Roger Barlow’s letter about the so called ‘Millennium Bug’ is grossly misleading and its conclusion that the Millennium Bug was a real threat is arrant nonsense.  The idea that two digit dates could ever bring computers crashing down was totally laughable.

For 30 years my career was also in IT as programmer, systems designer, software designer/writer and consultant.  I don’t know where Roger Barlow worked but I suspect it was in a public organisation.

I’ve often wondered why public IT systems have such exorbitant costs.

It is not surprising if, as he suggests, that the organisation used veritable armies of staff spending untold hours on such a trivial issue.

Whereas the affected programs would have needed to be reviewed the updating process was simple with several choices of technique.

Very few programs used dates at all and those that did mainly used them for display purposes which has absolutely no impact on program logic whatsoever.  There are two ways in which program logic could have been affected by two digit dates spanning a century.  One is by comparison between two dates with the course of action depending on the result.

The other is the use of arithmetic on a date or between two dates.

In either case, if there was an issue, it would only affect the results of that particular program.

It would have had no impact on the computer itself.

The Millennium Bug idea that computers would start crashing was hysterical doom mongering of the highest order, much like the white knuckle doom mongering of today’s Remainers.

So as far as Paul Nuttall is concerned, rather than being ‘out of his league’, as Roger Barlow states, Paul Nuttall is spot on. 

Don Micklewright