Letter: Blame for the bug

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Keith O'Neill (letters, 31 August) raises the interesting point that the manufacturers of computer equipment should have foreseen the millennium bug and taken steps to avoid it. All the manufacturers I know of have taken such steps. It's time someone stood up for the industry and explained whose fault it is.

I have for the last few years been receiving regular updates from such companies as IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, explaining which of their software or hardware is or is not millennium-compliant. It is the responsibility of computer users to register that they have purchased computer equipment, so that the manufacturers can inform them when upgrades are available and which are necessary.

The industry is not responsible for programmers writing code that is not millennium-compliant. This is where the real bugs lie - not in the equipment or the operating systems, but in application programs written many years ago. A lot of companies are finding that not only do they not have the original code to update, they do not know exactly what the programs do. They have used them over long periods without questioning them. Now they are having to do so.


London SE3