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Further Frustration: Apple is not Immune to the Quality Assurance Bug Plaguing Microsoft…

When it rains it pours. I feel like the Morton Salt girl…

If you remember, a week or so ago, I posted a huge rant on how Microsoft released buggy and problematic SP’s in both Vista SP1 and XP SP3. There have been a lot of people bumping into operational problems with corrupted Registries, corrupted files, and endless reboot loops. I can’t help but shake my head when crap like this happens.

As end users in an enterprise environment, we will likely will never experience these problems. Most IT managers avoid the application of SP’s for at least 8 months to a year. At that point, most of the bugs and issues have worked themselves out and an updated version of the SP has been released. Great for enterprise users… Not so great for consumers.

With the way AutoUpdate works, Windows wants you to have AutoUpdate turned on, all the time, everyday, out loud; or it barks at you… "You don’t have Auto Update turned on…You won’t get the latest security updates. You’re whole world is going to be exposed through the Internet, and you’re going to risk identity theft (and all sorts of other nasty problems)… Sheesh! (Kinda reminds me of that one Mac commercial where PC is communicating to Mac via the Vista security thingy that continually asks you to "allow or deny…" ) You are coming to a sad, sad realization, allow or deny…

Anyway, I noticed that even Apple is not immune to the OS update bug, well…bug. Their latest version of OSX Leopard, 10.5.3 is causing all sorts of problems with iTunes, Adobe applications, etc. I subscribe to Version Tracker’s OS updates for both Windows and OSX, and all of the Mac Update e-mails over the past week or so have had issues and fixes and articles about how Leopard 10.5.3 has been causing this problem or that problem with some kind of application or with regular OS functionality. The biggest problem I’ve seen with this latest update from Apple is not the problems with 3rd party applications; but with their own applications.

OSX 10.5.3, for example, causes grief with iTunes, one of Apples main-stay, big-mamoo apps. Damn, half the world runs iTunes on the Windows side. EVERY Mac user uses iTunes. How in the WORLD does Apple let this OS Update out the door without testing to insure that iTunes continues to work on EVERY type of Mac available? I mean, what’s up with that?!

If it sounds as though I’m a little upset with this, I am. No…I didn’t get bitten by the bug; I’ve been in Quality for nearly 20 years. I’ve spent nearly the last 10 years in Software Quality. I am having a hard time understanding how something like this happens.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and I’m going to challenge Apple’s QA Director to contact me and share Apple’s QA Test Plan with me. I’d really like to see it. I have a lot of questions for them:

  • How much test time did the team have?
  • How many test cases were run?
  • How much regression testing was done?
  • Was testing done on all native Apple apps?
  • How many different OS/machine configurations were tested?
  • What kind of documentation was passed to the QA Team to insure that all test requirements were effectively identified and tests executed on them?
  • Does an ERD (entity relationship diagram) exist for Leopard; and does it identify all the dependency relationships between the OS and all of Apple’s native apps?

…and this is just off the top of my head.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I KNOW that testing an OS is a lot of work and there are a ton of moving pieces; but still. When a new OS update has trouble with its own, native apps…something isn’t right. Either changes were made to shared, core components that weren’t appropriately or effectively documented and communicated, or all of the testing requirements weren’t identified and the appropriate tests executed, or some combination of the above.

At the end of the day, when Apple has the vast resources that it does, AND its got the kind of reputation that it does (everything just "works,") these kinds of results are simply unacceptable. The OS update needs to be fixed, patches or updates need to be created for those that have already installed the original update, etc. It’s a huge mess…and one that could have, and should have, been easily avoided.

But again, I’d like to hear your thoughts on all of this. Why don’t you join us in the discussion and let us know what you think?

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