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   Y2K and XML-DEV

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  • From: Peter Murray-Rust <peter@ursus.demon.co.uk>
  • To: xml-dev@ic.ac.uk
  • Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 09:22:17

Residents of the UK will know that the PrimeMinister last week announced
the recruitment of 20,000 people to solve the 'millennium bug' crisis in
the UK. As I am sure all of you know this bug involves software which
represents the year by 2 digits (e.g. '97' for 1997). Unfortunately this is
a permissible form in international standards  and is therefore
encapsulated in much software.

Because of the confusion between 'bug' and 'virus', the UK government
wishes all prominent WWW sites to be Y2K-compliant (presumably they think
the 'bug' can be spread over the WWW?) and this includes XML-DEV. As XMLers
will obviously know, identification of dates in pre-XML documents is almost
impossible, but random checks will be made by robots from uk.gov on WWW
sites. They are particularly concerned with mailing lists.

We have therefore been asked to make XML-DEV Y2K compliant. The primary
concern - mail headers - will be dealt with centrally, but it *does* affect
those of you who include dates in your messages. The most common problem is
when quoting  someone else's mail - this often gives time and date.
Unfortunately a few mailers use only 2 digits, so:
OF THE FORM 1998 (changing to 2000 when appropriate).

Since the robots are unlikely to have sophisticated heuristics (they
probably use a regex of the form [^9]98) it would be helpful if you could
also avoid using the digits '98' in your text. [This is unlikely, but could
occur in examples.]


Peter Murray-Rust, Director Virtual School of Molecular Sciences, domestic
net connection
VSMS http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/vsms, Virtual Hyperglossary

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