The Newton Year 2010 bug: we have another patch!

In May 2009 I was reporting Eckhart Köppen’s great achievement in successfully creating a system patch to solve a nasty bug affecting Newton MessagePads and eMates with NewtonOS 2.x, preventing them from handling dates following January 5, 2010.

Eckhart’s solution — Patch 71J059 for US-language MessagePad 2100s, Patch 73J186 for eMate 300s, Patch 74J185 for German-language MessagePad 2100s — worked well, but had a small side-effect: every time the Newton needed to be reset/rebooted (or did a self-reset on its own, something that happens every now and then when a system error or power loss occurs), the date/time reset as well, going back to January 1, 2008, 12:00 AM. This was a minor glitch that didn’t really bother me, although setting the date and time is not exactly a fast process on the Newton and much tapping is involved. Eckhart said he would look into it, anyway.

And he did. With the help of another hero of Newton development, Paul Guyot, they created another system patch: Patch 711000, which is only compatible with US-language MessagePad 2000/2100s. This patch fixes the “Return to 2008 upon reset” problem mentioned before.

If you want a general overview of the Year 2010 problem on the Newton, read this page, which explains things in more detail. The Patch 711000 page contains additional information about the patch, compatibility notes, installation instructions and troubleshooting.

By the way, if you have a Newton (like an MP120 or MP130) with NewtonOS 2.0, Avi Drissman’s Fix2010 package will work to fix the Year 2010 bug. Eckhart’s patches only target NewtonOS 2.1 devices.

More coverage on the 711000 patch from My Apple Newton, Dave Lawrence’s Newton Poetry, and Morgan Aldrigde’s Makkintosshu blog.

There isn’t much to add, only that I’m extremely grateful to Köppen and Guyot for their work and for keeping the Newton alive and green and living. As a playfully stubborn Newton user myself, I am more and more proud of being part of the Newton community. It might be a small one, but it’s tight and strong. And with achievements like this, we are less of an endangered species!

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