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Gates Changing MSoft's Focus

Read this:

http://www.cantrip.org/nobugs.html

and contrast with this:

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/microsoft020116.html

Comments?

A.
Thursday, January 17, 2002

The two aren't incompatible.  Both are saying that Microsoft believes it is user driven and that Microsoft survives by satisfying user demand.

I think that's probably a genuine belief on their part.  That there's not exactly a lot of evidence for it outside of Microsoft isn't relevant to them.

I've heard Bill Gates before separate bug fixing and version releases, from his point of view it seems he needs to believe that each version of the software is remade new that there is no legacy.

Microsoft, like other software publishers, are also infested with the belief that users are stupid and that for the most part its the user's 'fault'.  In fact, on the whole those that produce software tend to have a very low opinion of the people that actually use their software.

Whether this is a defensive reaction or a common psychological overreaction to urban myths such as using the CD tray as a drinks holder, I don't know.

Oh btw, one of my favourite user stories is this guy rang me up and ....

Simon Lucy
Thursday, January 17, 2002

I think that the first article really demonstrates the closed minded thinking of the Anti Microsoft lobby.  They read the interview and say - look at Microsoft, they don't care about bugs.

What they seem to miss is what is being described.  They are looking at what problems users encounter when using their products, then investigate how the interface can be streamlined to avoid that snag.

This sounds like a good set up to me.  It probably explains why their software is so easy to use, but only after the third version.

Ged Byrne
Thursday, January 17, 2002

I'd have to agree with Ged's comments about the first article.  I'm not sure exactly when Linux stopped being an operating system and became a religion.  I am certainly no admirer of Microsoft, but in the interest of fairness someone should at least point out the following:

(a) it is humanly and economically impossible to ensure absolutely zero bugs in a product before shipping.
(b) not every bug is a crashing bug; many are as minor as the tab key not going to the right field when you'd expect it.  As his Joelness has pointed out, sometimes there is no need to hold up a user release just because of bugs like these.
(c) Microsoft puts more money into soliciting user feedback than any other software company on the planet.
(d) On a marginal system, even the world's best operating system will bomb.  On a good system, Linux and Windows's uptimes are about comparable.
(e) Linux is not any more or less unreliable than Windows.  It has its share of buffer exploits, security holes, device driver conflicts and plain good old fashioned bugs.

As far as the second article goes ... it's about bloody time for Microsoft to start worrying about security. It has always seemed to me that Microsoft went out of their way to make every major flagship product of theirs capable of being infected by VBScript viruses.  I'm not sure who's bright idea it was to give scripts access to the file sytem and network, and not only that, but access a user's address list and send email copies of themselves without the user ever knowing, but the guy who decided file extensions were too confusing for mere mortals, and broke Outlook in order to hide the fact that that harmless little GIF or JPG or TXT attachment is actually a script virus -- THIS person was the genius. 

It's not a bug, it's a FEATURE.

It's probably the same guy who thought that autorun macros in Word and Excel documents were so nifty that they should be allowed to copy their scripts into the default template, so EVERY new document would have these wonderful little programs in them. 

Where's that little robot that goes around saying, "Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger!" when you need it?  It certainly ain't at Microsoft.

You know, it's probably all Joel's fault.  Wasn't he the one who came up with the VBA strategy at Microsoft in the first place?

Alyosha`
Thursday, January 17, 2002

All mainstream software creators have interesting views on defects.  That includes Linux.  "Interesting" means disturbing to some.

For example, the Linux kernels released as "stable" are indeed not stable.  They are just marked stable so that people will download them and give a larger test base than the "development" kernels.

This problem is not constant.  Now that consumers are becoming more networked, they are increasingly agitated about security holes, which is one kind of defect.  And Gates apparently let this issue reach a fevered pitch, to get the broadest possible audience for his new Focus Shift.

Red Davis
Thursday, January 17, 2002

> You know, it's probably all Joel's fault. Wasn't
> he the one who came up with the VBA strategy
> at Microsoft in the first place?

I can just see an angry crowd with sooty torches marching up on Fog Creek, crying: "Tear him for his bad viruses, tear him for his bad viruses." :-)

Shakespearian wordplay aside, VBA as a strategy was very sound indeed -- fine grained controls over which code got executed at what time would have pretty nearly eliminated the macro viruses mess. As things stand now, Macro security is an all-or-nothing affair -- even with Office XP, you get a Disable|Enable|Trust Signed Macros option. Given choices like these, the average user will almost always choose Enable, since that gives him more functionality, and to hades with security anyway.

Prasenjeet Dutta
Friday, January 18, 2002

>>What they seem to miss is what is being described. >>They are looking at what problems users encounter >>when using their products, then investigate how the >>interface can be streamlined to avoid that snag.

IMHO - the vendor should give a patch, without the customer having to pay for it... whether you stream line the interface or rewrite the whole code i dont care a damned... if the vendor insists that you have to get the upgrade to get the bugs fixed, it simply means that the customer is being milked!!!

ramesh kr
Monday, January 21, 2002

See also
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/23791.html

John
Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Oh dammit,

new versions are for new products/features.

service packs are for fixing bugs.

and i've heard on several occasions, from M$ people, that M$ has a policy that service packs NEVER add new features, only fix bugs.

perfectly logical to me...

contrapunctus
Thursday, January 24, 2002

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