It's not inconceivable to imagine a shop with strict input data checking -
one that allows only valid dates to be entered into the system.  It's not
inconceivable to imagine that same shop using 090999 to mean "Permanent" or
"end of time."  But imagine being the guy writing the code back in 1970.
Would you have picked 090999 or 123199?

I've seen plenty of "special" date values in applications, but 090999 simply
is not one I've come across.  I've heard about this 090999 "problem" for
several years, but nobody who talks about it has been able to actually find
a system that actually uses it.  This would pretty much be the definition of
"urban legend."  Newsgroups are notorious for spreading urban legends...

Don't get me wrong here - I'm not downplaying the impact of Y2K on my
software or my life.  I'm just saying that I have yet to see THIS particular
value used in any system, anywhere.  Being reasonably skeptical about this
one issue isn't the same as a blanket condemnation of everyone working in
the Y2K arena. 

I completely agree with Glenn.  The programming convention to use a special
value to mean "infinity" or "permanent" is not strictly a Y2K problem
(depending on the special value) nor is it a Cobol problem.  I could just as
easily coded my RPG system or even SQL to use 090999 to mean "permanent."
It is a data issue, not a language issue.

Thanks for the thoughtful post.  It's good to keep the larger picture in

Buck Calabro
Aptis; Albany, NY

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Langston 
> Sent: Friday, September 03, 1999 11:22 AM
> To:   MIDRANGE-L@midrange.com
> Subject:      Re: 9/9/99
> On another message group one of the COBOL programmers stated that they
> used 9/9/99 as a null date, eof, or such type of date.    which would be
> 90999
> I guess.  They did not use 99/99/99 because that would be an invalid date
> and
> some programs couldn't handle it.
> In some shops it is an issue.
> You know, I really can't believe this attitude.  Here we are doing the
> same thing
> some people have done, dismissing the Y2K issue as an "urban legend", call
> us
> "paranoid", are "not all that concerned" about it, etc...
> It is an issue in some shops, luckily not mine though.  And if it's not an
> issue
> in yours,
> that's fine too.  But if you do program in COBOL or have COBOL source code
> you
> might want to look at it.
> Regards,
> Jim :Langston
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