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1997-09-22 15:32:45


Y2K Is Not a Scam, Says Software Programmer


The previous posting (same day) says y2k is a scam. This software developer says the opposite. I received both letters on the same day.

Who to believe?

It's an all-or-nothing bet.

* * * * * * * *

I am a software developer on a project for a major investment bank/financial services firm. The project involves putting the company's business on the internet.

Almost all of our work is done on Sun Microsystems Solaris operating system with modern 3GLs and the Java programming language. Year 2000 is not much of an issue on these systems, though we have had some year 2000 bugs (just today I saw a problem with certain derivatives that expire in 2000).

But all our system does is act as an intermediary between the customer on the internet and some very crusty legacy applications that run the business on the back end of things. One of these systems, that is scheduled for phase-out within a couple of years is 30 years old and in some cases uses 1-digit fields for the year! So even if my company's systems work fine in 2000, it won't much matter as all the real work is done by these legacy apps.

For those folks who are counting on the Internet to save us, it's what's on the back end that counts. Most internet sites that do any real business are just a "middleware" layer between the World Wide Web and the same ol' legacy apps running on IBM mainframes.

Regarding your conclusions from the evidence, if things get as bad as they might get, I can't see us digging ourselves out in ten years. It would take ten years of work under normal circumstances to fix the problems, but with no electric power, cars, money, etc. I think that it would take us back a century; not to mention if international anarchy or nuclear terrorism break out.

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