going to be a wise one -- and your children's children will be blessed by that wisdom. Those things regarding Y2K, which "I know that I know", center around human nature rather than large software projects, but my conviction is equally as solid and points to the same results.

I know one other thing. Integrity is precious and rare in human beings nowadays. You have it.

Thank you for speaking the truth as you know it.


Bonnie Camp

-- Bonnie Camp (, December 26, 1999.

Jor-el here.

Ed, thanks again for your contribution which HAS crossed over from your field of expertise and made a valuable societal contribution in a time of need. I second Debby's praise about poetry, and add that certain people will rise to meet a general need in a time of crisis, and it is always a thrill to be close to them in some way. I would hope that I would do the same in a similar situation.

What did you think of Robie Wood's observation that since it is not new software development and, therefore, "since we are not dealing with a scope creep in requirements," the possibilities of a greater remediation success rate exists? Do metrics exist on large remediation-only projects where a single problem is identified system- wide, and all efforts thread toward identifying and swatting it?

Then, the greater part of the project becomes inventorying (across multiple systems of an entire org), and locating all the source code and documentation and getting the old compilers to work, and just finding the little devils, versus the actual code enhancements to be done. Is this a unique beast or what? (It was bound to happen sometime in the annals of the Wild West approach to codewriting.)

It also should be speculated in some historical review of the Y2k phenom what level of remediation effort would have taken place had those nasty doomers Yourdon, North, Yardeni, Hamasaki, Milne and, yes, DeJager (and many others) not shaken the suits awake. I say we create a Citizens' Medal of Honor and award it to this group, however things go next year.

Ed, if all stays up and running we'll be driving up to Ojo for a weekend in April, probably stay at Fechin Inn on the way. And I'll be thinking of you. I'll try to find some way to tell my 4 year old daughter and non-Nethead wife just who you (and you all, Forumites) are and what you gave to us all.

It's just amazing to realize how much more we'll know then, than now. Great changes? None? A middling bunch? Can't hardly wait!

-- jor-el (jor-el@krypton.uni), December 26, 1999.

Ed- I still can't access your latest essay- I still only get the one from Nov. 20 when i go to your site- any ideas? Perhaps the computer I use is already's a very non-compliant 486 along with its non-compliant microsoft @#$%^ software- I do truly hate computers(and they know it I suppose).....sigh

can anyone post the essay ??

-- farmer (, December 27, 1999.

Y2K: I Know What I Know

:-) Per usual lucid sensible writing, Ed, clear and understandable. Thank God you are on the planet ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, December 27, 1999.

Here's the link's address...hyperlinked it as well. 2.html

Good essay, usual :-)

-- Tim (, December 27, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ