Dan Fernandez blogs about the Whidbey release date slip and VS.NET service packs. An understandable article and I thank him for giving some insights in the why-o-why's. He also talks about service packs and why this is a problem. He gives some reasons why service packs for VS.NET aren't released yet. Let me warn you first: reading the reasons may cause you to fall of your chair so grab your desk or other strong, solid piece of material to avoid you getting hurt. Please acknowledge that Dan is most likely not the origin of these statements so a "Don't kill the messenger" is appropriate.
Ready? Ok, here we go. I commented on his reasoning below his comments.
WRT your point about why there have been no service packs for VS, first realize that we have several hotfixes up at http://support.microsoft.com if you have a particular problem to address, feel free to contact me directly.
This is absolutely bogus. Here's why:
Say there is a bug which I need fixing for my own software to work correctly. Am I helped with a fix from PSS? No! My own install perhaps works with the fix, but my customers who will use my software have to call PSS as well!
An ISV can't rely on that: "To get this piece of software working, you first have to call Microsoft for a fix". Most customers don't want to install hotfixes for .NET, they want service packs for .NET. That's why a hotfix is nice for an internal application, however for ISV's it's absolutely not usable: they can't ship the software with the patch, the customers have to call MS themselves.
I appreciate the time you want to take, Dan, to fix bugs or communicate between developer and MS developer but please realize that hotfixes are unusable for ISV's for the reason I just mentioned. Support like this is not to be called support. Sorry that I might sound a little annoyed but as a matter of fact I am annoyed about this issue. I'm getting pretty tired of all the blabla coming from MS about that there is no issue with support, that customers get the best support possible etc. while a massive amount of developers complaints about this day in day out (read the newsgroups f.e.). So, please please please realize what the pains of the developer community are today so please address them a.s.a.p.
You can read all about the developer implications of Windows XP SP2 here. I don't work on the Visual Studio servicing side (anyone who does chime in here), so I'm just giving you an educated guess here, but since there are specific developer implications for Windows XP SP2, the VS team would need to factor/depend on those changes for any future Visual Studio service packs.
This is pure CoverYourAss.exe, pardon my French. It's not my nor anyone elses problem that the design of Visual Studio apparently relies on Windows XP's structure and changes made to WindowsXP seem to break Visual Studio.NET. Furthermore, VS.NET and .NET 1.1 were released in April 2003 (!). That's almost a year ago. Are you trying to sell me the idea that in that year all bugfixing effort has been put on hold because of an XP service pack coming later this year? I hope not
A lot of bugs are already fixed, for a long time (hotfixes are available if you call PSS, but not for the public), however they're not released to the public. What's wrong with: release the fixes now and release another fix for XP SP2 when it arrives? Why o why do we have to wait till Q4 2004 before any fix for vs.net 2003 or .NET 1.1 are released?
Let me take a wild guess: fixing stuff costs money and time. Putting developers on those fixes now is not productive because they can better work on Whidbey as it is behind schedule as it seems. Understandable, but again, not the problem of the customer. The customer (the developer using VS.NET and .NET 1.1, you know, the people who do the hard work for Microsoft to get .NET accepted in the real world) payed for software and wants support, because s/he has every right to get support in the form of fixes.
I know that this rant will not make any difference, but so be it, at least some people now know the other side of the story.