News in Review

CA, Platinum users face support crisis

Computer Associates' $3.5 billion buyout of Platinum Technology is expected to generate "uncertainty" in the user base of both organisations, analyst group Meta claimed last month. While lauding the move as a good blend of technologies, the group said that users can expect Platinum's "intellectual capital" driving its business to dissipate through layoffs, resignations, and attrition."This will cause temporary support issue uncertainty in the customer base, which competitors will capitalise on," the report states.

Meta said CA will add more than 50 products, with the biggest impact felt in the data warehouse (DW), application life-cycle, and enterprise systems management (ESM) markets.

Windows 2000 may ship minus tools

Microsoft last month confirmed it's aiming for an Oct. 6 release for Windows 2000. But sources said that although all the features will be included, some -- such as Active Directory and Intellimirror -- will lack integral management tools.

A source inside Microsoft said Oct. 6 is a "target date" that is "100 per cent subject to review and change". Beta 3 was supposed to ship on April 21 -- before IA went to print -- but a commercial shipping date for Windows 2000 has been elusive.

Analysts and third-party developers building Windows 2000-related products said Microsoft is leaving out some management tools in order to get the operating system out the door.

Web content sets precedent

-- Peter Young

Material posted on an Adelaide Web site by an Australian historian arrested in Germany for disputing the Holocaust may be used against him at his trial.

The case could set a bad precedent for individuals whose Web sites offend governments other than their own, according to cyber liberties watchdog Electronic Frontiers Australia. On a trip to Germany last month, controversial historian Frederick Toben was charged under a law which prohibits "defaming the memory of the dead".

Toben is chairman of the Adelaide Institute, an organisation whose Web site claims the Nazi death camps for Jews are not historically provable.

Y2K Update

Govt reports on Y2K compliance

Last month saw the release of new information on the Y2K readiness of individual commonwealth government agencies, and statements on the readiness of several industry sectors from federal government ministers.

As reported by Computerworld, the report, containing Y2K compliance details on 108 commonwealth agencies, reveals the percentage of systems that are compliant, the percentage under assessment, the percentage under repair and testing and the percentage of completed contingency plans for individual agencies.

Meanwhile, commonwealth ministers released statements on the Y2K readiness of key sectors including the finance industry, the aviation industry and the communications industry.

The next report on the readiness of commonwealth agencies is expected in June, and is expected to show commonwealth Y2K remediation as mostly complete.

Treasurer Peter Costello issued a statement on year 2000 preparedness in the Australian financial sector.

Costello said: "I understand that remediation and internal testing of critical systems has largely been completed [in the financial sector], and that the majority of financial institutions expect to complete external testing -- the last stage towards achieving year 2000 compliance -- by end June 1999."

The treasurer also indicated that he has been advised that testing is well advanced in payments clearing systems, with completion of tests due at the end of June.

Also last month, John Anderson, Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, issued a statement on Y2K compliance in the aviation industry.

According to Anderson, "CASA [the Civil Aviation Safety Authority] is continuing to develop its regulatory framework for assessing Y2K compliance, with the aim being to ensure safety in the best possible way."

Anderson indicated that Qantas and Ansett expect to have critical systems Y2K compliant by July 1999.

Qantas and Ansett expect to complete business continuity and backup plans by August and September, 1999, respectively, Anderson said.

However, Anderson warned "Australians travelling abroad over the period of the date change should be aware that many countries might not be as well prepared as Australia."

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Communications Senator Richard Alston reported that the communications industry was well advanced in terms of Y2K preparedness.

"Reports indicate that more than 85 per cent of network remediation is now complete with the remainder representing less critical network equipment to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 1999," Alston said, referring to the networks of Telstra, Cable & Wireless Optus, Vodafone and AAPT.

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