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Author Topic: Do You Want it Fast or Do You Want it Right?  (Read 79050 times)
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Jumpin' Jeff
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« on: January 11, 2006, 01:17:44 pm »

http://www.wxpnews.com/ Tue, Jan 10, 2006 (Vol. 6, 2 - Issue 209)

https://web.archive.org/web/20060111063719/http://www.wxpnews.com/?

<div align="left">EDITOR"S CORNER

Do You Want it Fast or Do You Want it Right?

In past editorials, we've discussed the effects that our fast-moving high-tech world has had on us. One of those effects seems to be more than ever, people not only expect but demand instant gratification in everything we do. I catch myself doing it all the time.

After getting used to a 15Mbps Internet connection, I get impatient when a Web site loads slowly. Wading through layers of voice mail menus to try to get to a real, live human being when dealing with utility companies, government offices and retailers drives me nuts. Even product packaging seems designed specifically to thwart me. (Luckily, as a writer I'm able to work from home so I don't have to deal with daily commuter frustrations, but I certainly sympathize with those who do).

This "need for speed" sometimes blinds us to the wisdom of the old saying: You can get it done fast or you can get it done right, but you can't have both. Of course, there's a corollary that sometimes you CAN get it done both fast and right, but it won't be cheap. Yet today, many of us seem to think we should be able to get all three at once.

This is nowhere more evident than when it comes to software. We deride software companies for slipping on their projected ship dates, yet we turn around and criticize them for shipping software that still has bugs. We demand access to beta versions of software, then denounce those betas because they aren't yet "ready for prime time."

Now that security has become such a huge issue, software companies face an even bigger challenge. Thousands of hackers are working away every day to find ways to exploit operating systems, networking protocols, and applications. Legitimate security companies do the same thing, hoping to beat the bad guys to the punch. When a vulnerability is discovered, whether by a hacker or a security expert, the software vendor is then expected to come up with a fix. That's a reasonable expectation. What's not always reasonable is the expectation that the software vendor will have a fix available immediately.

It may have taken the security experts literally years after the release of the software to discover a way to exploit it, but many of them then label the software vendor as irresponsible or lazy if a patch isn't rushed out the door within a few days. Often, under the tremendous pressure of public opinion, this actually happens. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes the quickly released patches work great. Sometimes they don't.

Anyone who's ever had his/her system hosed by a hastily-written security update knows that there's a downside to releasing patches before they've been fully tested on a lot of systems with different configurations. Has this ever happened to you? You read the horror stories about the latest discovered security flaw in a piece of software you're running and of course, you don't want to leave yourself open to attack so you immediately download and install the "fix." And lo and behold, it ensures that you won't be attacked, all right - because it also prevents you from connecting to the Internet, or maybe from connecting to a network at all, or maybe even from booting the computer. Your data is safe now, even from you.

Microsoft and other large software companies have a vested interest in seeing that security vulnerabilities in their products get fixed, but they also have a responsibility to those who use and depend on their products to get work done to "first, do no harm." That's why they have entire departments dedicated to responding to security incidents and reports of vulnerabilities, and set procedures for creating and testing patches before releasing them to the public. You can read about the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) process for managing vulnerabilities at http://www.wxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=060110ED-MSRC. I personally know that there were a lot of people on that team who worked through the Christmas and New Year's holidays, when many of us were spending time with our families or out partying, to address various security issues that had come back over the holidays.

It's easy for us to criticize software companies (and we'll continue to do so when they do something that merits it, such as imposing customer-unfriendly licensing agreements). But as we begin a new year, I think it's a good time to acknowledge the long, tough hours of hard work that employees of those companies put in to bring us consumers and IT professionals the features that we ask for, and to respond to security concerns as quickly and effectively as they can and get those patches out quickly, and at no cost to us. In many cases, company employees could make much more money as consultants or critics, but they stay with the company and forego sleep and personal lives to bring us better software (not perfect software; there's no such thing). I salute them.

Let us know what you think. Should software companies keeping testing until all the bugs are gone before releasing an operating system or application? Is that even possible? Would you be willing to pay twice as much if it takes the company twice as much time to completely debug a program? Or would you prefer to have new software released more quickly and have the bugs patched as they're discovered? Do you think, in general, the industry does a good job of responding to security issues and balancing quality with fast response? Would you prefer to get patches more quickly and take the risk of conflicts or should they be tested more thoroughly before being released? Let us know your opinions at</div><div align="left">feedback@wxpnews.com.

</div>
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 08:02:39 am by Jumpin' Jeff » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2006, 01:33:42 pm »

And your point is...?  Tongue

That article is a good reminder of the virtue of patience, however difficult that may be sometimes!
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2006, 01:39:10 pm »

Although we haven't had many posts concerning "Where's the update" recently, I felt that this "Outsiders" view on software developement was dead on. Just passing it on for future reference. Wink

It is exactly that! "A Reminder of the virtue of patience"!
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2006, 02:54:38 pm »

A very good article Jeff and it does apply to all software.
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2006, 03:16:14 pm »

I still don't expect Microsoft get it right.  

Also, I don't even want their voodoo!

How about OtsOS?
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2006, 06:13:12 pm »

QUOTE(Lane @ Jan 11 2006, 03:16 PM) [snapback]70070[/snapback]
Quote
How about OtsOS? [/b]


At least you know it would be done right! lol

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Jeff Main

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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 10:53:09 pm »

Can you imagine Ots Corp making an OS? Runs like windohs but even better than ever imagined, PC boots fully in less than 30 seconds after POST, NO Latency in commands and all screens open as fast as the second click, and of course the "lean and mean" philosophy comes into play so installation takes about 5 minutes or less from start to finish and it only takes about 100MB of drive space instead of a Gig or 2.
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2006, 07:25:55 am »

And major upgrades would come every 5 or 6 years!

 :lolu:
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2006, 08:58:10 am »



Edit: The following quote comes from this weeks WinXPNews, Tue, Jan 17, 2006 (Vol. 6, 3 - Issue 210), and is the followup article to the original article that I started this topic with.

Quote

Followup: Fast or Right? Last week, we discussed how the "need for speed" and expectations of instant gratification lead computer users to demand immediate fixes to exploits and vulnerabilities that are discovered. A number of you wrote to tell us whether you think such demands are reasonable.

Most of you said you understand that software, like everything else in life, is not perfect and programs will have bugs, glitches and vulnerabilities. Tony S. said patches offer a successful balance between early and late releases. Niki S. echoed the sentiments of many of those who actually answered the question "do you want it fast or do you want it right?" with these comments: "I WANT IT RIGHT!" and "I would pay twice as much for software that has been completely debugged and we know is totally secure (if there is such a thing)." Bud C. suggested that all programs should include a way for the buyer/user to be notified when software is being "pinged" for changes by any source, which we agree is a good idea.

We heard from several folks "in the biz," too. Programmers and software testers sent us notes of appreciation for recognizing the incredible difficulty of the process, considering the complexity of modern operating systems and major applications. Mark G. opined that most software vendors do as good a job as they can, given the pressures to get new products and patches out the door in a timely manner.

Michael M. said "With as much code as is needed for an OS and with as infinite the number of possible end user configurations, how can you possibly expect it will be perfect. And how can you possibly expect a software company to be able to instantly release a patch the moment they learn about it. It is unreasonable and the criticism gets tedious at times."

We even heard from people in other industries, who remind us that it's not only the software industry that's affected by the "I want it now" mentality of today's society.

Craig C. brought up some good points: each PC is unique, just as your body isn't identical to everyone else's and you can't rely on a particular medication to not affect you adversely. Likewise, a patch that works fine on one machine may cause usability problems on another because of the applications that are installed, the hardware, or the way the installed software is configured. He suggested that software vendors release patches in beta version, as they do with the OS and apps. This way, those who want it immediately can have it, while also being aware that there might be a bad outcome.

Finally, Jon J. offers the opinion that companies today, including software companies, are being pressured to cut costs to the point where quality suffers in order to sell stock and please shareholders. He said, "If we, "the public" continue to demand "faster! faster!" and "cheaper! cheaper!" combined with performance in the market, we've become our own worst enemy." It's certainly something to think about.[/b]


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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2006, 05:59:55 pm »

QUOTE(Jammin' Adam @ Jan 13 2006, 04:53 AM) [snapback]70145[/snapback]
Quote
Can you imagine Ots Corp making an OS?
[/b]

That Would Be Cool probably wouldnt need shedloads of hard drive and ram. if only all software companys were the same. Bring backs dos!! when they really had to work. :cheers:  :cheers:
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2007, 05:41:23 pm »

AN Ots OS would have to have the little spinny guy and his record player in the upper right of each window.   thumbsup thumbsup
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 03:13:25 pm »

It seems silly to me to have to load a piece of bloatware like XP just to run OTS. I think it would be really coooool if OTS actually build an operating system just to run OTS.  thumbsup
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2007, 06:05:08 pm »

tune tracker sort of did that.  i believe it distributed with beos, not their own OS, but that sort of idea. there were others i can't think of off the top of my head.  there are also nix based cd's like that.  i personally love the idea, but the masses don't think that way.  there is an issue with providing drivers for all the different hardware options.  not a small task.  it kinda forces you back to a nix or something that has open source drivers available.

and anyway, I want it for mac first! Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2007, 08:31:16 pm »

You can run Ots with less bloated Windows 2000.
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2008, 07:12:21 am »

I know this thread is an old one, but I thought I would share as well...

You can run Ots with a stripped out version of Windows. I use an OS called TinyXP. It is XP but without all of the bloat that comes standard on regular XP. No Internet Exploder, No windows bloat. it just boots to a desktop without any of the "built-in" crapware that not only Microsoft adds in, but if you happen to have a branded box, you also have a large amount of their branding and wares on it.

My Tiny XP install uses up about 400 Megs when fully installed. Not too bad considering that my XP Media Center uses near 2 gigs of space when installed.

TinyXP is JUST an OS. Nothing more. It is also very customizable with extra menus and extra elements in the menus. Just a thought.

there have been many many versions of this over the years. It started with "Win98Lite". My computer never uses more than half of the 384 Megs of ram... EVER, while my WinXP Media Center edition IDLES at 560+ Megs of ram used up.

560 is a bit steep when you only have 384 to start with!

I have also replaced the Windows Explorer shell with Aston. It runs with a very small footprint, and is infinately customizable. You can find out the details at www.astonshell.com. The trial version works forever, or if you want more than 10 desktop icons, the fare is $30.00. A small price to pay for the dependability it brings to the table!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 07:15:01 am by Moogvo » Logged
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