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154 comments

Obvious... (4, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177376)

Many wonder why Microsoft doesn't offer nightly builds of Internet Explorer

Um, because they never have and never will?

Re:Obvious... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177478)

For the same reason Apple doesn't release nightly builds of Safari? (Yes, I understand they release nightly builds of Webkit).

Nobody else uses Trident (IE's rendering engine), and if Trident breaks, a lot of other stuff in Windows breaks. They don't want to release development versions of their browser, because their corporate customers don't want users breaking things.

Frankly, I'm wondering what benefit nightlies would have for MS, who does pretty much all of their testing in-house.

Re:Obvious... (2, Insightful)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177948)

'if Trident breaks, a lot of other stuff in Windows breaks'

Which is, of course, precisely the reason to have a meaningful suite of automated tests and frequent build/test cycles. You'd rather work 6 months on something and then throw it over the wall to testers only to have them come back with either hundreds of regression failures (best case) or a handful of failures so severe they couldn't even get past the basic smoke test script?

That's even before you get to your user community, which as the article points out happened with IE8, when the beta is sprung on the web development world with catastrophic amounts of breakage of existing pages?

Re:Obvious... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180366)

Which is, of course, precisely the reason to have a meaningful suite of automated tests and frequent build/test cycles.

The story doesn't say that MS doesn't have nightlies and automated tests internally (I don't know how it is for IE specifically, but I am virtually certain that they do in fact have both; I would be very surprised if any MS project in development stage didn't have either).

The story is about MS not releasing those nightlies to the end users

Re:Obvious... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178950)

Because corporate users would, of course, install the nightly build on all their user's machines, every night?

Re:Obvious... (3, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177486)

The nightlies of Microsoft Bob basically killed all positive hype for the program.

OMG My Eyes! (3, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177702)

The nightlies of Microsoft Bob basically killed all positive hype for the program. I don't want to see Microsoft Bob in nighties! It was bad enough seeing Bill Gates wiggling his ass for the cameras.

Oh, nightlies ...

I'll have to ask Clippy for linux [tri-bit.com] and get back to you on that ...

Re:OMG My Eyes! (2, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177744)

I don't want to see Microsoft Bob in nighties!

Hey... be thankful he wasn’t nude, like Clippy was...

Re:Obvious... (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177558)

The better question would be why Ricky believes not releasing nightly builds is "not a great idea". What part of Microsoft's standard development cycle would benefit from nightly builds? Why would Microsoft decide to release nightly builds, which are inherently unstable, to a public that loves to pick on MS for producing unstable software? Why would MS risk some bored journalist writing a hit piece on IE 9 based on a particularly faulty nightly build just on the off chance someone out in the ether might give them some useful feedback on it?

In short, why the hell would they release nightly builds?

Re:Obvious... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177698)

Yeah... my main thought initially was “they’re Microsoft – they don’t need a reason,” but that was only very shortly followed by “how on earth would that benefit them, us, or anyone else for that matter?”

They DO do nightlies... (2, Informative)

White Shade (57215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178426)

From what I've gleaned from various Microsoft blogs, they DO release nightly builds, internally to all their own testers and employees.

That way, as far as I can tell, they get all the benefit of nightly builds, with absolutely zero of the downsides in terms of company image and dealing with buggy software in the wild.

Re:They DO do nightlies... (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178626)

They probably have more people using nightly builds of IE than there are folk using nightly builds of FF!! Oh the irony!

Re:They DO do nightlies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178934)

with absolutely zero of the downsides in terms of company image and dealing with buggy software in the wild.

Windows 7 is buggy, so is Vista & XP. In fact, I cant think of a single piece of MS software that doesn't crash a lot more than it should.
So how is releasing one more piece of buggy software going to change that. Its not like most corporate & home users would install it anyway.

Re:Obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178040)

Obviously different products at Microsoft have different cycles and different build environments, but generally what you end up with is weekly builds at first, then as a product gets closer to beta it will go into daily builds. Now, they typically have many source trees that they need to reverse integrate (RI) occasionally (say monthly or so). So you get things like "winmain" or a lab tree for a group like BitLocker or another group doing networking features. Those groups check in code to their own branch and build and test there. Later, after the testing that goes on in that group, they RI the code into WinMain which has been getting daily builds and test passes all along. When it comes time to branch out a Beta or an RC they branch it and do a few builds of stabilization on it before releasing. So there ARE daily builds (at least at points during the cycle), but making these builds available externally would serve no real purpose.

Re:Obvious... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178906)

Why would Microsoft decide to release nightly builds, which are inherently unstable, to a public that loves to pick on MS for producing unstable software?

Simple. It means that bugs get found and fixed early before too much code depends on the incorrect behavior. The inability to fix bugs without breaking things has always been IE's greatest weakness.

http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1451976&cid=30178810 [slashdot.org]

Re:Obvious... (5, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177658)

I wonder if dear kdawson really knows what "a build" is... or if he just saw the words "Microsoft" and "bad idea" and just began salivating...

Shitty article. Nothing to see here....

Re:Obvious... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177678)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it is broke, meh.

Re:Obvious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177892)

Also there are a more than a few people working inside microsoft on Windows and IE who are probably running more frequent builds.

Re:Obvious... (1)

QuietObserver (1029226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179892)

Many wonder why Microsoft doesn't offer nightly builds of Internet Explorer

Um, because they never have and never will?

Or maybe because that would show the world how slowly they develop their software?

good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177390)

less IE releases the better. eventually it will fade to obscurity like M$FT.

Re:good (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177414)

Your eyes... is that moisture?

Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (4, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177430)

What does MS offer nightly builds for??? It's just not how they work. They're a typical monolithic development house that deals only with releases and occasionally lets beta code out. There are benefits to the approach like not trying to shoot a moving target when it comes to bugs etc. People who've grown up with agile seem to think it's the only way to do quality assurance.

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177566)

I like to compare it to taking a shit versus rubbing a quick one off.

Microsoft saves up the feces, and savors it in their intestines for months and years. That lets it get really stinky and, well, shitty. Then, in one big blast, they crap it out all over everybody. That's just their way.

The open source community prefers to rub a quick one off each night. Rub rub rub and the load has been blown.

So it all depends on what you prefer. Would you rather get nightly blasts of jizm in your face, or would you prefer huge, steaming logs every year or so?

Agile??? WTF? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177646)

Nightly builds has absolutely nothing to do with that retarded buzzword 'Agile'.

Nightly builds is just that, nightly builds. Trying to assert that nightly builds are 'agile' is like some cheeseburger and curly fries stained Star Trek tshirt wearing bearded GNU freak trying to claim releasing source code is 'GNU'.

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1, Flamebait)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177718)

How's that non-agile, waterfall QA working out for ya?

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178090)

Believe it or not, waterfall is not the only alternative to agile. In fact, your comment represents one of the biggest critisms of agile. It misrepresents the alternatives and in many ways seems more like a religion than a development methology.

http://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2006/09/good-agile-bad-agile_27.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178682)

Wow, you can't come up with anything newer than a link to Yegge's tired old disproven rant?

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180166)

The majority of his criticisms are very valid. The fact is, there are alternatives to agile and waterfall, but agile shills prefer not to talk about them...

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179994)

How's that non-agile, waterfall QA working out for ya?

How's that constantly changing never quite know what you're building agile shitfight working for you?

See it ain't hard to be immature. It ain't clever either. Some incredible projects have been built with both methodologies and there have been some abysmal failures with both too.

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177868)

ROFL! The only thing you know about agile is that is is a buzzword, that's it. My company uses agile effectlively, and everyone knows that agile is comprised of iterations (typically 1, 2, 4 weeks or whatever you want). At the end of these iterations, a release is done to the clients (typically management if it is in-house stuff). The iteration is comprised of stories to be completed. Nightly builds are just automated builds that are done daily or nigthly, hence the name. This has nothing to do with agile, why would it? Makes no sense to show clients code that is incomplete and between iterations... LOL@YOU.

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180058)

ROFL! The only thing you know about agile is that is is a buzzword, that's it.

Wow. You're an amazing person. You must be very well paid to be able to work out how much I do or do not know about agile from a single post. Yes that was sarcasm. In case your too obtuse it means I think you're a wanker and you know nothing about me.

My company uses agile effectlively, and everyone knows that agile is comprised of iterations (typically 1, 2, 4 weeks or whatever you want).

Everybody knows squat. I've seen agile applied well and I've seen it applied poorly and everything in between.

The iteration is comprised of stories to be completed. Nightly builds are just automated builds that are done daily or nigthly, hence the name.

Thanks for the info. I thought I should return the favour by providing equaly non-obvious information so here it is: Green is a colour.

This has nothing to do with agile, why would it? Makes no sense to show clients code that is incomplete and between iterations... LOL@YOU.

LOL@YOU? Really? I hope you're more professional at work.

Nightly builds are typically NOT complete code, you moron.

Re:Agile isn't the only legitimate way! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179902)

The vast majority of companies with nightly builds to NOT give those nightly builds to customers. They're for internal testing and to make integration of changes easier to manage. Nightly builds will almost always have unfinished or untested features; because if everything was complete and tested then they may as well tag it as an official release.

I sincerely hope that even Agile software houses don't release nightly builds to customers.

Security Updates? (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177442)

Umm, isn't that what Update Tuesdays are for? Constantly patching IE along with other OS updates?

Re:Security Updates? (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177564)

The author of the article seems to think IE should be treated separately from Windows.

I guess Konqueror should have it's own update system, the OS update system isn't good enough?

Re:Security Updates? (2, Informative)

spartin92 (1342937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177782)

I guess Konqueror should have it's own update system, the OS update system isn't good enough?

Its, not it is.

Re:Security Updates? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177830)

Touche-with-the-accent-that-I'm-lazy-to-put-on. I usually try to be good about that, too.

Re:Security Updates? (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177954)

Touché

Also, I’m = I’m.

Okay, I’ll shut up... and damn slashcode for not letting me use the … character code.

Wait a second... oh my god... did they really fix Unicode?
“Touché.”
It looks right in the preview. Just my luck it’ll screw it up as soon as I post.

It still doesn’t allow arbitrary characters, though... just certain ones. The ellipsis just melts into oblivion...

Re:Security Updates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178892)

Wait a second... oh my god... did they really fix Unicode?
“Touché.”

No, it's just that é and a few other western European accented Roman characters within the 8-bit range are permitted. Try quoting some Russian or Greek and it'll still fail abysmally.

Re:Security Updates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177872)

i thought the same thing when i read the author of the article say "then" instead of "than". of course no one in the comments mentions that, but no one here actually reads the articles.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177462)

Just because some open-source linux losers release nightly builds, doesn't mean that you should.

And now that I've assured this post of being marked troll or flamebait, the answer is they (sorta) do, probably mostly monthly builds though. Per the development system in place, all those patches we get once a month for everything would be considered new builds per Linux/OSS standards. THey just don't release the ENTIRE ie package over and over with new build numbers.

Confused about article, any developers here? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177490)

Although many developers may not really care much for nightlies or even point releases, it keeps them in the loop, and keeps them interested.

This confused me. Many developers don't care about them, but they do care about them... is that basically what the Ars article is saying?

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177536)

Additionally, the article seems to take some things for granted...

the reality is that every other browser has a more regular release cycle than IE does, and that keeps them relevant.

I guess Opera's release and development cycle(s) is why it is so popular!

The result is a strong perception that IE is lagging behind, no matter how great the major release versions are.

The perception that IE is lagging behind has nothing to do with a bad development cycle, it's more tied to ... bad development and a not-very-good product.

and the browser's updates are pushed through Windows Update. The actual browser doesn't have its own updating system, and this is a large part of the reason that over 40 percent of users are still using IE6 and IE7.

That's an interesting assertion. The only backup he gives are numbers for browser stats.

On the whole, this seems like one guy doing an editorial and talking off the cuff. That's how it struck me, anyways.

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178014)

The perception that IE is lagging behind has nothing to do with a bad development cycle, it's more tied to ... bad development and a not-very-good product.

And opening up the process with, perhaps, a chance to incorporate feedback early in the process is a great way to address this. You want to give people what they want? be more responsive and don't cast the featureset in stone based on whatthe product manager says.

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178082)

I guess Opera's release and development cycle(s) is why it is so popular!

I thought I read in the news that they were pulling the plug on that in 2011...

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179678)

Pulling the plug on what? Opera? Your comment is not making sense.

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178372)

Most users are still using IE 6 because their company won't moved them beyond it.

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (2, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178586)

Hopefully, tomorrow's snapshot of the same article will be better.

Re:Confused about article, any developers here? (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179656)

I guess Opera's release and development cycle(s) is why it is so popular!

Actually, Opera doesn't have nightlies. Weeklies at best most of the time. And there's no "bleeding-edge" build available. They have the next major version cooking apparently, but they aren't sharing anything until they have exhausted 10.x it seems. Firefox and Chrome, on the other hand, have nightlies of both current and future releases.

Yea they have it (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177518)

I'm sure the developers have one, or maybe something that can be done ondemand. No point having one for the public imo

Re:Yea they have it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178396)

When I read the title, the first thing I thought was that it was about the absence of *internal* nightly builds. If they didn't have that, that would be a real wtf. But public nightlies? I mean, they have this mysterious so-called "closed-source" business model. Where development takes place, like, *inside* the company.

They don't need public nightlies. Duh.

Normal (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177520)

WTF? Most companies don't release nightly builds of their software. Why on earth are we singling out Microsoft, and only one of their products at that? Infrequent releases are the norm, not the exception, and while you may argue that it should change, it's ludicrous to single out one program among thousands for following the standard practice.

Re:Normal (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177584)

Presumably because, while IE is quite similar to the class of "proprietary software", it is quite unusual among the desktop browsers.

Whether or not you think that it is a good idea for there to be IE nightly builds, it isn't exactly absurd to judge a product by the standards of other similar products, rather than other products with similar licenses.

Re:Normal (4, Informative)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178018)

WTF? Most companies don't release nightly builds of their software.

Not when it comes to web browsers. You can get nightlies from every single other major browser, except for IE.

Re:Normal (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180010)

You can get nightlies from other browsers, but if you're not a developer or tester, why would you want to? You're just going to get buggy software that way. Firefox makes sense, because it's an open source browser and depends upon customers to also be testers.

Re:Normal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178694)

Browsers are turning into a different game. Webkit has kicked browser development into overdrive. We're seeing new features coming out at a pace not seen in browser development in maybe 12 years. Firefox already had the nightly builds, but they're following suit and focusing more on features. In the face of the speed of the competition, IE's current development model, even if typical, looks laughably slow in comparison.

Why the hell should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177660)

A long release schedule gives Microsoft time to squash bugs and make a single presentable product that will have a better reputation than your average nightly build. It gives developers a stable standard to work with without worrying that today's version will have different quirks than yesterday's version. Finally, what would nightly releases gain Microsoft or developers that the standard alpha/beta/release schedule does not?

This whole article needs to be modded troll.

Re:Why the hell should they? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178810)

A long release schedule ensures that Microsoft has to find and squash every bug themselves to make a single presentable product that will have a better reputation than your average nightly build. It ensures developers see only a stable standard and worry that this year's version will have different quirks than last year's version and that they won't find out until it is too late to do anything except hack workarounds for the browser bugs into their site. What harm would nightly releases cause Microsoft [elided] that the standard alpha/beta/release schedule does not?

FTFY.

The whole point of nightly builds is so that the developer community can check early and often to see how browser changes will affect them. By the time a public beta comes out, the software is baked and only critical bugs are likely to get fixed. Browser vendors have limited testing resources and cannot practically test every website. Nightly builds allow developers to test their sites, spot places where a browser deviates from W3C-compliant behavior, and file bugs early enough that they actually stand some chance of being fixed instead of having to hack around the browser's bugs for an entire release cycle (and often for years after that since many people don't bother to upgrade their browsers). And when a browser is rolling out new features like HTML5 and CSS3 bits, nightly builds provide invaluable feedback from real-world testers trying to integrate the functionality into their own projects. Sometimes they find bugs, but quite often they find problems with the specification itself that need to be addressed across all browsers. That's something that doesn't work nearly as well without the rapid feedback of a nightly build program. Significant flaws in the specification will almost certainly never get fixed at all if the browser that first introduces those features doesn't bother to show them to web developers until the features are mostly baked.

Basically, web browsers are just a giant public API, and need to be handled in the same way as any other API review. When you create a new API, you get an initial review, then you get other folks to dogfood the API within your company, then you seed it to developers really early and often so that they can test and experiment with the API more broadly, then a couple years later, you publish the final API and make it publicly available. Nightly builds are the seed phase, just with broader distribution because the developer base (web developers) and the installed software base (web sites) are both at least a couple of orders of magnitude larger, and more frequent because the rate of developer-critical changes in a browser tends to be much more rapid than the rate of change in any single OS-level API.

Also, nightly builds keep you honest. They reduce the risk of multi-month delays in getting out a usable release by forcing developers to keep preliminary code cleanly compartmentalized so that it can be easily disabled. This ensures that you don't have long periods of time in which the nightly builds don't build, don't function usably, etc., thus shortening your bake cycles considerably.

So there are a lot of ways that nightly builds would be beneficial, not just for web developers, but for Microsoft as well.

Re:Why the hell should they? (1)

mikefocke (64233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179964)

Microsoft releases Alfas and Betas to many different communities of testers

And those releases have multiple cycles and run a long time so there is ample opportunity for developers of dependent s/w and web pages to test against the coming release and provide feedback to Microsoft. How many builds of W95 did I load...including one from floppies that took 20+ hours of feeding floppies before the first boot.

I wonder if Microsoft might just have as many in-house testers using the daily builds of IE as there are total testers for FF, Opera, Safari etc al. They are after all, one humongously huge company. And not everyone grabs the nightly build of the latest OS or browser even from developers who provide it.

In my old place of employment, we had nightly builds and the developers actually were developing on the OS for which they had submitted updates the day before. So if there was a major bug, they felt/found it first. But the release cycle was more like yearly because that is the way the customers wanted it. They were betting important things on the stability of the s/w. They certainly didn't want anything but a long release cycle in which they were heavily involved. It wasn't released until major customers signed off that it didn't break their apps. Daily builds would have distracted them from their mission...luring them into daily regression testing and taking resources from supporting their existing app release and developing for the next release.

Different goals for corporations/agencies. And so different development, customer exposure for comment and release cycles are appropriate.

Who is Many? (5, Insightful)

clinko (232501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177696)

"Many wonder why Microsoft doesn't offer nightly builds of Internet Explorer."

Whoever "Many" is, they seem to always be interviewed by Ars and FoxNews.

Re:Who is Many? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177818)

Uh, they do? What a random, baseless comment.

Re:Who is Many? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177924)

Many believe this was a random baseless comment.

Re:Who is Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178098)

Many believe this was a random baseless comment.

Many Bothans died to bring you this information.

Re:Who is Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177878)

Whoever "Many" is, they seem to always be interviewed by Ars and FoxNews.

You're right, it's always them that are always subjective with their absolutes.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30177762)

Sky still blue, people wonder when it will turn orange with florescent stripes

In later news: dogs still sniff butts, why now after nothing happened.

This just in, kdawson still posting unimpressive useless articles

so Microsoft doesn't publish nightly builds of IE (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177792)

Uh, just to ask - why does anybody think there are nightly builds of Insecure Exploder?

Firefox, Opera, Safari - sure, these guys are in active development, frequently introducing new or improved functionality to their products. Ditto for most FOSS products.

MicroSoft, OTOH, uses a proprietary closed-source model of software as the basis for their business practices. Within that model, development on any product takes place when there's a fiscal incentive to do so; otherwise, existing (revenue-generating) products are left alone to do what they do best - generate revenue.

Is there a good business-case reason for MicroSoft to invest in continuous, nightly development of a product which is not sold directly but rather included in the purchase of another product (MS-Windows)? Is Insecure Exploder so vital a part of their OS that it will represent a deal-breaker for the huge number of enterprises which have implemented and continue to implement MicroSoft technologies?

Re:so Microsoft doesn't publish nightly builds of (2, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178622)

Maybe you hadn't noticed, but development of IE7 and IE8 have not been tied to a specific OS at all. IE7 was released before Vista and installs on XP, and IE8 well before Win 7 and that installs on Vista and XP. Microsoft has said that IE9 will be released in 2010, while Windows 8 is set for 2012. IE and Office are both on different development timetables than Windows -- although Office is almost always released 6 to 8 months after a desktop Windows release. Sure, they're linked in some senses because each product has a target platform, but otherwise there is no specific tie-in.

Microsoft's fiscal incentive is to maintain market dominance and some semblance of standards compliance. If they lose too much market share, developers may not create websites to handle IE quirks any longer. Then IE will falter, and MS will not be able to develop web apps only for IE, which is part of their strategy to lock-in users to Windows.

Support issues (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177800)

Do you really want to be a tech support department dealing with the possibility of your users running unknown versions of Internet Explorer with the potential to be a different version every single day?

Of course not.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177816)

As a key product in a proprietary OS, why would you want to run nightly builds of IE? With Firefox my browser may be unstable, but at least the rest of my system stays stable, but with IE a lot of Windows components use Trident and that isn't going to be a good thing. Plus, with Firefox if you file a bug they appreciate that and generally fix it right away, even security vulnerabilities aren't promptly fixed on IE, let alone user suggestions....

Re:Of course not.... (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178084)

The IE guys are going to have to fix any problems in how it plays nice with Windows anyway, and if the development process is so broken that they can't even keep O/S-breaking regressions out of the builds, there's a problem. The whole point of having frequent builds is to identify errors sooner, while it's cheaper and easier to fix them, than later, after the edifice has been built on the unstable foundation.

with Firefox if you file a bug they appreciate that and generally fix it right away, even security vulnerabilities aren't promptly fixed on IE, let alone user suggestions....

I suggest that's the whole point of wanting IE to have a more frequent build and release cycle -- getting rapid and frequent feedback along with frequent builds enables rapid fixes.

Re:Of course not.... (1)

Bungie (192858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180100)

The IE guys are going to have to fix any problems in how it plays nice with Windows anyway, and if the development process is so broken that they can't even keep O/S-breaking regressions out of the builds, there's a problem.

The problem is that IE is tightly coupled with several other Windows components. This means it can break many other apps which can depend on it, or also can break itself if it depends on something which is not available.

For example, when IE7 came out people were extracting the installer package and installing the individual components inside to bypass the WGA check. If they didn't install the XMLLite component before the IE application installation, it would break several applications including Explorer. It could be fixed if the user booted to Safe Mode and installed the XMLLite package or DLL afterwards, but many users probably didn't know that.

This is exactly the kind of thing Microsoft wants to avoid...people breaking the system because they don't have the proper dependencies installed or some other factor with their configuration. It's much easier to roll it all together into a release canidate where they can be sure it includes everything it needs.

Re:Of course not.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30178166)

Plus, with Firefox if you file a bug they [...] generally fix it right away

No they dont.

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=90268

More Microsoft Bashing (4, Insightful)

maxrate (886773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177882)

Why is the finger always at Microsoft? I vote we embargo the use of the word Microsoft on Slashdot, say, for a month. Usually any Microsoft related post is biased and ill-spirited - getting very old. There are countless software vendors that do not release nightly builds. As much as I adore Slashdot, all the MS haters on here often make me feel as if I'm associating myself with a 'new low' of computer users (sometimes). Kinda like finding yourself in the company of a bunch of racists. It's very fashionable on \. to hate Microsoft. Don't like their stuff?...simply use something else and STFU. I do agree with the article's opinion of saying the update process Microsoft uses is broken - I think Microsoft can do better.

STFU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30179172)

Same to you buddy. If you don't like what someone else is saying STFU and toon out.

That's about the 5th time today that I've seen STFU posts moderated insightful. There's nothing insightful about STFU posts.

There are countless software vendors that do not release nightly builds.

This is the only line in your whole post that has anything to do with the discussion and it's already been said.

Re:More Microsoft Bashing (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179578)

Why is the finger always at Microsoft?

Because many of us use their stuff and despair at the problems that arise that we cannot fix and the Microsoft will ignore.
That creates a culture of just complaining to each other about the company in general. We say to each other things like "this was the company that was given the BSD source code on a plate and still couldn't get even ping right" and other things non-techies would find completely irrelevent.
Just filter the MS stories out - there's not going to be much else other than jaded comments from those subjected to years of MS hype that treat every announcement from MS as a lie. In hindsight they may be right nearly every time, but to start with it's a preconception. It's not like racism, it's not "all dogs bite" but instead "that ornery blue eyed dog is going to bite me again I just know it".

Re:More Microsoft Bashing (1)

BillKaos (657870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30180324)

While I think Microsoft is right with its release cycle, the article is based on the fact the every other browser vendor is releasing snapshots.

For me, the biggest picture is interaction and strategy, not builds. In Webkit, Gecko and Presto, if you are a web developer, you can interact with the engine developer. They have mailing list, good bucktrackers, and a *good attitude* towards fixing bugs.

For Microsoft, if you are using Linux for development (a pretty common case I'd guess) you cannot even try. I doubt Windows users do fare any better. By the way, Windows 7 is not bad, but not usable yet.

Maybe it takes more than a day to build it? (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#30177910)

The Microsoft build labs has been described in many books but one thing that stood out to me was the alleged fact that most builds, like Windows, take well over 24 hours to finish. Given how tied into the operating system that MSIE is, I suppose that a build of MSIE would require a significant build of Windows as well.

Re:Maybe it takes more than a day to build it? (2, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178510)

The Microsoft build labs has been described in many books but one thing that stood out to me was the alleged fact that most builds, like Windows, take well over 24 hours to finish.

Well, there's yer problem... The are probably running their build server on windows. Now if they ran a nice Linux build server...

Re:Maybe it takes more than a day to build it? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179532)

Yeah, right. After buying Hotmail and "converting" it from a few number of Linux servers to a ridiculous number of Windows servers, I'm sure they've learned their lesson!

This simply does not make sense (2, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178004)

I am not a fan of Internet Explorer at all - however I know people who are, and I can't imagine this mattering to them in the least.

Heck, I can't imagine the vast majority of Firefox or Safari/Chrome users caring about those available snapshots; and I say that as someone who has used nightly builds for both those products fairly frequently!

This just seems silly on the face of it. "Microsoft doesn't follow Firefox's development path", complains a Firefox fan.

Looks like I'm not part of them (1)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178072)

Many wonder why Microsoft doesn't offer nightly builds of Internet Explorer

For some reason, that never crossed my mind. I always assumed that it just wasn't their release model.

This story is bookmarked (4, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178154)

Filed under "weirdest story ever to appear on /."

Next week we can discuss the outrage that stems from Microsoft's refusal to offer free back massages on the New York subway.

Re:This story is bookmarked (1)

il1019 (1068892) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178488)

At least in that case they would be giving something that people wanted. I bet there is a much greater demand for massages than there are for even-buggier-than-normal builds of IE.

Stupid design decisions (1)

diegocg (1680514) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178200)

They probably can't do it easily - IE is so tied to the internal of Windows that installing a nightly IE you are touching too many internals that could break easily. And it replaces your current IE install. That's why I never test IE beta/RC releases.

Now we can see how stupid it was to tie IE so strongly to the rest of the system. If Windows was a reasonably designed piece of software, Microsoft could several versions of IE at the same time. You could try a nigthly IE9 build without deleting the stable version.

Re:Stupid design decisions (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179418)

IE is so tied to the internal of Windows that installing a nightly IE you are touching too many internals that could break easily.

Sounds like a good reason for not making it tied to windows. Ah, poetic justice, sort of.

It doesn't need a nightly build. (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30178336)

It' not like IE is open for people to download the nightly builds. I'm sure that Microsoft and its employees compile IE many times even though it might not be on the "nightly build" schedule in the most official sense.

IE Feedback system EXISTS (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179008)

Moreover I tried to sign up for the IE bug feedback system [microsoft.com] .

1. It required me to get a live account. I did.

2. It required me to "register" with my live account. It didn't work with Webkit so I fired up Firefox, then I did.

3. It required email confirmation of my live account. I confirmed it.

4. It asked me to register to be able to vote on issues (GOTO 2)

No wonder the feedback is minimal and useless (as in not real bug reporting). There's probably no one who cares on the other end anyway

joelonsoftware would disapprove (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179466)

I refer to this article [joelonsoftware.com] .

I would assume that the Microsoft Excel team did it this way as well, since Joel mentions it in his article. But they also wrote their own compiler [joelonsoftware.com] because everyone else's was crap, and still managed to ship on time.

McDonalds' Nightly Builds... (2, Interesting)

pcardno (450934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30179822)

Nightly builds, if they were released every time:

Bun
Bun
Bun
Bun
Meat
Meat
Bun + Meat
Bun + Meat
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour
GHERKIN!
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin + Salt
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin + Salt++
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin + Salt+++++
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin + Salt + Tomato
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin + Salt + That Other Stuff
Bun + Meat + Meaty Flavour + Gherkin + Salt + That Other Slightly Better Stuff
Quarter Pounder With Cheese

As an IT Manager for one of the 100 biggest companies in the world, I couldn't give a flying f*ck about the inbetween. All I want to know is what we're getting. And if it breaks a part of our fundamental application stack, we'll complain or won't use it. If I want something in the release, I'll lobby for it. If you want to be part of the IE development cycle, sign an agreement with MS to be a part of it, then you'll get the alphas and beta.

Total non-story.

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