Anirudh Saraf is winding up his internship this week. He's been pretty busy while here - diving into the subtleties of Hyper-V, learning how to get machines working on our network domain, moving into Windows Server 2008, learning our automation system and some of the tools we have, getting some of our automation running in those virtual images he learned about with Hyper-V and working on new features for OneNote! Whew - that's a lot of work for ten weeks. I expect now that he will get back to his blog he'll let us all know what he really thinks… :)
He and I met yesterday and he had some paperwork which I also needed but had not had time to print. As we went to the photocopier to make me a copy, for no particular reason I was reminded about a bug I found in an addin for Excel way back in Office 97.
I had only been here a few weeks at the time, and Office 97 was in the final stages of shipping. We were looking for the core "ship stopping" bugs and staying focused only on the most severe problems. I was working with the Solver addin for Excel and wanted to print the sample (solvsamp.xls) which came with it. I printed the sample and went to the printer to pick up my copy. The printer was busy printing my copy, then another, and another, and another and so on… I didn't think I had selected multiple copies but went back to my computer to make sure. In the print dialog, the default number of copies which I had assumed was 1 was actually 12334. Yikes! I tried cancelling the print job, but that failed. I went running back to the printer and powered it down simply to save paper, called our helpdesk to let them know why the printer was off and went back to my office to file a bug. I was pretty nervous since I had only been here a few weeks and was wasting paper and unplugging printers. I had no idea what the policies were so I made sure I entered the bug ASAP.
Here's what the print dialog I had blindly clicked OK on looked like:
The bug came back to me resolved as Postponed. To Office, that means the bug is important and we will fix it, but won't be fixed for the release. In this case, it meant Office 97 would ship with this bug and we would fix it in a future release. Considering the panic I had just been through, I disagreed at first. I fought a little to get the bug fixed (after all, it's only changing a single value in the code). I lost my fight, and here's why:
For all of these reasons, we decided not to attempt a fix before releasing Office 97. It was just too late to try something as risky as "just one number being changed. What could go wrong?" We shipped and as far as I could tell, no one ever called PSS to report this. We eventually did fix the problem, though, so the bug is no longer there.
Kind of a long winded story about a bug, but it serves as an example of a minor bug that we don't want to fix since it puts the entire product at risk. Fixing any bug is a balancing act, and in this case, I think we made the right decision.
Good luck to Ani as he heads back to school. Keep an eye on his blog for more addins for OneNote and his point of view for how the summer went.
Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,