New sites track year-2000 readiness
by Nancy Weil
(IDG) -- Electronic Data Systems has launched a Web site providing free access to businesses, government agencies, and individuals seeking information on Year 2000 product compliance.
The site, Vendor 2000, currently includes information on more than 129,000 products from more than 3400 vendors and is growing daily, according to EDS officials at a press conference today. The news conference was also attended by John Koskinen, chair of the President's Council on Year 2000.
"Information and the exchange of information is a critical part of being able to remediate Y2K problems worldwide," Koskinen said.
Most older software programs were written with two-digit date fields that are likely to read the "00" in 2000 as "1900" and, therefore, fail to make correct calculations. Companies and government agencies worldwide have been scrambling to fix such software or to scrap it altogether and implement new systems.
One vendor whose software products are not listed on the site is, ironically, EDS. During the teleconference, a reporter accessed the Web site and searched the database for EDS and its products, but found no listing and asked about that lack. EDS officials said the site is intended more as a service for the public, providing details on other vendors, but left open the possibility of providing information about its own software.
Continual updating planned
The vendor database is continually updated with additions of companies and products and changes in compliance status. Some products listed as compliant now might not be in the future as vendors continue to "catch up internally," changing systems and software code, said John McClain, president of EDS and CIO Services.
Those changes can be disconcerting, said Koskinen, adding that he has discussed the issue with members of the U.S. Congress.
The President's Council on Year 2000 will have a link from its Web site to the Vendor 2000 site within the next few days. The council site provides information and links to Year 2000-related sites.
EDS isn't the only company to launch such a Web site this week. Leaders from U.S. business, government, and industry on Monday demonstrated the y2ktoday service, designed to provide current news, opinions, and analysis, as well as status reports and strategies for Year 2000 progress and compliance.
Both of the Web sites also are intended to provide a forum for discussions. The EDS site will allow users of various products to post comments regarding testing procedures and implementation of products.
Koskinen used the EDS-sponsored press conference as a platform to promote another Year 2000 news item -- discussions today in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act.
The bill is expected to win committee approval today, but will have to be voted on by the full Senate. Approval in the Senate seems likely because the proposed legislation is a compromise agreement worked out among lawmakers. The bill would protect consumers who buy software for personal use, encourage companies to disclose Year 2000 compliance and progress to the government on the promise that such details will not be revealed, and assist companies in exchanging Year 2000-related technical information.
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