The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, May 26, 2000

Mark vs. the Redmond Behemoth

Mark, as you may know by now, hates Microsoft, yet his job requires him to program under Windows NT.

Now, why does he hate Microsoft, and Windows NT? Because it isn't reliable for what he's doing (past project—a phone switch under NT and if that doesn't make you shudder then perhaps you won't mind much if you can't dial 911) yet his job, which he has relunctantly accepted, is to make it reliable.

Towards that end he found a race condition in the NT kernel.

Huge surprise, I know.

Over the course of three hours he was able to work his way up the tech support ladder at Microsoft (“No, it's not my code you moron! I don't write in VB! It's VC++ and no, I know it's not in my code! It's in NTblahblah.DLL now transfer me to someone who can help me!”) and ended up talking to the developer of that particular piece of the NT kernel.

“Yup,” said the developer. “That's a bug in our code all right.”

“I'm not arguing that with you. I know it's your bug, but can you fix the bug?”

“Yup, that's a bug.”

“I'm not arguing that with you. I know it's your bug, but can you fix the bug?”

“Hmmmm …. nope. That would require a design change and we [Microsoft] no longer support Windows NT. I can be fixed for Windows 2000 though.”

“We can't use Windows 2000,” Mark said. “Our code requires NT.”

“Sorry, can't fix it then.”

It's nice to know that Microsoft stands behind their quality software.

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