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IDL date-time routine complaint

In IDL 5.1, RSI introduced a new set of routines for date & time handling.
They were based on the new IDLDT structure. See the "What's New in IDL 5.1"
book, p 27. Novelty junkies like me saw them as a welcome overhaul of an
area in which IDL had been rather poor, and based our own code on them.

In IDL 5.2, these routines were shifted to the "lib/compat" subdirectory.
The README file for this directory says "This directory contains code for
IDL routines that provide compatibility with other software." Compatible
with what for heaven's sake!? I can't see any mention of this in "What's New
in IDL 5.2".

In IDL 5.2.1 they have been deleted! See

According to RSI's Y2K summary (http://www.rsinc.com/products/Year2000.cfm)
one of these routines, STR_TO_DT, didn't work properly when fed 2-digit
dates. So they threw away the lot. Is this a world record: from brand new to
"retained for compatibility" to deleted entirely in 1.5 years & 3 minor

I am gobsmacked by the cumulative stupidity of the whole business. I don't
know whether to get angrier at the programmer who wrote non-Y2K compliant
code in 1997 or the product manager who decided to desert the users in 1999.

Mark Hadfield  m.hadfield@niwa.cri.nz
National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research
PO Box 14-901, Wellington, New Zealand