Let leaping bugs lie

On February 29, the last Y2K-anxious day, the Australian Department of Immigration has confirmed it experienced technical glitches in its federal office.

A spokesperson for the department said on Tuesday that the government organisation experienced "coding errors" surrounding "today's date (Feb 29)" in relation to certain (unspecified) computerised documents. The problem was fixed "within the hour", and its impact on the department and its clients was dismissed as "minimal".

Industry analysts highlighted February 29, 2000 as the last single Y2K-critical day. It was believed that many computers had been programmed to exclude 2000 as a leap year -- as is usually correct practice for years ending in 00. However, as there are 97 leap years every 400 years and since 2000 is also a multiple of 400, the leap year exclusion rule does not apply.

The spokesperson stressed the extent of the disruption went no further than extended waiting time for the organisation and its clients during the hour it took to fix the problem. No data was misplaced or confused as a result of the glitch, the spokesperson said.

The department manages its information systems both internally and through Sydney-based outsourcing company CSC. Neither the department nor CSC would say whether the outsourcing company was needed to assist in the repairing of, or had in fact been responsible for, the technical problem.

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