Taiwan’s version of Y2K bug approaching

The world escaped from the Y2K bug 10 almost unharmed. Except for a few minor errors, most computers and system functioned properly when 1 January 2000 arrives. The world’s computer system didn’t collapse and we didn’t revert to stone age. For the uninitiated, Y2K bug (or millennium bug) was a problem for both digital (computer-related) and non-digital documentation and data storage situations which resulted from the practice of abbreviating a four-digit year to two digits.

Taiwan is about to experience their version of Y2K bug when 1 January 2011 arrives. This is because Taiwan uses Minguo calendar (民國紀元) for official purposes.

Minguo calendar counts time from the 1911 revolution that brought down the last Chinese emperor. Which means 2011 will be Minguo 100. This might cause problem for older computers which aren’t programed to count 3 digit years.

But I guess 1 January 2011 will be uneventful for the Taiwanese system admins and programmers on standby. After all, they have lots of time to prepare for the Y1C arrival. Minguo calendar is mainly used in the Government sector. Most of the computers are already on 3 digit year system. The only concern now is the small businesses. Let’s hope they’ve already fixed the Y1C bug. Even if they didn’t, the impact will be quite minimal.

Here’s another interesting thing. North Korea’s Juche calendar might also encounter the same Y1C bug. The Juche calendar is based on the birth year of Kim Il-Sung which happens to be 1912. 2011 is also year 100 in the Juche Calendar.

We don’t know how is the Y1C bug going to affect North Korea. I guess computer penetration isn’t very high. But I do hope they look into their system and fix all the Y1C bugs. Especially the systems/computers controlling their Nuclear power plants and missiles. Else we are in deep shit….

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