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Two Digits for a Date

    Author Unknown  (sung to the tune of "Gilligans Island, more or less)

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
Of the doom that is our fate,
That started when programmers used
Two digits for a date.
Two digits for a date.

Main memory was smaller then;
Hard disks were smaller, too.
"Four digits are extravagant,
So let's get by with two.
So let's get by with two."

"This works through nineteen-ninety-nine,"
The programmers did say,
"Unless we rewrite before that,
It all will go away.
It all will go away."

But Management had not a clue:
"It works fine now, you bet!
A rewrite is a great expense;
We won't do it just yet.
We won't do it just yet."

Now, when two thousand rolls around,
It all goes straight to hell,
For zeros less than ninety-nine,
As anyone can tell.
As anyone can tell.

The mail won't bring your pension check,
It won't be sent to you
When you're no longer sixty-eight,
But minus thirty-two.
But minus thirty-two.

The problems we're about to face
Are frightening, for sure.
And reading every line of codes
The only certain cure.
The only certain cure.

There's not much time,
There's too much code.
(And COBOL-coders, few.)
When the century is finished with,
We may be finished, too.
We may be finished, too.

Eight thousand years from now I hope
That things weren't left too late,
And people aren't then lamenting
Four digits for a date.
Four digits for a date.

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Feedback:Doug.Aberdeen AT anu.edu.au