Update 09/24/2004: I am no longer looking for more information related to this issue. Please see this blog entry for the latest information about LocalCache issues. Thank you to all who provided information that helped determine just how prevalent this issue is and where to go searching for the bug.
Last year I posted a blog entry that mentioned my work on the local installation source (LIS) feature (that I call "LocalCache") for the Microsoft Office 2003 System. That blog entry generated quite a few comments where people mentioned that patches to Office were still requiring the installation CD. Then I saw a link from Scoble's blog to this blog entry where people were complaining that they needed the original Office CD to install updates. Finally, K (who is the developer in Office that took over LocalCache when I moved to Windows) mentioned over break that his new laptop required the installation CD when demonstrating how installing a patch from Office Update shouldn't require the original source media. Needless to say, it appears there is something not quite right with LocalCache out in the wild.
So K and I spent this last Monday morning trying to reproduce the problem on some machines other than his laptop. Unfortunately, after several attempts we never had the problem occur. Independently, one of the Office testers also tried to reproduce the problem with the MSDN Universal CD (where I first heard of the problem) and couldn't get it to occur then either. PSS hasn't had a lot of people calling in about this one and don't think there is an issue here. However, I think that there haven't been may calls because customers are (unfortunately!) used to requiring the original installation CD when patching.
K and I are going to beat on this problem a bit longer (we thought we found something that might be the issue on Monday but didn't pan out). So, I'm out here asking that if you installed Office 2003 and have subsequently tried to install the patches and the patches required the original installation media, would you please contact me? Just send your email address and I will likely get back to you asking for a bit more information about your machine's configuration and how you installed Office 2003.
I really want to kill off this bug (or at least understand what is going on if there turns out not to be a bug) and any help you can provide will be much appreciated.