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Big Challenges for Vista Bug Hunters

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the game-over-man-game-over dept.

213

The New York Times is reporting on the final rush to bug fix Windows Vista. Even with massive numbers of testers and five years of work behind them, the folks in Redmond are pushing it to the wire in order to make sure it releases soon. From the article: "Vista has also been tested extensively. More than half a million computer users have installed Vista test software, and 450,000 of the systems have sent crash data back to Microsoft. Such data supplements the company's own testing in a center for Office referred to as the Big Button Room, for the array of switches, lights and other apparatus that fill the space. (A similar Vista room has a less interesting name -- Windows Test Technologies.) This is where special software automatically exercises programs rapidly while looking for errors."

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special software (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | about 8 years ago | (#16362215)

This is where special software automatically exercises programs rapidly while looking for errors.

and this software, folks, goes by the name "internet explorer".

Re:special software (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 8 years ago | (#16362241)

No, that 'program' is called Internet Explorer maybe, but that 'special software' is an automatic testing application, probably developed internally and woefully incomplete.

Re:special software (1)

rs232 (849320) | about 8 years ago | (#16362339)

that 'special software' is an automatic testing application, probably developed internally and woefully incomplete.

What platform did they develop this 'special software' and why don't they rewrite Vista in it. What errors would you get if you ran it on itself.

Re:special software (1)

DesertWolf0132 (718296) | about 8 years ago | (#16363471)

I think this "special software" would be more accurately described as a series of macros and scripts (in the dumbed down, Microsoft sense of the word) with a simple monitor listening for errors being written to the logs. As we all know, Microsoft logs are often woefully underpowered at recording major system errors. Of course this is a hunch but based on my past experience with Microsoft (dating back to the early days of DOS 2.0)I think it is a decent one.

Re:special software (1, Flamebait)

pdbaby (609052) | about 8 years ago | (#16362303)

I know a guy who used to work on test suites at Microsoft who has since quit, given their awful attitude towards bugs in Vista, and got a Mac

Re:special software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362421)

Sorry, I'm having a really hard time believing you. I'd be interested to hear more information about their testing procedures if you have it, though.

Re:special software (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362579)

I know a guy who craps gold.

Re:special software (4, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#16363347)

I know a guy who used to work on test suites at Microsoft who has since quit, given their awful attitude towards bugs in Vista, and got a Mac

You'll see this kind of attitude in every bigger software company. I've had personal experiences like this in Adobe and Macromedia with their flagship products. Features are dropped, specs constantly changing and inconsistent between teams.

In some cases, you can spot the same feature implemented twice in source, with different interfaces, in different locations, and code linking randomly to one or the other, or even both (imagine updating this).

The bugs to be fixed are selected first for how obvious they are (likely to occur) and not how critical they are. This is why it's common that bugs that can totally wreck operation and lead to data loss may be left, if the occurence is rare or unlikely.

Everybody is in stress and the main goal is that you get the reviewed bug off your shoulders: if it's mildly reminiscent to something else, it's marked duplicate. If you can't reproduce it quickly, it's marked as fixed or not reproducible. Tricky bugs are marked "fact of life" or "deffered".

Successful companies and their products grow, but the way the products and resources are managed does not scale. Instead, programmers are expected to churn a major release every X months, screw everything else, and keep the cash flowing, the investors happy.

With Windows, we have a successful product that supports a huge ecosystem of applications (including legacy support), localization, usage cases etc. It's natural that in time, updates will become more rare, and will be much slower and more expensive to produce.

The trend of software-as-a-service is not coincidental with this situation. In 5 to 10 years the base software we use might be so complex and tough to work on, that the only way it can be sustained is by small, regular payments, and the updates will be small, incremental, security/performance oriented. No more big releases, no more rushes to fix bugs in the last moment.

This is the way evolution works. The other route is, of course, revolution...

Time (4, Insightful)

Kangburra (911213) | about 8 years ago | (#16362239)

This was a similar story for Windows ME, in the end the time to release became more important than the quality of the product. I would like to see Vista delayed until it's ready, even if that's not for six more months. In my view that would earn Microsoft more points than meeting a schedule and then needing to (service) patch it fairly quickly.

my $0.02

Re:Time (4, Informative)

scsirob (246572) | about 8 years ago | (#16362255)

Further delay aint happening. Vista will be out the door, regardless of the remaining bugs. They still have 'patch tuesday' to make updates, and the installation sequence itself already includes an initial update phase. So any really big bugs that remain present in the RTM build can still be fixed later.

Re:Time (2, Insightful)

h2g2bob (948006) | about 8 years ago | (#16362509)

Well, I suppose it's not like they've got a reputation to protect...

Though to be fair people will have a go at MS if it's late OR if it has bugs, so they can't win. That said, either way people will be forced to use it.

Re:Time (1)

finity (535067) | about 8 years ago | (#16363331)

That update during the install is a great idea. I remember one of those worms made installing Windows hell. You'd install, then it'd reboot, and if it was connected to the Internet it'd be infected within about a minute. Too fast to install the necessary updates. I hope Microsoft gets vista right...

Re:Time (1)

suffe (72090) | about 8 years ago | (#16363431)

So any really big bugs that remain present in the RTM build can still be fixed later.

Bill, is that you?

Re:Time (2, Insightful)

Hennell (1005107) | about 8 years ago | (#16362309)

But they will probally figure that delaying it for 6 more months suggests its still not good enough. So even if its not ready they'd prefer the patch route.

All a bit academic really, the adverage person will get it good or not and slashdoters will complain it crashes and is insecure. Its like the circle of life.

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363217)

Vista hasn't been in development for five years.
Slashdot has already discussed this here:

"The Wall Street Journal has a long front-page article describing how
Jim Allchin approached Bill Gates in July, 2004, with the news that
then-Longhorn, now-Vista, was 'so complex that its writers would never
be able to make it run properly.' Now, Mr. Allchin argued, the jig was up. Microsoft
needed to start over.' And start over they did.
--------

So Vista has two years development after all the clever (read difficult) Longhorn features were scrapped. This Vista is just XP with bright red lipstick and some Botox.

It is designed purely to get some extra money for MS before web applications kick in and MS gets no more money from Windows. As almost all new PCs will have Vista installed (and most users will have to upgrade to run Vista) selling new PCs should provide a nice income for MS.

Face it, it's Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362257)

No matter how much bug fixing they do, their products are, for the most part, still going to suck. Users will still get the lingering bug-fix as a service pack, also enabling Microsoft to butt-fuck it's users with some more DRM.

Huh.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362267)

Half a million installs, and 450k of them crashed.

Color me unimpressed.

Re:Huh.. (4, Insightful)

Angostura (703910) | about 8 years ago | (#16362499)

Depends how you interpret the figures. I have a stable, well configured Mac. Last week, I had a dodgy 3rd party app that crashed 3 times. Each time the Apple crash reporter asked me to send a report to Apple.

If I had been running a beta version of the operating system I would have gone ahead and sent, on the grounds that it might have been a bad interaction between app and OS. In the event I said no.

You need to know more about what is triggering the crash reporter.

Re:Huh.. (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | about 8 years ago | (#16362663)

5,000,000 million testers, ~500,000 people that REPORT the errors.

Personally, I can't remember the last time I crashed _and_ decided to send the data to M$.

Re:Huh.. (1)

grahamdrew (589499) | about 8 years ago | (#16362999)

Where are you getting the 5,000,000 number from? Half-million != 5,000,000

Re:Huh.. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 8 years ago | (#16363029)

"Personally, I can't remember the last time I crashed _and_ decided to send the data to M$."

why not sometimes you get feedback which identifies the problem and a solution. You don't have to like microsoft to send in a crash report. It is in your own interest as well as microsofts
got to admit i thought it was a one way street, but i know my brother got some feedback and identified a problem.
 

Re:Huh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362755)

10-15 years, and whatever OS you are using is still behind Windows: Color us all unimpressed.

Re:Huh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363279)

Hah ha. The operating system *I* use has been ahead of windows almost since the beginning.
Unless you're specifically talking about installed base on desktop/laptop machines.

That metric really doesn't affect me in any kind of way, though. I bet you brag to all your
friends about it, though.

Re:Huh.. (5, Funny)

alohatiger (313873) | about 8 years ago | (#16362943)

Or maybe 499,999 didn't crash, and one of them crashed 450,000 times.

Re:Huh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363493)

The Slashdot summary said that 450000 systems sent crash data, not that Microsoft got 450000 crash reports.

Re:Huh.. (1)

Blaaguuu (886777) | about 8 years ago | (#16363199)

So does that mean 50,000 of them didn't crash?

I dunno... That sounds pretty good for MS!

I wouldn't want to be the guy (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362269)

"More than half a million computer users have installed Vista test software, and 450,000 of the systems have sent crash data back to Microsoft."

That is the kind of information that can get people fired...

Re:I wouldn't want to be the guy (3, Interesting)

jonnyj (1011131) | about 8 years ago | (#16362535)

The real world is probably worse than the statistics suggest.

I tried to install Vista on three PCs, all of which passed Microsoft's Ready for Vista testing tool, but all three failed before they were able to sent any crash data back to Microsoft. Two installs hung due because Vista didn't like my SATA / motherboard combination. The other got its knickers twisted over my partitioning scheme. And that was before I got a chance to find out if any of my other hardware (printer, scanner, TV card, firewire, network, graphics, CD/DVD, monitor, soundcard, suspend/resume, camera, etc) had any kind of working support.

Recent Linux kernels work perfectly with all this hardware. Could Vista be the first Microsoft OS that lags behind Linux for hardware support?

Re:I wouldn't want to be the guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362963)

Could Vista be the first Microsoft OS that lags behind Linux for hardware support?

MS windows has always been behind linux for it, MS Windows + external drivers did have a lot of hardware support but in this case if your computer was unstable it was always the fault of the external driver! I personnally experienced a very funny bug with NT4 and the driver for a iomega zip and a very nice kernel panic but noone was responsible neither iomega, neither Microsoft (brand new PC with no software and only MS certified drivers) In the same computer linux was working very fine even with the iomega zip...

Does it mean anything? (1)

rbarreira (836272) | about 8 years ago | (#16362723)

Is that crash data in general, or crash data on Microsoft applications or OS parts? I ask because windows can send crash data for any application which crashes...

FUD? (0)

bcmm (768152) | about 8 years ago | (#16362281)

WTF is the "Button Room" about? I doubt they actually have special hardware for software testing...

Re:FUD? (2, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | about 8 years ago | (#16362377)

Nah, it's just a fancy place to bring visitors to. They probably bought it off a 50's sci-fi movie set, spinning reels and all.

Re:FUD? (2, Informative)

nstlgc (945418) | about 8 years ago | (#16362479)

IIRC it's the monitoring room for the Office Crash Assistant, the place where you send your data to after you crash. They analyse this data attempting to find patterns that lead to crashes. (I'm not sure how good this helps Office, but for Windows itself it's an excellent tool to find broken driver releases.)

Yes, you can use hardware to track down bugs... (4, Interesting)

klubar (591384) | about 8 years ago | (#16362545)

Hardware is almost required to debug some low-level system code. Real-time stuff, like device drivers and scheduler really requires hardware tracer to determine what happened and when.

With XP, almost all of the crashes are due to bad (usually non-MS) device drivers. If you run a system with pure MS drivers and quality hardware you'll never see a BSOD. If you run the usual business suite of software (Office, Outlook, IE) you probably never see an application crash.

It's the crappy hardware and badly written drivers that cause the crashes. That's the difference with Apple.... since they control the hardware there's less crashes due to bad hardware and there are fewer third-party drivers for Mac hardware. The software is probably the same quality.

Re:Yes, you can use hardware to track down bugs... (2, Informative)

ookaze (227977) | about 8 years ago | (#16362779)

Hardware is almost required to debug some low-level system code. Real-time stuff, like device drivers and scheduler really requires hardware tracer to determine what happened and when

Huh ? This is called a serial console terminal, and I wouldn't call a terminal a 'hardware tracer'. Other OS just use a serial console to debug device drivers and scheduler, with most debugging done in software.

With XP, almost all of the crashes are due to bad (usually non-MS) device drivers. If you run a system with pure MS drivers and quality hardware you'll never see a BSOD

BS ! I've had a (documented on MS bugs site) BSOD just after install with WinXP for my Adaptec card, and not a cheap one.
Unfortunately, the WinXP native drivers caused the BSOD, I even had to install Linux on the PC (which worked perfectly) to be able to install the driver from the vendor instead of the MS one, so that WinXP don't crash anymore.
Unless you tell me Adaptec are not quality hardware (the card bought in 1999 is still working great BTW, and was not crashing in Win9x).

If you run the usual business suite of software (Office, Outlook, IE) you probably never see an application crash

No, but I've lost complete big documents because of Word (he couldn't read its own saved files, thankfully I have OOo now, that saved me several times already), I won't even talk about IE.

It's the crappy hardware and badly written drivers that cause the crashes. That's the difference with Apple.... since they control the hardware there's less crashes due to bad hardware and there are fewer third-party drivers for Mac hardware. The software is probably the same quality

In my case, I know that's complete BS (that crappy hardware causes the crashes), as I've run Linux on the same hardware as my only Windows client.
And while the Linux tagged along just fine for weeks, the WinXP couldn't last more than a week without locking up or becoming unusable.
Is it really badly written drivers or crappy OS ? I had an old Creative Live ! card that was dying (and finally died).
WinXP was BSODing regularly when it was dying, then when it died, just BSOD at every boot. I then installed Linux on the PC, and it just tagged along, never crashed, telling me it couldn't initialise the driver, the driver saying it couldn't initialise the card.

Re:Yes, you can use hardware to track down bugs... (1)

javilon (99157) | about 8 years ago | (#16363221)

This is absolutely irrelevant. In real terms, most people see system crashes due to malware entering the machine. Is Microsoft doing something about security? something effective, because if they aren't, Vista will not change anything. Microsoft has *always* had security as a second thought. I am not expecting that to change.

Re:FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362605)

Are you kidding? Why wouldn't you have special hardware for testing? They may even have keyboards with robots to press the buttons to test the keyboard drivers.

They will need PCs to test multiple hardware / software configurations, running test scripts to connect to Wireless LANs, test scripts to test Active Directory integration. There's so much to test, you'd need loads of PC's running test scripts!

Plus you might want to try data fuzzing attacks and run every Windows exploit ever made on Vista going right back to Windows 98.

Re:FUD? (1)

Bob_Villa (926342) | about 8 years ago | (#16362737)

C'mon, don't you know anything? It is obviously where their staff of 10,000 monkeys press buttons randomly on keyboards of pcs running Vista. This is how they test for their bugs. If the monkeys can't find it, Joe Sixpack should be safe and secure.

Statistics! (5, Insightful)

shreevatsa (845645) | about 8 years ago | (#16362283)

More than half a million computer users have installed Vista test software, and 450,000 of the systems have sent crash data back to Microsoft.
In other words, about nine out of ten systems using Vista crashed at some point. And that's counting just those who sent the crash reports. :-)

Re:Statistics! (4, Funny)

ImaNihilist (889325) | about 8 years ago | (#16362301)

That's really what happened in North Korea, they just don't want to admit it. Some noob installed Vista on one of the nuclear control computers, and then it crashed, and boom.

Now the world will be destroyed, and we'll find out it was really Steve Ballmer's plan all along...then he'll throw a chair at something.

Begun the dark times have.

Re:Statistics! (1)

rvw (755107) | about 8 years ago | (#16362311)

I think crash data can also apply to applications that crash. Still, if only 10% has a system crash, that's a lot!

Re:Statistics! (1)

1337Garda (1011059) | about 8 years ago | (#16362327)

Is that really alot? I'm actually asking. That would include every time that an application crashed ever and a report was sent. Who goes for weeks on end using either OSX, Linux/Unix or even XP as their desktop and wouldn't have at least one application crash at some point.

Re:Statistics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362343)

Who goes for weeks on end using either OSX, Linux/Unix or even XP as their desktop and wouldn't have at least one application crash at some point.



Hi.

Re:Statistics! (1)

Proud like a god (656928) | about 8 years ago | (#16362487)

FYI, I've been running Mandriva2006 Linux for months with no problems, rarely booting into WinXP for games. I'm sure there must have been a few minor crashed apps with this setup in the past few years, but I'm not remembering them atm. Happy computing :-)

Re:Statistics! (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 8 years ago | (#16362489)

yes, it is a lot - in fact it's quite disgraceful.

The only reason people are even considering Vista (given this level of failure) is that we have become so used to PCs crashing that we're blind to it.

Imagine if your TV switched itself off and took a minute or two to come back as often as your computer crashes. You'd send it back and demand a proper one - that worked.

I'm aware of all the arguments about 3rd party software/drivers etc. being the real cause. That's as maybe, but if the Vista architecture was designed to be robust and tolerant to these faults, then the problems we see just wouldn't arise. After all, it's not like MS can say that faulty drivers are a new problem

Re:Statistics! (4, Insightful)

endemoniada (744727) | about 8 years ago | (#16362633)

I'm getting a little tired of people comparing a computer running an OS to a TV set or similar.

The TV will do one thing, and one thing only. That's displaying an analog signal as moving images and sound. That's all. The day that's all Windows will ever have to do, that's the day you can demand a refund.

Re:Statistics! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 8 years ago | (#16363165)

Amen.

Re:Statistics! (1)

Jerom (96338) | about 8 years ago | (#16363361)

I see you never had to program the embedded software for a plasma TV. In terms of processing power it beats the crap out of everything consumers where running 10 years ago.

And if your tv only shows you images, that's quite sad.

No tuner, no pll, powermanagement, OSD, autocolor calibration,...

sigh...

so it's like my Tivo (1)

way2trivial (601132) | about 8 years ago | (#16362667)

which I can't replace as I can't see paying a monthly fee.

p.s. my TIVO, a LINUX device, freezes now 2 or 3 times a month.. I have to switch it off (unplug it actually) and gosh yes, wait a minute (*5 or 6 actually) to resume my normal broadcast day.

Re:so it's like my Tivo (2, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 8 years ago | (#16362949)

That sounds like a thermal problem. Have you tried opening the case and cleaning the air vents, and making sure the fans are all working properly?

Ignorant (2, Informative)

rbarreira (836272) | about 8 years ago | (#16362757)

You're ignorant. From your post, it seems you think that the crashes were OS crashes, which is not true. Most (or all?) of the crash information is about applications crashing, not the whole OS. Any application, not just OS code or Microsoft apps.

It's more akin to you turning on your TV and finding out that your channels suck.

Re:Statistics! (1, Offtopic)

jellomizer (103300) | about 8 years ago | (#16362507)

I had servers running for years without the application or OS crashing. The reasons why the system goes down.
1. Long Term Power Failure.
2. Hardware failure.

That is all. Thank you come again.

Re:Statistics! (1)

Dobeln (853794) | about 8 years ago | (#16362531)

Server != Multi-use computer. Repeat as many times as are needed.

Re:Statistics! (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 8 years ago | (#16363193)

That'll work for desktops as well, provided you only touch the machine as often as you touch your servers, and install the same software set.

So feel free to install any OS you want on your desktop, but once its set up you're only allowed to touch it once a week to patch it. Other than that you must disconnect the keyboard and monitor and stare at the power LED.

There you have my recipe for a desktop with the same uptime as a server.

Re:Statistics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362707)

I've been running a pretty unstable Gentoo install, and the only things that's crashed in the last two years are the extremely experimental pre-alpha compiz-quinnstorm/beryl packages. But that stuff isn't even in the Portage tree yet. Before that it was a kernel panic from failing PATA cables, IIRC. Other than that, nothing. And I should mention that I torrent and stuff with Azureus or rTorrent almost 24/7 and update world every weekend.

And nothing's crashed on my Debian fileserver in the four years or running it, of course, and yes, it is kept up to date.

Re:Statistics! (1)

Don_dumb (927108) | about 8 years ago | (#16362373)

And that's counting just those who sent the crash reports.
Why would you install a beta version of an operating system and not send in crash reports?
Perhaps it was because 1 in every 10 couldn't get it to install/boot/work

Re:Statistics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362617)

Why would you install a beta version of an operating system and not send in crash reports?

Because you're a M*crosoft fan-boy who just wants to play with the next thing that comes out, and refuse to admit there are faults with their software.

Yes, they exist. I work with one.

-M

Re:Statistics! (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 8 years ago | (#16363085)

Why would you install a beta version of an operating system and not send in crash reports?

Yes, in fact, I would. If I were beta-testing an OS, I would make sure I did that on an isolated machine, until I was certain that it was ready for being hooked into a network. And an isolated machine won't be able to send bug reports.

--
*Art

Re:Statistics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363247)

there are a few reasons...
for me, it didn't recognise my network card thus no internet. :s an onboard 3com card, no drivers for my version (it is reasonably popular MB but only the pci card version had a driver.)
I used it for about maximum of 4 hours per session, (used it with only the programs available on install most times I installed. I had to try a *few* options.) It was too annoying and useless for me.

I quickly returned to the suse/compiz fold. :)

almost got enough motivation to hand a report in manually via suse (less useful i understand, more of a complaint system?), but gave up at the before i gained sight of the Microsoft page.

does that ring true for others? probably similar.

Re:Statistics! (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 8 years ago | (#16362431)

In other words, about nine out of ten systems using Vista crashed at some point. And that's counting just those who sent the crash reports. :-)

Or it could be that 1 out of every Vista system crashed 9 times.... and the remaining systems went into BSOD before the reports got dispatched :-)

Did you notice ALL the chairs AND Tables are taken? The developers seem to have learnt their lessons!

Re:Statistics! (1)

rlp (11898) | about 8 years ago | (#16362703)

Or maybe ONE system crashed 450,000 times. I hate when that happens.

Re:Statistics! (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about 8 years ago | (#16362671)

I don't know about Vista, but on XP the default is to submit crash reports for all crashes. That includes software you are yourself developing. Yes, you soon learn to switch that off, but at least some of those reports will be from developers writing code for Vista and submitting crash reports for their own software (or testers doing so).

450,000 of 500,000 people report crashes ? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362319)

Obiously 50,000 users didn't test anything at all.

Just wanted to thank god for linux.

Re:450,000 of 500,000 people report crashes ? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 8 years ago | (#16362345)

Or turned off crash reporting, or a behind a strict firewall, or never finished installing the thing, or never managed to get their network card/modem working, or don't didn't use it on an Internet connected PC.

When you look at the possibilities, it's almost certain that EVERY user experienced some kind of crash, however minor. Whether that reflects on the state of Vista, or the state of modern operating systems in general, I don't know.

Re:450,000 of 500,000 people report crashes ? (1)

electronerdz (838825) | about 8 years ago | (#16362551)

Or it crashed so badly, that sending a report just wasn't going to work anymore.

Re:450,000 of 500,000 people report crashes ? (1)

Dawsons (986350) | about 8 years ago | (#16362571)

Linus Torvalds=god?? :O that is some reference! :D

Re:450,000 of 500,000 people report crashes ? (1)

toetagger1 (795806) | about 8 years ago | (#16363223)

Or better yet, 50,000 installs of Vista crashed so badly, they weren't even able to send the crash reports!

This surely is the solution to sift through it all (3, Funny)

QuatermassX (808146) | about 8 years ago | (#16362391)

Surely Microsoft could use this to sift through such an vast quantity of code: http://www.google.com/codesearch [google.com]

Just please don't start hurling chairs at my Karma!

No wonder! (-1, Offtopic)

jkrise (535370) | about 8 years ago | (#16362401)

Looking at the picture.... http://graphics10.nytimes.com/images/2006/10/09/bu siness/09vista.xlarge1.jpg [nytimes.com]
looks like the so-called developers are having a LAN party. Certainly not like professional bug fixers who know what they're doing.

Besides, did anyone notice ALL the chairs are taken? Even some of the tables too, just in case!!!!

Re:No wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362435)

>>did anyone notice ALL the chairs are taken?

That is done on purpose so Ballmer won't throw them anymore.

Re:No wonder! (1)

dk-software-engineer (980441) | about 8 years ago | (#16362453)

It looks like a meeting. People rarely seem professional at meetings.

The efficiency of a group of people is not the sum of intelligence, it's the sum of stupidity.

Re:No wonder! (1)

AidanApWord (691712) | about 8 years ago | (#16362505)

Regarding: The picture linked above [nytimes.com]

Anyone spot the need for shades in the room? Perhaps someone at Micrsoft does indeed think the future is that bright ...?

And what a team demo like this has to do with bug fixing I don't know?

In terms of directly dealing with the problem(s) and imperfections of a software release ... everybody sitting in a room taking notes on someone's demo ... I am not sure the world is ready for what real software enginnering really looks like. I (and the vast majority of my team mates) do our best and most productive work when keeping such 'mass migrations to a meeting room' to an absolute minimum.

And, however much the software engineering world is predominantly male, why is there only 1 lady in the room?

Anyone else wonder if this picture was taken for padding the media story? If so, then I have to admit they did work hard at making it look messy and busy. Unfocussed and secondary ... but messy and busy, indeed.

Aidanapword

Critical Path sunglasses (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362795)

One team I was on had a pair of "critical path sunglasses", whoever was on the critical path got to keep them, the joke being they wouldnt see daylight for so long their eyeballs would suffer when they did go outside -hence the sunglasses.

This meeting looks like a triage session to me: someone goes through the list of bugs, dividing them up into ones to focus on, and which to ignore. Triage has always been a microsof strength: making the decisions as to exactly how buggy something can be and yet still ship successfully.

There's one person with a keyboard (probably hooked to a real vista pc),the foreground laptop is running outlook on what looks rather suspiciously like WinXP (that or vista without Aero, which is roughly how laptops will run it anyway). There arent enough empty soft drink cans or laptops plugged in to AC power for a long lived meeting. Rooms get messier after about six hours, even with less people in.

Won't someone think of the children?? (0, Troll)

gilgongo (57446) | about 8 years ago | (#16362423)

Or more accurately - the USERS.

How much, if any, of this "testing" is to establish whether anyone who will have to use Vista be able to do so without going mad?

We know that Vista and Office Vista (or whatever the next version of Office will be called) will be the most bloated software onslaught known to man. Sure, Clippy is dead, but what about all the other "productivity enhancements" that are there simply to ensure that the MS product managers who pushed through these changes will get their pay rises?

Rant rant rant I could go on all day.

450,000? (1)

necro2607 (771790) | about 8 years ago | (#16362433)

Hmm.. exactly 450,000 machines eh?

What are the chances? Damn.

Re:450,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362903)

This is just a guess but I'd say 1 in 500,000.

Stupid M$ tricks (-1, Troll)

mattr (78516) | about 8 years ago | (#16362451)

I remember a TV show called stupid pet tricks. Then there was one I believe called stupid human tricks. I think we now have enough material for a whole season of stupid microsoft tricks.


On the heels of the latest revelation (how high are we up to now on the halloween documents?) of Microsoft's involvement in supressing superior technology (mainly superior for not being opaque), now this.


Being sceptical has made me consistently right about Microsoft as the latest Baystar news surfaces. My bullshit detector is screaming out loud that the current story is a Microsoft PR Plant based on fiction, the only real fact visible requires one to read between the lines, which is that Vista sucks and will be buggy. This story is simply a moronic attempt to say how hard they looked for bugs, so that anybody who in the future has a bad experience on Vista (crashes, etc.) will be marginalized and a large percentage of the blame can be moved onto their application or hardware vendors. I have been trying to decide whether to get a top of the line PC or a top of the line Mac and this has got me 90% decided. Not that I haven't been screwed by Apple before, or that I am going to happy with the performance of Windows apps under Parallels (which is apparently "good enough" but 2-3 times slower than a quick pc), but I am just tired of it. The other day I was worried about a vulnerability I heard about, and not having read about a workaround I installed genuine advantage on a pc at work.. which Microsoft seemed to require in order to do any other updates (another lie). Recently I have heard from 3 users that their PCs just seem to get slower and slower, despite tests for viruses etc, and though I got a close to free PC, display and printer out of it this is just the end.


When I used to write windows software I had to reinstall 98 a number of times I remember too. I told one person they should wipe everything. There are just too many bad things about Microsoft that anything comes up, I end up being so cynical I expect it is an intentional performance drop before I even open up the lid.


Well, I've had an epiphany. Anything you do with Microsoft, you will get screwed, and the closer you get to them the worse it gets. They aren't even that good at fucking people over, since they keep getting caught, but they are great about neutralizing any attempts to do anything about it. What HP did is *nothing* compared to what Bill Gates has done repeatedly, it's just he does it on such a scale that it boggles the mind. That said, I do not for a minute believe half a million tested Vista. It is crap and I don't need to see it to know it now, it just smells so bad from here. I will do my utter best NEVER to buy Vista.

That's the way it is (1)

sirjohn (514074) | about 8 years ago | (#16362481)

I think we should take this as the way to release complex software... No matter how many tests you can perform the system will be buggy in some way.. Better to patch it as often as you can, there are simply too many case scenarios out there to live with..

More info? (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | about 8 years ago | (#16362521)

"This is where special software automatically exercises programs rapidly while looking for errors."

I for one would love to know more about the tools they use for automated testing.

In my company, we have a build & testing server running compiler and NUnit [nunit.org] tests for all data-layer tests (complete tests like "load all of everything" and more specific tests like "authorise user with known bad credentials - expect login-failure") alongside NUnitForms [sourceforge.net] tests for the application-layer (random, frantic clicking's everywhere and specific user-journey tests).

All in all, it's quite a good system for rooting out the majority of bugs, but I'm always looking for ways of improving this side of things.

I can only imagine Microsoft must use similar techniques, but obviously a tad more intensive; can anyone shed any light?

Re:More info? (1)

Slashcrap (869349) | about 8 years ago | (#16363449)

I can only imagine Microsoft must use similar techniques, but obviously a tad more intensive; can anyone shed any light?

That's quite an imagination you've got there. Ever thought of becoming a Sci-Fi author?

Vista SP2 (1)

Rulke (629278) | about 8 years ago | (#16362523)

As usual with microsoft products.. i will wait for SP 2 to arrive before putting any thought into actually getting it...

Re:Vista SP2 (1)

dvhh (763607) | about 8 years ago | (#16362591)

gee only wait for a SP2 to be released, as for myself I never use an NT os before it reached SP4 level.

Re:Vista SP2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363059)

I completely agree...
Waiting for SP2 regarding any release of NT should be company policy everywhere by now.

I would just add to this: "I will wait for the WGA activation crack".

Vista SP1 - should be stable by then (1)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | about 8 years ago | (#16363367)

Waiting for SP2 will take around 2 years after Vista is released. Assuming an early '07 launch, SP1 should be out by the end of '07. By then, both Microsoft and other hardware vendors should have their bugs & drivers worked out. For XP, I waited until SP1a and it worked fine.

It's funny, though, that neither you nor I nor a lot of other /.'ers would even touch a brand new release of Windows. I just see it as moving from 500,000 beta-testers to 50,000,000 beta-testers.

Phase 2 (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 8 years ago | (#16362613)

This is where special software automatically exercises programs rapidly while looking for errors.

Maybe they should try hooking WGA up to this thing.

mod Up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16362665)

session and juoin In

Why try, and fail to, reinvent the wheel... (2, Interesting)

rsidd (6328) | about 8 years ago | (#16362689)

Microsoft wanted a more reliable machine, improved memory management, a better filesystem, etc... Instead of throwing resources at doing these things from scratch, why didn't they just

  • Take Linux, or one of the BSDs (like Apple did)
  • Spend small amounts of money improving it (all that's really needed is improved device drivers)
  • Spend some money on improving Wine (it would be really easy for them, compared to anyone else who wants to do it), et voila -- near-perfect backward compatibility (certainly far better than Apple's MacOS 9 -> MacOS X or PowerPC->Intel moves)

From every point of view it seems to make more sense. They spend less money, get a more reliable product that can run very nicely on existing hardware, get some good press for a change, and benefit from the work of unpaid open-source programmers all over the world. But it isn't their way.

Re:Why try, and fail to, reinvent the wheel... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 8 years ago | (#16362845)

Microsoft wanted a more reliable machine, improved memory management, a better filesystem, etc... Instead of throwing resources at doing these things from scratch, why didn't they just

Because there is zero benefit to them in doing so.

Re:Why try, and fail to, reinvent the wheel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363015)

Because Windows NT is based on VMS, which is significantly superior to UNIX. This is why Windows NT had fully functional threading before POSIX had a standard for it, and long before Linux could do it at all. The underlying core of Windows is just fine. NTFS is a very good file system, and with Vista is now one of the very few elite journaled AND transactional file systems. Deleting a file, appending to another file, modifying a registry key and inserting a record into an Oracle database can now be a single atomic operation, either entirely succeeding or entirely failing. Other that OS/400, I'm not aware of a single other filesystem like that.

The driver system has been changing in every iteration, but there is a reason: Microsoft is moving Windows NT back towards it's microkernel roots. The audio stack is now entirely user mode. 90% of video drivers are now user mode. User mode drivers eliminates the last bastion of BSODs and the ultimate hiding ground for root kits. Vista represents a major step forward in that respect.

And why would MS need to improve WINE? They have the actual Win16/32 source, no need to write an emulator for it. Frankly, those who don't understand Windows are doomed to repeat it while mistaking UNIX as superior, which, sorry, it ain't. fork() is a vestage of a dead past.

Re:Why try, and fail to, reinvent the wheel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363505)

You do know that MS was in such a hurry to implement threads because process creation
and switching in NT is much slower than under a good unix OS, right?

So simple maths (2, Funny)

stewwy (687854) | about 8 years ago | (#16362729)

tells us that 450,000/500,000 gives us a crash rate of exactly 90% seems about right for a windows system , can't think why they haven't released it earlier.

What about compatibility? (2, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 years ago | (#16362759)

Something that I haven't heard much recently is about Vista compatibility. MS has said before that it will be compatible and for most software and hardware, it was true in previous versions. But there were enough exceptions. ME was supposed to be backwards compatible. But many specialized drivers had to be written for it. XP definitely required some driver updates. Since Vista is a architectural change, so one would except some compatibility issues especially when DRM and enhanced security is thrown into the mix.


Technically would MS classify incompatibility as not a a bug, especially if is does not cause a crash?

Fool them twice, er, um, won't be fooled again! (0, Flamebait)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 8 years ago | (#16362887)

Most people are not fooled thrice (PHBs excepted) and new crops of folks who have yet to be burned by MS' business ethics and exceptionally bloated software products are shrinking rapidly -- MS is running out of suckers. Which explains much about MS's Playstation and iPod knockoffs: At least MS knows their con is running out of conees in the PC software racket.

New product lines we might see from MS in the near future:

- Pointy, singing tin-foil hats stamped with "PHBs Rule!" and an image of Dilbert's boss -- with ads for sale to the highest bidder
- Lapel pins which sing out screechy fortunes -- with ads for sale to the highest bidder
- Singing tires for your automobile -- with ads for sale to the highest bidder
- Singing Toilet paper -- with ads for sale to the highest bidder (I might buy this one, hmm.)

The list is endless, the point is made, I'm outta here.

Happy Monday to all.

Here we go (0, Flamebait)

CxDoo (918501) | about 8 years ago | (#16363007)

Cue in:

1) Windows is extremely unstable and it BSODs every an hour or so. You have to reinstall it every month, there is no other way around it. Me, I switched over to Linux in 1997 and never looked back.

2) Windows administration is royal PITA; you can't do jack shit and everything is so confusing and convoluted. Every time I have to touch a Windoze box (once in three months or so) I feel so frustrated. Me, I don't run Windows anywhere.

3) NT is a dead end OS, it's inherently flawed. They should switch over to Linux/BSD/Whatever like Apple did. I mean, if Apple could do it, why Microsoft can't?

4) Why is Office so important? OO is getting better. And there is GIMP, yeah.

high crash rate (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 8 years ago | (#16363027)

more than half a million installed, and 450,000 sent back crash data... so even if we assume it was nearly a million, that's 50% crash rate. I'd guess it was way higher even than that. So, over half of the systems were crashing bad enough for Microsoft to care? Wow! What exactly is the problem? I thought this was supposed to be a newer, better version. Wouldn't we see a 10% crash rate, or even a 25% crash rate at this point if things were really getting any better?

Re:high crash rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363241)

I would guess that most of those crashes are application crashes. Microsoft wants to determine if these crashes are a result of the OS or just a buggy program.

Classic Microsoft (1)

sethwm2 (1006735) | about 8 years ago | (#16363043)

This is something that Microsoft likes to do a lot. Wait to fix things after it is out. Microsoft loves to do everything at the last second. As someone elce was saying look at what happened to Windows ME! It took them this long to release Vista yet this thing sounds like it has not been tested at all. I am thinking that there will be major updates after it comes out. They should just wait for two more months and let the beta testers keep going at it and see if they can't get ahead of the game? Also I think that if they release updates more often then they do now I think that they could get a little better at patching things. Apple will have an update out winthin a week of the problem being found. Anyone who uses NOD32 knows how often that updates By itself might I add. That is how often Micosoft should patch. It should be seemless and no restart required. One of the main reasions I do not use only Windows is becuase of the restarts that are required all the time. Linux never has to reboot unless it is a kernal update and Mac does not take as long as windows to start so I do not mind much. In conclusion the success of this version of windows will hang in the ballance of security and compatibility.

High failure rate (2, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 8 years ago | (#16363183)

"More than half a million computer users have installed Vista test software, and 450,000 of the systems have sent crash data back to Microsoft"

So the liklihood of a crash is near 100% ?

Big bang testing (2, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | about 8 years ago | (#16363251)

Sounds like typical end of project 'big bang' testing. All those issues they ignored in development? Let's fix them now and fast! I would hate to be the MS QA person.

(Yes I am aware I used singular, it was a joke, OK?)

not great odds... (1)

urdine (775754) | about 8 years ago | (#16363447)

"More than half a million computer users have installed Vista test software, and 450,000 of the systems have sent crash data back to Microsoft."

...and the other 50,000 uninstalled before it could crash. Seriously, why would you install this before 2009? Or at all?

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