RE: Euro - re-statement

From: Geoffrey P Waigh (
Date: Fri Oct 17 1997 - 01:00:15 EDT

On Thu, 16 Oct 1997, Carrasco Benitez Manuel wrote:

> > As a non-European, you can take this with a grain of salt. However:
> > is any self-respecting European IT application really using seven
> > bits?
> > [Carrasco Benitez Manuel]
> > You will be surprised.
> >

There must be some kind of ancient computer preservative in Europe.

How are all the printers and terminals and programs going to be altered to
support the Euro on 7-bit systems? Is it actually cost-effective to
maintain 20 year old equipment and have these beasts refitted with new
ROMs (good luck finding compatible chips) rather than replace them with
something more modern? Cast new chains for the line printers? All the
financial software is going to be hacked to support the new currency if
not dual currencies during the transition period, but it cannot be made
8-bit clean? People are going to convert all their 7-bit datasets to
another 7-bit encoding rather than go to an 8 or 16 bit encoding that will
reduce the "we cannot represent that on our system" headaches they have
had for eons? IT staffs are not saying "We have a year 2000 problem, we
need to add Euro support and we cannot store the names and addresses of
our customers correctly, (+ who knows what else,) maybe its time to phase
out our legacy system?"

A few years ago a client site had to upgrade their computer to accomodate
the interface to our software and it cost them on the order of 40000 USD
for maybe 16K of memory (I don't know if that was bytes or words.) After
a fair bit of downtime for the installation, they now had a system that my
brother's pocket calculator could outperform in terms of price, memory,
computing power, size, power consumption, ease of programming, everything
except I/O since his calculator could only support one terminal.

At some point you have to bite the bullet and overhaul your systems rather
than demanding the rest of the world hold back.


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