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Microsoft's Not So Happy Family 586

D.A. Zollinger writes "Reports from Redmond are that Microsoft Employees are not happy with the double delay of Windows and Office being pushed back into 2007. EETimes is reporting that some Microsoft employees are calling for the termination of several top managers Including Brian Valentine, Jim Allchin, and Steve Ballmer for the delay debacle. The report references a blog by Who da'Punk, an anonymous Microsoft employee who asks, where's the accountability for failure? So far the blog entry has generated over 350 comments from Microsoft insiders and outsiders."
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Microsoft's Not So Happy Family

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  • They do?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by A nonymous Coward ( 7548 ) * on Sunday March 26, 2006 @11:06AM (#14997901)
    Microsoft has a bad reputation with regard to the quality of their code. But they have a really good reputation for shipping products.

    This is news to me. Maybe you mean eventually shipping product, but their general reputation is for always being years late and always dropping features to make even the late dates.
  • by pogson ( 856666 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @11:35AM (#14997992) Homepage Journal
    "What would have to happen for you to SERIOUSLY consider dumping windows for some other desktop OS platform"

    The clients would have to demand that. It does happen and it will happen more often in the future. First there was the .com bubble, then a few high profile conversions, soon there will be an avalanche of conversion as the ordinary person learns more about it. One of the top reasons for businesses to convert to Linux is that users ask [osdl.org].

    Quoting from the report from OSDL,

    The top reasons for deploying Linux on the desktop (listed in order):

    • Employees requesting Linux (user demand)
    • My competitors have successfully deployed Linux
    • TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
    • Reduce license costs
    • Security
    • Source code availability (ability to customize)
    • Corporate direction
    • Unhappy with existing desktop operating system
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:10PM (#14998561)
    I found the following post (on the MS Blog comments) by someone who is probably a MS employee.

    Talk around the vending machines in legal is that the delay has nothing to do with coding, slipped schedules or anything else. That's why very few heads will actually roll and most will simply shuffle positions. Actual reasons have to do with no product, NONE, shipping until after the mess with the EU is cleaned up. From what I've heard so far, if there are further major delays with EU that can't be solved by set-asides and scholarships, then expect another major delay beyond what has already been announced. At 25-40% annual compounded growth rates for Linux servers, the last thing that's going to happen is for the EU to be able to do what US-Justice failed to do, which is force disclosure of MS server protocols so competitors can copy MS's IP and gain market share in the market segment on MS's dime. Samba has never been 100% compatible and that's the way its going to stay, come hell or high water. Regardless of how much time/delay it takes, Samba and Vista will never be as interoperable as Samba is with PDC, AD, AS currently. If it takes another 6 month delay, another 9 months, whatever. Eventually EU will capitulate whether Commerce and the WTO has to step in or not. Server space market share has either reached a tipping point, or already passed a tipping point depending on which internal study you read. Whichever study you read/believe, make sure its one of the ones that takes into account free installs of their versions of AS/ES, such as Cent/OS. According to those studies, the server space has already passed the tipping point, that's why we're seeing what's happening with Mass/ODF/XML, and some of the large desktop migrations that have been documented internally. And remember, any large migrations you get a whiff of, you know where to report them, get details and do it. A single 6 digit desktop migration has repercussions far and wide on many other customers and partners (and media), and we are staring at over a dozen of them and have been unsuccessful in turning any of them around so far.

    So unless anything settles with the EU in the coming months, expect further delays regardless of what they are blamed on.
  • by neutralstone ( 121350 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @02:30PM (#14998636)
    From [a reply to] TFA:

    "Vista - I wouldn't buy it with someone else's money. Then again What do I know, I've only been testing the dog for the last 2-3 yrs..."

  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Sunday March 26, 2006 @03:46PM (#14998997) Homepage
    "That's just a lie. If someone at the activation place told you that, call back. They were misinformed."

    OEM windows is not activated, but it is tied to the machine you bought it on. In fact, it's microsoft's view that you cannot legally put it on another machine, even if you junk the existing one. They now force OEM's to essentially do something like BIOS locking that Windows XP disks. If you take a Windows XP disk that comes with an HP computer and try to install it on a homebuilt, it won't install. It will tell you that it's not an HP computer.

    Try it if you don't believe it.
  • Re: Nokia (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 26, 2006 @04:01PM (#14999055)
    Nokia like IBM would also be a candidate for migrating.

    They have an internal Linux distro that is fully supported by the internal IT services people, and is considered by many to be an acceptable alternative to windows, both in the server room and on the desktop (and laptop).

    I am not sure how big they are compared with IBM, especially considering that they have a relatively small presence in the US, but it would not surprise me if they are of comparable size.
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @04:47PM (#14999225)
    First of all MS deserves bashing. They are a sleazy, unethical corporation run by slimy people. It's just a company for fucks sake, bash them all you like folks, it's not like a human being or anything.

    Anyway if you read the post you are replying to he was blaming the management. I just thought I would point out your straw man.
  • by svallarian ( 43156 ) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `nairallavs'> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @04:51PM (#14999235)
  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:12PM (#14999877) Homepage

    Ok let's take a look back at the great mgmt decisions in one Windows test org: Not an important group; just appcompat. (It's not like anyone really cares about appcompat - who cares if customers' 3rd party apps (and especially MS apps) really don't work that well on this new fustercluck.

    In the last 18 months this org:
    1) Cut the number of testers (several times) from approx 50 to now much less than a dozen. Of course, many top performers also left MS entirely because of middle mgmt in this org.
    2) Hired more PMs
    3) Cut the scope of testing (anyone done any real code coverage testing lately?)
    4) Cut the number of promotions in the test orgs - nothing like a little 'de-incentivization' to increase 'bad attrition'
    5) Dictate that everything can and should be automated. (Ignore that eyeballs catch more in less time...) way to go Darren. Of course, you were probably lied to by your underlings, so it's not entirely your fault. Uhh, yes it is - you made the call.
    6) Hire only a small handful of devs to write automation code. Oh, and don't forget to swamp them with added process and have embittered leads review their code...
    7) Hire more PMs
    8) Outsource all testing to non-accountable and barely trained CSG firms overseas (Ever try to translate/clarify a bug written not by a tester, but by their lead based on notes? )
    9) Limit the number of heads the abovementioned overseas firms can use. > Fewer testers, less experienced, with little training, a much (ahem) 'slower' approach to testing.

    Results: Client appcompat % hovering at 75%. No, wait, did I say 75? I meant 85. At RTM it will be 95.6, or whatever other arbitrary happy-happy number they came up with like last time. In reality, last go-around, the appcompat % was quite high, despite the PM lies, just not as high as they claimed.

    What? You're going to dispute the numbers that some lower functionaries spun up through the labyrinthine PM food chain? At each 'filter' point one gets to improve his own rep by making his ownership area look better. What's a few % points between bureaucrats?

    While I'm in rant mode, why exactly IS MCE so bad? Didn't anyone test this puppy before kicking it out the door and having another PM party?
    A brand new Dell with full OEM installed load and almost nothing works in the expected 'just plug it in Dad and it works'.
    Sure is great he has a son who works at MS. Oh, no he doesn't. His son left.

    Vista - I wouldn't buy it with someone else's money. Then again What do I know, I've only been testing the dog for the last 2-3 yrs...

    By Anonymous, at 9:51 PM

  • Re:It's unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Sunday March 26, 2006 @08:53PM (#14999979)

    Software most certainly falls into the category as well. Any process where an advancement is used to produce further advancements gets an exponential nature.

    I'm struggling to think of any advancement (at least in recorded history) that *doesn't* build on prior advancements.

    In software it couldn't be more clearer. After you write your first compiler in machine code, writing your next compiler will be much easier as you base it on the previous step.

    Right. But that doesn't mean the 6th revision of that compiler will be as quick to develop as the second.

    Indeed, based on the history of software development thus far, the chances of it taking anything less than an order of magnitude *more* time to develop are quite small.

    When they started the development of Vista, they had already an operating system to build on and a variety of advanced development tools. With that as a starting point it should have been an order of magnitude faster than the previous step.

    Your theory sounds nice, but I'm not aware of any mature software projects for which it has actually happened. In pretty much every case, the more developed a codebase is, the *longer* it takes for subsequent versions to appear (assuming the changes are on the same scale).

    I think it would have been perfectly reasonable for Vista to have taken on the order of 3 - 4 years to develop (in line with Win2k from NT4). In fact, if you take into account that they basically "started from scratch" again around 2003, that's about how long it *will* have taken. The real reason Vista (NT 6.0) is late is because of the "lost" 2 years of work between XP (NT 5.1) and Windows 2003 (NT 5.2). Arguably, Microsoft should have released an "XP second edition" (NT 5.3) in 2003/4 - but since the obvious differences between it and XP wouldn't have been large, it was probably considered a waste of time.

    Basically, the recent NT family tree looks like this (it's rather difficult to do ASCII art on Slashdot, I hope you can understand):

    Windows 2000 (NT 5.0)


    ............Windows XP (NT 5.1)


    Windows 2003 (NT 5.2).....Longhorn (NT 6.0)


    ...V..........(Code discarded)


    Windows Vista (NT 6.0)

    Basically, XP branched off into Windows 2003 and Vista (then Longhorn). But around the time Windows 2003 was released, they decided that it was a much better codebase to develop Vista from, so the existing Vista codebase was scrapped and the project started afresh from Windows 2003 (more accurately, a lot of the "Vista" development and "Windows 2003" development was the same and, technically, kept).

    It's interesting to note FreeBSD had similar problems around their 4.x, 5.x and 6.x codebases. Arguably, the VM fiasco in the early 2.6 kernels was along similar principles, if not scale (but then again, the Linux kernel is a dramatically smaller project than Windows, so in relative scale they might be somewhat comparable).

    The point here is that software development is not a field where advancement is anything close to "exponetial". If anything, it's the exact opposite - the more mature a codebase gets, the *slower* releases become. The "software development" curve looks more like a bell, than anything linear or exponential.

  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:52AM (#15001738)
    > In the free world, GIMP does what Photoshop does

    Please stop doing that, it is a disservice to the GIMP authors. It's like when people say Java can easily replace C. Only if you squint really hard and you have an axe to grind. It's like saying you can go ahead and chuck GCC and everybody just use MS Visual Basic it is the same.

    In the free world, GIMP does what GraphicConverter does. GraphicConverter is $39 Shareware on the Mac for the last 10 years. My IT guys swears by it ... all he wants is Terminal and GraphicConverter and Firefox and he is good to go for everything.

    However, me ... I use Photoshop professionally all day every day and can't for the life of me figure out why anybody uses anything else. Yes it costs a bit of money to get started but then after that you pay $150 every 18 months and it continues to kick ass and gain new professional features. You have the whole art kit there ... it's like having a full set of pastels rather than one box of eight colors. The complete thing is more than the sum of its parts. And I can create a file with it and know it will be a professional-level file, not something with the mask inverted or an old kind of TIFF compression or stored with an unusual endian-ness or something.

    There is an interactive element to the tools and tablet with Photoshop that is not matched anywhere else. People sometimes focus on the Filters but that is less than 10% of my daily work. The painting and selection tools, history/undo features, compositing features, automation, color management and many other features are much more interesting and useful. Support for PCX images is lacking but not missed while support for 16-bits per channel camera raw images is available and greatly appreciated.

    When people even imply that Linux/GIMP is similar to Mac OS X/Photoshop it is just strange. Like saying a TV and computer are the same because they both have displays. Like an iPod and PSP are the same they are both handheld computers. In all cases these are incredibly complex systems with very different behaviors.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats