More on 1-1-2001 Norwegian train failure (Computer Risks listserv) : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Source: RISKS DIGEST 21.21, 25 January 2001 [see source info at end of this post]

Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 05:38:49 +0100 From: Espen Andersen Subject: Re: 54 weeks in a year? (RISKS-21.18)

The discussion of the Norwegian State Railway (NSB) troubles with the 2000/2001 transition focuses on fairly advanced causes, such as the 54-week situation. The discussants (including our esteemed moderator) seem by this to believe that the NSB is a competent and responsible organization. As recent events (such as a horrible rail accident with 19 dead where it turned out the railroad had a number of Single Point of Failure situations, or the fact that the new high-speed "Signature" trains had been built with axles that cannot tolerate high speeds and turns at the same time) has shown, this organization has completely lost the public's confidence (as witnessed by the recent, forced departure of its CEO), as has its locomotive supplier ADTranz.

My hypothesis is that the 2000/2001 bug was a regular millennium bug, found in 1999. The problem was then "fixed" by turning the clock back one year to buy time, and promptly forgotten. Now NSB and ADTranz has turned back the clock back once again. This time, with the newspaper and RISKS interest, they are unlikely to forget.

Espen Andersen , Norwegian School of Management ( +47 6755 7177 European Research Dir., The Concours Group


Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 08:35:48 +0200 From: "Bob Dubery" Subject: Re: 54 weeks in a year?

Standards are great - but it's RISKy to assume that they are being adhered to just because they're published and sensible.

I led a y2k remediation project in 1999. I saw the source code for literally thousands of programs. Some code anticipated a leap year, but never exactly to the standards (IE the code would have accepted 1900 as a leap year). Very seldom were date and time presented in any kind of standard format. I'm willing to bet that if I asked all the programmers at my office what ISO and RFCs are not all of them would know about ISO, and less than half would have heard of RFCs - and nearly all of them wouldn't see the point.

This sounds disparaging, I know. I'm a programmer myself, so I do know whereof I speak. I never worked for an employer that stipulated adherence to any ISO standard. I have dealt with 3 "Web design houses" who had no knowledge of RFCs.

If standards had been adhered to then why did we have a Y2k problem? And why do we know have systems unable to roll into 2001?


Date: 26 Dec 2000 (LAST-MODIFIED) From: Subject: Abridged info on RISKS (comp.risks)

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