Invisible Software

In the Year 2000...


[Webmaster's Note: We wrote this document more than two years before the start of year 2000, back when many "experts" were predicting year 2000 disasters. We correctly predicted that the year 2000 "problem" would be a big yawn, with no disasters of any sort. So we keep this document on our web site to gloat! We were right! And we told you so!]


Conan: Tonight, we're going to look ahead into the future.
Andy: The future, Conan?
Conan: Yes, the future. All the way to the year 2000.
La Bamba: In the year 2000....


The above lines are the opening to a comedy sketch that appears regularly on The Late Show with Conan O'Brien. As La Bamba wails "in the year 2000" in a high-pitched falsetto voice, Conan and Andy don cheesy black robes, shine flashlights in their faces, and recite a long list of ridiculous events that supposedly will happen in the millennial year 2000.

The computer industry has its own version of this comedy sketch. It's called the Year 2000 Problem, or Y2K for short, and you've probably heard a lot about it.

The real year 2000 problem is the fact that stories about Y2K make good press. Newspaper editors love stories about impending doom, and especially impending doom from unexpected and mysterious sources, where neither reporter nor reader can tell if there's any truth to it. And in the case of Y2K, there is no shortage of "analysts" who are willing to make all sorts of outrageous predictions.

For example, one "analyst" estimates that 600 billion dollars will be spent just on fixing Y2K software problems -- an amount that exceeds the gross national product of most nations. Another says that one-third of all the companies in the world will go out of business in January 2000 because of terminal inability to deal with Y2K. Others predict that:

Of course, none of these things will happen.

A few moments of rational thought is all it takes to see that there will be no calamity. To take one example, consider the Social Security checks. The Social Security Administration swears this won't happen, but let's assume the worst; let's assume that the checks are printed with year 1900. Do you really believe that banks would refuse to cash these checks? Would banks tell senior citizens -- their best customers -- that they are holding 100-year-old Social Security checks, printed by a computer that didn't exist 100 years ago, and issued by a government agency that didn't exist 100 years ago? Of course not. The fact is, there is nothing new about mis-dated checks. Each January, lots of checks are dated the prior year by force of habit, and banks manage to cash them without bringing society to a halt.

To be sure, some serious problems have surfaced. For example, one electric utility discovered that without a software fix, their electric power grid would shut down on January 1, 2000. (They've fixed the software.) But most problems will be little more than annoyances. Unfortunately, there's nothing unusual about software bugs, and year 2000 bugs -- where they exist -- will often be no more serious than other bugs that are routinely tolerated. People will simply work around the problems, like they always do.

So relax. The world isn't coming to an end.

Having said all that, the question remains: Is Invisible LAN "Year 2000 Compliant"? The answer is yes: it is, and it always has been.

Invisible LAN uses several different internal formats to store and transmit dates. (The different formats are required by the different operating systems that Invisible LAN supports -- DOS, Windows 3.X, and Windows 95.) Each format is good until at least the year 2099.

Invisible LAN does not perform calculations on dates, except to convert them (a) from one internal format to another, and (b) from internal format to display format. All such conversions are valid until at least the year 2099.

In some cases, Invisible LAN relies on the operating system to convert dates. To the best of our knowledge, the operating systems are year 2000 compliant, and will convert dates correctly until at least the year 2099.

Invisible LAN also relies on the operating system to generate and maintain the dates that appear in disk directories. Again, to the best of our knowledge, the operating systems will do this correctly until at least the year 2099.


Notices: Copyright 1997 by Invisible Software, Inc. Invisible Software and Invisible LAN are trademarks of Invisible Software, Inc. Other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

This document was prepared on 09/18/97, and was believed to be accurate as of that date. Procedures, specifications, and compatibility may change without notice, and therefore this document may be out-of-date and/or inapplicable to current product versions. Invisible Software provides this document "AS IS" and without warranty of any kind. Under no circumstances shall this document be construed as creating or expanding any warranty of product performance.


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