By an odd coincidence, I was watching a Dilbert rerun last night centering around the Y2K bug. The issue was that there was a single ancient mainframe that was linked to all the other more modern machines. Since this one system hadn't been upgraded since the 70s, it was vulnerable to the bug and threatened to destroy them all. The code itself was undocumented, and the only person who might remember where the time-handling code might be was...Wally
The rationale given for why it hadn't been upgraded with all the other systems was that there was a short term advantage in cost savings, and by the time the problem surfaced, the executives who made the decisions would be long gone. Sure, it's a Dilbertism, but in the wake of the corporate scandals of 2001, doesn't it ring true?
Assuming that we'll all be on 64-bit (or 128-bit, or embryonic monkey-brain) processors at some point in the nebulous future is a mistake. Someone out there will decide not to upgrade. Some of my company's customers still use Windows 95. Last year I was at an airport, and the application displaying the arrivals and departures had crashed The terminal was showing a Windows 98 desktop.
Even if you decide that someone can fix it "later", possibly in the mad dash to fix legacy unix code in Fall of 2037, please document the issue.
"What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."
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