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Letters to the Editor: Product release datesWaiting for Godot or media hype?

the SearchWin2000.com editors

When you first read about an upcoming software release date in the media, do you roll your eyes? You're not alone. We recently asked members to tell us if product release dates were important to them --

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and the response was overwhelming. Here are some nuggets from some of our favorite and most thoughtful replies.

Waiting for Godot
I would rather have a release date slip than be shipped shoddy software. Unfortunately, often times we get both. Microsoft release dates always have more to do with marketing than product development cycles. Waiting for robust and secure software from them is like waiting for Godot.

- P. Tyler

Wishy-washy Windows
When making decisions on Software Assurance and other MS Licensing headaches, I'm very interested in hearing about release dates -- especially when they determine whether I should spend additional money on upgrades that may not happen.

- J. Houston

It's not just Microsoft
The majority of us have now resolved to a lesser standard, and refuse to get excited about any software release. In reality, the only standard we can look forward to is the money. It will always be the final word on when software product is released, regardless of whether or not it is ready. This was not a bash at Microsoft! Just pick any of the top 20 labels, including Linux, and it is all relevant.

- T. Nocton

Doomed from the start
Like most system admins, I don't care a whole lot about release dates - I just want a well-finished product. I think Microsoft should take a leaf out of ID Software's book. The release date for Doom 3 is "When it's done!"

- K. Reynolds

You're so immature
Yes I think the media are putting way too much emphasis on release dates and that forces the big software companies to release immature products into the market. I think more emphasis should be placed on end of support dates.

- I. Steyn

Stop and smell the roses
Maybe I am just getting a little burnt out, or maybe it is because there are other priorities besides Microsoft software upgrades needing attention in our shop, but I am ready for things to slow down a bit. Let me get to the expert level on my systems and stay there for a little while before forcing me back to rank amateur every 18 months.

P. Oblander

Don't believe the hype
Release dates are important from the standpoint of long range planning, especially if you are talking about operating systems. They don't necessarily need to be set in concrete, but they should be a good estimate of when the product is going to come out -- and not just hype for the marketing machine.

- J. Kohut

Speaking volumes
Holding vendors accountable for promised dates is absolutely essential in the IT industry. Microsoft has historically missed so many promised dates and features, across all product lines, that it speaks volumes to the character of the organization and their commitment to customer satisfaction.

- SQL Server Gal

Under pressure
When the media starts talking about release dates, the software companies start feeling more pressure to meet those dates. If they fail then there is a perception that something is wrong. I believe that this media pressure leads to companies releasing software with more bugs in them.

-R.M.

Strap on the feedbag
As a systems manager I need some feed on what's coming up for the next few years. It's up to you to find out what you can, feed on the rumors and distill it all into something that's useful to me. Or have I got the wrong idea of what journalism is about? It's up to me to interpret it sensibly and ignore the hype or spin you might add.

- B. Payne

All the marbles
I often wonder how the richest and largest software house in the world cannot find the flaws in its own software. I believe it is due to inadequate testing on their part. With cash reserves of 40 billion dollars, spending 200 million on "trustworthy computing" clearly demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to its pocketbook and not testing, platform stability, or the user's satisfaction.

- J.T. Passannante

Armageddon
Whatever consideration exists that makes publishers of these news stories believe we all possess the time and patience to wade through such trivial and useless stories has importance backwards. With the other stories and data regarding the items we have to deal with on a daily basis, does anyone really concern themselves with the coming asteroid that will destroy the planet in the year 2640?

- B. Haas

Gunning for MS
The actual thought that frequently runs through my mind every time I see a new Longhorn release date story in the media is "These guys are really obsessed with this! Are they really so overtly out to make Microsoft appear negative in EVERYTHING they write about?" Thus, the answer to your ready inquiry is "I know software takes a long time; and the bigger it is, the longer it may take."

- D. Edwards

You're darn tootin'
Like my granddad said, "If you don't have time to do it right, you surely don't have time to do it over." Everyone needs to treat their speculations and predictions as what they are: guesses that don't bind anyone to anything.

- J. Boyd


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