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A Humbling Experience Expand / Collapse
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 5:46 PM



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If you've ever built software, been a developer, you know that there's a pride of ownership in the code you write. Sometimes it's to a fault, maybe even most of the time, but almost every developer I've ever worked with has taken pride in their code, good or bad, and really hates to have things pointed out to them as poorly written. Justified or not. I think that's one reason why reuse isn't as prevalent as it could be across companies. Everyone wants to write their own code.

So when I saw this article about Microsoft bringing in hackers to pick apart Windows, I was intrigued. This "blue hat" get together, which had a bunch of Microsoft engineers watching hackers pick apart their work, went about as you'd expect. The engineers were not too happy.

But they learned something, at least I hope they did, and it should truly underscore to them that security is a big deal. For whatever motivation Microsoft has, this really shows that they want the engineers to understand what can happen to the product. There's nothing more humbling than seeing someone just take apart your work and show you all the problems. It can be hard, but it can be a great way to learn as well.

Having met many engineers at Microsoft, mostly in the security space, I'm sure it also challenged them quite a bit. Contrary to what much of the Slashdot crowd thinks, the folks up in Redmond aren't trying to just slap code together and get it out the door to make more money. These are professionals that truly want to build great software. Something that's hard and rarely is achieved, but they are concerned with getting things built well.

You may joke about the delays, but I'd honestly prefer a late product that is better written to an early one that requires lots of patience and forgiveness.

Steve Jones

Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwest

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Post #197809
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2005 12:18 PM

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Now there is one meeting were I would love to have been a "fly on the wall"!!!!!


Post #198284
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