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IT-DISCUSS  February 2000

IT-DISCUSS February 2000

Subject:

Bugfest! Win2000 has 63,000 'defects' (fwd)

From:

Geoffrey Duke <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 Feb 2000 10:56:29 -0500

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (138 lines)

   ---------------------------------------------------------------------

   This article is from ZDNN (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/).
   Visit this page on the Web at:
   http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2436920,00.html?chkpt=zdnntop

   ---------------------------------------------------------------------

   Not everyone will be having fun at Microsoft Corp. next week. While
   the software giant and its partners celebrate the arrival of Windows
   2000 on Thursday, Feb. 17, hundreds of members of the Windows
   development team will be busy cleaning up the mess.

   Not the launch-party mess. The code mess. According to an internal
   Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) memo viewed by Sm@rt Reseller, the company
   needs to fix tens of thousands of bugs contained in the final Win2000
   release code. Fixing these bugs is the top-priority assignment for
   Microsoft group VP Jim Allchin's Windows team.

   "Our customers do not want us to sell them products with over 63,000
   potential known defects. They want these defects corrected," stated
   one of Microsoft's Windows development leaders, Marc Lucovsky, in the
   memo. "How many of you would spend $500 on a piece of software with
   over 63,000 potential known defects?"

   According to the Microsoft memo, the Windows 2000 source-code base
   contains:

     * More than 21,000 "postponed" bugs, an indeterminate number of
       which Microsoft is characterizing as "real problems." Others are
       requests for new functionality, and others reflect "plain
       confusion as to how something is supposed to work."

     * More than 27,000 "BugBug" comments. These are usually notes to
       developers to make something work better or more efficiently.
       According to Microsoft, they tend to represent "unfinished work"
       or "long-forgotten problems."

     * Overall, there are more than 65,000 "potential issues" that could
       emerge as problems, as discovered by Microsoft's Prefix tool.
       Microsoft is estimating that 28,000 of these are likely to be
       "real" problems.

   "Our goal for the next release of Windows 2000 is to have zero bugs.
   The only way this happens is if you take it upon yourselves to fix the
   bugs that should be fixed, and close the bugs that should be closed,"
   continued Lucovsky in his note to the development team.

   He added that no new code for future Windows releases, such as
   Whistler and Blackcomb, will be allowed to be "checked in" until the
   development team has fixed the existing Windows 2000 bugs.


   Microsoft's response

   A spokeswoman for Microsoft strongly defended Windows 2000's quality.
   "Bugs are inherent in computer science," she said. "All software ships
   with issues. The difference is (that) no software in the history of
   Microsoft development has ever been through the incredible, rigorous
   internal and external testing that Windows 2000 has been through."

   The spokeswoman said 750,000 testers received each beta version of
   Windows 2000. She said "hundreds of companies have signed off on the
   incredibly high quality and reliability of Windows 2000."

   The result, she said, is that hundreds of companies are deploying
   Windows 2000 before general availability.

   One developer, informed of Microsoft's bug estimates, said all new
   software ships with lots of bugs but few software vendors are willing
   to acknowledge this reality. "The fact that Microsoft found that many
   bugs indicates to me just how thorough their testing processes are,"
   said the Windows developer, who requested anonymity.


   Waiting for bug fixes

   But others aren't so sure. Market researchers have repeated warnings
   to their clients against upgrading immediately to Win2000. Several
   outfits have advised customers to wait until Microsoft issues its
   first or second service pack before deploying Win2000. And research
   outfits made these suggestions before the exact bug tallies came to
   light.

   Despite these bugs, Microsoft has made Windows 2000's reliability a
   key focus and part of its marketing message for months. At Comdex/Fall
   last year, Allchin detailed the two-year-old reliability initiative
   upon which Microsoft had embarked to insure Win2000 would be more
   stable and reliable than NT 4.0 or its predecessors.

   Allchin said Microsoft spent 500 person-years and $162 million on
   people and tools specifically to improve reliability of the product.

   In more recent weeks Microsoft has plastered ads on buses, billboards
   and telephone booths in a number of major cities. "Windows 2000 is
   coming. Online or off, a standard in reliability," reads the text.


   Other hurdles

   Windows 2000 is hardly Microsoft's only worry in the coming months.
   Another big hurdle is application support for the OS.

   Microsoft has been working on a slew of Windows 2000/Active
   Directory-optimized applications that ultimately will ship as some
   type of BackOffice 2000 or BackOffice 5.0 package.

   The first BackOffice 2000 beta isn't expected until some time in the
   second half of this year, but the first BackOffice 2000 app upgrade,
   Exchange 2000, is expected to arrive at midyear. Other BackOffice
   Server updates -- the next releases of SQL Server, Proxy Server, SNA
   Server and Systems Management Server -- also are in the development
   pipeline. But exactly how far along they are is unclear.

   At the same time, Microsoft is developing several
   BackOffice add-ons. Microsoft preannounced some of these add-ons, such
   as its BizTalk Server, Commerce Server and AppCenter Server, a full
   year ago. But first betas of these point products have yet to appear.

   The company doesn't plan to move any of these new point products into
   the BackOffice SKU, said Russ Stockdale, director of server
   applications marketing with Microsoft's Business Productivity Group.

   Stockdale said Microsoft's plan is to continue to offer current and
   future BackOffice SKUs to branch-office customers and midsized
   organizations.

   Stockdale acknowledged that BackOffice 2000 will have little appeal to
   e-commerce and dotcom customers -- even though Microsoft is pitching
   its anchor, Windows 2000, as an e-commerce-optimized operating system.

   ---------------------------------------------------------------------

   Copyright (c) 1998 ZDNet. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole
   or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of
   ZDNet is prohibited. ZDNet and the ZDNet logo are trademarks of
   Ziff-Davis Inc.

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