back to article Microsoft's 2018, part 2: Azure data centres heat up and Windows 10? It burns! It burns!

Where were we? Ah yes... it was the summer of GitHub committers' discontent – as many looked on in horror as Redmond swallowed it for $7.5bn in June. But things were about to heat up further... July brings joy, junior Surfaces and jiggly financials Hayfever season began well for Microsoft as the giant took another potshot at …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Thank you for a splendid summary of MS's 2018 failures

    Pieces like this are ones that I keep in my personal library for reference, and to show to people years down the line when they have entirely forgotten (or don't even know) how things were.

    Keep up the good work in 2019 !

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Linux

    ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

    The article gives a far better explanation than I could ever manage. Indeed, it reminded me of so much cruft I had to re-read it several times to get the full, umm ... benefit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

      Well Said. I've gotten rid of all my Windows systems. For me it is Linux and MacOS.

      Microsoft is well into the 'You WILL do it our way and pay through the nose as well or bugger off' part of SatNad's reign. Subscriptions will rule the day (IMHO) before the end of 2019. They'll hike the UK prices even more blaming BREXIT (naturally) as the convert USD to Euros and then to GBP and somehow end up with $1 > £1.00...

      My 'I don't do Windows 10' stance held me in good stead on Christmas Day as one of my grandkids received an HP Laptop as a present (their birthday is the 27th so they have to accept getting one gift for both). It started up and despite me telling my Son to disable updates before connecting to the internet, it downloaded god knows how much stuff and then after what seemed hours it decided to shutdown and from then on it would not boot. Totally borked. My Son and his Son were not impressed. Back to PC-World yesterday and got their money back despite protestations. Say 'It don't work' enough times plus threatening legal action eventually got through.

      Windows is not fit for purpose as it currently stands. You may have other opinions but the above event says an awful lot about MS these days. Sling it out and don't care about the quality or screwing up the users.

      1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

        Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

        I keep reading about these problems with Microsoft, and I am sure they exist, but I wonder how big the problems really are. Windows 10 can be annoying certainly, but so far, I have not had any of the issues reported with any Win10 update. Even the writer of this article says the only issue they had was with the brightness control on their laptop, so how big are these bugs really?

        With an install base of 700Million, even 0.001% of users having an issue would sound like a lot of noise, as that would be 7,000 voiciferous complainers. But 0.001% isn't really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Heck, 99.99% correct and 0.01% bad would still sound terrible, as 70,000 users.

        My point is, these issues are terrible and all that, but how widespread are they really? How many people are actually affected by all these issues?

        1. Palpy

          Re: ... How many MSFT users affected?

          I'd be interested in hard numbers as well, but I suspect there are none.

          By November 1 Tech Republic reported that, according to AdDuplex, about 2.6% of Win10 users had downloaded 1809. 2.6% of the Win10 userbase might be around 16 million users, opines TR.

          But, "...some say that AdDuplex numbers are not representative of regular Windows 10 users", so TR claims perhaps 10 million users had downloaded 1809.

          One of the borks involved only Intel's Skylake or later processors, so for that flaw, you'd need to know how many of the (very roughly, quite maybe) 10 million machines had Skylake. Call that X%.

          But wait -- do we even know if all Skylake-equipped machines were borked? I think not, but don't know. So Y% of failures has to be attached to the equation.

          For just that particular flaw.

          And I have run out of steam. That's the kind of BS you could run on all the different 1809-related flaws. Very mushy, very approximate.

        2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

          Quote:

          My point is, these issues are terrible and all that, but how widespread are they really? How many people are actually affected by all these issues?

          The point is not how many people are affected by the issues with the update, but that fact there were issues with the update due to the lack of quality control.

          I make parts for aerospace hydraulic controls... imagine the fun if we skipped our QA, then the customer builds the actuators with no QA either.. eg pilot pulls back on stick, plane climbs... push stick forward... plane climbs...

          Software engineering needs exactly the sort of QA that physical engineering uses because the methods of production are exactly the same, you cant just take a shortcut and hope everything is alright because both types of engineering are created by us flawed humans because the 'deleting user files' cockup of 1809 should have been caught by m$'s own QA department BEFORE it got anywhere near release.

          Anyway, my new year dream for 2019 is that m$ re-hire all those QA testers they fired and stick the win7 gui on win10.... sadly I suspect we're more likely to get the last one than the first ....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

            Its called the devops culture and continuous delivery, AKA fix it in the next release.

            It's about appearing to do something while not really testing what you have done actually does whats its supposed to. If it doesn't oh well, can fix it in the next release maybe if its interesting.

          2. shawnfromnh

            Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

            Absolutely right about QA and I am on a linux distro rolling update and have not had a single problem. I think MS is arrogant and upper management is more worried about timelines and budgets and their bonuses nowadays. I think MS is like Blizzard, letting people go and Blizzard with their mobile Diablo that they gave a facelift to a Chinese mobile game they gave a face lift to and then dumped a bunch of employees. Well them and MS will soon be in the I destroyed my brand name for quarterly numbers group right before their stocks take a huge hit for not making quality and enjoyment for the customer the number one rule for everything they do.

          3. shawnfromnh

            Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

            I think the XP gui was much more intuitive than the win7.

            1. Joe W
              Linux

              Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

              I am a long time Linux only user (still am, at home), or was until very recently. At the new job I am forced to use win 10. Do I like it? Not really, missing all of my favourite things. It is not bad though (imo), and intuitive enough for me to get stuff done. Except for the f*ing ribbon, but that got introduced earlier into the applications.

        3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

          My point is, these issues are terrible and all that, but how widespread are they really? How many people are actually affected by all these issues?

          The bigger point, as others have mentioned, is this is happening with mass-market stuff like Intel sound and HP laptops. And it is symptomatic of a culture of poor (or non-existent) QA and attitude to its customers. They are not short of cash to do it properly, they choose to avoid doing it, it seems.

          Now we all love a flame-war on Windows versus Linux but this recent spat of problems is due to a change in MS culture. 5-10 years ago we moaned abut the never ending vulnerabilities in IE, etc, needing patched and on the other hand how Linux struggled to get many items hardware to run, but very rarely did MS bork a mass number of machines.

        4. Remy Redert

          Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

          Taken as a whole they might not seem like a big deal, but if you're the guy who relies on his computer for his livelyhood and Microsoft decides you should take the day (or several days) off by releasing a broken update and making it impossible for you to do any work, the costs can run into the thousands quite easily. And of course Microsoft's not taking responsibility for those costs.

          I block all adverts because advertisers and websites don't take responsibility for the crud they send out. I block Windows updates because Microsoft doesn't take responsibility for the crud they send out. In the days before Win10, that simply meant turning off auto-update and waiting a few days after a patch Tuesday to see if there were any cries of broken shit and to check if any those cries might affect me before running the update. In the Win10 days, that means blocking all Microsoft domains at the router/firewall.

        5. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

          The issue is not so much the percentage of people affected, it's whether the problems are due to MS' action. If MS force techies' systems to do things techies don't want, there is anger.

          If an update is unwanted, forcing it, and then messing it up will drive techies to Linux.

          Just because my system runs some of your code does not mean you can do anything you want with it.

          Hubris.

          Suse, bsd are my picks, with windows running in a little box, if required, which is not often.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: ... and people ask me why I use Linux exclusively

        "Back to PC-World yesterday and got their money back despite protestations."

        Why not just put a proper OS on it?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So is the latest itteration of 1809 safe to install yet??

    I'm still on 1709 as the howling was a bit much, I was hoping for a definitive we "think" it's OK to install now.

    1. KSM-AZ
      Unhappy

      Re: So is the latest itteration of 1809 safe to install yet??

      Frankly, A big chunk of the SH^h^h cruft issues are because of INTEL. To my knowledge INTEL parts have failed to meet specifications since the 8080 days. Bus controllers were notorious. The Z80 zoomed to fame becase their parts were so much closer to published spec. Then crashed, because they couldn't get parts out the door. In the early days the n86 'chipset' vendors were numerous, many producing vastly superior support chipsets to the INTEL ones. It was kind of stunning. As it is, *today* INTEL can't seem to produce a consistently performing support chipset. Every rev seems to have idiosyncrasies that bloat driver code, and require much tweaking and intervention by the hardware manufacturers. I don't understand why the hardware API needs to change so dramatically every rev. It's not like the 1GB ethernet spec changed. Further why does something like suspend/resume get more convoluted from rev to rev?

      Look at the '8049' code in the linux kernel. Since INTEL started with their newest chipsets there are now dozens of code work arounds attacking broken things in the various intel chipset implementations. We are talking about a microcontroller running the KB and Mouse from the original IBM PC from the '80's. Surely by now that would require pretty much ZERO coding changes, and yet . . .

      Frankly I find it stunning, and innovation stifling. The reason the PC-AT-... platform became the de-facto standard was because we only had to write the low level driver cruft once. ARM could own much of the desktop/laptop market with an incremental leap in performance and a decent reference design. Alas we don't seem to see it on the horizon.

      Whatever, :)

  4. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Yep

    In my shoppe, we're loving MSFT

  5. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    I wonder who decided to store all Active Directory metadata in Texas and why...

    ... friendly judges for any US agency willingly to peruse over foreign (where "foreign" probably means any being not born in Texas from Texans parents) data?

    If I were in charge of a EU company large enough I would have questioned MS hard about any data about my company stored outside EU.

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Facepalm

    All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

    Normally when you have "elderly code" (think "the BSDs") you do NOT have this problem. A lot of code can remain 'as-is', well tested and relatively bug free, when you have a VERY OLD code base.

    The problem is NOT old code. It's more obvious, to me. It's (most likely) a combination of an addiction to "new, shiny" and a GENERAL LACK OF QUALITY AND EXPERIENCE on the part of THE DEVELOPERS, THEMSELVES.

    It is my impression that the new crop of developers, who aren't the ones that gave us Windows 2000 and XP (and even Windows 7), _ARE_ the problem.

    The fact that they are *STILL* putting lipstick on the NON-OINKY end of "The Boar" formerly known as 'Metro" (and its bastard child UWP) _IS_ a BIG indicator.

    Blame where blame belongs. It's in the "new, shiny" code developed by a bunch of programmers who (most likely) grew up with PARTICIPATION TROPHIES and majored in SELF-ESTEEM, with an addiction to being told how SPECIAL they are.

    Murphy's law needs a "special addendum" for THAT bunch. Because it DID go wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.

    icon, because, FACEPALM

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

      OMG! I've just upvoted bombastic bob!

      Well, the fact is I'm 100% with you on that post - Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year Bob!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

        "Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year Bob!"

        But a curse upon thy caps lock. May it get a crumb from thy mince pie or other seasonal offering lodged immovably beneath it.

    2. J. Cook Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

      A rare upvote from me as well- Having been slow roasted over lack of QA on tiny things, releasing an OS update with little QA is about as close to an unforgivable sin as possible, especially one that trashes user data...

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

        The usual problem with elderly code is not, as BB rightly says, purely that it's old. It's because someone who doesn't understand or respect its quirks messes with it - perhaps to add new (and largely pointless) shiny, perhaps just to push it through the latest compiler.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All that elderly code is one reason for the current woes of the OS (?)

          While sorting out the office last night I found the code for a two channel EKG simulation device that I'd written back in the 80's in assembler language. It made interesting reading, initially I was cursing that I had not documented it in an external file, all I had was the source and comments. But after going through a few pages I realized that the inline comments did function well and I'd guess that I could move the application (50+ pages of assembler) to an Arduino in a couple of days.

          35 years ago I built it on a board about 150 square inches, these days it would need about 2 square inches.

  7. rne247
    Holmes

    But what about the things that didn't happen?

    Surface Go shipped with Windows 10 in S mode rather than 'Windows Lite'. Did anyone else notice that?

    And switching back to what did happen, Microsoft shipped two new Surface devices (Go and Laptop 2) that only work with Windows 10. And government departments are buying these things, so they're being locked in at the hardware level.

  8. tallenglish

    Failure shows there is something funny going on with the data

    "eye-opening admission that the Azure Service Manager did not support automatic failure and, er, used the affected data centre as its primary metadata storage site. Ouch."

    How else are the NSA to track everything on the system (even from EU).

    Why else would they have everything going to one DC, thats not a rookie mistake - its deliberate.

    They would have issues if they wiretapped stuff outside the USA, but make it require something in the USA, at which point it is out of sight and out of mind of everybody.

    It also means the USA can effectively switch off any Azure services as and when they please - so for that reason I would never trust Azure or Amazon Cloud for that reason - as I can't trust the USA government, and because of that any USA organisation to handle data securely and safely.

    Just look at the cavelier way Facebook has been with peoples privicy, if anyone thinks Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple are any better they are very dilusional.

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "It also means the USA can effectively switch off any Azure services as and when they please"

    And even when they don't please. I'm reminded of the song of the Siamese cats.

  10. Mike 16 Silver badge

    It Burns!?

    Very OT, but I would love to be told the name of the film or program that I stumbled on many years back when many UHF channels were pretty much "obscure old films, all the time". It was almost certainly toward the end of this one, and the scene I remember is some guy stumbling out of a spherical tank (probably shot at an oil refinery or other chemical plant) screaming "It Burns!", and the revelation that the "advanced fertilizer process" was actually making food (or fuel, or aphrodisiacs?) for some alien overlords.

    On the chance that the headline is referencing that film, could someone enlighten me with the title and (rough) year)?

    While diverging into B-movie filmography. any hints of one that features a tube station overrun by crocodile-sized intelligent mantis-like creatures? At least as far as I could ascertain through the (RF) snow. We no longer have that problem (snow, not crocodile-mantises), just variations on major parts of the frame entering Witness Protection, or the audio becoming completely unmoored from the video, in our brave new DTV world.

    1. dbtx Bronze badge

      a quick look around leaves me with still no idea which film that was, but makes me think that everything burns.

    2. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      Re: It Burns!?

      This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCwRzJQ0T7Y

      and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Zoz9MN0-Y4

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: It Burns!?

        Thank you! The first, definitely. The second, most likely, Should have guessed they were from Hammer.

        Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

    3. Not your average muppet

      Re: It Burns!?

      Interesting question, I was also curious about the quote. The Simpsons came to mind but they tend to borrow catch phrases from other sources, so a short hunt turned up:

      https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-469571.html

      which connects the quote to the 1957 British sci-fi movie "Quatermass 2", aka "Enemy from Space" with a scene similar to the one you describe. The imdb.com entry also notes:

      "As was commonplace in the 1950s, Hammer filmed a racier "Continental" version, which included revealing shots of Vera Day. Nigel Kneale objected that it was entirely out of place, not to mention far too colorful, to have a topless waitress in a village pub."

      More research may be warranted.

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