Co-operation not litigation

I read with sadness the article regarding the year 2000 "time-bomb" in the 30 July issue of The Lawyer.

While other markets are discussing with software companies and designers the solution to this problem, the legal fraternity seems to be promoting litigation.

Yes, of course there is a problem. Without modification software will become chronologically confused but will not, as stated in the article, crash.

Most professional software developers are aware of this problem and have been for a considerable time. Most already have solutions in place or are implementing the changes.

No software designer expected that software components written possibly over 30 years ago would still be in use today. To attempt to penalise the designers for this is patently foolish. Over the last three decades or so machines have changed, operating systems have changed. Even some of the machines used at that time were incapable of handling the turn of the century.

If, by this apparent promotion of the confrontational approach, several suppliers, in whose hands the solution lies, decide to withdraw from the market, it will be the users who suffer the most.

Is this not an example of the "I'm protected by a contract therefore the damage caused by a failure is irrelevant" approach to business?

Rather than the "examine their software licence and maintenance agreements to establish who is responsible" approach, as the article suggested, is it not surely better to discuss with the supplier how the problem is being resolved? Perhaps the promotion of discussion and mutual co-operation would be of greater assistance than that of "litigation threats".

John Meehan

Management Support Systems

82 Alexandra Road


Hampshire GU14 6DD.