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Microsoft Withholds Y2K Fix for Win95? 155

dbrown has sent us an interesting little ditty over at CNN about MS Withholding Patches to Win95 that resolve Y2k issues. The article is kinda sketchy- it looks like they weren't telling people about said patch, and it seems to imply that it was a lure to get people to spend the big bucks upgrading to Win98. Just read it and see what you think.
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Microsoft Withholds Y2K Fix for Win95?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hardware problem? What hardware problem? Quoting from the MS Knowledge Base entry for this problem (Q192841):

    The original released versions of the files listed in the "Resolution" section of this article contain initialization timing loops that do not execute properly on the AMD-K6-2 processor at speeds of 350 MHz and faster. Note that this problem is due to limitations of the software algorithms, and is not indicative of a problem with the processor itself, which is functioning properly.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ou sure that they are not trying to make us all use the next variation on NT?

    I beleive this was their original intent; to NOT release Y2K fixes for Win95/Win98, so that in the panic everybody would be forced to pay $250 to upgrade to Win2000. What better marketing strategy than to take advantage of Y2K histeria? What better explanation for the name change from WinNT 5.0 to Win2000?

    Unfortunately, they came up short in execution on this one; Win2000 is over a year late, and cannot possible be released in time now for companies to feel comfortable with phasing it in completely before the end of the year. Thus they are stuck with the backup plan: release the bug fixes they've had all along to the Y2K bugs they knew about all along, but intentionally neglected to fix. That is, if they didn't insert the bugs intentionally in the first place, which I somewhat doubt.

    Let's face it, the Y2K "bug" is the greatest marketing boon ever to hit the software industry, and Micros~1 is by no means the only company to attempt to capitalize on it to leverage sales of upgrades: finally, a way to FORCE all those users who were perfectly happy with their old DOS applications that did everything they needed to upgrade!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is a marketing strategy, not a design flaw or a bug. You'll notice that no matter what version of media player you download, you can't play new .avi files on '95. You will never play them, unless you buy '98!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The general y2k case is a collection of a design flaw and a set of bugs.

    The bugs are problems which relate to date mis-calculations which may very well be 4 digits years. Like all those products such as Excel which claim that 2000 is not a leap year.

    What about the Perl code which does this:
    $year = "19" . $year_from_system
    isn't that a bug ?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Microsoft never release bug fixes for Windows 95 in the open. Lots of them were hidden throughout the website. Only time they did anything was when the press screamed out about a security bug. And the new update wizard isn't any better since you cannot download the patches to the drives for saving for later.
  • I think Bill Gates has been counting on y2k issues to fuel MS profits since the 1980's.

    Why? Win NT, Microsoft's flagship product, their über OS, their MODERN OS, still isn't 100% Y2k ready (SP 4 was supposed to be the final fix, but now it's SP 5).

    And what was MS's stance on Y2k a few months ago? Get all your boxes on SP4, then consider deploying NT 5. yeah.

    Win NT should have been designed from the ground up to not have any y2k issues - Apple got this right in the early 1980's with the Mac.

    Gates is a smart businessman. He knows how to make money, and he's been banking of this for years.
  • What, even if they did release a patch you think it would cover everything? I'm sure a couple weeks later someone will fine a new Y2K problem and we're back at square one.

    But the bit about EDS was interesting. After Microsoft's "advice" they suddenly decide to upgrade to Win98, and the CIO quits. I like to fantasize that he was pushing for Linux instead. :)
  • I'd be interested in knowing the reason they DO recommend going to the latest versions..

    That would have to be, like they are always screaming, "But users what it!!" If you scream loudly and often enough, people start to believe.
  • As others have said, that way of thinking is what got us where we are today. But, once they fix the uptime bug, I could see someone setting up a simple firewall sort of box (ala the Qube) for a small company and dropping it into a closet or something. Then 30 years later, they have forgotten about it because it just works. Then come that fateful day in December, 2038, the whole building explodes in a nuclear-type explosion.
  • But notice what it says right by the Y2K link? "...make your computer year 2000 compliant." Take the heat off Windows and blame the computer. But go ahead and click on that link.

    Then you see that the fix takes up 10mb. But wait, you also need IE 4.01 SP 2, which needs 72mb. So, 82 megs for, as they put it, "several minor Year 2000 issues within Windows® 95."

    Oh, but never forget:


    Of course, they bury that in that huge paragraph of all caps text. But in other words, it's not their problem if it still isn't fixed, you lose business, etc from these "minor issues." Enjoy, and don't forget to fork over several more hundred dollars for the latest, greatest, unguaranteed piece of software from your friends at Microsoft.
  • The vendor accepted the EULA on my laptop when some hardware was installed prior to delivery. I never saw the EULA, though. (unfortunately I can't get a refund since I used Windows to telnet to a Linux box with dead keyboard controller)
  • "People will spend millions of dollars, and the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    Apparently our good friend Ed Muth hasn't gotten to this M$ employee yet. You can be sure that'll change.

    In any event, I think any company basing Y2K-critical stuff on Windows 95 deserves anything that might happen to them as a result.

  • So you're saying that Windows NT was written to have this issue built into it? I think not, since MS is not paid for distributing SP 3/4/5. In fact, it probably costs MS a lot of money to build the CDs, distribute them, and so on.

    Y2K issues with old mainframes, software written in 1950-1970, I can understand as design flaws. Anything after that is a bug, pure and simple.
  • force massive upgrades to W2k and Win98. It's a profit motive! They DON'T WANT people to fix their Win95... they WAN'T them to upgrade. The Microsoft Rep said it himself - people will spend MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

    Obviously, Microsoft was selling a broken operating system until June of 1998 - just 1.5 years shy of the millenium. And, you can't tell me they hadn't done any testing at that time to see if Win95 was compliant.

    Microsoft's attitude appears to be: Who cares! We'll just sell 'em an upgrade!
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    M$ wants to maximize their profit- so get as many users to upgrade to 98 by spreading fud about 95's compliance, but then release a patch for 95 at the last minute so you won't be liable for y2k lawsuits later on. Pretty sleezy, but on the bright side, M$ is doing lots of worse things.
  • Posted by The Masked Miscreant >:):

    I'm a Linux newbie, and haven't yet had the time to actually take a look at any kernel code, but I've had a thought on the matter since I first heard about this particular Y2K-ish problem.

    Add a second 32-bit time counter that increments each time the normal one flips, and re-calculate the base date that the main timer calculates the current date/time from. The code to do it would only run once in a VERY long while, so it shouldn't be too much of a performance hit.

    Good idea? Bad idea?
  • Posted by The Masked Miscreant >:):

    I know a lot of us are younger than that, but I didn't realize the pre-1970's had been relegated to a mythical status!
  • Posted by Izchak:

    It's not the first time M$ withholds a fix for the whole range of Win95. Take the AMD K6 bug that prevents a Win95 system from running stable (well, I wouldn't really call Win95/98 stable...;-) on K6-2 with 350 MHz and up. On their Web-pages they admit that it's a software error, but they only provide fixes for the OEM service releases - not for the initial and quite expensive Win95 retail release. Instead they suggest to call their support line or to upgrade to Win98. In either case it means spending quite an amount of cash for a bugfix that should be a matter of course.
  • Posted by pennacook:

    This "Cnn" article came right out of Computerworld last week - there stink was that M$ had not made any suggestion as to a patch to win95 until about 2 weeks ago, when infact it had been available for some time - but not on their web pages anywhere..

    just a typical M$ tactic...

  • This rates right up there with "This is going to hurt me more than it does you", or "You have forced me to do this(some terrible action that the person is dying to do to you) because of your actions", etc.

  • Hm that's odd, I thought Microsoft was supposed to have good documentation and support. At least that is what Mindcraft says.

    Very strange...

  • Yep, that pisses me off more than anything. What views these files? Not xanim on UNIX, MoviePlayer on a Mac, or Media Player on NT... only Win '98.

    "Let's make a movie file that many people can't see. I bet they'll love that. And the file is 2k smaller!"

    Proprietary codecs can bite me. I wish they had a "design flaw" where they became open source in the year 2000. y2k licensing issues, anybody? :)
  • Not until next year. :)

    But it isn't too hard to fix the bug in Perl. It's a friggin' interpreted language, you always have the source. Try that with your average program from the 50's or 60's...
  • So you're saying that Windows NT was written to have this issue built into it?

    Yep. It was written that way. Somewhere along the way, during the design of NT, someone decided not to use a 4-digit date, at least not consistantly. That makes it a design decision and therefore a design flaw.

  • Actually, I think it was IBM that invented it. Or so I've heard anyway. That was before they became a kinder, gentler giant :)

  • Wow. Where to start with this one? Here goes...

    Is it even worthwhile patching Win95 if 90% of their users will abandon it by y2k anyway?

    This line, and the tripe that came before it, is ridiculous. If they released a product with bugs that make it unusable by Y2K, then they damn well better fix it! People bought that product and were not warned that it would cease to function properly in a few years.

    Microsoft gets flamed plenty for "pre-announcing" software it doesn't ship for years, now they are getting flamed for not-announcing software they may or may not ship. Sheesh. As far as the charge of running up win98 sales goes, they may indeed be guilty of that, but planned obsolescence in the marketplace is not by any means restricted to Microsoft.

    This is one of the lamest arguments I've seen yet. Microsoft gets flamed for pre-announcing products in order to kill off interest in other companies' products. Microsoft gets flamed deceiving people in order to further line its pockets with cash. Whether they deceive by pre-announcing a product, or by not announcing a fix for their existing product, it's still deception. Whether Microsoft is the only one that does this is immaterial to the conversation. The article was about Microsoft. Perhaps other companies do this too. If so, then point it out. Tell us what company, and what they did. If it is true, then I would condemn that company for it as well.

    We have RUMINT (rumour intelligence) that MS may or may not be shipping a win95 patch. That's very thin evidence for drawing any conclusions about MS' MOTIVES.

    We've had a really good look at how MS thinks. We've seen tons of email that has been generated by the decision-makers at that company. They are completely devoted to marketshare and profit. Those are therefore the most likely motives. When you look at their actions, they make alot of sense given these motives.

    What would you prefer MS did? Offer no Win95 patch at all (they are forcing us to 98!) Develop a win95 patch, but don't announce it until nearly done (ditto) ? Develop a win95 patch, announce it months in advance (they are creating FUD by preannouncing, their old trick. Besides, what if development runs late?) ? Everything Microsoft does here could be construed as greed or guilt (not that MS is not greedy or guilty sometimes ... )

    I'll tell you exactly what I would prefer they did. I would prefer that they announce their patch as soon as they are committed to creating it. Then I would definitely prefer that they follow through on their announcement and deliver the goods as promised. People bought Win95 without any warning from Microsoft that it would be broken by the turn of the century. They deserve to have their product fixed or receive a refund.

    Call me naive, but I would take Mr Jones' statement at face value until someone gave me EVIDENCE to the contrary.

    Ok, you're naive. Don't take anything Microsoft says at face value. They say what they need to say to keep themselves out of trouble. They've been caught in too many lies and deceptions in the past for us to trust anything they say without THEM providing the evidence to make us believe it.

    Thank you, drive through.

  • There has been some discussion of that on the linux-kernel list. In all probability, patches will be generated as soon as gcc handles long long better.

  • Oh man, that 2nd paragraph almost read like a Segfault article. Actually, someone should write one about this.
  • There was a patch for Win95 for Y2K compliance
    that could be gotten at Odd
    that no one in this article seemed to check
    for the availability of this patch when written.
  • The ridiculous thing is that most of these Y2K design flaws being discussed are so incredibly minor compared to the day to day major flaws in say Win95.

    Along those lines, what kind of Y2K testing has been done on Open Source/Linux projects? Has RedHat or any of the others setup a Y2K lab to run through the standard testing plans?
  • Thanks. When I checked a couple months ago for the y2k patches for our win95 machines, I couldn't find it. I finally found the page after wading through all the different versions of win95. The version that I had was 'compliant, with issues'. This basically meant that I had to download a patch to fix 2-3 dozen executables and dlls. I could either do that by buying a cd or downloading the patches. The link for download the patches went right back to the MS y2k home page that didn't have much more than a link where I could buy the upgrade cd.

  • err...I should have previewed that..I meant a couple weeks, not months.

  • "[T]he last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in [the users'] minds."
    - Don Jones, Microsoft's Y2K Product Manager


  • I followed the link to "Reasons to upgrade" to windows 98. Here's my favorite bit:

    What's the bext way to upgrade? Buy a new computer with a new OS already installed!!

    "How to move to Windows NT Workstation 4.0 from Windows 95: The best way to move to Windows NT Workstation is to get it preinstalled on a Windows 2000 READY PC, which also provides the easiest possible upgrade path to Windows 2000 Professional. Find out about these high-performance computers..."

  • Doesn't the y2.038k rely upon unix using a signed long integer? Isn't the ANSI C implementation of time based on an unsigned long?

    This would mean that applications and microcontrollers which were programmed properly would not have a problem for roughly another hundred years... not another 38 years.

    Could somebody help me if I'm wrong about this? Why would anybody need a signed long time?

  • That's "the last thing" as in "the last step of my big plan". Not as in "something I don't want to do at all". That's what he meant to say, right? :-)
  • submit it to the Quote Monster [] (it's a site I'm working on for fun and amusement).


  • by emag ( 4640 ) < minus bsd> on Monday May 03, 1999 @12:48PM (#1906077) Homepage

    "I don't want people taking action based on Microsoft thinking about doing something," said Don Jones, year 2000 product manager at Microsoft. ... "...and the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    Amazing how this is 180 degrees opposite the usual MS strategy of pre-announcing products years in advance, or even just making announcements about non-existent products to keep out the competition.
  • "I don't want people taking action based on Microsoft thinking about doing something... People will spend millions of dollars, [implementing strategies based on such information]" But they sure don't mind people spending HUNDREDS of millions of dollars on a worthless upgrade to win98. And didn't microsoft invent the concept of "vaporware"?
  • Come 01/01/00 when all those 3 to 4 1/2 year old computers that cost people $1500 to $3000 or more don't work properly and it turns out not to be the hardware but the MS software at fault and the owners of those machines decide that they'll be d****d if they're going to financially reward MS for selling them software that was scheduled to self-destruct in 5 or fewer years, wouldn't it be deliciously ironic if Wall Streets computers were sufficiently Y2K compliant (and able to handle the load) to be able to accomodate the dumping of MS stock as the owners realize that MS is going to be too busy waving those EULA's around in court trying to get suit after suit after suit dismissed to be able to develop new software that nobody is going to buy after having already been burned.

  • "People will spend millions of dollars, [implementing strategies based on such information], and the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    This is Microsofts' standard operating procedure. Of course he doesn't want to announce a patch. He'd much prefer forcing customers to buy more unwanted Microsoft products. Think about it... Millions of bug-fix downloads, or millions of extorted software sales... If *I* were a Microsoft Vice President, it would be a pretty easy business decision...

    They do the same thing with Windows NT - Rather than fixing it so that it is reliable enough to run customers' applications, Microsoft encourages you to buy two or three. One for each application. And people do. Microsoft has no presure or incentive whatsoever to produce quality products.

  • Linux, in Unixish tradition, won't have a Y2K problem for 3 decades

    This is not totally true. Some industries have been dealing with Y2K issues for a while now,
    and are in all probability not far from dealing with 2038 issues. Imagine retirement investment
    accounts; I'm not planning on retirement until past 2038, so if I fill that in I'm already past the
    problem year.

    -Richard Campbell (
  • by craw ( 6958 ) on Monday May 03, 1999 @04:09PM (#1906082) Homepage
    When MS talks about not wanting to spread FUD, they devilishly twist the meaning around in circles. What causes fear? Having Y2K failures. What causes Uncertainty and Doubt? Not knowing what the vendor is going to do to fix known problems. I know this from experience. I had to certify (or surplus) over 50 computer equipment for Y2K compliance.

    Thanks MS. You are still the master of deception and PR. BTW, Muth did get to this employee and obviously trained him well (there is always two, a master and an apprentice).
  • It only looks like a 180-degree turn, until you realize that vaporware announcements and the non-announcement here both achieve the same goal: getting people to buy a new Microsoft product.
  • Are you saying dselect is slow on 486?
    I used it just fine, recently, on a 386/DX40/8Meg
    board. It was a joy. Nearly a thrill.
  • rate.asp
  • Now is clear to me that the so called "lack of development roadmap" in linux is it's real strenght.
    Microsoft don't have a real development plan for it's products instead, they have a big, hughe commercial plan for their captive users.
    I can happly say I've never buyed or advised somebody to use their products, and I certainly never will.
  • It ends, someone seems to have been fired for choosing Microsoft! Yeah!
    Are the dominos falling?
  • uncertainty surrounding Microsoft's development roadmap

    But, according to M$, Linux doesn't have a "roadmap" either... We better all go back to DOS^H^H^H Windows 98

    Linux, in Unixish tradition, won't have a Y2K problem for 3 decades, at which time we should all be on 64 bit systems anyway

    That's the sort of thinking that got us into this year-2000 mess in the first place. Someone, somewhere will still be using 32-bit systems for something critical in 2038.

  • You can't install Win98 on a system which runs below 66 MHz, so companies with tonnes of 386's and 486's (which beleive it or not still exist) under the 66 MHz mark will not only need to install Win98 to put their Y2K fears to rest, but will also have to outlay for new systems. I'm sure the minspec for Win2k will be at least a P166 with 32meg of RAM and there's a LOT of systems out there below that mark.

    Even Linux suffers from the issue of spec though. Have you run dselect on a 486/33 recently, ugh.
  • I think his point was that it was a largely -preventable- 'bug'. If they intentionally designed and coded stuff in that they knew would break on Y2k, then they were being lazy and irresponsible. So the breakage would be intended behavior, since they didn't care. But if they actually tried to do stuff correctly and problems still came up, then I'd say that is more of a bug category.

    My personal opinion, is that most of this y2k stuff was totally preventable if designers of h/w, s/w had been more responsible. If it is something they can 'fix' today, why could they not have 'fixed' it before they released it????
  • I liked this little blurb:
    Top ten reasons to upgrade. Think you're happy now? Upgrade to Windows 98 and see what you've been missing.
    Um ... No, Bill, I'm not happy now.

    (With Windows, that is. I'm using my SGI Indigo2 to type this. I like it a lot).


  • Microsoft being less than honest with a customer doesn't surprise me. What I found particularly interesting was the quote by the Y2K product manager:

    "I don't want people taking action based on Microsoft thinking about doing something," said Don Jones, year 2000 product manager at Microsoft. "Until I'm 100% sure that we're going to provide an update or fix, I don't want to tell anybody," Jones added. "People will spend millions of dollars, [implementing strategies based on such information], and the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    Not only does a Microsoft employee acknowledge the existance of FUD, he makes it sound like they are actively opposed to it!
  • Other computer companies are either fixing their flawed applications free of charge, or are in court because of customer demands. Even IBM has been to court because of Y2K-related litigation, and they are huge!

    So what EDS needs to do is sue MS to recoup the cost of upgrading, since one of the recurring arguments against Linux is that there's nobody to sue. That might make MS think twice about pulling this kind of sh** in the future.

  • When questioned by Computerworld reporters, Microsoft officials couldn't specify any incorrect or misleading information in the March 29 story.

    Imagine that... they (MS) claims the article contains incorrect and misleading information, but is unable to provide an example or counterpoint. As others have said, this is so typical of MS, that it amazes me that these types of things still surprise me.

  • The key word here is "critical" A critical application would be something along the lines of a database backend used to track purchase orders. Anyone trying to do something such as this on a MS OS should be black-listed because they don't know what they are doing.

    The only reason non-computer-literate folks can use MS is because it comes pre-installed (like the Mac, which also happens to be used by non-techs). Linux can already be purchased pre-installed and KDE/GNOME/??? can easily be used by anyone. The installation and config aspects of Linux should soon be advanced enough for almost anyone to do. This idea that Linux is too hard and that it will be too expensive to retrain people is just MS FUD.

  • As far as I can tell, many of the backwards-compatiblity issues have to do with tighter default security in Win2K - Normal users will no longer be able to write to certain registry keys and so on. This makes it hard for sloppy 9x applications.

    The real reason Windows 2000 is late is the ActiveDirectory and IntelliMirror, and all the gee-whiz network management stuff they've been promising for years.

    Still, Win2000 is probably a shoe-in on the desktop.

  • Actually Win2K seems to have dropped all systems below a Pentium Pro from the HCL, except for some laptops. The beta runs OK on my P-133 112MB RAM, however.

  • I downloaded and installed the windows95 Y2K patch 10 days ago. It was right on microsoft's site with all the other service packs and upgrades. Sure enough, it's missing from the lineup now. Luckily I still have a copy.

    I wish that the update and service pack listing was clearer about the order in which the patches have to be installed, and if there are any overlaps. There are a goodly number of networking-related patches, for example, and little way to know under what circumstances you need to install them. There are a few pointers in the documentation, but not much. I pretty much have to go by the date.

    Why don't they release another service pack that wraps them all up? I have no wish to bloat up to win98.

    Ah, if only the windows components were as modularly developed as Linux, you just go to the respective author's web site and get what you need, or just download your distribution's latest
  • by Outland Traveller ( 12138 ) on Monday May 03, 1999 @02:07PM (#1906099)
    I just found the link to the Y2K package I downloaded a few days back: com/windows/downloads/bin/w95/y2kw95.txt []

    Is this what all the fuss is about?
  • From the CNN article []:
    "...the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    --Don Jones, year 2000 product manager at Microsoft

    He must have burst into flames just after saying that. =]

    --j, who wants a framed, autographed copy of that quote.

  • Is the software that I paid my hard earned money for going to be unusable at the turn of the century? Is that fair for me? Come on Microsoft, get that Windows for 286s y2k patch crackin.
  • Well, according to Duh 2000 [], this quote was attributed to Al Gore in Vanity Fair magazine.

    Bravery, Kindness, Clarity, Honesty, Compassion, Generosity

  • Also, following the March 29 story about EDS, Microsoft issued an internal market bulletin to its sales staff to eliminate what it described as "confusion" generated by the Computerworld story.

    Reminds me of a bit of Orwell's work. Hmm..

    compworld 29.3.99 misquote bb rectify

    I don't know what the rest of y'all think, but that's what came to mind.

  • Don Jones says "...the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    Perhaps he meant to say "the first thing I want to do...." Electronic Data Systems, it seems, was full of uncertainty and doubt on the matter.
  • That's the general idea. The devil, as they say, is in the details, specifically making sure that you really don't eat up additional clock cycles very often. That's where I need to check the actual code before doing anything. 10-20 clock cycles every second is probably livable, the same number on every clock interrupt wouldn't be feasible.

  • Is is becuase an increment on a long long takes longer than an increment on a long? And, if so, in this day and age of fast processors, does it really matter when compared to the future-proofing this would provide ?

    A 64-bit increment takes several times as long on a 32-bit CPU as a 32-bit increment. And yes, even in this age of 500+MHz processors that makes a difference. I'm not that deep into that particular section of the code, but the clock-tick handler is probably one of the most-executed code paths in the kernel. While it's executing everything else on the system comes to a complete halt, so it's one of the hot-spots where cycles do count.

    That said, I'm going to have to look to see whether there's a reasonably-low-overhead way of extending the 32-bit time to 64 bits on the i386 kernel. I use date classes that test out up through 31 Dec 9999, I might as well have a system time that's good until then too.

  • ANSI/ISO C ( and C++ ) doesn't specify the signedness of time_t. However, existing practice uses negative time_t values to represent times before 1 Jan 1970. Switching time_t to unsigned wouldn't violate the standard but it would break lots of existing code ( which is the reason it isn't being done by the serious library developers ).

  • Or joe 'I'l have a 20 quid floppy drive and a copy of OSR2 please...'

    Mike Quin
    "We're still in the game, right?" - Oriental player, eXistenZ
  • Actually, the kernel would be the least of my worries for Y2K-type problems. Many utilities (such as "at") and various servers have the potential for Y2K problems not related to the system clock, but related to processing data files or log files with 2-digit dates in them, and not all of them have necessarily been examined for problems.

    Of course, many major components have undergone some careful testing. Major applications and libraries like Apache, Ghostscript, Glibc and libc, Perl, CVS, RCS, etc. do have year 2000 statements detailing any issues and patches to fix those issues. But I do wonder sometimes if some command that I don't use very often might blow up in 2000.
  • You know, with a little creative editing...:

    "People will spend millions of dollars ... and the ... thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    Heh. :)
  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Monday May 03, 1999 @01:33PM (#1906111)
    I'm sure it is way too late to do anything about this, but I'd sure like to see /.ters being smart about this.

    Y2K problems are NOT BUGS! A bug is an unintended behavior, when a program or system behaves in a manner inconsistent with design and intent. The Y2K problem is a design flaw. The people who wrote these systems knew full well about the problems of a two digit year and they chose to implement the systems that way anyways. If you intended it, it is not a bug.

    I know this is techno-nitpicking. But this bugs me more than "can you borrow me five bucks?" And, hey, now that you mention it...

    EvilPenguin (aka Michael Schwarz), grammatically uptight in Minneapolis...
  • That quote is worth more than any email snippets the DOJ might have... " spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in..." FUD! From the horses mouth!
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday May 03, 1999 @02:06PM (#1906113)
    Publish a product in 1995 without Y2K compliance? I guess the road ahead is a short one for some visionaries.

    So do I track down the patch, or just delete my Y19C partition to make more swap space for The GIMP? Decisions, decisions...
  • Look at their Win95 page: []

    First thing they want you to do, is to upgrade to Win98. . . .

    But now, for some strange reason, there's a link to the Win95 Y2K fix. . .

    Funny, that. . . .

  • What do you mean, "you think" ??? If you've dealt with Gates and Co, you pretty much know it from day one. . . I work in a Micro$oft house, so I go to M$ activities, like their "Direct Access" and "TechNet" quarterly briefings. They've been pushing Y2K as a sales plan for Office 97->Office 2K path and upgrades from Win 3.x (yes, plenty of places still use it. . .) and 95 to 98 and NT WS.

  • Well, that would explain a few things at my company. I'm employed by a multibillion dollar corporation which now insists that all new computer procurements have NT installed - no W95 or W98 (or Linux :-() options. I finally realized exactly how stupid this was when we ordered IBM laptops and they arrived with NT installed even though the req specified W98. So guess what? The Kodak USB cameras we bought specifically to hook up to these laptops? They don't have NT drivers! I had heard that NT driver support was weak, but this just proved it as far as I'm concerned. And yet, the company has already jumped off the cliff... smart!!
  • Lets think about this.. A company has 100,000 seats, maybe just 1000. MS doesn't care what they want? I would be irrate if I had bought all those licenses.

    If you had the source code you could make sure that its Y2k compliant, instead of relying on MS or any other vendor for that matter. Or if you couldn't afford the man power on your own you might be able to buy a patch from someone who could code it.

    Linux obviously wouldn't have these stupid problems because they'd be fixed.

    I'm really suprised corporations aren't really scared of relying on software from just one vendor that does things as poorly as MS.

  • Not that I am a MS fan, but I downloaded the Y2K patch from the MS site about a week or two ago. I'm not sure that it works, but it is still offered in their Windows 95 updates section with tons of other patches and upgrades. I installed it on a bunch of clients on my network here.

    It's buried, but I got it at:

    Y2K Update []

    Of course, one of their suggested updates is to upgrade to 98... go figure.


  • Whoops! My bad, the update can be had by clicking the 'Windows 95' tab here [], then clicking on 'Year 2000 Fix' or something like that. I should have used preview hehe.

  • by laktar ( 22519 )
    Is it just me, or did anybody else notice this?
    "the last thing I want to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    I guess it's true though, I could never ever ever picture Microshaft spreading FUD. That's not their style. They go for legitimately sponsored independent tests that prove conclusively that their OSes are superior.
  • "People will spend millions of dollars, [implementing strategies based on such information], and the last thing I want
    to do is spread fear, uncertainty and doubt in their minds."

    C'mon, this is typical of M$, of course they want people to spend millions of dollars, right into their windows98 and W2K. This is so low, and I wonder why after all we have known about this company, news like this still surprises me?

  • Give ME a break. Y2k has been a HOT topic in the computer world since at LEAST 96, and in the past year and a half it has gotten major press. We're talking about WIndows **95** here. They've have enough time. MS will be MS, which means, late, lame, and lazy.

  • "Obviously, Microsoft was selling a broken operating system until June of 1998"

    You're wrong, they have been selling broken OS'es for longer than June of 1998. Win 98 isn't Y2K compliant and the first patch issued by M$ that should have made Win98 Y2K compliant was broken. So, you have got a company that sell you a product that has less than a year of life before being useless.
  • This should come as no surprise. Microsoft is in the business of *SELLING* software. Nothing else. I would be surprised if MS is the only company who is not being up-front about Y2K issues. It's kind of a sad statement about the way we do business. We are driven by growth and P/E ratios instead of honosty and decency.

    The real sad thing is that there is no threat that EDS will tell MS to shove it and take their order for 100,000 desktop OS's elsewhere. MS is holding them hostage. I really can't wait for someone (Linux or whoever) to come in and provide a viable alternative.
  • is where the Y2K updates are if you want them. Bill would have shot himself in the foot if he didn't release them. I believe '95 is still the most popular OS of the bunch.

    I run NT4/SP4, and contrary to what you may have heard, it only goes down when I say "shut down". My main machine's twin is on the other side of the monitor waiting for a few more parts, a switchbox, and the Redhat 6.0 CD.

    I like Win '95 OSR2; especially how much I paid for it :). They should have stayed with a product that works. They still could if they were smart, however. . .
  • Hmm... isn't *lack* of statement more FUD that making a statement that turns out to be false later?

    Seems more like "the last thing I want to do is provide any concrete information that customers will use to prepare themselves, which might get reversed on me later and get me into trouble"
  • Huh? He was not my 'mangler', he was a colleague who happened to be in charge of the project in the office. What neglegence? This is a 15 year old system that none of us were around when it was designed, but it used the same date conventions everyone else did in the 80's. This is a in-house developed 1-off system. The difficulty was in making the ppl who run the company to understand the nature of the problem (apparently they are not alone)

    Sorry, I don't get the point of your question.
  • This is a logically sound argument...
    However, logic does not always factor as the prime motivation in business communication.

    I had this same (sortof) argument with the manager over our company's y2k project. He kept referring to the problem as 'infection' and I confronted him that this was not a virus, or a bug, or a glitch, or a coding error but a design and/or convention problem.

    He did not disagree with me on factual arguments, he understood the origin of this problem well enough (heck, he was a coder in the trenches with me back in the old days). He said the problem was trying to get the 'suits' to carry the proper mindset about the y2k project.

    Calling it an infection or bug was something the PHB's could understand. Trying to use more accurate language just overran their buffers. I suspect Microsoft and others probably use the same terminology for the same reasons.
  • I Like Microsoft, as long as they do stuff like this, I have Job security.
    Think... How can you work in an industry where everything runs smoothly? If it doesn't break you can't fix it. If you can't fix it you can't bill.
    I make how much I do :) because Microsoft products are always needing fixing, or needing patches that the average user can't find.
    So, Thank you Microsoft, for building a piece of garbage that allows me to pay the rent.

    Now I have to ask... Was that sarcastic?

    You decide.
  • "This one particular 'feature' in all the current windows OSes will put another bucketload of cash in my pocket. Ooh Im so clever!"

    I wonder if a global class action is out of the question.
  • y2k critical is EVERYTHING!

    you can't expect everyone using a PC to be computer literate enough to use a non MS OS. come on. face it. MS has a monopoly and these people are victims. Have a LITTLE heart will ya?!
    MS has a responsibility!

  • As an old calculus prof used to say, "precision is nontrivial".

    The nitpicking matters isince in a lot of industries the owner of the design is completely different from the people writing code to spec.

    Your other good point is about intent. (And I thought it was just crime and art where intent was key.)

  • Even Linux suffers from the issue of spec though. Have you run dselect on a 486/33 recently, ugh.

    I've used dselect on a 386/16 recently. Slow, but usable.


  • by JatTDB ( 29747 ) on Monday May 03, 1999 @12:44PM (#1906135)
    I'd sure like it if they'd just make up their friggin' minds and say yay or nay on the patch issue. I've got a lot of client machines to upgrade if the answer is nay, and a patch to test (what? trust a M$ patch without testing? not in this lifetime) if the answer is yay.

    Kinda funny when you think about of the major FUDballs thrown at open source projects lately is the supposed lack of development roadmaps. Where's the M$ roadmap for this patch, if it exists? Only so many more months left...

  • There's an old saying that goes, "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft."

    May the guy at EDS be the first of many...
  • You sure that they are not trying to make us all use the next variation on NT?

    From a financial standpoint they really want to phase out windows as an os altogether because they make more on the NT licencing fees then they do on any Win ** version out there. Therefore, I expect them to try and push for us to all convert over to an NT system. (that and they can get the info and invade privacy even easier on the NT systems)

    The ability to sell the information from ppls systems is a temptation, but is unlikely from m$ as I do not believe they want to face that class action law suit. What is much more likely in the end game is: Win95 is so broke it is not economical to fix it. The cost of trying to find all of the bugs in man hours is such that they would have to eat their profits. Show me a company that wants to do that and I will show you one that is going out of business.

  • Actually, you are likely correct. My reading on the company in the Wall Street Jornal and other business realated news type stuffle seems to indicate that you are very much in the right. (irc)

    Surprisingly, the WSJ actually treats M$ and Linux fairly in their articles on par. On of the little things in there seems to indicate that the programmers from m$ may actually be looking to bail from the company if they can find another one that is stable and likely to stay solvent. The key there is that m$ is remarkable for it's toeing of the line in the legalities of it's method of competing with other companies. The way m$ competes it by trying to make the tool as simple to use as a hammer, so that the end user thinks that everything is just a nail. An end user that has become accostumed to this then cannot easily transition over to another system. It takes time to learn a system and given the choice, most people want to just know one (and not very well at that) and save their precious time.

    Thus, through the use of much simplified user enviroments like win95 and winNT, m$ has a captive audience. It is not too great a stretch then to believe that the company has decided to try to force upgrades onto this audience. This audience really cannot afford a work stoppage. If you were to look in the want adds of any large city newspaper, you would notice that among the secretarial pool and the general office staff the most common need is for some one that is competent in the windows 95/NT user environment and is capable of really manouvering in Office 97.

    As a result, I think you are quite right.

    --da telkitty

  • by haledon ( 43675 )
    This is the second or third time I've heard of MS doing something questionable since the DOJ trial has been on holiday. The thing that I wonder is whether the "powers that be" are watching MS, and whether all these little events are swaying them one way or another. It just makes you think, doesn't it? I mean, once this thing is over, I doubt that any of the states involved will have the money or inclination to fight it out again, so the judge is probably taking things EXTRA seriously, and ever little questionable act that MS commits must leave SOME sort of negative feeling... just my thoughts, but what do I know?
  • Piffle. Come on, guys, give 'em a break. Microsoft has to find out what needs patching, decide where to put resources ( old OS patches? new OS patches? new OS development? ) based on information that changes daily (how many people have win95 vs win98, sales projections, etc. ), then they need to decide what to fix first, what and when to announce, what to release, etc. For example, do you fix the 50% of the worst bugs, and ship in April, or go for 100% and ship in ... January '00? Is it even worthwhile patching Win95 if 90% of their users will abandon it by y2k anyway? Microsoft gets flamed plenty for "pre-announcing" software it doesn't ship for years, now they are getting flamed for not-announcing software they may or may not ship. Sheesh. As far as the charge of running up win98 sales goes, they may indeed be guilty of that, but planned obsolescence in the marketplace is not by any means restricted to Microsoft.
    Please bear in mind, as a general thing, that it is very easy to describe what someone (Bill Gates) DOES, but it is very tricky in general to infer what that same someone THINKS from those same deeds. We have RUMINT (rumour intelligence) that MS may or may not be shipping a win95 patch. That's very thin evidence for drawing any conclusions about MS' MOTIVES.

    What would you prefer MS did? Offer no Win95 patch at all (they are forcing us to 98!) Develop a win95 patch, but don't announce it until nearly done (ditto) ? Develop a win95 patch, announce it months in advance (they are creating FUD by preannouncing, their old trick. Besides, what if development runs late?) ? Everything Microsoft does here could be construed as greed or guilt (not that MS is not greedy or guilty sometimes ... )

    Call me naive, but I would take Mr Jones' statement at face value until someone gave me EVIDENCE to the contrary.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken