January 10, 2000 11:25 AM PST
Lotus takes note of Y2K bug
Lotus has confirmed a Y2K-related bug in its Domino messaging software that can cause client software to crash. According to the company, the problem occurs when a document included in a Notes/Domino message contains a year date greater than 2000 or before 1950.
The company said it has provided a workaround on its Web site, and will patch the bug in a forthcoming service upgrade.
"The problem affects all platforms supported by Notes and Domino, but it is estimated that only a small percentage actually would experience this issue," the IBM subsidiary said in a customer alert issued last week.
The affected versions of Notes and Domino are R5, 4.6.6 and 4.5.7, the company said.
To avoid any crashes prior to the release of the patch, Lotus said users should change their text field to time and make sure the value returned by the formula is a text value by using the @Text function in the formula for the text field.
Additional information is available on IBM's Y2K alert site.
"It's not surprising that vendors are seeing some glitches here and there," said Kazim Isfahani, an analyst with Giga Information Group. On the other hand, "the fact that we haven't seen any major problems with software products isn't that surprising as well. As a vendor, you would expect that there will be some glitches here and there. Even with all the work that's been done, you can't fix every single issue."
While many experts predicted widespread computer problems, even outright economic recession due to the bug, the vast majority of companies report that they have made the transition to the year 2000 without incident, some minor glitches have arisen.
Some experts maintain that additional problems will surface later this month, as big companies run once-a-month applications, such as payroll systems, that could contain Y2K glitches.
On Friday, online transaction processing firm CyberCash said merchants using its software have processed duplicate credit card transactions as a result of a Y2K-related computer glitch.
Last week, two MP3 software companies, Visiosonic and Audio Box, reported that their devices crashed on users just as the new year rolled in.
Microsoft last week said it experienced two year 2000-related problems, affecting its Internet Explorer Web browser and its free email service, Hotmail.
In late December, credit card swipe machine maker Racal Electronics and bank group HSBC Holdings said they exterminated a Y2K software bug causing delays for thousands of U.K. shoppers. A date change recognition problem in the software of as many as 20,000 swipe machines made by Racal and supplied to merchants by HSBC was behind problems that started on Dec. 26, causing long lines at checkout counters.
Still most Y2K problems remain minor, almost comical. For example, at Super Video, a video store in New York state, a customer at the store got the shock of the young century on New Year's Day when the charge for renting "The General's Daughter" came to $91,250, Reuters reported. The store's computer was charging customers as though they were returning videos 100 years late. "The clerk and I were shocked, and then zeroed out the late charge and gave the customer a free video rental and wished him Happy New Year," s said Terry Field, owner of the store.