(03/31/00, 10:23 a.m. ET)
The first major bug in Windows 2000 Server has been reported. This bug
deals with the ability of an administrator to add IP address to servers
configured as domain controllers. The bug, as reproduced by Computer Reseller
News, limits the number of IP addresses an administrator can add to approximately
50. Without a remedy, this bug can create serious problems for some enterprises,
as well as ISPs. In addition to the bug causing administrative tool problems,
it can prevent user authentication - a basic requirement for enterprise
problem was first isolated by North Carolina-based Terabyte Computer,
a consulting firm. It has since been confirmed by other sources. When
questioned by one source, Microsoft called this an "issue", not a bug.
Microsoft shipped Windows 2000 (Win2K) after much delay and some de-featuring,
heralding it as the OS for the enterprise, for e-commerce, etc. Microsoft
apparently calls this an "issue", not a bug, which begs the question:
what does it take for Microsoft to qualify something as a bug? What this
points to is inadequate testing/QA (quality assurance) of the software,
which often results from excessive schedule pressure due to delays.
word on behalf of Microsoft: Microsoft says it has shipped a million copies
of Windows 2000 already, although there is no breakdown of server vs.
desktop at present. In addition, Microsoft's beta testers did a lot of
pre-work on Win2K. The combination of these data leads us to question
how reproducible this bug is, and whether there was a special set of circumstances
only Terabyte has produced. However, since the bug has been reproduced
by at least two other sources, it is unlikely that it's a Terabyte-specific
being said: with Microsoft's PR blitz about robustness and powering your
Internet business and so forth, this appears to be something of a black
eye. We expect the folks at Red Hat, and Sun CEO Scott McNealy, to milk
this for all they can. The FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that competitors
will apply (depending on Microsoft's resolution of this issue) will re-raise
the specter of Windows not being a "bet your business" OS. Unless this
issue is resolved quickly, and to the satisfaction of the Microsoft-neutral
observers, this problem has the potential to depress Win2K sales.
Customers who are small (and planning to stay small) will not be especially
affected by this particular bug - oops! we mean "issue". "Small" is defined
here as 50 systems or less (maybe 45 is a safer number, allowing for overage).
Unfortunately, Windows 2000 Server is targeted at small, medium, and large
who need those extra IP addresses should think twice before upgrading
to Windows 2000 Server at this time. As we have commented in the past,
it is generally a good idea for users to wait for Service Pack 1 or 2
before moving to a new Microsoft OS, especially if they have critical
applications or a critical business need.
other issue this raises is whether there are other bugs out there, just
as critical, which were missed by Microsoft's QA group. All the testimonials
in the world will mean little if more show-stopper bugs appear. We hope/expect
Microsoft will fix this bug before the as-yet-unreleased Datacenter version
of Windows 2000 ships (since it will be their flagship OS), but the added
complexity of Datacenter likely means more bugs to be found .