At this point in time, if you were interested in trying out Windows Vista Beta 2, then you definitely have already. Though some of us don't realize it right away, Microsoft has two goals in mind when it releases a public beta: give the tech community a preview of the new operating system, and more importantly, gather massive amounts of bugs and feedback about the new OS.
Focusing on the second goal, customer feedback, one way Microsoft allows testers to report bugs is through the Microsoft Connect website. Besides reporting, testers are also allowed to view, validate, and search for issues. The other night, Robert McLaws of Longhorn Blogs was viewing and commenting on some bugs when he decided that he'd like to see a statistical analysis of the some 28,700 Vista bugs in the system. Over four and a half hours, McLaws manually added every bug posted on Connect to an Excel 2007 spreadsheet, and he discovered some fantastic trends.
Once McLaws removed 1,072 duplicate items, he started exhuming statistics from the raw data. Some of his intriguing findings include:
An average of 81 bugs per day are reported for VistaThe count of bugs per day is increasing, not decreasingAround 200 bugs are reported within the first 24 hours of a new releaseOver 20,000 bugs have been closed so far where closed holds a status of "Closed" or "Resolved"When Microsoft released the Start Orb, 353 bugs were added to Connect during the first day and 338 during the secondOnly 1/5 of the total bugs submitted are still open
One item above that is worth discussing is the increase in the number of bugs per day. While one could conclude that an increase in bugs per day is a Bad Thing, McLaws notes that more and more people are using the system now than ever before, especially with the public beta and all. As a software engineer myself, I agree with McLaws; the more hands on a system, the more problems will be uncovered. Once the company releases RC1 to the public, we could expect another drastic spike in bug count, although the items should be more in-depth than and not as obvious as bugs reported during Beta 2.
Overall, Microsoft still has a ways to go before it has an operating system that can be sold and proudly delivered, but we knew that even without pretty graphics and some statistical breakdowns. Just like every piece of software that has ever shipped, Vista will ship with some bugs intact. Let's just hope Microsoft knocks out the big boys and doesn't leave them for a service pack instead.