From: Lisa Rajchel [] SC22/WG20 N603

Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 1998 12:35 PM

To: ''


Subject: FW: Year 2k

Please see below a message from ISO Central Secretariat concerning Year 2K. Please let me know by 30 October 1998 if your SC is engaged in any activities on this topic.

Thanks for your help.

Lisa A. Rajchel
American National Standards Institute
11 W. 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Tel: 1 212 642 4932
Fax: 1 212 398 0023


-----Original Message-----
From: Smith, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 1998 12:15 PM
Cc: Lingner, Klaus-Gunter; Brannon, Keith; Clivio, Sophie
Subject: Year 2k


Dear Lisa,

Hope you are keeping well.

In a recent communication, one of the ISO Council members has asked that we investigate the full range of year 2k problems, not only with regard to our IT implementations. In particular they have received legal advice that there may be liability problems associated with the content of standards. As an example, ISO (ISO/IEC) may be liable if an organization implements a standard which subsequently proves not to be year 2000 compliant and as a result of which such an organization suffers prejudice. It would seem advisable that JTC SCs review the standards currently on their books to ensure this is not a problem. By copy I am also asking Sophie to contact TC 68, 154, 184 etc. for the same purpose and asking Klaus Lingner to bring this to the attention of all the technical staff as there may be standards in other fields which may be concerned.

Please could you let me know if JTC 1 has taken specific actions in this respect.

Thanks and best wishes,



Comments from Ted Baker, WG15, PASC :

This cannot be answered without some better definitions.

The subject came up in some working group discussions at the last IEEE PASC meeting. There was confusion over what exactly "year 2000 compliant" means. Suppose there is some agreed-upon definition of what Y2K compliant means for a given system (thought that itself is interesting). There were still two different interpretations of how Y2K compliance extends to a standard like POSIX, that specifies certain properties of a system while leaving other details to the implementor:

1) To be Y2K compliant, the standard must not specify anything that would prevent a conformant implementation from being Y2K compliant.

2) To be Y2K compliant, the standard must specify enough details to guaranteee that all conformant implementations must be Y2K compliant.

My own view is that it is not practical to require a standard to go beyond (1) above.

There is another question, related to the definition of Y2K compliance in general. Is it sufficient for a system to be able to correctly handle dates and time intervals within some modest sized interval around 1 January 2000? Or, does this issue generalize to other arbitrary date limitations?

Ted Baker