Talk about timing. I just did a write-up on product quality from Microsoft, and right around the corner is a nasty zero-day bug that even affects Vista. Today, after Microsoft releases a patch, it is revealed that the patch BREAKS THINGS (specifically, Realtek audio and Ethernet devices seem to be most affected – they stop working). Question is, is it Microsoft’s fault? The easy answer is yes, but how can Microsoft be expected to know the inner workings of all of the driver manufacturers? Are the third party vendors not also capable of bad code, and of being constrained by the same pressures that likely result in less-than-the-best code from Microsoft?
Microsoft has long argued that many “bugs” in their software are really caused by third-party manufacturers – this problem with their patch seems to highlight that point rather nicely. Of course, further investigation is the only thing that will really show if it is a good patch stepping on a bad driver, or vice versa….
It also seems to highlight a strength of open source, as the chances of this happening if both driver and patch were open are greatly reduced.