Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Feb 2007 22:19 UTC, submitted by jayson.knight
Windows Microsoft has released a list of 800 applications that should run properly on its new Windows Vista operating system. As expected, virtually all of Microsoft's own offerings are on the list - including the latest Office 2007 products. Also included are a host of business and security applications from vendors ranging from Intuit to Trend Micro. And desktop applications from Google, which ramped up its rivalry with Microsoft earlier this week with the introduction of online business applications, made the cut. However, noticeable by their absence are applications from a number of the world's biggest software companies, including Adobe Systems, IBM, and Symantec.
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RE[3]: Just 800?
by butters on Mon 26th Feb 2007 02:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Just 800?"
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding (it wouldn't be the first time). My impression was that a certified application is known to work, whereas a supported application is guaranteed to work (for paying customers).

The package count I calculated only includes those for which the Gentoo community has provided source trees, patches, and build scripts that have no known issues for the target architecture. If there are known issues for more fine-grained environments, including those pertaining to dependencies, configurations, etc., then the build script is known to detect these conditions and inform the user. Of course, there are occasions where new issues are reported after a package revision is marked stable. The package maintainer then takes steps to either correct the problem, detect the conditions that lead to the problem, or remove the package's stable keyword for that architecture.

I've worked in software test positions for a large proprietary software vendor that does massive amounts of pre-release testing in order to certify that everything works as it should. No matter how much you test, how much code coverage you attain with these tests, and how many environments, stress levels, and concurrency models you exercise, things always blow up in the field. The best you can do is make a concerted effort to limit how many flaws escape into the field and provide prompt fixes when flaws are inevitable reported by users.

The fact of the matter is that Microsoft usually can't provide fixes when third-party software blows up. The best they can do is make a concerted effort to limit how often this happens. In this sense, Microsoft's certification falls short of the kind of support provided by commercial Linux vendors. As for Gentoo, support is provided on a best-effort basis. There is no guarantee, but at least they have the resources necessary to fix problems, even if they reside in upstream packages.

But on the other hand, I realize from your recent posts that you don't believe in the this sort of development model, and that Windows is one of the few remaining platforms that you find morally justifiable. I don't pretend to understand this position, but I adamantly support anyone's right to use the software they find most appropriate.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Just 800?
by Almafeta on Mon 26th Feb 2007 02:58 in reply to "RE[3]: Just 800?"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding (it wouldn't be the first time). My impression was that a certified application is known to work, whereas a supported application is guaranteed to work (for paying customers).

Ah, there's the misunderstanding. It's my understanding that supported applications are applications that are known to be able to run on Vista, while certified applications are those that MS has given its 'stamp of approval' -- something that Microsoft guarantees will run on Vista.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Just 800?
by butters on Mon 26th Feb 2007 04:01 in reply to "RE[4]: Just 800?"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

certified applications are those that MS has given its 'stamp of approval' -- something that Microsoft guarantees will run on Vista.

I guess I still don't understand. What actions does Microsoft take if their customers report flaws in certified applications? I just don't see how they can provide any sort of guarantee unless, by accepting a certification, the application's vendor agrees to service any problems that might arise. To do this, the vendor will probably have to make similar agreements with other vendors from whom they license proprietary code. And so on until all vendors involved in the production of the application have signed on to agree to support this guarantee.

You can begin to see that proprietary software is a support nightmare. When it works, it's great. But when it breaks, you better hope the proper agreements are in place to make sure somebody with source code access has agreed to provide service.

Even within a large proprietary vendor, many customer issues become a huge production to resolve when it isn't clear which part of the code is responsible for the issue and which department should be tasked with providing a fix. The developers don't really care who does what--they all have too many tasks in their queues as it is. They just hack away at their assignments with their speakerphones on mute, listening to the managers argue over headcount and "bandwidth."

I've been an OS developer in both community and proprietary models, and in my experience with proprietary development, there's always at least 3 times as many managers as could possibly be useful. If a development process isn't established to let the developers manage themselves, i.e. assign issues, coordinate the ordering of commits, make sure issues are resolved correctly and within a certain amount of time... then no amount of management can save the project. For one thing, when developers go to management with problems, we usually have to restate the situation at least three times in successively simpler language until the blank stare on their face finally shows some level of understanding.

I've gotten at little OT, but just suffice it to say that Microsoft's certification is just wishful thinking. They've exercised due diligence in verifying that the applications work, but just watch the fingers start pointing in various directions when something blows up.

Reply Parent Score: 5