French computer systems found to be immune to Y2K problems.

I Find Karma (
Wed, 2 Apr 97 14:49:48 PST

ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, Peter G. Neumann, moderator

French computer systems found to be immune to Y2K problems (John O'Connor)


Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 0:59:59 +0100 (MET)
From: "John O'Connor" <>
Subject: French computer systems found to be immune to Y2K problems

Paris, Tuesday, 1st of April 1997

The French Ministry of Informatics (MOI) today announced that they have
determined that French computer systems will not be affected by the year
2000 problem. An extensive series of tests have been run on a wide
range of applications within the country and on no system has a Y2K
problem been apparent.

A spokesman put this good fortune down to a side-effect of the French
number system. In this system the number eighty is represented by the
composite "quatre vingts" -- literally "four twenties." French computer
systems represent the "quatre" as a single digit and will harmlessly
roll over to "cinq vingts" or "five twenties" while the rest of the
world collapses. Thus, "quatre vingts dix neuf" will increment to "cinq

French speaking areas of Belgium and Switzerland are bemused by these
developments, because they still use the older "septant, octant, nonant"
system for 70, 80, and 90. The Belgian government is thought to be
considering an urgent change in the language. This would provide a
major boost for the less prosperous French speaking part of the country
when computer systems are relocated to French speaking communes.

Microsoft has announced that it will use similar techniques to guarantee
the PCs will not suffer from such problems, by launching a new version
of their operating system. "Windows ninety ten" is expected to be
available in the year 2002.

[``MOI?'', dit Mademoiselle Petite-Couchon
(better known here as Miss Piggy). PGN]


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