Feeds

How the US military chivvied up Microsoft

Look sharp!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Divine intervention, or simply a divine coincidence? Long suffering Tablet PC users weary of unscheduled reboots didn't mind too much last week. Over a year after it came to light, and months after we highlighted the issue, Microsoft finally issued a patch for the memory leak that caused the problem. One pundit called it "the most anticipated patch in Tablet PC OS history".

Microsoft had spent February "working overtime", reporters were told at the time, but the promised fix still hadn't appeared when we returned to the topic on June. So what prompted this sudden burst of inactivity?

Well, one vertical niche that likes the Tablet idea very much is the US military, and the US Air Force was one of the first customers. Modded tablets were being used early in the Afghanistan air campaign, and had experienced "no blue screens", ComputerWorld reported three years ago. Those machines were running Windows 2000, and Tablet XP launched five months later.

"A big military customer saw the fuss and complained," suggests Peter Rysavy, in a nice summary of the saga.

"Bangalore were flown in to fix the problem in two hours flat after a year of lots of empty Starbucks containers and denying the problem to the public," he adds, metaphorically speaking.

But he's also correct, we can confirm.

According to a comment left on Jonathan Hardwicke's blog - he's the brave soul at Microsoft Research who first acknowledged the issue, and pushed to get it fixed - the Tablet developers were itching to fix the problem, but had to fight the notorious Redmond bureaucracy. "The process of getting QFEs evaluated by Dev, Test, Management; then approved by Executive Management, war, etc is a long one," writes a tester who worked on the patch.

Nothing concentrates the mind like the prospect of a terrible accident.

Could regular fly pasts speed up the development process? ®

Related stories

Microsoft, Dell win $500m US Air Force contract
Wireless cola gives USAF target practice
USAF seeks space weapon mandate
The mysterious case of the 'gay-bomb' request
Bush twins to join Air Force tech unit in Iraq

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?