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642 comments

But... (5, Funny)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089803)

MOD PARENT DOWN MALICIOUS LINK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089828)

Link goes to child pornography

Oh, your Ferrari has a broken cupholder? (4, Funny)

krog (25663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089834)

Here, drive this Yugo instead.

Re:Oh, your Ferrari has a broken cupholder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089955)

Ferrari's don't have cup holders (cept the ones between your legs).

Re:But... (5, Insightful)

dan_sdot (721837) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089840)

Actually, I have to be honest and admit that Microsoft Office is a good product. Its stable, has alot of nice features and is intuitive to use.
I am not _at all_ a fan of M$, but we should be fair about this. Office is pretty solid.

kiddie porn in link (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089842)

real url is http://www.open-office.org

Mods on crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089953)

Wow, I can't believe anyone would actually mod something as Troll based solely on some stupid AC attempt to mislead.

What is so darn hard about clicking the actual link to see for yourself? Or at the very least googling [google.com] for the site for a quick check of legitimacy.

Stupid stupid stupid ...

Bug Triage (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089804)

1. Does it affect Clippy? Fix immediately!
2. Does it affect features? Fix this week.
3. Does it affect security? Fix when you get around to it.

Re:Bug Triage (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090090)

1. Does it affect Clippy? Fix immediately!

Seeing that Clippy is still alive and misfunctioning...

I will then stop using MS Office (1)

Proctal Relapse (467579) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089807)

And use a fine OSS alternative such as Emacs or Abiword.

I was not aware there were bugs in MS Office. This is unacceptable.

insert usual "1000 Free software fixers" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089808)

Insert predictable rant here about how there are no bugs in Free software because any user could fix the bug themselves...

Re:insert usual "1000 Free software fixers" (4, Insightful)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090045)

Insert predictable rant here about how there are no bugs in Free software because any user could fix the bug themselves...

I agree. No doubt there will be a few who suggest the many-eyes approach will fix all the world's evils... it won't, it will let a developer who can be bothered to sift through the thousands/millions of lines of code necessary to fix the bug - this is a dedicated programmer and deserves credit for that... the world is not full of a large number of dedicated intelligent programmers who have time to do this for all, or even a small fraction of code they encounter - if you use Open SOurce (I use BSD/Windows with open/prop apps, don't bother with the 'jokes') do really look through every line of code looking for a buffer overflow exploit, do you pro-rata what you look through with the assumed userbase, do you assume others will do the QC/QA/peer review? Sure it could be made to be ultra-secure, and for this I am all in favour of Open Source (there is absolutely no security through obscurity, as those that need to know will know), but I really have a gripe with those that blindly use the many-eyes assumption and group-think, auto-mod others who disagree. If you want to criticise MS Office, then do something about it.

MS Office is massive, MS Office may be bloated to those who does not use all those features (and who does?!), but the idea of modulising Office suites, good or bad idea that may be, died miserabley in the last 90s.

MS Office is inferior, functionality and UI wise, to specialist applications made for a certain job - I would never do serious statistical analysis in Excel nor would i distribute a Word doc, nor would I make a webpage in Word(!).

Criticise it for valid reason, not knee-jerk group think, but it does serve as a good lowest-common-denominator suite that integrates OK for an intermediate solution. Open software may also suck at many tasks, but carries the benefit it is open. If I see the 'many eyes' justification for all opensource software refered to again, without proper justification I think I will throw my computer out of the window - please mods - don't just mod something down because you disagree with it, if you disagree contribute and bring effective discussion rather than pushing an opinion out of the room - save downmods for things which are clearly Offtopic, Flamebait or Trollish (and baiting discussion is not Flamebait, it is Discussion-Bait).

Lather, Rinse... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089809)

and repeat about 100,000 more times until Windows and Office are "reasonably" bug free...

I Have More Insightful Look Right Here: (1, Funny)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089813)

Pardon the /. cliche but...

1. Bug gets reported
2. Bug gets labeled "undocumented feature"
3. ???
3. PROFIT!

first post... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089815)

first post...

A as in "one"? (5, Funny)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089817)

what it is like to track down and fix a bug

Track a bug? Sounds like trying to follow a single mosquito in the ranforest. :)

Re:A as in "one"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089844)

A mosquito is a clever little bastard. You'll hunt him for days and days. First you hate him, then you respect him, then you kill him!

Obligatory Monty Python reference (Slightly Mangled)!

Re:A as in "one"? (-1, Flamebait)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089870)

God, do you live to spout out shit like that?

Re:A as in "one"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089914)

Actually it is what some of us refer to as a "joke." I use MS products, and even like them. So, therefore, I am happy to see you getting modded down. Next time, remove head from ass, breathe, then post.

Just a thought (0, Troll)

penguinrenegade (651460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089818)

Too bad more time isn't spent on removing bugs from Microsoft products. Now if they'd just spend time fixing BEFORE products are released!

Re:Just a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089886)

Yeah just like the Linux Kernel. After all - there hasn't been one bug fix since 1.0. All open source products are bug free at 1.0 because of the millions of "eyes" that look through the code before it is released.

Re:Just a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089958)

"Too bad more time isn't spent on removing bugs from Microsoft products. Now if they'd just spend time fixing BEFORE products are released!"

Too bad more time isn't spent on removing bugs from open source products. Now if they'd just spend time fixing BEFORE products are released!

SUMMARY (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089820)

Track Down: File/Open...

Fix: Install OpenOffice.org

The steps (4, Funny)

samhart (89298) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089822)

Step 1: Deny existence of bug.
Step 2: Classify bug as feature.
Step 3: Cave to user demand and try to fix bug.
Step 4: Introduce new bugs during the fix.
Step 5: Classify those bugs as features.
Step 6: Pretend bugs are fixed and continue playing Minesweeper.

Re:The steps (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089858)

You forgot a step!

Wait for it, wait for it....
.
.

Re:The steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089887)

You forgot a step!

Step 7: Microsoft profits!

Re:The steps (1)

samhart (89298) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089910)

Actually, what I really missed was:

Step 7: Send feature (was bug) to documentation writers and let them add it to future manuals.

Re:The steps (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089926)

7. PROFIT!

Step 3a: "Will be fixed in next version" (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089968)

Remember, a bug is just another word for "upgrade incentive".

track down AND fix a bug in MSOffice?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089823)

That's a first!

another fix for ms office (0, Troll)

joeldg (518249) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089827)

or fixes:
http://www.gentoo.org/
http://www.vim.org /
http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs.html
h ttp://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/

Re:another fix for ms office (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089862)

shit poster
shit post
shit linux
shit editor
another shit editor
shit browser

fuck you and die
please drive through

Debugged humans eh? (4, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089837)

One of my favorite Chris Mason quotes comes from that memo, "Since human beings themselves are not fully debugged yet, there will be bugs in your code no matter what you do."

Then it would seem humans working at Microsoft are less debugged than everybody else. Because *boy*, at some point Microsoft was a bug factory.

To their credit though, this is changing fast. Microsoft is a huge company that can turn on a dime, and they've understood that having shite engineers onboard won't do much good to their latest "trustworthy computing" PR stunt. Not to mention, they actually have a nice R&D shop now, not just the pretense of one anymore.

Re:Debugged humans eh? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089928)

**To their credit though, this is changing fast. Microsoft is a huge company that can turn on a dime, and they've understood that having shite engineers onboard won't do much good to their latest "trustworthy computing" PR stunt. Not to mention, they actually have a nice R&D shop now, not just the pretense of one anymore.**

but wasn't quotes like this seen already in '91, then in '95 and then in 2000 already?

Why was that flagged "troll"? (4, Funny)

khasim (1285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089996)

gl4ss is completely correct.

Win95 was THE MOST ADVANCED OS in the world!

Win98 fixed all the bugs in Win95.

Win98SE fixed all the bugs in Win98.

Windows2000 is crash proof and the Unix killer!

Windows XP is even more stable than Win2K and will be sure to slay *nix.

Go digging through the press releases and gushing "journalists" for every single release (except WinME) since (and including) Win95. You'll see the same quotes over and over and over.

Re:Why was that flagged "troll"? (1)

HiredMan (5546) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090068)

You missed the best one - when 2000 was still being called NT5 the M$ marketing machine rolled out: "NT5 fixes thousands of bugs in NT4!"
The people who were being pitched NT4 for their mission critical work noticed this and asked why they would buy a product with "thousands of bugs". The site was quickly changed to "addresses many issues in NT4".

M$ has a LONG history of holding a product as the end-all of products and then trashing it horribly as soon as the replacement ships.

=tkk

Re:Why was that flagged "troll"? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090093)

"Windows2000 is crash proof and the Unix killer!"

I remember that. They claimed that 2000 server had an uptime of 99.99999%. (5 nines, that was one of their slogans.) Heh I've had good luck with Windows servers, but that claim is misleading.

Re:Debugged humans eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090024)

Turn on a dime? How long has "trustworth computing" been out and exactly how much has been happened?

M$ hasn't changed at all. In the end everything is geared towards the bottom line. Anything that doesn't win them revenues and converts from linux, is definitely on the back burner.

Anonymous Coward my arse, pain-in-the-ass-logins-is-more-like-it...NYTimes, just a little better

Re:Debugged humans eh? (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090034)

>>Not to mention, they actually have a nice R&D shop now, not just the pretense of one anymore.

Ah so they finally upgraded the Reverse engineering dept. It's about time.

As long as Clippy exists... (2, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089838)

the most annoying bug in Office will still be with us.

Re:As long as Clippy exists... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089911)

Well congratulations. He stopped existing several years ago. Glad to see that you are up-to-date on your comments, though.

Re:As long as Clippy exists... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090014)

Well congratulations. He stopped existing several years ago.

Until that annoying bent piece of virtual metal is eradicated off of every piece of machinary on which he ever existed, the powers of darkness wil continue their treacherous reign over anyone who touches a PC... Or is that a little harsh? Seriously though I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to bend that little POS into the unbendable. Knowing that he is no longer being shipped just isn't enough somehow.

Glad to see that you are up-to-date on your comments, though.

Thanks!

Re:As long as Clippy exists... (1)

Feynman (170746) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090046)

Well congratulations. He stopped existing several years ago. Glad to see that you are up-to-date on your comments, though.

Glad to see you're up to date on Word. I'm running Word 2002 and one of the Office Assistant options is "Clippit."

They may have changed his name, but the lovable paper clip "helper" is still there just the same.

Re:As long as Clippy exists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090081)

Don't like the damn Clippy? TURN IT OFF!

Re:As long as Clippy exists... (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090071)

Well, you have to intentionally install it now, so it's mostly gone. Back several versions ago, I made it an unavailable option thru our installer packages. You'd be amazed at how many people bitched that their assistant (clippy and friends) disappeared.

Amazing innovation... (1, Funny)

kidventus (649548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089839)


"Brodie figured out that a document is really just a collection of pieces of text"
Brilliant
Hey guys, here's a hint: The internet is just a collection of data packets.. now fix the bugs in Internet Explorer please.

Re:Amazing innovation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089906)

Oh, oh, I can smell a patent coming....

Re:Amazing innovation... (4, Insightful)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089984)

Cut the sarcasm. It really is innovative. It makes chunks of the document independent of what file they're in, and paved the way for an efficient implementation of our beloved "multiple undo" feature. And bear in mind that this was over 20 years ago, when the desktop software industry was just getting started and there was little prior experience to draw on.

Re:Amazing innovation... (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089991)

Well, it's not *that* simple.

Figuring out how to best represent a document in memory can be more complicated than it would seem. Say, the easiest way would be just to malloc a chunk of memory for the whole document, but try to insert text into the middle of a 100 page document if you do it that way.

A more workable approach is to make it be an array with one entry per line, but that can run into exactly the same problem if you write a long enough paragraph.

So perhaps you go with something even more abstract, say, some kind of structure that contains pointers to words, which allows you to insert several invisible blanks every time you need to make space for stuff to reduce the time spent on memory management.

I think the article meant something similar to that last one.

obvious thought process (2, Insightful)

phats garage (760661) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090102)

You've really outlined some typical thinking that goes on when designing a piece of software, each step was looking at downsides of design decisions, contiguous memory -> array of lines -> finally to noncontiguous chunks of text, and each step of the way was a solution to a drawback of the previous attempt at solution.

I wonder how many programmers have run this scenario in their mind when doing some hypothetical designing of a hypothetical editor. Unfortunately, I bet its still patentable.

Re:Amazing innovation... (4, Interesting)

fatmonkeyboy (257833) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090066)

Haha. You even got +5, Insightful. Why don't we look at the rest of the sentence?

Brodie figured out that a document is really just a collection of pieces of text, and that it didn't really matter where each piece of text is physically located within the document's file.

I.e., if you're going to have "The dog is red." appears in the document, it doesn't matter if "The" occurs in the file before "red", or vice-versa.

Maybe this seems trivial to you, but I think most of us when designing a document format would try to put "The" before "dog", by instinct. It makes sense.

So what he figured out is not as straightforward as your out-of-context quotation makes it out to be. He was, at least, being a little creative. The article then goes onto explain multiple ways in which this design was useful in Word processing software.

I realize you're just being an asshole and that you probably didn't read the article, but just looked for a way to use it to make fun of Microsoft. "Standard Operating Procedure" at Slashdot, I know.

But, moderators, this guy doesn't deserve Insightful. He should be Flamebait.

Bugs in Service Pack 2 (0, Offtopic)

ddod (808590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089843)

Have you read about all the new bugs that are being found in SP2. There are compaints about how the SP2 security panel can be spoofed. This allows a person to trick people into thinking their firewall and virus scan are all on and working normally. Microsoft's response... (paraphrased quote) "We are busy with other more important bugs at the time, don't bother us with these tivialities."


It's for real [wired.com] . I normally don't go for these things but...Free ipods are too much to pass up (click here to get yours) [freeipods.com] .

Re:Bugs in Service Pack 2 (4, Insightful)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089989)

Have you read about all the new bugs that are being found in SP2.
Yes, and most of what is written is junk.

There are compaints about how the SP2 security panel can be spoofed.
Yes, they are uninformed compliants.

This allows a person to trick people into thinking their firewall and virus scan are all on and working normally.
Any person?

Microsoft's response... (paraphrased quote) "We are busy with other more important bugs at the time, don't bother us with these tivialities."
Umm.. no, thats a blantant distortion.

Here is the story you don't want to know:

A program running locally on the XP SP2 machine has the ability to overwrite the data store used to track and display the various updated components in XP SP2.

This isn't a remote vulnerability. It means that, simply put, a program can constantly overwrite the data that would indicate a virus scan hasn't taken place in 15 days, or that the firewall is off or open on certain ports, etc.

To have this "vulernability" be "exploited", first the protection would have to be subverted/turned off by the user. Nothing in this "exploit" allows an application to disable the features, just make them look as though they are in place. So after a program infilitrates the system and is running as an Administrator, it would be able to make the user think that the protection they already disabled was in fact running.

This is not a big deal. For example, let's say I had a program I could find a way to get onto a box with root access. I could just easily, if not more easily, spoof the security center interface and make it say what ever I wanted. I could just as easily spoof it to say "OH NO, GO DOWNLOAD THIS PATCH".

The point being this is a hole in the design or implementation. It's a social engineering attack. To be useful, the user would have to disable the protection on the machine; the user would then have to be convinced to download the trojan; the user would have to be induced to run the trojan; and the user would have to believe that he/she was in fact protected despite knowingly disabling the protection.

The nature of any operating system is that it responds to users actions. If any person/program can convince any user on any operating system to run any malicious binary as root/Administrator/etc than that box is exploitable by means of social engineering. Big deal. That's not new, it's not a security vulnerability per se, it's not anything but human nature.

The article summarized: (4, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089869)

Humans are bugs, err, humans are viruses. Correction: Humans have bugs.

Programs are like onions. Ogres are like onions. Donkeys like cake.

Mac Office X is the red-headed step child of Microsoft development efforts

Microsoft is a lot like the police.

--

Was it the sheep climbing onto the altar, or the cattle lowing to be slain,
or the Son of God hanging dead and bloodied on a cross that told me this was a world condemned, but loved and bought with blood.

Re:The article summarized: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089885)

Why don't you keep your shitty posts confined to your faggot Livejournal so we can actively ignore your useless comments?

Re:The article summarized: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090040)

Tip: "Strip sigs from comments" checkbox (that others use) only works if you put your signature in your Sig field found on your Slashdot User settings tab.

Please consider using it.

Mr. Bucket, put your balls in my mouth. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089880)

The first to get their balls into Mr. Bucket wins!!!!

"feature" filled (4, Insightful)

xsupergr0verx (758121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089891)

Why don't they fix that awful formatting in MS Word?

You know, push enter twice and it returns to the default font/size. That really bothers me.

Re:"feature" filled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089937)

What version does that? I tested in Word 2000 and it didn't happen. I can try on 2K3 when I get home but it doesn't sounds familiar. Maybe it is something in Word 97?

I know that when you are doing a bulleted list it goes back to regular text after hitting enter twice but that makes sense.

Nice headline (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089905)

"Anatomy of an open file limit in OS X" might have been a more accurate headline.

Why Try? (-1, Troll)

Doesn't_Comment_Code (692510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089907)

what it is like to track down and fix a bug in Microsoft Office...

Why would you ever want to track down a bug in Microsoft Office? Just pick any line of code and you have a one in three chance of finding one.

The key problem is expressed in very few words (5, Interesting)

newandyh-r (724533) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089920)

"And, always remember that I can't fix what I can't see. I have to be able to reproduce the problem while being able to run some kind of diagnostic tool. The key to fixing a bug is predictability. Without predictability, I can't fix it, because without predictability I have no way to understand how the complex interactions in modern software cause the specific problem to occur."

Complexity theory and chaos (3, Interesting)

tao_of_biology (666898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089924)

From the article:
  • More than 850 command functions (e.g. Bold and Italic are the same command function)
  • More than 1600 distinct commands (e.g. Bold and Italic are distinct commands)
  • At any given time roughly 50% of these commands are enabled (conservative estimate)
  • With just 3 steps, the possible combinations of code execution paths exceeds 500 million

Adding new features and abilities to Word would affect a complex system like this in totally unpredictable ways. And, trying to debug such a complex system seems like an almost impossibly complicated task.

Now I know sarcastic answers will abound to this, but I wonder how much MS invests in testing such complicated programs? It has to be way, WAY more than they invest in the development of the program.

Now, I'm no Microsoft fanboy, but I am seriously impressed with Word. It never crashes on me, features always work as expected with other features and the interface does rock. I had no idea how complex the program was, and I am even more awed.

By the way, if you don't know much about complexity or chaos theory I recommend reading the following books to give you a nice appreciation of complex systems like this: COMPLEXITY [amazon.com] and CHAOS [amazon.com] .

Re:Complexity theory and chaos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090011)

Don't waste your breath no one on Slashdot will give MS an ounce of credit for anything.

They can all do it better...that's why most of them them are sitting at home reading slashdot after finishing this afternoon's jerkoff session to some pr0n. Mom says dinner is at 6pm...go wash you hands for cryin out loud...

Greetings.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089932)

...as I for one Welcome or new OLD Microsoft.Bug(tm) Overlords!

Fascinating. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089945)

So, from this article, we learn that MS's big-shot software architect was so inept that the undo system he implemented can exhaust file system resources.

It's now 2004. It's time for MS to just study the implementation of NSUndoManager, and "invent" the paradigm of recording changes in an undo/redo stack.

Slashdot is getting more predictable than MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089946)

They are opening up and writing about software bugs - which certainly aren't unique to ms products... ummm... I guess that means they are *giving away* information, of which any thoughtful person could make some use.

What the heck, it's so much easier to recycle lame old ms bashing rhetoric.

Bring it on.

The history of Microsoft bugfixing... (4, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089954)

is less an example of a failed process than it is a testament to the difficulties of debugging feature-rich software on a timetable that meets marketing demands and indeed provides some insight into the mind of the average consumer.

Do you want it buggy today or robust tomorrow? One need only look at the overclocking community and throngs of beta-testers to work out the answer. History is littered with technically superior failures in the marketplace (Betamax, Divx, BeOS) and the reason is that the consumer is more fickle about price and features than about technical superiority or stability.

Read any book put out by Microsoft Press and it's plain there are a number of people there that are as or more capable than most open source programmers. But the open source programmer doesn't have to appease any person or schedule other than those he sets himself -- and can therefore program under much better circumstances.

Executive Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089962)

1. Word's undo is drain bamaged by design.
2. This created a Heisenbug.
3. It took MS several years to figure the OS runs out of file handles.

Nice Serveice: (2, Interesting)

zulux (112259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089970)

From on of the comments from the blog:



By the way I did try to report the bug via our $500,000+/year global support contract with Microsoft, and was told directly by our Microsoft support representative, and I quote, "I wouldn't know how to file a bug report for that." Never was able to get it addressed, even though I had two good sample documents for reproduction of the problem.



Half a million? No wonder Bill Gates has billions - He's not spending the money on developers.

Bad design = fancy title (0)

rikkus-x (526844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089971)

Brodie figured out that a document is really just a collection of pieces of text, and that it didn't really matter where each piece of text is physically located within the document's file. For that matter, you could have one piece of text that came from one file and another piece of text that came from another file. We refer to this collection of pieces of text as the "piece table." This design has a number of benefits. For example, if you copy text from one document to another, you don't have to actually copy the text from one file to another--at least not right away.

Am I the only one who read that and instantly thought "There are a million reasons why that's a bad idea"?

To put this into perspective, the person who implemented multiple undo in Word is one of the best developers who has ever worked on Word, and has, since, been recognized as a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer.

Interesting award system.

Rik

How *I* fix bugs in enterprise software... (2, Funny)

Herbmaster (1486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089972)

1. Get assigned bug to fix; get distracted and read slashdot instead.
2. ???
3. Bug is fixed; I profit.

Hmm....

Complexity Is an Issue (4, Insightful)

4of12 (97621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089973)


From the article
Now, there's a philosophical issue about the desirability of increasingly complex software, but I'm not going to discuss it here. For all practical purposes, I don't think there's much benefit to getting into a discussion about it.

But there is a benefit to discussing complexity because it does seem to impact how many bugs arise and the maintainability, upgradeability, and usability of the software.

It's not merely a philosophical issue, either. This is a real, practical issue that impacts millions of people everyday.

The complexity of interacting software components is like the dark side of Metcalfe's Law about the usefulness of networks increasing quadratically with the number of participants in the network.

The maintainability of software decreases as the number of interacting components increase and as the number of ways of interaction increases.

I've developed code for a long time and seen great ideas turn into great code with creeping useful features gradually added on until a day comes when you wonder how you ended up working on such a monstrosity.

A good friend once told me years ago

"Every now and then you need to flush."

Re:Complexity Is an Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090053)

Unlike other places I've worked, Microsoft encourages developers and designers to create unecessary complexity.

Never once do you see a problem formulated and a discussion on minimal and elegant design to cover the problem. Design is all about extensibility, rich feature set, etc.

At least until the ultimate trump of "I've been working at Microsoft for 12 years you piece of crap" is pulled out and then design is simply based on repeating traditional Microsoft mistakes.

And code is all about hacking up the next Bill Gates demo.

I just can't resist.... (1)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089983)

what a perfect place for a south park reference...

"But, Mr. Gates, it isn't like this bug is the first troublesome thing to come out of Microsoft. Let us not forget Clippy(TM)"
"Now, now, Microsoft has apologized for Clippy on several occasions!" //sig
Just because I dont' care doesn't mean I dont' understand. - Homer

Very good (1)

mwheeler01 (625017) | more than 9 years ago | (#10089986)

Long article, definately worth the read if you're thinking about going into testing. I marvel at how 'thourough' testing can be and still there's these ellusive bugs because it's simply impossible to track down every tiny (or not so tiny) fault in the code. Say what you want about Microsoft but this guy certainly has a good head on his shoulders.

A bug at MS. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10089998)

27-08-2004 08:14

Several bugs have been sighted near the southern perimeter and some of our QA staff have been wounded in a couple of minor skirmishes. Strategic Command said the enemy's main move will not come for weeks and certainly not in this sector, though I am beginning to doubt.

27-08-2004 08:26

The skirmishes have intensified and several QA squads are trapped between an unknown number of bugs. We even had a few lightning strikes beyond our perimeter, which took out our BugTraq listening post. I tried to call in for assistence from StratCom, because I suspect the main strike is happening here as we speak. 27-08-2004 08:54

The minor skirmishes have ceased along all sectors. We are trying to evacuate the wounded and salvage what's left of some of our equipment. 3rd QA batallion took heavy losses, as did 6th QA and 8th Helpdesk. What is this, some cat and mouse game they are playing with us?

27-08-2004 09:06

All hell broke loose! While we were trying to evacuate the wounded, we found our sector under attack from multiple vectors, including artillery and naval support. Whatever remained of 3rd and 6th QA that was stationed in the rear has now been wiped out. 8th Helpdesk has been decimated and I had no other option to commit 24th, 12th and 2nd Developer batallion to the battle, at least untill reinforcements arrive. The enemy seems to be using a superior number of SFU-506 "Sasser" class fighters with ActiveX payloads. I nearly begged StratCom to send some "KB900364" SAM batteries.

27-08-2004 15:56

We have pulled back and regrouped in Sector 56. 3rd, 4th, 6th QA got decimated. 8th, 12th and 15th Helpdesk have been routed as well. 24th, 12th and 2nd Developer have been utterly destroyed to save the rest from annihilation. The few who remain are now en-route back home. Some are shell-shocked, one fat guy keeps jumping around yelling "Developers!"... Poor sod, this is war at it's worst.

Lies and the lying liars... (2, Insightful)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090002)

"NT was 100% new code" ... except, I assume, for all that VMS code that DEC sucessfully sued Microsoft over.

Re:Lies and the lying liars... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090107)

Digital (aka DEC) sued Microsoft over VMS but it never went to court. They decided to settle instead. I am not sure I call that sucessfully suing. Microsoft never admitted to actually copying code and as usual they ended up on the winning side in the long run.

Bugs cause Office bug... (5, Funny)

autophile (640621) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090013)

It's not uncommon for users to make a few edits to a document, save the document, make a few more edits, save the document again, make a few more changes, and continue this process of edit/save for hours on end.

Gee, I wonder why.

--Rob

Gives an idea of the scope of the problem (5, Insightful)

ribond (149811) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090025)

I like seeing such a dedicated description of how bugs can remain.. This line:

"Why did it take so long to figure out what was up with this?" Well, you might as well ask why police departments continue to have a large number of unsolved crimes on the books. The issue is the same: the investigation stalls for the lack of any further leads to follow.

Describes a huge chunk of my life in Software QA. It's an example of what is great about MS software and what is awful:

Great: dedicated test resources to chase down corner cases/non-obvious scenarios, accountability for broken scenarios, etc
Awful: Iterations of releases built on legacy code means no one (or two, or three) people can understand the problem or scope the fix.

For all the complaints here about MS code I wonder that no one has noticed the Windows weakness that is not getting exploited..? If MS software is really as bad as everyone here makes out then why doesn't someone do it better? Blah blah Linux blah blah... Build software for Windows that people can use without rebuilding their systems. If you do it well enough tell them it's even better on Platform X.

I'm now officially obligated to... (2, Insightful)

bob670 (645306) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090030)

post this statment at least every couple days on Slashdot.

I'm not enamored with everything MS does, but I spend far more time patching my Linux box and updating apps on my Linux box than I do my Win XP boxes. Of course part of that is "release early, release often" and part of it is adding new features to catch up with much of the usability that XP has. But anyone who post on this thread about MS products having more bugs isn't eally being honest with themselves or the community.

And in closing, OSS will never sucees until supporterd drop the "Anything But Microsoft" rhetoric and point out what Linux and OSS in general do better.

Obviously not fully debugged (3, Funny)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090032)

Rather, we're talking about the shear volume of things the user can do.

Memo to Microsoft: it may be spelled correctly, but that doesn't guarantee it's the right word.

...laura

too few eyeballs (3, Insightful)

KGBear (71109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090043)

I do understand all the complexities involved in trying to fix a bug the way the article describes. That's exactly why Open Source is superior. Instead of wasting a decade while 3 or 4 guys look at the problem from different angles, we'd have 3 or 4 hundred guys working on it not because it's their job but because they need it fixed. That's why fixes usually take days or hours on Open Source products.
OTOH, lots of people know enough programming to solve that kind of problem to their satisfaction. We don't have to submit that fix, so we don't have to worry too much about the side effects of the fix. That enables us to keep working with the product until some official (and usually better) solution comes along.

Must reproduce in order to fix? (3, Interesting)

Akiba (589290) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090055)

Very interesting read. One thing I have to dissagree with is about needing to see/reproduce a problem in order to fix it. It's true that not being able to reproduce makes finding a bug much harder but it's not impossible. As a server programmer I frequently have to debug race condition bugs, corruption bug or other problems that are not reproduceable at will. Sometimes good detective work can lead you to a find and sometime not. Often you end up having to add some diagnostic code that hopes to gather more information on the problem the next time someone encounters it. If it happened just once, often we cant fix it but then it's not that important... If it happens "once in a while" and/or "only in production at a large customer site" then we can usually fix it given enough time to work on it. I actually enjoy these kinds of bugs :-) -Akiba

They seem quite normal (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090058)

Wow - they have real people working there. I always imagined faceless robo-droids, mechanically barking out: I cannot reproduce the problem, please ring PSS...

Bloated article. Like Office itself. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10090061)

This article could have been half the length, and it would have been just as informative and a lot more interesting.

There will be bugs forever (1)

chadwbennett (808873) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090064)

I like how he states that there will always be bugs no matter what, "Since human beings themselves are not fully debugged yet". No matter what software you have, there will always be bugs. It doesn't matter if it comes from Microsoft or Redhat or Mac, there will be bugs no matter what. Shoot, I can't even write a Hello world script without having problems. J/K

It's for real [wired.com] . I normally don't go for these things but...Free ipods (click here to get yours) [freeipods.com] .

A simple case of the wrong error.. (4, Interesting)

wfberg (24378) | more than 9 years ago | (#10090067)

They spent years in the dark that the "disk is full" error was caused by too many open files.
You'd think that if the disk isn't actually full, you'd look at other places that can generate that error. Even though obviously the error should have been along the lines of "too many open files".

Note that this underlying problem isn't just a technical one. You get over-general error messages on windows (and with various badly designed software) all the time.

The least you can do when you pop-up an error is to give some additional information; like where it occurred ("Bad Thing Happened in somefile.c line #456"), so even if, like in this case, you can't reproduce the error in a debugger, you know where the error got kicked into being. Not quite as useful as a full stacktrace like in Java, but pretty usefull.

Compare this to how (non-Microsoft) geeks write error codes; from man ep;

ep0: 3c509 in test mode. Erase pencil mark!

This means that someone has scribbled with pencil in the test area on the card. Erase the pencil mark and reboot. (This is not a joke).


Even if you don't understand the error code, at least you can google for its pretty unique description "erase pencil mark".
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