Microsoft continues to disappoint VS.NET 2003 VB.NET developers

It’s a real shame how complicated Microsoft makes certain things…
If you have the problem with VS.NET 2003 disappearing while compiling your app, you may not know that Microsoft has a hotfix for it.  Unfortunately, you cannot just get the hotfix.  You have to submit a support request, pay your money, get the hotfix, and then get your money back.
They say the hotfix isn’t fully regression tested – well, okay, that’s certainly a concern, but if you install it and all your stuff turns turtle, just uninstall it and you’re back where you were.  It wouldn’t be too hard to have a seperate screen that shows up when trying to download it that makes you type something like "I AGREE" to a warning and disclaimer.  Total lost time, a few minutes.
Instead, you have a multi day process just to make your tool work the way it’s supposed to.
Heck, I can even understand having a hotfix being hard to get if it’s for something like Windows or Active Directory, because some yahoo who doesn’t know what they’re doing can apply it when it isn’t relevant – but this one, and another one that I had to obtain the same way, are for *big* projects.  Joe Schmoe developer who is using a buddy’s stolen copy of VB.NET 2003 isn’t going to create a 100,000+ LOC project in his spare time and need these patches.  Professional developers need them, and should be able to get them easliy.
I wish I had cornered Paul Vick at the PDC to get an explanation for why this works the way it works.
Can someone in Microsoft give us a clear explanation why several critical hotfixes for VS.NET are held hostage like this?  It isn’t because MS is making money off of the support requests – they will refund the submitted amount.
It just reeks of a process that wasn’t thought through.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft continues to disappoint VS.NET 2003 VB.NET developers”

  1. Yeah, it\’s pretty anal how we require people to call in for these fixes. I wondered about this many years back since it obviously reduces people\’s satisfaction with our products, and I agree with you completely on that point. As I understand it, part of the issue however is legal. The release of patches that are having run through the compatibility gauntolet and haven\’t been regression tested may not just impact a person\’s application or their system, it may be uninstallable, and affect the installation of 3rd party applications in the future without warning. We for example, have been had legal issues with companies that have discovered that changes that we\’ve made made it impossible to install or run their 3rd party products and because we hadn\’t published distinct documentation and legalese on that particular patch or change, we were subject to, shall we say, harrassment. That\’s why SPs are such a big deal – I think they exist for legal reasons as much as they exist for regression testing reasons.Take for example, our Premier Support customers. Because there is a binding agreement between the customer and us through the Support contract, they are permitted to download Hotfixes like these in a secure manner, directly through an Extranet site, without contacting a support professional or doing the whole charge/refund thingy.I think a lot of people would be okay with this whole issue understanding the legal problems that our company has and how litigous society has become, however it\’s certainly our bad (in a serious way) for not explaining this better or making the rationale for this more obvious on every support article.So you know, I\’ve submitted this as a formal complaint into our corporate Response Management process meaning this is going to go in front of some executives eyes – most likely our VP of Services – in addition to a lot of other managers.

  2. Hey Kurt, thanks for the reasoned reply. I can certainly see the legal concern, but as I\’m sure you realize, we "end users" sign away our rights to sue every time we install a Microsoft product, so I don\’t see how this is so much different – but I will admit I do see a bit of a difference (your point being that another software company would sue you, not an end user). I suppose there wouldn\’t be so many people out here irritated about this whole thing if MS would issue a service pack. Two years without a service pack for a development tool that is so important to so many people and has some very serious bugs is just insane! But hey, at least they can show LINQ to us at the PDC, rather than fixing what we already have… 😉 And you\’re right – if this was better explained any time there is a requirement to call for a hotfix, it would definitely help.Thanks for listening! – Eric.

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