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what an article!

http://www.seattleweekly.com/features/0422/040602_news_microsoft.php

Some of the gems from the former Microsofter.  Boy I bet I know what Scoble's going to be doing tonight.

"I’m tired of spending the first 10 minutes of my day rebooting just so I can get to work. Microsoft Outlook 2003, the latest version of the company’s e-mail and calendar software, hangs for me about once a day, requiring me to restart my PC"

"Matching Google’s brand development might be a greater challenge than matching the technology. Microsoft’s always been an uneven marketer, while Google’s already established itself in our consciousness. Google is a verb now."

No kidding if Microsoft ran Google, it would have morphed to Google.net and now Googlehorn... while never gaining any real footing with any of them.

"Microsoft now faces a different kind of sloth. University of Baltimore law professor Robert Lande says, “Microsoft, like almost all monopolies, has become fat and lazy. Monopolies do not engage in innovation with the same urgency because they don’t have to innovate to stay in business.”"

"Meanwhile, Microsoft doesn’t evoke passion in me anymore. Its products don’t excite me anymore. I remember eagerly looking forward to Outlook 2003, only to be disappointed by how complex, buggy, and unimproved it was. “There’s kind of an angst,” says Andrews, the Seattle Times columnist and author. “Microsoft ought to matter to us. There ought to be more of an intellectual and emotional connection. There just isn’t.”"

Mike
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Yawn - this Microsoft bashing is getting tedious...

I give up
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Shut up, Bill, we know it's you.

Jeve Stobbs
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Thank you for posting it Mike. Please be assured that this is very much welcome and your presence in this forum is a breath of fresh air. You are to this forum what Jeeves was to Bertie Wooster.

Not tedious. Very valid points are being made here. How about a logical refutation of it?. My own Outlook crashes on XP atleast 2-3 times every week sometimes destroying my data sometimes. 

Karthik
Thursday, June 03, 2004

PR girl's Outlook just crashed and took her whole system with it.

My work computer hangs or freezes on a daily basis.  network connection drops out for no reason.  No one can diagnose the problem.

My Windows machine at home has decided to drop it's connection at will.  No idea why or when this started happening.

This is real.  This is every day. 

Sassy
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Someone writes something somewhere, it gets on slahdot, after a length non-discussion there, it gets onto JoS, it generates another non-discussion, it moves around other blogs, it piques someone else's interest and someone else writes something somewhere else.

Great!


Thursday, June 03, 2004

Philo :

Any defense for your master?

Jason
Thursday, June 03, 2004

<<Philo
Any defense for your master?  >>

Philo is a good chap. Dont bring him into this.

Thank you,

Karthik
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I'm at a loss as to how to respond to some of the things that are stated in articles such as this.

If he's really waiting anywhere near 10 minutes for his system to reboot and he's running XP, something is drastically wrong, or he's running on a P90 with 32 megs.  I've never encountered anything like that.  With NT4? Sure.  With XP? No.

Most of these "Microsoft sucks" articles read as if the person hasn't actually used Microsoft products since pre-1998 or so, back when they really did have major problems.  I'm not saying their products are perfect now, but in my honest opinion the quality and stability of Microsoft's software from the Windows 2000 era on is far higher than average for the industry.

Ah well.

Mr Fancypants
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"My work computer hangs or freezes on a daily basis.  network connection drops out for no reason.  No one can diagnose the problem."

You either have faulty hardware or a buggy driver.  Simply put, NT-based versions of Windows do not crash, unless you have faulty hardware or a buggy driver.

Myron A. Semack
Thursday, June 03, 2004

It just that everytime someone has a problem with Windows or other Microsoft product they say it is all Microsoft's fault and they stamp their feet and ask why don't they do something about it.

Why don't you install Linux or get a Mac and if works better for you then great. Leave the bitching and complaining to yourself.

I have been using Microsoft products since MSDOS 2.0 and haven't had any "serious" problems. Your experiences obviously may vary.

Enough already!
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Regarding the article...

The author makes a number of factually incorrect statements about computer architecture.  This really makes his entire article questionable.

Myron A. Semack
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Interesting rebuttal to the article.
http://www.internet-nexus.com/2004_05_30_archive.htm#108627428196543323

Myron A. Semack
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I don't recognise any of the things he describes in his opening paragraph.

These passages caught my eye:

"Microsoft is so concerned about Windows XP security that it will likely give away its next upgrade to fix vulnerabilities and make it easier to deliver future fixes automatically."

It's a service pack. Service packs are free.

"To comprehensively address security issues, Microsoft has said it is building Longhorn from the ground up. Any time you start building an operating system from scratch, you create all sorts of unanticipated problems."

Eh? When have Microsoft said this? Any JOS'er knows that re-writing from scratch is a recipe for disaster and MS do too.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Any time you start building an operating system from scratch, you create all sorts of unanticipated problems"

Yes, this is true. Linux is creating all sorts of problems for Microsoft.

Linus Snorvalds
Thursday, June 03, 2004

This article does sound dated. I found Windows 2000 to be rock solid with half-decent drivers, and I have never, ever had a single lock-up or unpleasant event beyond the trivial on XP. Couple that with the fact that XP boots insanely fast and I really don't know where this is coming from. I will say that Outlook 2003 has unceremoniously dumped on a me a couple of times, but it's about 500ms until it's open again (and it has never corrupted data).

Dennis Forbes
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I agree with Dennis (we agree on almost everything except Exceptions!)

Windows 2000 and up are very solid operating systems.  Very very solid.  As solid as anything out there.  Mac OS X, on the other hand, has been a lot less solid for me.  For the time that I had a iBook I had nothing but problems.  Can't blame the drivers for that...  ;)

Almost Anonymous
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Given enough time and energy, our computer technology *will* mature to great stability.  Right now people quickly forget how incredible of a task it is to stabilize such a massive cohesion of PC's.  And I applaud MS for aiding the progress into the level of usability we have today and no doubt into the future.  Think others can do better?

OSX:  ha!
Linux: ha! ha!
Others:  ha! ha! ha!

There is a bigger picture here and while there is a case for everything and they all have their evils about them, let's not forget that worse people could have taken the helm.

sedwo
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Personally I expect more from MS. They apparently hire only the finest (not me) and they are super rich, one would think their products would be better. However,  I gotta say that my experience with XP and 2000 and NT before that was pretty darn good .. once I had good hardware (I take the lego aproach) I never got the BSOD which I'd get with NT and I never recall getting that with XP or 2000.  At home I use a linux workstation. Guess what .... I manage to freeze my xwindows sessions (granted, I can usually then ssh in from another box and shut that down ) but I usually just reboot. I've even brough the box to a halt on the command line. And as better as all the GUI stuff has gotten it's still not as clean as the windows environment imho .

me
Thursday, June 03, 2004


Well, I use XP with Office 2003 and I have no problems with it. No hanging, no lockups. I'll go for days without rebooting and that's on my development machine.

Not sure how people can say Microsoft doesn't innovate. They spend millions to keep the Microsoft Research Center running and their products are constantly changing and improving.

That isn't to say that they couldn't do better, but I don't view Microsoft as sluggish, lazy company ala GM in the 60's.

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Yeah, the author of the article demonstrates ignorance.  But I agree with his central point that clinging to Windows and Office is holding Microsoft back in other areas.  From my outsider's perspective it seems like MS is trying to figure out what to do once the Windows/Office revenue streams slow down.  Of course I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to that because if they did they certainly wouldn't be telling people about it, they'd sell it themselves.

Jeremy
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Microsoft is currently FIRE and MOTION and full FUD ahead.  Gotta convince us all that they have what we want.

They don't
Thursday, June 03, 2004

> Simply put, NT-based versions of Windows do not crash, unless you have faulty hardware or a buggy driver.

Right, so which installations have the buggy drivers then, is it all of them?

Dr. Bashier
Thursday, June 03, 2004

The author's article says he's a Mac user now.  He sounds not unlike people who convert from one religion to another and in the process become convinced that there was nothing good about their old religion and there's nothing bad about their new one.

I won't say Windows XP has _never_ crashed or blue-screened on me--I think it has once or twice--but it's phenomenally rare compared to Windows 98.  And I also keep it free of spyware, viruses, etc., not through antivirus software but simply by not doing the things that let in viruses in the first place.  It would be interesting to run Ad-Aware or Spybot on that guy's computer and see what might turn up that could explain the crashes.

(I won't vouch for Outlook 2003, however, as I don't use it; for my e-mail and PIM data I use Outlook Express and Palm Desktop.)

Kyralessa
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Right, so which installations have the buggy drivers then, is it all of them? "

Well, the easiest thing to do is run Memtest86 on the offending system.  If it can't run >24 hours without Memtest86 throwing an error, then you have bad memory (or northbridge, or CPU).

Of course, Memtest86 doesn't say anthing about the integrity of other compoenents (southbridge, video card, IDE controller, etc).

The other thing to do is use WHQL drivers exclusively.  If the piece of hardware you want to use doesn't have WHQL drivers, don't use it.

Also, look at the minidumps when Windows crashes.  That can help you pinpoint what it was that caused the crash.  If they keep choking on the same routine over and over again, then odds are the driver has a bug.  If it blue screens all over the place, then it's probably hardware.

Myron A. Semack
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Like many said, any Windows 2000/XP workstation will not crash if you go to windows update frequently, have an antivirus, a firewall, and don't install some crap such as BonziBuddy or Anna Kournikouva nude screensaver.exe. Any employee in IT should know that.

If this guy is a former Microsoft employee, I guess interviews to enter the company in 1991 weren't that hard.

Anonymouche
Thursday, June 03, 2004

You guys who keep insisting that win2k and higher are so stable are completely missing the point here.  Just because it's stable FOR YOU doesn't mean it's stable for everyone else.  I have a brand new computer (p4 3.2ghz, 512mb of ram, intel onboard sound, geforce fx 5900) and I put win2k on it.  I installed all the latest service packs and all the latest drivers for my video card, chipset, and onboard sound.  I don't have ANYTHING special or strange on here.  Guess what?  win2k -still- crashes.  So it may be a driver error - there is no note on what driver is making it crash.  There is no reason why MS can't provide this information.  Hell, half the time it just reboots without even an error message.  Linux of course runs perfect and never crashes on this machine.  So gimme a break with how stable it is - run a search on google and take a look at how many people are experiencing problems.  It's NOT always user error - in fact, I'll guess that most of the time it's NOT user error.  If windows was so stable that it "never" crashes except for hardware errors or buggy drivers, why would MS have the "report home" features?  Why would they have tons of security bulletins and trouble-shooting information plastered all over their web site?  You can't stick your head in the sand and pretend there is no problem.  Well, I guess you can, but your denial doesn't make the problems go away for those of us experiencing these crappy crashes.

Yes, I do use linux for my desktop.  I boot to windows SOLELY to play games (and run windows update and download patches for said games).

I was so convinced that it WAS my hardware problems/buggy drivers on the computer I built from scratch that I bought a prebuilt computer and didn't even do the windows install.  I get the EXACT SAME crashes with the EXACT SAME error messages on completely brand-new and different hardware.

saberworks
Thursday, June 03, 2004

I've run MS OS's for the last 11 years. Yes, they crash, but they're getting better.

In saying that for the last few years I've been running NT4.0, w2k and XP on my personal and work PC's and Servers and rarely have a crash. At work if the network goes down or there's an increase in traffic Outlook can drag it's ass, but rarely does it crash.

I suggest that people look at little closer at what's running in the background, what their PC & Server specs are, and what their network traffic is like, because I don't get a 1/4 of the problems that everyone one else complains about and never so consistently.

Jack of all
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"Yes, they crash, but they're getting better."


come on people.  The _real_ problem is that computers just plain dont work.
Windows?  Linux? OSX? BSD?  Debian? they all fscking crash.

All of them.

Is any particular one worse than any other?  beats me, but the more you are doing with a particular operating system the more likely it is to crash.

OS's with desktops and in full use, crash way more often than computers that are used only as servers; they always have.

Use a windows computer to run nothing but the latest games and it will die 50x as often as if you ran nothing on it except SQL Server.

OSX 10.3 is less stable in my experience than 10.1 was just because apple are doing more and more things with it.

Debian is more stable than Redhat just because its used in different ways by different people.

I often run word on windows and things crash, OTOH I only ever run a browser on my wee linux box and it has never crashed in its life (although the browser itself regularly eats itself alive)

bottom line?  they all crash, and if you are claiming that they do not you are lying, if you are claiming that one crashes more than another then the chances are good that you are just plain wrong.

the more complex the software you are running, the more likely a crash is to occur, regardless of the operating system running underneath.

<g> show me a person with a computer thats never crashed and Ill show you someone who uses nothing but commandline tools.

wtf, computers of all types are our natural enemies
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Dear saberworks,
                            The rebooting is a setting. Go to System in control panel (or right click on my computer and choose properties) and then go to the Staru up and Recovery tab and choose advanced. You can then disable the setting.

                            The reason for the crash will be in the system log, which is in event viewer, which you can access through Control Panel.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Windows NT-based OSes are stable, this is an undisputable fact.  The core OS is designed to be as robust as possible.  Now, user mode applications can crash by themselves, but they can not bring the system down with it.  If it really was as unstable as you immagine it to be, how on earth would it ever get deployed in server environments.

Unfortunately, NO OS is immune to faulty hardware, and very few OSes can survive a buggy driver (QNX, and maybe HURD).  Just because Linux works fine DOES NOT rule out the possibility of bad hardware.

Until you have done proper hardware diagnostics (Memtest), you have NO way of knowing what caused the error.  You can immediately jump to conclusions that it's Microsoft's fault, but until you have done some honest-to-god troubleshooting, you have NO IDEA what you system crashed.

For the record, Windows DOES give you an explanation of what causes the error.  Check the Event Log.  You can also disable auto-rebooting on a fatal error.

I have yet to see a single NT-based OS crash where the problem wasn't bad hardware or a buggy driver. 

You mention that you installed the latest drivers.  Are they all WHQL?  Did you build it youself, or is it from an OEM?  Have you tested the individual components in other machines?  What sort of QA was done on the machine?

Myron A. Semack
Thursday, June 03, 2004

The only serious errors I get on Windows 2000 and higher are from non MS Office appz, third party applications and my damn nvidia graphics drivers. Without the nvdia drivers I could run Windows for weeks with out rebooting.

Of course now and then I will do a control alt delete and end the explorer process and restart it.

Somorone
Thursday, June 03, 2004


http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&q=windows+nt+stability+issues&btnG=Search

Yup NT is stable.

"I have yet to see a single NT-based OS crash where the problem wasn't bad hardware or a buggy driver. "

Should the people running servers that crash take comfort in that or switch to linux?

Mike
Thursday, June 03, 2004

"I have yet to see a single NT-based OS crash where the problem wasn't bad hardware or a buggy driver."

Well, I've seen several (including some very reproducible ones).

Even so, wasn't it Andreessen who said (with only slight exaggeration) "an operating system is just a bag of device drivers"?

(In other news, I've never seen a Ford Pinto turn into a fireball of death, where the problem wasn't a bad fuel tank.  That means they're safe, right?)

Henry F.
Friday, June 04, 2004

No Andreessen said that Netscape would reduce Windows to a collection of poorly-debugged device drivers.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Friday, June 04, 2004

But Windows _is_... ohhhhh!


Friday, June 04, 2004

What? The most commercially successful operating system in history? The most widely-used PC operating system in history?

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Friday, June 04, 2004

The normal cause of crashes in NT tends to be the video drivers. This is not because NVida writes buggy software but because they are the only device drivers allowed to directly access ring 0.

Originally this was not so, but NT3.51 ran so slow as a workstation that the change was made for NT4.0. Because almost the same codebase is used for both server and workstations throughout the different versions of NT (Win 2k3 may by the first change in this respect- I don't have enough details), server stability was compromised for desktop performance. In Linux of course desktop performance/stabilty is compromised in favour of server stability.

Now the Trojan horse of the video drivers can cause all sorts of nasties. My Win2K desktop system was trashed by the second VCD of "American Beauty", and it required reinstalling a Ghost Image to bring it back to life (the only time in four years incidentally that I have had a serious fault).

Also, other fatal errors can mean your system will reboot automatically or you see the BSOD or whatever. It certainly is a cop-out to claim that the problem lies with buggy device drivers and other programs - after all an OS is simply an interface for the hardware and software to react with the computer. The problem is whether the device drivers are what is buggy or the OS. It was certainly a year after Win 2K came out before I could get the machine to go into standby because of a confilict between Adaptec (now Roxio) software and the OS. The modem on my HP laptop (win XP Pro) used to force reboots almost daily until I upgraded.

When your machine is on a corporate network then other problems come into play. My XP machine at work (Acer Veriton 2GhZ, 256MB RAM) regularly freezes for long periods of time and the only non MS software running is Symantec corporate anti-virus. As far as I can tell the problem appears to be programs not unloaded from memory so that eventually the computer is speinding all its time accessing the paging file. Sometimes a simple reboot does the trick, sometimes I have to wait for the weekend. The last time it more or less became unworkable for two hours, so I turned off indexing, set it to defrag C and went home early. It has been OK since, but I have no idea whether any action I took had any effect or not.

Thinking of defrag made me go to computer management to check if this machine needs one. It has spent the last ten minutes not responding. Luckily I managed to get TasK Manager up quickly and it ended as it should, but the Computer Management console is hardly third party software.

The truth is that this machine requires updating and Win 2K takes ages to boot, but the fear that if I install XP on a new machine it will start exhibiting the instablitly I see at work is what tips the balance over in favour of sticking with a four year-old machine.

Stephen Jones
Friday, June 04, 2004

If the writer op the article has any IT experience, he is either knowingly distorting the truth or living in a parrallel universe. Having run dozens of different systems on NT4, W2K, XP and W2K3, I can honestly say that, with the exception of NT4 pre SP5, every single last crash (of only a handfull) could be retraced to a hardware problem (the single exception to this was a mysterious crash of an XP pro notebook, right after I installed the Java SDK and some very flaky Java app. I couldn't figure that one out, and it did not repaet itself).

Now you can say that I am just lucky. Who knows, but then it is one hell of a streak. I am carefull in the selection of the HW and very conservative in drivers. After all, it is an open platform, so anyone is free to build some device for it no matter what their skill. Would you prefer it if it ran only on about 20 models of Microsoft PC's?

Does this mean the OS is perfect? Of course it isn't. There are probably tens of thousands of bugs in it, just like in any piece of software that size and complexity. But on the right hardware, it runs very well indeed for millions of people.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, June 04, 2004

Mike,

The ignorance of people who write web pages is not a substitute for real data.  If you aren't running WHQL drivers, and you haven't tested your hardware, you can not rightly blame Windows for system crashes.

Myron A. Semack
Friday, June 04, 2004

Stephen:

"In Linux of course desktop performance/stabilty is compromised in favour of server stability."

Perhaps my recollection is wrong, but it is my knowledge that all device drivers in Linux run in ring 0. The Linux desktop experience isn't subpar because of this, but rather the chioces of windowing subsystems were suboptimal for local hardware.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, June 04, 2004

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