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The Internet and the Millennium Problem

Document Charter The Internet and the Millennium Problem WG (2000) Snapshot
Title The Internet and the Millennium Problem
Last updated 2000-01-24
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD (None)
Charter edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)

The Millenium problem

According to the trade press billions of dollars will be spend the
upcoming three years on the year 2000 problem, also called the
millenium problem (though the third millenium will only start in 2001).
This problem consists of the fact that many software packages and some
protocols use a two digit field for the year in a date field.  Most of
the problems seem to be in administrative and financial programs, some
of which have been written in archaic languages like Cobol. A lot of
organizations are now starting to make an inventory of which software
and tools they use will suffer from the millenium problem.

....and the Internet

With the increasing popularity of the Internet,
more and more organizations start to use the Internet as a serious
business tool.  This means that most organizations will want to analyse
the millenium problems due to the use of Internet protocols and popular
Internet software. In the trade press the first articles suggest that
the Internet will collapse at midnight the 31st of december 1999.

To counter these suggestions (that are obviously wrong) and to avoid
that all over the Internet people will redo the same inventory over and
over again the WG is to make an inventory of all important Internet
protocols and their most popular implementations with respect to the
millenium problem. Only software and protocols directly related to the
Internet will be considered.

The inventory will be published as an informational RFC. The RFC will

 o  Description of the year 2000 problems and when they will occur

 o  Summary of possible solutions and timelines for those solutions

 o  Inventory of the year 2000 problem in the most popular Internet
    protocols and their most popular implementations

 o  Suggested solutions to the problems noted in the inventory 

 o  A disclaimer that the RFC does not pretend to be complete and that
    the proposed solutions should be tested before being relied upon 
    for the US readers).

The WG will only meet once (in Memphis, April 1997), most of the work
will be done via the mailinglist.