An introduction to the year 2000 problem

When you write a check by hand and you use the "slash" format for the date, you write it like that. What should you believe?

y2k bug explained

The software does not know whether to interpret "00" as "" or "". There is also a good bit of "end of the world" rhetoric floating around on the Internet. The cause of the Y2K problem is pretty simple.

Then the calculation no longer works.

y2k hoax

It takes less space to store 2 digits instead of 4 not a big deal now because hard disks are so cheap, but it was once a big deal on older machines. Why not use 5, or even 6? That subtraction works fine on two-digit year dates until today's date and your birthdate are in different centuries.

Was y2k a real threat

Most programs therefore default to The solution, obviously, is to fix the programs so that they work properly. The important thing to recognize is that that's it. If you also figure that most companies don't have idle programmers sitting around for a year to do it and they have to go hire those people, you can see why this can become a pretty expensive problem. That is, the code that most programmer's wrote either prepends "19" to the front of the two-digit date, or it makes no assumption about the century and therefore, by default, it is "19". Why not use 5, or even 6? From this information you draw your own informed conclusions. You can also explore a variety of links. Depending on how the code was written, it may be that programmers have to go in by hand and modify each point in the program that uses a date. Then the calculation no longer works. Because most people assume that no one will be using this software 8, years from now, and that seems like a reasonable assumption. People writing software in had no reason to believe the software would still be in use 30 years later. That subtraction works fine on two-digit year dates until today's date and your birthdate are in different centuries.

You can also explore a variety of links. From this information you draw your own informed conclusions.

An introduction to the year 2000 problem
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How the Year Problem Worked