CAMUS user group members listening on a one-hour call Thursday heard the sound of a calendar page being ripped off. Experts in system management and development said the 2028 date deadline—when MPE's CALENDAR intrinsic stops being accurate—is only a moment of change that users and programmers can work around.
Unlike Y2K, it turns out that Y2028 is going to let everyone sleep well while they do their fixes. One 3000 expert said there's a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt being spread about 2028.
CALENDAR sits at the heart of many programs and systems, and no one on the call debated the intrinsic's useful lifespan. At midnight of the eve of 2028, the 16 bits of CALENDAR won't be enough. The intrinsic was built for the 1970s, not the third decade of the 21st Century.
But like the moment when Luke Skywalker left Dagobah to fight Darth Vader, there's been another Jedi of the OS. Hewlett-Packard built HPCALENDAR in the early 1990s once it decided to sell the 3000 against Unix. Replacing CALENDAR with HPCALENDAR will supply the 2028 fix.
Terry Floyd of the Support Group checked in after the call to show how he'll make that change in MANMAN whenever a customer needs running room of more than 10 years from the end of this December.
"Here is my spec for the Y2028 problem in MANMAN," Floyd said. The repair requires access to application source, something that many of the remaining MANMAN sites have.
Modify the MANMAN source code, replacing all calls to the CALENDAR Intrinsic (which returns a 16-bit integer) with calls to the HPCALENDAR Intrinsic, using a 32-bit integer variable. Change the next line or two of code to extract the Year and Day from the proper bits returned. Then, depending on MANMAN Release Number and availability of all source code,
a) Recompile/Re-Link every program in MANMAN, or
b) Recompile/Re-Link selected programs and Re-Link Dispatchers.
MANMAN's Integer Date format (based on an offset from 1900) is capable of supporting dates beyond 2050, but is artificially stopped at 28,552 = 12/31/49.
This Y2028 fix will extend the life of MANMAN well into the future.
After the conference call, Floyd said he thought the work to carry MPE/iX into 2028 would take less than half a day. Depending on the support provider, a lot less.