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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Compliance

Date: 

1998-01-20 23:01:38

Subject: 

No Definition Exists

Comment: 

There is no standard definition of century date compliance. There is no agreement on where to place the two- or four-digit century. There is not going to be a standard before 2000. These are the opinions of Dr. Leon Kappelman of the University of North Texas' businness computing department.

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From: "Leon Kappelman" To: year2000-discuss@year2000.com Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 20:34:31 -600 (CST6CDT) Subject: Re: Standard Definition of Year 2000 Compliance, cont.

The voting is underway now. On the one hand, it is too little too late. On the other, it is perhaps useful for the late arrivals. For the diligent, it is just so much wasted effort and duplication. At worst it will provide fodder for litigation.

Generally speaking the plain fact is that, like most of the human race, most ALL of the professional societies in software, engineering, management, computing, accounting, safety, auditing, etc., etc., etc. dropped the ball on y2k. Ok so we're not perfect.

The ANSI EDI standards committee has been trying for 6 years to figure out what to do with the 2 century digits -- they do not have an answer yet. As for computer date-representation standards ISO 8601 has been around for years and is basically fine if you remove the ridiculous "truncate at will" clause. The chance of the planet agreeing on a standard for century-date compliance at this point is zero. We've had electricity for a century -- Seen the global electrical outlet standard lately? No, because there isn't one.

I for one suggest that we focus our limited time and energies on what we can do -- mitigate the most mission-critical life-threatening exposures, make contingency plans, and clean up the mess later. Lives are at risk. What we need most is a sense of urgency and a clear focus on the task at hand. I realize that this will result in many sub-optimal solutions -- that's what happens when you wait 'til the last minute. In most cases, the time for elegant solutions is long past. I'm just hoping we can get focused enough and busy enough so that no one dies.


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