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1997-12-31 12:43:21


A Minor Problem, Says Programmer



The Millennium Bug is nothing special, claims this programmer. His view is not widely shared, but there are a few programmers who argue this way.

I wish he had explained how the problem will be solved, especially outside North America. How, for example, will Japanese banks solve it? Or Latin American banks? Or European banks that are implementing the Euro currency software changes?

This is an open letter to corporate chairman. . . .

* * * * * * * *

Apocalyptic predictions such as 90% of all computer systems will fail on January 1, 2000 are nothing more than scare tactics. The Year 2000 problem should be viewed as a new growth product for the computer, legal, and financial services industry. Although there are valid technical concerns regarding software and systems, the goal of the Year 2000 industry is to get you to part with your dear money. I urge you to stand strong against threats of systems meltdowns and litigation. . . .

No one can predict the future. Although they would like to think otherwise, the Year 2000 industry is no exception. Software Productivity Research out of Boston predicts the “Millennium Bomb” will cost $3.6 trillion. Technology Business Reports in California predicts $2 trillion. The Gartner Group and J.P. Morgan are a bit more modest. They predict $600 billion and $400 billion respectively. BZW in the U.K. estimates it will cost $52 billion dollars.

None of these groups know how many software programs worldwide are affected by the Year 2000 bug; nor do they know how many are worth saving. Even if you allocated resources in a preventive Year 2000 program, there is no guarantee that the solutions will work. Unlike previous information technology investments, investing resources in a Year 2000 program will not lead to increases in productivity. It only maintains the status quo on January 1, 2000, if you are lucky. . . .

I have worked as a consultant for a Fortune 500 company to implement and test a pilot Year 2000 compliance program. My experience has led me to believe that there will be some problems, but they will be minor in nature, and cause some inconveniences. I believe people will be able to adapt to the inconveniences. The hype generated by the media will alert the public to the problem. . . .

Rob Campanell

Austin, TX USA


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