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CA ships another Y2K tool

The company says it has shipped CA-Fix/2000, a tool for updating COBOL-based business applications to recognize the year 2000.

Computer Associates International ( CA) continues to add to its lineup of Year 2000 tools.

Today, the company said it has shipped CA-Fix/2000, a tool for updating COBOL-based business applications to recognize the year 2000. The company said the tool works with its impact analysis tool, CA-Impact/2000, announced last month.

Together, the tools scan COBOL code, pinpoint date fields that need to be updated, and update code based on user-defined requirements. CA said the tools can automate fixes and cut the labor costs associated with year 2000 conversions.

Both tools work with COBOL, assembly language, Fortran, PL/1, and popular fourth-generation (4GL) languages, CA said.

According to the company, CA-Impact can scan single, multiple, and entire libraries of code in a single execution, and builds a database of code that contains date-sensitive fields. Programmers then can generate reports from the database to find out where their program needs to be changed.

CA-Fix can then be used to automatically change programs.

The Year 2000 problem, also known as the "millennium bug," arises because many computer programs record dates using only the last two digits of the year. Such programs could treat the year 2000 as the year 1900, causing miscalculations, unexpected errors, or complete system crashes.

The consequences of the Year 2000 problem have been widely debated. Some experts believe the impact will be minimal, since most sensitive systems will be repaired long before the turn of the century. Others say the problem could spark severe economic disruption if institutions such as banks, utilities, and hospitals fail to convert computers in time.

Fear of widespread problems has led many companies to institute Year 2000 programs intended to weed out troublesome code. Those programs have led to a boom in both software such as CA's tool and consulting services that retool existing systems to be Year 2000-complaint.

CA-Fix/2000 is licensed on a metered basis, according to CA. Users are charged 30 cents per line of changed code. CA said volume discounts are available, based on the total number of changed lines.

CA-Impact/2000 runs on mainframe operating systems, including MVS and VSE. The tool is priced at $31,920.