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Why Microsoft is Evil Chapter 382

Their latest security patch can crash Internet Explorer.

December 19, 2007 (Computerworld) -- Microsoft Corp. acknowledged late yesterday that security patches issued last week for Internet Explorer (IE) crippled the browser for some users, but rather than rework the fix, the company offered up a registry hack work-around.

The confirmation and work-around came a week after users installed Security Update MS07-069 on Dec. 11, and users immediately began reporting that they were unable to connect to the Internet with IE or that the browser kept crashing. MS07-069, one of seven bulletins issued on December's "Patch Tuesday," fixed four critical vulnerabilities in IE 5.01, IE6 and IE7.

Although Microsoft had said on Monday that it was investigating the reports, yesterday the company owned up to the problem. "On a Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer, Internet Explorer 6 may stop responding when you try to a visit a Web site," said Kieron Shorrock, the program manager responsible for IE at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC).

In a later post to the MSRC blog, however, Shorrock downplayed the problem, saying, "We have been working with a small number of customers that reported issues related to the installation of MS07-069." He claimed that the bug appeared only in what he called "a customized installation."

"This isn't a widespread issue," Shorrock added.

That would come as a surprise to users such as Harold Decker, who manages 35 Windows XP SP2 machines at San Diego-based Gold Peak Industries NA Inc. Even though Decker described his shop's systems as "pretty plain," 29% of the PCs that installed last week's IE update had trouble accessing the Web.

When I read news like the above, a scene from the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies comes to mind.

Elliot Carver: Mr. Jones, are we ready to release our new software?
Jones: Yes, sir. As requested, it's full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years.
Elliot Carver: Outstanding.

Is that how Microsoft really works? Like Brian at Below the Beltway, I have one tip for people.

Use Firefox.


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Comments (12)

On a Mac.... (Below threshold)
epador:

On a Mac.

I use firefox, but I do hav... (Below threshold)
Ken:

I use firefox, but I do have one complaint - some programs, or at least access to some programs, do not work 100% with firefox. I sometimes need to download data from other programs/websites and it is not uncommon that those sites do not work with firefox, forcing me to launch IE and go get the data that way.

I have nothing but enthusia... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

I have nothing but enthusiasm for Firefox. I just spent the last half hour fiddling with some of the browser add ons of which there are hundreds to choose from, all of which enhance and entertain one's browsing experience.

In the two years I have been using Firefox I have felt great relief at having left IE in the rearview mirror.

If I have trouble with Fire... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

If I have trouble with Firefox I use the "IE Tab" plug-in or "Switch Rendering Engines" and it usually works and I don't have to fire up IE itself.

Acrobat Reader is a pain. And my paranoia makes me wonder if its not accidental since Firefox usually resolves issues promptly.

============

But its funny that a volunteer effort that amounts to a glorified hobby gives Microsoft a run for its money. Don't tell me the Monopoly model of the recently perverted doctrines of capitalism work.

JPM100 wrote-"Acro... (Below threshold)

JPM100 wrote-

"Acrobat Reader is a pain. And my paranoia makes me wonder if its not accidental since Firefox usually resolves issues promptly"

If you're talking Adobe, that program freezes up systems no matter what browser is being used. I've noticed that for years.

Bill

Actually, on Windows, using... (Below threshold)

Actually, on Windows, using Firefox is not sufficient. Because the system itself uses IE for a lot of tasks (for example, Windows Update will only work through IE, and a lot of programmatic web access needs IE DLLs), you can still be screwed when IE breaks even if you use Firefox as your user space browser.

I use Firefox, but it is a ... (Below threshold)

I use Firefox, but it is a memory hog and it occasionally locks up - IE7 is much more stable on my machine, but it doesn't have all the cool add -ins Firefox has. Plus, as has already been pointed out, there are some web pages that just won't display properly in Firefox, so I have to use that "display page in IE" add-in.

Its been a couple years sin... (Below threshold)

Its been a couple years since I've used Firefox and it is certainly a good alternative to Internet Explorer, but the old Mozilla engine is just so darn slow when it comes to loading all the images on a website. Plus, 2005 was not a very good year for Firefox in terms of all the security vulnerabilities and Mozilla's lack of timely fixes. I'm sure things must be better now, but I just haven't had a compelling reason to move away from IE.

Sorry, but I'll keep using ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Sorry, but I'll keep using IE just to piss you guys off.

I'm tired of the IT-geeks I know ranting about the superiority of some piece of software (usually about features I would not in a million years notice or care about), yet being completely unwilling to actually help anyone else learn it or use it. Saying "oh, that's easy, you just need to (insert crap here), later, bye" must help to maintain their smugness. (obviously that's more of an issue with OS's than with a simple browser)

This is one of Microsoft's advantages - most people have no time or desire to screw with something that already does what they need it to do.

I reserve similar anger for people who *insist* that I get a mac, despite repeatedly reminding them that I need a PC for both work and play. Yes, they're nice - but it's like telling me I need a Prius when I'm looking for a 4x4 because I live somewhere with no roads and no grid.

"but it is a memory hog"</p... (Below threshold)
Ken:

"but it is a memory hog"

Amen to that. It sometimes eats up almost 100% of CPU space. And if you have both Firefox and IE open fuggetaboutit. You will be on the lock-up train.

I agree use firefox, I don'... (Below threshold)
Earl:

I agree use firefox, I don't have any problems with that browser. I only use IE when I have to

The truly annoying aspect o... (Below threshold)
sanssoucy:

The truly annoying aspect of this latest IE bug was that every website out there blames every problem they've had since 12/11 on it.




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