Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

Microsoft Code at Fault for Half of all Windows Crashes 819

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lotta-crashes dept.
Flamester writes "In a ZDNet Australia story, Microsoft is claiming that half of all MS Windows crashes are the fault of third party code, not their own. That is, according to Dr. Watson. The article also goes into the 'rigor in which MS tests their products before release'. "
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Code at Fault for Half of all Windows Crashes

Comments Filter:
  • Uhm, right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjmalone (677326) * on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:35AM (#6686209) Homepage
    So they're saying that a poorly designed application can take down the entire operating system? The OS should be resilient enough to handle application crashes and keep on running, who cares who causes the crash? It's the OS's responsibility to handle it.

    Also I would like to see where they got these numbers? If they are using the new 'feature' that notifies microsoft of application crashes then I'd be skeptical... If the OS crashes then the notices won't be sent to Microsoft.

    Also, it is likely that MORE than half of the applications run on a Windows box are non-microsoft applications, that would mean that statistically MS apps crash more often than third party apps.
    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller&daimi,au,dk> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#6686235)
      I think they are talking about drivers. With the current windows design any driver that crash have a good change of taking the os down with it.
      • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EnigmaticSource (649695) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:41AM (#6686299) Homepage
        ...As with most other 'Modern' OS's... Hell, driver changes on my RSTS/E 10 [PDP-11/79] box would take down the whole system. [[Still having DECNET Nightmares]] Drivers just happen to be one of those things that must be 'just right' otherwise it'll probably take down the entire system for [[what seem to me]] to be obvious reasons.
      • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hobbesmaster (592205) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:47AM (#6686405)
        Bad drivers will Kernel Panic anything. That includes Linux. (I had to modify some files with Knoppix to get Slackware working my Inspiron 8100)
      • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:58AM (#6686545) Journal
        wrong - if you read the article, they're not talking about drivers. They're talking about 3rd-party code, which includes apps, add-ons, etc.

        Here's another stupid quote from the article:

        Charles Sturt University announced they would be offering a Master of Information Systems Security degree including MCSE:Security industry certification.
        Consider this: Microsoft has been ordered not to use the term MSCE in both the United States and Canada because Microsoft does not have the legal right to "certify" people as engineers. This playing fast and loose with terms now extends to:
        1. MCSE == an illegal appropriation of the term Engineer to fool the consumer and anyone stupid enough to pay for it
        2. Security == a fucking joke that isn't funny anymore
        3. Best practices == "we don't know how to fix it", as in "We're following best practices."
        4. Enhanced user experience == Fisher-Price interface
        5. Where do you want to go today == "Where the fuck did my data go!"
        The problem wan't driver crases - their "Dr. Watson" wouldn't get a chance to report back to the mother ship in most of those instances.
        • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Keeper (56691) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @12:42PM (#6687821)
          I can't speak for Candada, but I believe Texas is the only place that "Engineer" can't be used, because people with certifications don't take/pass some sort of official engineering exam. Sturt Univeristy can get away with it because they're not in Texas, and can't feel the wrath of a Texas court -- wheras MS can.

          And Watson can and does report back to "the mothership" for driver crashes, when the user allows it.
      • Speaking of Which (Score:4, Insightful)

        by blunte (183182) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @12:09PM (#6687431)
        Computers are so comparatively powerful now, we can afford to trade time performance for stability.

        Drivers should be moved out of kernel space where possible. Even then, with some effort it could be up to the admin whether drivers run at kernel level or at user level.

    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ominous Coward (106252) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#6686283)
      Also, it is likely that MORE than half of the applications run on a Windows box are non-microsoft applications, that would mean that statistically MS apps crash more often than third party apps.

      Not that I really care to defend MS, but playing devil's advocate, MS apps would be more likely to crash than other apps because they're used more. Your average user of a Windows machine will use Outlook, IE, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. What non-MS apps will the average user want to use? AOL/AIM, WinAmp, and Kazaa. There may be a few others, but none that will be used as often as the MS-created applications. If you never use the app, it can't crash the system.
      • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @01:25PM (#6688222) Journal
        There are different kinds of crashing:
        • Individual Apps crashing themselves - that can happen on any OS. It shouldn't happen in major commercial products, but that's reality, and at least most of them are better about saving their state so they fail as safely as possible. I would have said that MS Office is pretty stable about that, except my MS Office has been crashing a lot the last couple of days, and of course there's all the Word Virus and Outlook Virus crap, so maybe I won't say that.
        • Hardware crashes - Unavoidable.
        • Crashes related to third-party device drivers - yeah, fine, you can't escape that, but the OS should be designed to minimize the need for drivers and provide mechanisms for isolating them.
        • The whole box crashing from applications - There's simply no excuse for this. That's why operating systems have kernels, and hardware has memory protection. Unix could pretty much defend itself from this by what, 1979? It wasn't rocket science like Multics or something. The 8086 memory architecture was too baroque, but the real advantage of all the segmentation stuff was that you *could* use it for memory management. Linus delayed at least one kernel release because a root user who opened a disk drive and scribbled on it _could_ cause the OS to crash. NT 3.5x was pretty safe about this, since it still looked VMS-like inside, but in NT 4 they moved a lot of the graphics capability into the kernel for "speed", and opened up the possibility of crashes again.
        • Applications using up some critical resources like disk drive so the machine becomes unusable - yes, this is possible, but the resources that are that critical are very very limited, e.g. a virtual memory system lets you page out or swap out application processes to prevent it.
        • Applications crashing some major subsystem that doesn't take down the OS. Unix has this risk - if you hang X Windows or the graphics system, applications that don't use X can still run fine, but you may need to telnet in to restart the subsystem. But this should also be minimized - keeping separate file systems for the OS's use vs. users' applications helps a lot.
    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Informative)

      by andrewl6097 (633663) * on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#6686284)
      Actually OS crashes do get sent. When you boot up, xp will recognize that it had just crashed and will offer to send the info.
    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zoward (188110) *
      The problem is that you have to give third-party device drivers access to the ring-0 "core" of the OS in order for many of them to function properly. One bad device driver can indeed take down the OS, and given the number of poorly written device drivers out there, MS's claim may be valid.
    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Informative)

      by JimDabell (42870) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:46AM (#6686382) Homepage

      So they're saying that a poorly designed application can take down the entire operating system?

      I suspect that they are referring to drivers and other kernel-space code. The standard Microsoft weenie excuse for instability in the past has been "it's the drivers!", blaming the video drivers is a favourite.

      Remember that Microsoft don't write most Windows drivers, they don't have to because their market share is so great, any hardware manufacturer who doesn't supply Windows drivers is not competitive.

      I believe this is the reason why Microsoft introduced their "Microsoft signed drivers" that are supposed to guarantee Microsoft-level stability (!).

      However, I have to laugh at Microsoft when they claim 50% of crashes aren't their fault. It's like an advert for a diet pill saying "Doesn't cause death in over 90% of people!".

      • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @12:06PM (#6687387) Homepage

        The standard Microsoft weenie excuse for instability in the past has been "it's the drivers!", blaming the video drivers is a favourite.

        Unless it's an ATI product, in which case you can be 100% assured that it *is* the video drivers.

        In my experience, you can bring any Windows 2000 or XP machine with any model of All in Wonder to a screeching blue HALT by simply doing such outlandish and unreasonable things as

        • Changing the channel
        • Changing the size of the video window
        • Allowing a hover-over or dropdown menu to overlap with the video window
        • Letting DPMS turn off your monitor
        • Attempting to bring your computer back from standby
        • Attempting to record or save recorded video using ATI's own AVI or MPEG recording software, regardless of codec used

        And for those who really like fun, try an ATI All In Wonder Pro on Windows 2000. A couple of years ago, I deployed a couple of hundred of them at a Toronto TV station. A year later, they asked me to upgrade all their systems to Windows 2000. Constant random lockups of the whole system, requiring not just a reboot but a power cycle. Needless to say, they were not very pleased - you spend $300 on a video card, and you kind of expect that they'll provide drivers for at least a couple of years. ("They've been around forever. Besides, they're a good hometown company! Their headquarters are just 5 minutes from here, up the 404 in Markham."). Their news department almost did a story on crappy software but it was vetoed because news is supposed to be impartial.

        As for ATI, I will never buy another ATI product ever again, for myself or for anyone else.

        • by loraksus (171574) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @03:29PM (#6689212) Homepage
          ATI has gotten their act together - it seems the drivers for their "good" cards, i.e. 8500, 9700 actually work, however their support for their older cards is terrible and I don't see that changing in future. ATI just doesn't think supporting older cards is a priority, and it shows clearly. I think the same with their lower end consumer cards, the 7500, etc. The drivers aren't that bad, but from what I've heard the 9700, etc are solid.
          Of course, the all-in-wonder pro I have is old (1998?) - so I can see why they want to kill it off, but dragging your customers kicking and screaming to a new product isn't very good for customer relations - and ATI knows this now. Nvidia and other companies made them wake up.
          Unfortunately they do have only 1 real competitor for the retail box market, so they aren't that concerned, but competition does help. Not that they will ever fix the drivers for the AIW Pro and their older cards, the PR damage has already been done, and the cards replaced.

          Their support is, of course, useless, just because they have to deal with so many buggy - and often weekly - releases. There just isn't time for them to find the problems. No point to call / ask for support because it will not be helpful. Of course venting is fun, but hey. Besides, half the games out there don't work properly and cause issues by themselves.

          Every once in a while, they get it mostly right, but it is a crapshoot. I've had drivers for my 7500 that would refuse to let me log on to 2k, but also the current version which works in both xp and 2k3 without any problems - i.e. I've had 0 bsod under 2k3 w/ my box with the 7500 in it since rc2 came out. A couple with "recording", or trying to with the AIW Pro - although that was expected. (the release for the 7500 is 6.14.1.6307 2/28/2003 if it helps anybody).

          As far as I can tell, 2k3 IS stable. I've abused my system - knocking out ide cables while the system is running, "hot pulled" pci cards, etc. Basically anything that would not cause the computer to reboot due to a short would keep the system up. My processer fan came out for a couple minutes, I saw it running at 95C and dove for the power switch, but 2k3 stayed up. Granted, it isn't that hot, but still.

          If I still lived in Ontario, I'd probably drive by at 120kph and throw a used tire rotor at their front door, it might cure an ulcer or two ;)
    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Malc (1751)
      They didn't say applications, they said code. From my experience, it's drivers that brings down my Win2K system, not applications. Well, Mozilla has been known to do it, but that goes back to the graphics drivers (kernel space) and related resources that Mozilla miss-manages. On a single-user desktop machine, an app that brings down the graphical shell is no better than an app that brings down the whole system, IMHO - I've still lost all my graphical apps and any unsaved work in them.

      Let's be honest her
    • Re:Uhm, right... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aggieben (620937) <aggiebenNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:49AM (#6686433) Homepage Journal
      I can attest to this; I was a MS developer in the windows division for a while. I had to do stress testing all the time, and I found it quite common for XP to go days at a time during the stress tests, which I thought was pretty impressive. These tests make the system unusable, as it would with any system, but it didn't crash until it just couldn't allocate one more drop of memory or the disk controller just gave up or what have you.

      Also, while looking over bugs in the database they keep, there were vastly more bugs filed as a result of a poorly behaving 3rd party application than because of the windows code itself. Also, most of these didn't cause crashes. XP does a pretty nice job of handling application crashes gracefully. All of this is from inside professional experience.

      My personal expericence (e.g., outside the MS environment) has been than XP is as stable as any other machine I've got at home (Gentoo Linux, OpenBSD). In 2 years time, I've only seen 1 blue screen of death, and I've been using many different computers using with XP on them and I've installed in many times over that two years.

      MS does do a good job of testing their windows code (can't speak for office --- those nerds need to learn a thing or two about threads and finally put clippy out of his pathetic misery). They test their code far more thoroughly than ANYONE who does open source including Red Hat, IBM and others.

      Of course, all of this is not to be a MS zealot because that's not what I am. I'm much more of an OpenBSD guy. It is, however, to make this discussion a little more fair by sharing my inside experience and knowledge.
  • by gokubi (413425) * on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:35AM (#6686215) Homepage
    Microsoft emphasised that products such as Yukon and Exchange Server were undergoing thorough testing -- both internally and via independent third parties -- prior to their release to the market.

    Hey, they're TESTING! Wow, they really are taking this trustworthy computing thing seriously. Mr. Chase may have said a similar thing if he hadn't been comped, as reported in the diclaimer at the bottom of the article:

    Brendon Chase travelled to Tech Ed as a guest of Microsoft.

    Hardhitting journalism.
    • "Microsoft emphasised that products such as Yukon and Exchange Server were undergoing thorough testing -- both internally and via independent third parties -- prior to their release to the market."

      Hey, they're TESTING! Wow, they really are taking this trustworthy computing thing seriously.


      Probably just a flippant remark, but they actual do test all of their applications and OSes, and they have (you know, all those internal and public beta TESTS and such).

      But maybe this time they'll fix the bugs, instead
  • by saskwach (589702) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:36AM (#6686220) Homepage Journal
    Memory protection is a good thing.
  • by rokzy (687636) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:36AM (#6686222)
    Microsoft has laid the blame for half of all Windows crashes on third-party code.

    Scott Charney, chief security strategist at Microsoft, told developers at the TechEd 2003 conference in Brisbane, that information collected by Dr Watson, the company's reporting tool, revealed that "half of all crashes in Windows are caused not by Microsoft code, but third-party code".

    Charney's comments come as the company highlights the rigour with which it tests its own products before release. Microsoft emphasised that products such as Yukon and Exchange Server were undergoing thorough testing -- both internally and via independent third parties -- prior to their release to the market.

    The company is employing root cause analysis and event sequence analysis procedures to scrub out the creation of sloppy code. The result is that individual developers have a high degree of accountability for the code they produce, while the systems and processes associated with code development are rigorously monitored.

    Root cause analysis enables the company to check closely the work of individual developers. "If a developer has written vulnerable code, then we look at what else that developer has written and check it," Charney said

    Event sequence analysis takes this further, analysing the reasons why the vulnerable code was written. Charney said it was not necessarily so they can sack whoever is writing vulnerable code, but find out the reasons why and how Microsoft improve their staff with training or more efficient processes.

    As Charney made his remarks, Charles Sturt University announced they would be offering a Master of Information Systems Security degree including MCSE:Security industry certification.

    Charney's also reinforced Microsoft's message to developers and network administrators that they needed to build secure applications and networks "from the ground up".

    The chief security strategist's remarks have come at an unfortunate time, as mainstream and niche media outlets produce heavy coverage of the impact of the MSBlast worm, which has infiltrated corporate and enterprise networks worldwide.
  • Uh huh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ihummel (154369) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .lemmuhi.> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#6686231)
    That sure is encouraging. What a wonderful operating system you have when half the time it crashes, the crash is caused by third party code. A properly designed OS shouldn't allow third party software to crash it. No OS is perfect, but half the time is just silly.
  • by sphealey (2855) * on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#6686232)
    John Dvorak developed some interesting stats on XP crashes [pcmag.com] based on information given in a speech by Bill Gates. He works out that there are 25 millions blue screen crashes of XP per day. Interesting read. Also raises the question of exactly what happens to all those "crash reports".

    sPh

  • by Mordant (138460) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:37AM (#6686238)
    I guess MSBLASTER, Code Red, Nimda, SQL Slammer, etc. could be considered 'third-party code'. ;>
  • by Neil Watson (60859) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#6686244) Homepage
    Assuming this is true, wouldn't this be an example of how closed source can contribute to programming mistakes? If developers had more access to the OS source could wouldn't they be less likely to affect it adversly with bad code?
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:38AM (#6686248) Journal
    So 50% of all system crashes are caused by 3rd party drivers and the other 50% are caused by Microsoft code.

    Sounds bad, but compared to the number of application crashes, the number of actual OS crashes is infinitesimal.
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) * <(teamhasnoi) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:39AM (#6686255) Homepage Journal
    not to be believed! It is well known that Dr. Watson has a weakness for liquor, and fraternizes with a known cocaine addict.

    His conclusions are suspect, and so are his motives. It's elementary, really. Bill G should get Magnum P.I. or Simon and Simon to do this investigation.

  • by macshune (628296) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#6686272) Journal
    SCO is responsible for the other half of crappy windows code. This is why Microsoft was so eager to buy a license.
  • Ring 0, Ring 3? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#6686277)
    Or really just One Ring to rule them all? An application in a protected-mode OS (running in Ring 3 of the x86 chip) can't touch kernel space (Ring 0). Now, if an OS vendor does things like put its GUI subsystem in Ring 3 (cough, NT, cough), and you let 3rd party people write drivers that 5uXX0r5, then yes, you can have a case where 3rd party code causes crashes. BUT YOU (MS) PUT THE GDI SUBSYSTEM IN USER SPACE!
    If the OS design is so poor, or hacks and compromises are made for gaming performance at the expense of stability, then you can't really complain when the system goes unstable.
    • Re:Ring 0, Ring 3? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jpmorgan (517966) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:07AM (#6686667) Homepage
      Dude, do you know what you're talking about? First, graphics drivers run in Ring0, along with most of the graphics subsystem. They haven't run in Ring3 since NT 3.51 days.

      Regardless, if a driver is running in the same memory space as the subsystem, a driver crash is going to take it out. It doesn't matter what ring the code is in. Again, back in NT 3.51 days graphics drivers were kept in seperate memory spaces, in ring3, but that was dropped due to piss poor performance.

      The GDI subsystem (several layers away from any graphics drivers) currently sprawls Ring0 and Ring3.

  • by k98sven (324383) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:40AM (#6686282) Journal
    What kind of third-party code are they talking about here?
    Userland applications or device drivers?

    As so many others undoubtedly already have remarked, an application, however shoddily written,
    should not bring down the whole OS.

    If they're talking device drivers.. well, that's a different issue entirely.

    On the other hand, if this is the case, what the heck is that MS certification process for?
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by useosx (693652) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:41AM (#6686290)
    ...Slashdot poll: Is the cup half full or half empty?
  • by skermit (451840) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:41AM (#6686300) Homepage
    What he just admitted is that HALF of ALL crashes are Microsoft OS related. Every application that runs on a account for more than let's say 5% or 6% of total crashes, but Microsoft still has their full 50% share. That's STUPID-speak on his part. Way to instill company pride by shooting yourself in the foot, and then putting it in your mouth.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:41AM (#6686304) Journal
    There is only one way 3rd party software can crash an OS: If the OS is so hopelessly broken that it gives that much control to applications.

    Microsoft's bad coding is responsible for 50% of their crashes, by their own admission. Their inherently flawed OS structure is responsible for allowing the other 50% to happen.

    (This of course doesn't address hardware related issues--all I can say is that MS software is VERY sensitive to borderline hardware)
    • I disagree, who are you to say that every driver ever written for Windows was 100% compliant, written exactly to Microsoft's DDK recommendations, and free of all semantic blunders? At best, that's naivete, at worst, unwitting zealotry.

      I'm not suggesting that Windows infrastructure isn't to blame for many system failures, but making blanket statements is far beyond that.
  • by rf0 (159958) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:42AM (#6686308) Homepage
    I was googling for the 4 lines of C code that use to crash windows but came across this [keepersoflists.org]

    Rus
  • by interactive_civilian (205158) <mamoru.gmail@com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:44AM (#6686344) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    Charney's also reinforced Microsoft's message to developers and network administrators that they needed to build secure applications and networks "from the ground up".
    Perhaps Microsoft should take some of their own advice...I'm thinking with pretty much their entire product line...
  • by Obsequious (28966) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:44AM (#6686353) Homepage
    'rigor in which MS tests their products before release'.

    Hmm... What kind of 'rigor' is that, again? Rigor mortis?

    • 'rigor in which MS tests their products before release'. Hmm... What kind of 'rigor' is that, again? Rigor mortis?

      Having been doing software testing for about 10 years now, I can pretty much guess that Microsoft is like most other software places in that lots of things are discovered in test that still make it out the door. I'd like to hear from someone in the test organization at Microsoft to see what *they* think about the quality of the product they test, and how much pull they have in making decisio

    • Amen, brother.

      And here I was worried that I was the only one to receive things that could never have even been tried.

      • The first Excel distribution on floppies using DMF. Problem was... the version of setup and LZE packaged on disk 1 didn't understand the DMF format... they were the same version that came with Win31. "Sector not found. Please insert disk 2", lmao. Many weeks later, upon finding a LZE that was capable, the install worked just fine.
      • Backoffice4.5. Main setup script wasn't finished. Literal
  • by bugfixer (608434) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:45AM (#6686361)
    So I guess all of the crashes that I have experienced with Inernet Explorer can be blamed on the the third party software they stole from the University of California and Eolas Technologies Inc.
  • Being Picky (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:45AM (#6686370)
    Scott Charney, chief security strategist at Microsoft, told developers at the TechEd 2003 conference in Brisbane, that information collected by Dr Watson, the company's reporting tool, revealed that "half of all crashes in Windows are caused not by Microsoft code, but third-party code".

    It's worded suspiciously but I don't think necessarily means the crashes are due to windows code. Aren't hardware issues responsible for a significant amount of crashes as well? Are they being counted in the 50% that belongs to driver problems and other third party code or are they counted with the windows problems.
  • by SmurfButcher Bob (313810) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:48AM (#6686410) Journal
    Half full mug [despair.com]
  • by Sophrosyne (630428) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:50AM (#6686443) Homepage
    Windows software virtually NEVER crashes while in compact-disc form!
    Also if you want a crash free environment all that is required is you shut the machine off and place it in a vacuum sealed container.
    .....See Microsoft does make crash free products! you just don't know how to use them properly... anyone that has the gall to use third party applications is spelling their own doom...
  • Only Half? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:51AM (#6686464)
    Ok what about the other half that they are responsible. Never mind the fact that a application should not crash the OS.
  • MS Blaster (Score:5, Funny)

    by SpaceRook (630389) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @10:54AM (#6686505)
    I think in the last day, the number of crashes due to Microsoft code has risen to 75%.
  • by FattMattP (86246) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:03AM (#6686608) Homepage
    In other news, the sky is blue.
  • A load of BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by w42w42 (538630) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:04AM (#6686629)

    Uhm, anytime Windows crashes, it's a problem with Windows. A bug or crash in a 3rd party application should have no bearing on the stability of Windows, at least that's how MS Marketing describes Windows capabilities, and that's the way it should be.

    This looks like a big verbal foo-pa that IBM/Sun could drive a truck load of marketing through.

    • Indeed BS (Score:4, Informative)

      by Otis_INF (130595) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:11AM (#6686711) Homepage
      ... your posting. When a 3rd party driver crashes, it probably will take down the system as well, since it runs in ring 0, and can walk over kernel resources (and probably did).

      When Windows gets read-only mempages (IIRC win2k3 has them) for kernel processes, this will be ended, until then: the 3rd party drivers are mostly at fault.
  • Hmmm...lets see.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cOdEgUru (181536) <cherian.abrahamNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:14AM (#6686752) Homepage Journal
    If we were to assume there are close to around 50,000 third party firms who develop for Windows and there are around 1 million distinct Windows core dumps per version then there would be 20 incidents per third part developer and HALF A MILLION Crashes thats still owed to Microsoft..

    So what were we saying again...
  • by guacamolefoo (577448) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:16AM (#6686770) Homepage Journal
    Scene: Microsoft HQ
    Present: Emporer Gates, DBallmer

    Emporer Gates: Darth Ballmer, it has come to my attention that we do not possess 90% market share in certain aspects of our operation. Your performance diappoints me...

    Darth Balmer: Ook.(1)(2)(3) [Hooo...haaa...hooo...haaa](4)

    Emporer Gates: Our code causes only 50% of crashes, yet we control 95% of desktop computers...can you explain the ineffectiveness of our operation? Why are we lagging in this area?!?!?

    Darth Balmer: Ook. [Hoooo...haaaaa...hoooo...haaaa]

    Emporer Gates: Please put your army of flying monkey dark Jedi to work on this problem immediately. I expect results, Ballmer. You will not fail me in this, or you will be looking for bananas in the sodomy pits of the Hutts!

    Darth Balmer: Ook! [Hoooo...haaaaa...hoooo...haaaa]

    GF.

    (1) Monkeyboy [ntk.net]
    (2) Librarian [lspace.org]
    (3) I'm aware that it should be "Ape-boy" if the Librarian is an Orangutan, but if you don't tell the Librarian, I won't.
    (4) Darth Vader breathing sound
  • by Capt_Troy (60831) <tfandango AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:19AM (#6686800) Homepage Journal
    The article's headline (both on /. and ZDnet so no blame to /.) says "Windows Crashes", which implies that the OS actually crashes. However the quote in the article says "Crashes in Windows" which implies that some application running under Windows crashes, not necessarily the OS itself.

    Which is it? I am confused. The latter isn't the fault of MS. But no application failing should be able to crash Windows, it's the OS's job to make sure it can handle failing programs.

    TROY
  • by tka (548076) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:26AM (#6686871)

    I'm wondering why the news:

    Microsoft is claiming that half of all MS Windows crashes are the fault of third party code, not their own.

    turned up side down..

    Microsoft Code at Fault for Half of all Windows Crashes

  • by Aidtopia (667351) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:27AM (#6686877) Homepage Journal

    I'll probably be modded off-topic, since a story like this on Slashdot is nothing more than MS-bashing flamebait, but I'll try anyone.

    First of all, the article says "crashes in Windows," not "crashes of Windows." So it's not entirely clear to me if they are counting application crashes which don't impact the whole system or just the ones that bring down the OS (as most of the bashers in this thread seem to think).

    Second, if this is based on error reports, it's skewed by a lot of things. For example, I send the reports when I suspect it's MS code at fault, and I don't send them when I suspect a third party app. I figure MS can't do anything about the third parties, so why bother. The point is, lots of things can skew these numbers.

    But most importantly, the bulk of the article, which most Slashdotters seem to be ignoring, is about tracking root causes of bugs. There is no silver bullet in software quality, but this approach is a good place to start. It's something that should be taught in CS courses, and it's something we experienced programmers should be training our juniors to pay attention to.

    When you fix a bug, do you ask yourself how it got in there? Where else in your code a similar bug may appear? How can you avoid making the same mistake in the future. How you could have detected the bug sooner? How did the test cases miss it? These are powerful questions if you take them seriously.

    It's a mindset all programmers should have. Ironically, I learned it from a Microsoft book, Writing Solid Code by Steven Maguire. Buy it, read it. Pass a copy onto your peers.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:30AM (#6686913) Journal

    Let's see... umm... A MS basher is someone who believes that half the bugs belong to MS. A MS apologist is someone who believes half the bugs belong to somebody else.

    Of course if you want to avoid emotional implications when describing the glass, you say "it's 50% water and 50% air". Likewise for this, except...

    If half the *code* in your system is written by somebody else, and they are responsable for half the bugs, then that tells you that you and the other guy are equally competent.

    Of course, you can spin those statistics anyway you like to suit your needs. Some programs are historicly more difficult to write than others. You could evaluate binary bytes, LOC, or number of binary files to get the spin you want.

    I'm willing to wager that MS and its partners are equally competent, since they draw on similar pools of talent. If there is any significant differential, things will tend to regress to the mean of proportional bugginess. For example, if a given vendor always writes buggy code they will eventually be replaced. If MS can't write something, they will eventually buy a company that can.

  • Reality Check... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmpotter (177221) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @11:55AM (#6687246) Homepage
    Um... where in the article does it say 3rd party code brings down the WHOLE O/S? In my experience the robustness of Windows has improved dramatically with every version (nevermind ME :-) I see individual applications crashing -- about 2 or 3 times a month. In fact, I typically go weeks and months between reboots (generally only when applying patches). There are plenty of things not to like about Windows, but the bad days of blue screens is a fading memory. Of course there are exceptions for odd hardware configurations and out-of-date drivers, but I've seen the same or worse problems with Linux support for oddball hardware.

    BTW -- you may have noticed that sometimes when an app "hangs", and displays a "not responding" message in Task Manager, it is actually still running just fine (though chewing up a ton of CPU). Depending on the problem I may wait it out until the process finishes or simply kill it. One of my gripes with MS is that sometimes I have to use a third-party tool (sysinternals.com) tool to kill runaway processes -- Task Manager is not always able to kill it. Not perfect, but it works.

    I think all of this applies to Windows server configurations also. I run IIS/ASP servers with dozens of users and applications. When configured so each account runs in its own memory space, with CPU utilization limits, NOBODY is able to bring down the whole web server with bad code -- just their own site.

    The fact is, most of us are so bigoted about our O/S of choice, we are unwilling to learn enough about the "enemy" to use it properly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @12:09PM (#6687427)
    At Microsoft we were going to tell you who was responsible for the other 50% of the crashes but then our sql server database crashed on us.
  • CNN Poll (Score:5, Funny)

    by Izeickl (529058) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @12:17PM (#6687513) Homepage
    A poll at CNN here here [cnn.com] shows how sometimes no matter what MS does a huge amount of people will be leaving themselves open to problems.

    " How are you planning to protect your PC from the LoveSan Internet 'worm' affecting Windows-based PCs?

    Going to load a patch from Microsoft 19%
    Have already loaded a patch from Microsoft 39%
    Doing nothing 41% "
  • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Wednesday August 13, 2003 @12:19PM (#6687541) Homepage
    If any non-kernel, non-driver code causes the OS to crash, then that *IS* the fault of the OS. Hands Down. A good OS should be able to survive accidentally bad (or even maliciously bad) application code.

If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong. -- Norm Schryer

Working...