I Hate to Say I Told You So…

But you probably know I’m gonna.

Many years ago, Midas Muffler used to air commercials where they had a mechanic come on letting you know that, no. You didn’t have to have them work on your breaks, tune your car or install one of their premium mufflers and exhaust systems for you. You could save the money; for now. But if you didn’t use their preventive and premium services, it would likely cost you more money in the future. Their slogan was, “you can pay me now…OR, you can pay me later.”

I LOVE that slogan. I use it often in life and at work.

I test software for a living. Many organizations spend a great deal of money on development but don’t always invest in a robust testing operation, as testing is a cost center, where development is a profit center. QA organizations burn cash but can save your bacon when something ugly is found before it hits production. In many cases, it’s an insurance policy, and I don’t know about you, but insurance is expensive, and you don’t always make use of all of its benefits.

The same can be said of testing and other quality organizations. The good QA manager or director knows how to sell an organization on the team’s value and insures that value is delivered and the services used and used often. This is one of the reasons why I have a huge problem with the news I saw on 2013-08-15 of Microsoft pulling previously released patches it released two days ago in the August Patch Tuesday.

patched_microsoft2

Actually, it really grinds my gears.

In summary, Microsoft has removed a series of updates issued during yesterday’s Patch Tuesday because they could stop Active Directory Federation Services from working.

Microsoft released 3 patches related to KB 2843638, KB 2843639, and KB 2868846. The updates were for Windows Servers 2008 and 2012. They were intended to block vulnerabilities that could reveal information about the service account being used by Active Directory Federation Services.

This is the second batch of updates from this month’s Patch Tuesday to be pulled by Microsoft. An earlier patch reported to have caused damage to content in Exchange Server 2013 was also pulled.

To be blunt, this is inexcusable. Microsoft’s test plans obviously need to broader and more robust. They need to catch critters like this, before they escape into the wild and cause problems for users in the enterprise.

It’s been widely reported that Microsoft’s revenues are down and their latest earnings call revealed a near $1B write off for Surface products that haven’t sold. Issues like the patch bug issues I’m speaking of here are totally preventable and well within Microsoft’s ability to catch prior to release. The testing and release processes at Microsoft are quite complex. There are a number of different testing cycles and reviews in place. Many people had to be asleep for this to have happened…and as I mentioned, it’s not the first time this month or ever, for that matter. It’s happened with other Windows Update/ Patch Tuesday releases.

I use Microsoft software every day at work. I use it to write for Soft32 and other publications. My kids use it in school and Windows powers more than 90% of all corporations worldwide.

This… is simply inexcusable. It looks like there are other changes besides the recent reorganization that need to take place at Microsoft; and if I were responsible for testing organizations there, I’d be asking some very, VERY tough questions right now…

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