Y2K retrospective / was Re: Algol vs ...
cclist at sydex.com
Fri Feb 12 11:52:15 CST 2010
On 12 Feb 2010 at 9:19, Russ Bartlett wrote:
> I get back to my point that a lot of the comments and criticisms
> concerning the absence of the century in system design comes from
> people ill equipped and knowledgeable to be able to pass judgment.
> By 1985 I had been working in Data Processing for 20 years! Hardware
> constraints dictated what we did and didn't do. The hardware
> constraints were our main obstacle and were twofold:
> 1) Cost - Memory was incredibly expensive (Read The mythical man
> month) 2) Hardware Technology - Early systems were mag tape only.
Oh, c'mon, Russ! I was there too and the greatest number of 2-digit
Y2K gaffes were committed by COBOL programmers using PICTURE 99 for
the year. Had they thought just a bit, using PICTURE XX and then
supplementing with a conversion routine to the appropriate decimal
form of the year would have worked wonders. Consider, for example,
that if a programmer had allowed 0-9 and A-Z (uppercase) in the year
field, the collating order would have been preserved and the 2-
position year field could have expressed 1,296 years in 2 character
No, the prime cause was lazy programming. I was guilty of it also.
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