2.4.19 The Internet and the Millennium Problem (2000)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 39th IETF Meeting in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It may now be out-of-date.


Erik Huizer <Erik.Huizer@sec.nl>

Operations and Management Area Director(s):

John Curran <jcurran@bbn.com>
Michael O''Dell <mo@uu.net>

Operations and Management Area Advisor:

John Curran <jcurran@bbn.com>

Technical Advisor(s):

Scott Bradner <sob@harvard.edu>

Mailing Lists:

General Discussion:2000@nic.surfnet.nl
To Subscribe: listserv@nic.surfnet.nl
In Body: subscribe 2000 <your name> in body

Description of Working Group:

The Millenium problem

According to the trade press billions of dollars will be spend the upcoming three years on the year 2000 problem, also called the millenium problem (though the third millenium will only start in 2001). This problem consists of the fact that many software packages and some protocols use a two digit field for the year in a date field. Most of the problems seem to be in administrative and financial programs, some of which have been written in archaic languages like Cobol. A lot of organizations are now starting to make an inventory of which software and tools they use will suffer from the millenium problem.

....and the Internet

With the increasing popularity of the Internet, more and more organizations start to use the Internet as a serious business tool. This means that most organizations will want to analyze the millenium problems due to the use of Internet protocols and popular Internet software. In the trade press the first articles suggest that the Internet will collapse at midnight the 31st of December 1999.

To counter these suggestions (that are obviously wrong) and to avoid that all over the Internet people will redo the same inventory over and over again the WG is to make an inventory of all important Internet protocols and their most popular implementations with respect to the millenium problem. Only software and protocols directly related to the Internet will be considered.

The inventory will be published as an informational RFC. The RFC will contain:

The WG will meet once (in Memphis, April 1997), most of the work will be done via the mailing list.

Goals and Milestones:

Feb 97


Begin collecting inventory.

Sep 97


Submit Internet-Draft to IESG for publication as an Informational RFC.


No Request For Comments

Current Meeting Report

Minutes of the Year 2000 Working Group

Chair: Erik Huizer

Reported by: Philip Nesser


I. Opening
II. Review of Research Results So Far
III. Status of Areas
IV. ID Setup
VI. Scope Discussion

Erik recaps Memphis meeting most eloquently.

I. Areas

No remarks

Timers in security stuff (make it modulo 2^32)
Serial Numbers
Robert Elz promises report within one month

Network Management
A few MIB's specify date but no format
Version control in some MIB modules

In general, should be fine
Problem in ASN.1.
We should send a liaison report to ITU.

Virtual Terminal
TN3270 and Telnet are fine, modulo authentication protocols
SSH should be fine
X windows still needs more investigation and should be passed to the Open Group. Janecek, Peter from the Open Group formally takes the handoff.

Info Services & File Transfer
Report on HTTP.
1.1 requires 4-digit years from host requirements (RFC1123) but allows acceptance of RFC 850.
HTML should be fine as of RFC 1866
Nothing on File transfers (ftp, tftp) or other Info services.
Martin Carpenter volunteers

Nothing from Erik Fair. Similar to mail.
Try sticking it to Stan Barber.
INN has been given a clean bill of health

Real Time Services
AVT & MMUSIC should be asked to look into it.

Talk to Bob Moscowitz

Directory Services
Rick Wesson reports six RFC's that allow 2 or 4-year digits.
They should be reported to the LDAP and X.500 people for update.
Erik will talk to ASID WG.

Disk Sharing
NFS was given clean bill of health by Barbara Jennings
However, SUN reacted with some comments.
AFD/DFS should be passed off to the Open Group

BOOTP was okay.
Still need DHCP & DHCPv6.
Talk to DHCP WG & IPv6 regarding autoconfiguration.

Games & Chat
Still no report

Standard 32-bit rollover in 2036.

BGP4 is okay. No reports on anything else.
All IGRP stuff and multicast routing need to be done
IP/TCP/PPP, etc.
Robert Elz. Interim report. Still busy checking all STD RFC's
No problems so far except three small exceptions.
Standard 44 (RFC891) has a 1987 bug it. Contains a 4-bit year offset from 1972!
Standard 25 Daytime protocol has example with 2-year digit.
Standard 26 Time Server Protocol has the 2036 rollover problem.
Robert will continue to work and include RPC items.

III. Questions

Question about X.509. Problem has been fixed in version 3.

Should we use prescriptive language?
We SHOULD use things like words - like MUST.
Redo introduction after work is finished.
Should do executive summary with itemized list.
We should delete all of the appendices when we go to RFC and replace with a short summary.

We should point out that various network management platforms compare MIB versions by a two-digit date will need to be fixed.

The WG decided not to do implementations.

If we find standards that require a two-digit year, we need to have them revised.

IV. Other Business

Any interest in doing a pilot system? A few people are doing it. Will have feed back information to WG by DC.

Year 2000 bake off is good idea.

Should we come up with an algorithm to assume a year based on being given a 2 year date? Need to comment about relative ages(email age versus age of a human). IBM will send in their version for SNA - uses sliding window approach
Decision: WG will include suggested algorithms in the RFC.

Chair should send a message to IESG regarding their responsibility to check new RFCs for y2k problem.

What's the scope of the WG?
We only do RFCs and also other popular de facto standards on the Internet that are not handled by other standards bodies. We should get the legal council to write a disclaimer.

New draft by the end of September.


None Received

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