Y2K precursor threatens to strike today

Y2K precursor threatens to strike today

Y2K confidence will be tested today as the calendar ticked over to 9/9/99, a date touted as the precursor to the much-hyped IT Dooms Day -- 1st of January 2000.

The 9th of September 1999 exists as a potential problem because of a throwback to the times when dates were written in two digits and 9/9/99 was written into a lot of file codes as the end of file command.

"This is an end of an institutional type of programming convention so it could stop a program running," said John Blair, an analyst at IDC.

However, Blair is not predicting any dramas, despite the attention the issue has been paid in the media. "If any problems do occur it will be in legacy systems but they mostly exist in the top 500 companies, which are the exact organisations that have spent a fortune on Y2K compliance," said Blair.

Unix systems, and therefore most small and medium businesses, will also be safe, according to Blair, because Unix did not have problematic programming conventions.

However, despite these reassurances, some companies are preparing for adversity on the day. And according to Rupinder Toor, also an analyst at IDC, Thai Airlines has already reported problems with dates and travel arrangements due to the programming glitch.

"It might not be causing much consternation but a lot of organisations will breathe a sigh of relief when its over and will be more confident of their Y2K efforts," said Blair.

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