Browse Prior Art Database

Y10K and Beyond (RFC2550)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003136D
Original Publication Date: 1999-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2000-Sep-13
Document File: 12 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

S. Glassman: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

As we approach the end of the millennium, much attention has been paid to the so-called "Y2K" problem. Nearly everyone now regrets the short-sightedness of the programmers of yore who wrote programs designed to fail in the year 2000. Unfortunately, the current fixes for Y2K lead inevitably to a crisis in the year 10,000 when the programs are again designed to fail.

This text was extracted from a ASCII Text document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 11% of the total text.

Network Working Group S. Glassman

Request for Comments: 2550 M. Manasse

Category: Stinkards Track J. Mogul

Compaq Computer Corporation

1 April 1999

Y10K and Beyond

Status of this Memo

This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does

not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this

memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999). All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

As we approach the end of the millennium, much attention has been

paid to the so-called "Y2K" problem. Nearly everyone now regrets the

short-sightedness of the programmers of yore who wrote programs

designed to fail in the year 2000. Unfortunately, the current fixes

for Y2K lead inevitably to a crisis in the year 10,000 when the

programs are again designed to fail.

This specification provides a solution to the "Y10K" problem which

has also been called the "YAK" problem (hex) and the "YXK" problem

(Roman numerals).

1. Introduction, Discussion, and Related Work

Many programs and standards contain, manipulate and maintain dates.

Comparing and sorting dates is a common activity. Many different

formats and standards for dates have been developed and all have been

found wanting.

Early date formats reserved only two digits to represent the year

portion of a date. Programs that use this format make mistakes when

dealing with dates after the year 2000. This is the so-called Y2K

problem.

The most common fix for the Y2K problem has been to switch to 4-digit

years. This fix covers roughly the next 8,000 years (until the year

9999) by which time, everyone seems convinced that all current

programs will have been retired. This is exactly the faulty logic

and lazy programming practice that led to the current Y2K problem!

Programmers and designers always assume that their code will

eventually disappear, but history suggests that code and programs are

often used well past their intended circumstances.

The 4-digit year leads directly to programs that will fail in the

year 10,000. This proposal addresses the Y10K problem in a general

way that covers the full range of date and time format issues.

1.1 Current approaches

A large number of approaches exist for formatting dates and times.

All of them have limitations. The 2-digit year runs into trouble

next year. The 4-digit year hits the wall in the year 10,000. A

16-bit year runs out in the year 65,536. A 32-bit counter for the

number of seconds since 1970 [UNIX] wraps in 2038. A 32-bit counter

for the number of milli-seconds since booting crashes a Windows (TM)

PC in 49.7 days [Microsoft].

In this specification, we focus on the Y10K problems since they are

most common and a lar...