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Discussion on: Tell me some useless (or useful) software trivia

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Luke Westby • Edited

Microsoft Excel originally (and perhaps still?) treated the year 1900 as a leap year in its date computations even though it is not a leap year. It was an intentional choice. The existing spreadsheet software with the greatest market share at the time of Excel’s release was Lotus 1-2-3. Lotus 1-2-3 had the same behavior via a legitimate bug. By replicating the behavior, Excel could import Lotus 1-2-3’s file format with no unexpected outcomes for the user. This made the switch to Excel seamless and it quickly dominated the market.

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Howard Jess

Nice note. In the 80s, I worked on a 3D spreadsheet program named BitsCalc (later BoeingCalc). We inserted the same behavior, for the same reason.

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Peter Kim Frank