Fun_People Archive
30 Apr
A Purely French Solution to the Year 2000 Problem

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 97 18:12:35 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: A Purely French Solution to the Year 2000 Problem



                     Paris, Tuesday, 1st of April 1997

The French Ministry of Informatics (MOI) today announced that they have
determined that French computer systems will not be affected by the year
2000 problem.  An extensive series of tests have been run on a wide range
of applications within the country and on no system has a Y2K problem been

A spokesman put this good fortune down to a side-effect of the French number
system.  In this system the number eighty is represented by the composite
"quatre vingts" -- literally "four twenties."  French computer systems
represent the "quatre" as a single digit and will harmlessly  roll over to
"cinq vingts" or "five twenties" while the rest of the world collapses.
Thus, "quatre vingts dix neuf" will increment to "cinq vingts."

French speaking areas of Belgium and Switzerland are bemused by these
developments, because they still use the older "septant, octant, nonant"
system for 70, 80, and 90.  The Belgian government is thought to be
considering an urgent change in the language.  This would provide a  major
boost for the less prosperous French speaking part of the country when
computer systems are relocated to French speaking communes.

Microsoft has announced that it will use similar techniques to guarantee
the PCs will not suffer from such problems, by launching a new version of
their operating system.  "Windows ninety ten" is expected to be available
in the year 2002.

[So that's what "Windows NT" stands for: "Windows Ninety Ten"  Assuming it  
still uses ASCII, it will be written " Windows 9: "...  -psl]

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