Microsoft came under fire last week after it emerged that a bug within Windows NT4 Service Pack 6 cripples Lotus Notes - locking out users without administrator privileges. The service pack stopped Winsock calls functioning properly, so preventing access to Notes. Paul Slater, IT manager for Royal & Sun Alliance, said it was irresponsible of Microsoft to miss a compatibility problem on such a popular program as Notes. "It's quite dreadful really. I know Microsoft can't be expected to test every service pack with every piece of software, but Lotus is not exactly small beer." He added that his company is currently rolling out Notes. "It would be nice to know what's happening," he said. Hugh Thompson, director of IT at Northumbria Police, said: "Microsoft has a problem in creating true forward and backward compatibility. As a result, regression testing is becoming more expensive and difficult for users." Simon Hayward, research director at Gartner Group, agreed: "Microsoft has lost touch with the complexity of what it wants to achieve in this area and doesn't realise the knock-on effects." Hayward added that users should "push back against" Microsoft's increasing use of licensing agreements that force users onto the latest service packs of NT. Simon Moores, chairman of the Lotus User Group, said: "Users have installed SP6 in the belief that it's important, but in fact it has crippled their environment. Microsoft is giving its customers problems associated with its testing. This is not much of a Christmas present for Notes users." Windows NT marketing manager Mark Tennant admitted it was a mistake, but said the company had fixed it quickly. "From a development point of view it was just something that slipped through." He added that while SP6 had been posted on the web on 29 October, the fix wasn't released until the middle of last week. The Microsoft fix is downloadable at support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q245/6/78.asp.
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