Letter: Faulty Computers

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The Independent Online
Sir: In your article "Computer timebomb ticks under Labour" (19 September) concerning the problem of computers failing at the millennium for being unable to tell the difference between 1900 and 2000, as they can only recognise the last two digits, you take the Government and Whitehall to task for not dealing with this problem swiftly enough and not providing enough funding. Your article states that Robin Guernier, the executive director of Taskforce 2000, has been granted only pounds 100,000 instead of the pounds 450,000 which he requested. Why should the Government (ie the taxpayer) provide one penny?

The problem is entirely the responsibility of the computer industry; they have been aware of this for many years, and they should deal with it. If my tiny desktop computer, on which I am typing this letter, and which will be approaching 10 years old come the millennium, already has four digits in the date, then any machine of greater complexity should have been built and programmed correctly. If any company has a computer, certainly one dating from later than 1990, which cannot work with the date 2000 then I suggest they sue the provider of their computer system for selling or leasing them a faulty machine.

Professor A S MILTON

Whaddon, Cambridgeshire