Opinion by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Bugs? What bugs? Microsoft sees no evil.

Surely there are still bugs in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update beta release. Just don’t expect Microsoft to tell you about them.

Three businessmen - see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. [Thinkstock]

Opinion by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

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On Aug. 23, Microsoft released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 16273. This late beta doesn’t introduce new features. It’s all about stabilizing the next Windows 10 update before releasing it to the public. In short, it’s a bug-fix version — with a twist. While Microsoft tells us which bugs have been fixed in this build, it doesn’t say anything about new bugs, or old bugs that haven’t been fixed.

What the #@$!%? (Hey, can I use that kind of language in Computerworld? It’s appropriate.)

It’s not as if the next version of Windows is all ready to roll out except for some new paint. As Computerworld’s Woody Leonhard pointed out about the last beta, “The version of Windows 10 that was supposed to be ready to roll out to the world at large just got an ‘oh, wait a minute’ update of several dozen minor bug fixes. It’s still too early to tell if the tiny tweaks cause more harm than good, but it might be prudent to hold off on the massive rollout for now.”

You think?

Actually, I don’t know what to think, because neither I nor anyone else outside of Microsoft’s offices knows what’s still wrong.

Microsoft had been publishing a list of known issues. The list told Insiders about specific problems, what they affect, their impact, and how to work around them. That was darn handy.

One reason I like Linux desktops is that Linux distributors put out feature-and-bug lists that are exhaustive in detail. Their release notes, such as these from the latest version of Linux Mint, tell you not just about new features, but also about potential problems and what you can do about them.

Maybe that’s all just too boring for Microsoft.

When someone asked, “Hey, where’s the bug list?” Brandon LaBlanc, senior manager for Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program team, tweeted, “Not missing. Since we’re releasing builds more quickly and we’re stabilizing, not listing them.”

Huh? That is different from “not missing” how exactly?

LaBlanc clarified: “Sorry — to be more clear, not tracking *or* listing them.”

That’s a clarification that should make your head spin. Not even tracking?

OK, I’m sure Microsoft is tracking the bugs internally. It’s just too mind-blowing to thing that it has relinquished that responsibility. But I’m still annoyed that it isn’t listing them.

Some Windows fanboys don’t see this as a big deal. Mehedi Hassan, writing at MSpoweruser.com, reported all of this and concluded, “Most of the Windows 10 Insider builds don’t include any major bugs — and if you are running Fast Ring builds, you really should not be surprised by the minor issues.”

Excuse me, but Microsoft’s bug record, even on long-released operating system, is pretty miserable. Besides, before I install any program or operating system, I’d like to know about even the existing small bugs. I’m funny that way. I like to know what I’m installing before it’s running on my box.

As for major bugs, LaBlanc said, “For something that will cause high impact issues for a large portion of Insiders, yes,” Microsoft will give the approximately 10 million Insiders the lowdown. “Otherwise, no.”

Small comfort. What’s a small deal to Microsoft may be a big deal to me. This is what all of this sounds like to me: In the rush to get new Windows releases out, Microsoft is cutting back on quality assurance.

It’s just an impression, but you can see why I might think that way. Windows 10 Creators Update was supposed to be out in April. At four months late and counting, it looks as if Microsoft wants to shove this release out as fast as possible without any complaints from grumpy beta testers.

So, whenever Windows 10 Creators Update comes on, you can install it the minute it appears — if you dare. Me? I don’t like to live dangerously. I’ll wait for a while.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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