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By GCN Staff

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Ready for Y2K7?

This year for the first time ever, daylight-saving time will take effect on second Sunday in March, two weeks earlier than in previous years. And in the fall, DST will end on Nov 4, a week later than in previous years.

As we have covered in GCN, this change should not affect most system administrators, at least those who keep their operating systems and applications relatively current. Most OS vendors have updated their software, either through new releases or patches, to accommodate the new time spread.

For instance, in December, Sun Microsystems Inc., of Santa Clara, Calif., issued a set of patches to adjust earlier versions of Solaris. Likewise, Microsoft has also issued patches and/or written the changes into the newer releases of its software.

Take note though: Many of the older operating systems will not be updated. Remaining unpatched are Windows NT, copies of Windows XP without at least Service Pack 1, and copies of Windows 2000 without extended support.

Microsoft also noted that users should take extra care when scheduling appointments during the extended DST period. 'Users should view any appointments that fall into these date ranges as suspect until they communicate with all meeting invitees to make sure that the item shows up correctly on everyone's calendar both internally and externally,' the support page explained.

Even with an updated OS, however, problems could remain with the applications themselves. In particular, those with legacy or in-house applications might want to check if their software requires accurate time measurement and, if so, whether or not such applications have been set to make the adjustment come March 11.

Now, in many cases this won't matter. Most applications basically get their time from the OS, which already has localized the time to the location of the computer. One wrinkle does remain though. Some programs may use time zone information internally to generate data'and these programs may not all be supported by their creators.

For instance, when we wrote our article on this subject, we spoke with German developer Edmund Weitz, who has written an open source utility that he no longer updates. His program, called TZ allows older Oracle databases to convert the time in one country's time zone to another, taking local DST rules into consideration.

Even though Weitz no longer maintains the program, he suspects a number of shops may still use TZ. In order to keep TZ accurate, users would have to obtain the new time zone files, modify and recompile TZ program and reload it into the Oracle database management system, he e-mailed.

In addition to updating Solaris, Sun also had to refresh some of its developer tools. The company issued patches for some of the older libraries included in Sun Developer and Forte Developer software. As Sun developer Vijay Tatkar points out on his blog , these libraries were included for backward compatibility issues. While Sun is supplying the patches for the older libraries, Tatkar recommends user move to newer offerings.

Even mobile users may not be immune, as users of Palm devices also have raised some concerns.

Who knows? Y2K7 may turn out to be a bit of a headache after all.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Jan 08, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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