13 June 2006

Microsoft's Bugs: Just Like Christmas

It's sad to see the generally solid BBC news reporting on the latest mega-patch from Microsoft with a real lack of context. It's as if Microsoft bugs were as natural and as inevitable as Christmas: both of them just keep coming around, and, well, it's that time again, so let's tell the readers.

This is so misleading: every time Microsoft issues these huge fixes should be an occasion to remind people that this is shoddy programming on a serious scale. Not only that, but a certain Bill Gates has already recognised it as a problem and pledged that he was really serious about solving it:

In the past, we've made our software and services more compelling for users by adding new features and functionality, and by making our platform richly extensible. We've done a terrific job at that, but all those great features won't matter unless customers trust our software. So now, when we face a choice between adding features and resolving security issues, we need to choose security. Our products should emphasize security right out of the box, and we must constantly refine and improve that security as threats evolve.

The date? 15 January 2002.

Four years later, and the situation is not one whit better, as this latest security update shows. Memo to BBC: next time it's Christmas, could we do a little more than simply hanging up the mistletoe?

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