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Andrew Dalke dalke at ks.uiuc.edu
Thu Feb 27 10:55:23 EST 1997

Unless there is something about the Y2000 problem that is specific
to bio software, this discussion should be moved to a more appropriate
newgroup, such as comp.software.year-2000 .  I have set the Followup-To
accordingly, in addition to describing below more details about the
points raised.

						Andrew Dalke
						dalke at ks.uiuc.edu

It started off with Bong-Hack <bonghack at emily.oit.umass.edu> asking
> I was told that there may be a software which can
> sheets and identify the compliance.

To which Jackie E. Kylander <jek at med.unc.edu> said:
>Don't know, but Macs don't have that problem.

mpion at ARTSCI.WUSTL.EDU (Martin Pion) then questioned:
> If this is really true why hasn't Apple been making much of it as yet
> another reason to opt for Macs?

1) There may be software to detect simple cases of a spreadsheet with
Y2000 problems, but it can't be very complete.  It is a hard (even
in theory) even just to figure out which fields of the spreadsheet
refer to years, much less to which ones do things like truncate years
to the last two digits.

2) The MacOS does not have a Y2000 problem.  Neither does DOS or
Windows or Unix.  Each, however, keeps track of time as some number
of seconds since a given date.  I think those dates are Jan. 1 of
1900, 1980, 1980, and 1970, repectively.  However, someday those
counters will overflow (eg, 32 bits of seconds is a bit over 136 years)
so there will be a Y2000 equivalent bug eventually when that happens.

3) The Y2000 problem refers to bugs in applications, in programs
written over the last 30 years that only consider the last two digits
of the date.  Even if the OS is perfect, the applications could still
have a poor date/time implementation.  Thus, there is nothing for Apple
or MS nor any other vendor to hype about, and if they said something
like "our computers won't have a Y2000 bug they will probably be 
ridiculed then sued when programs start crashing on their platforms.

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