Did you see the flurry of interest in this issue with Office 2003 sp3? Essentially sp3 blocks certain *very* old file formats for security reasons and this understandably got some people annoyed. The error which was not a bug was "You are attempting to open a file that was created in an earlier version of Microsoft Office. This file type is blocked from opening in this version by your registry policy setting"
I must confess I rather teflon’d this interview to Reed in the US who handled it really well. Although we did have a reg hack to remove the block, it was pretty hard to implement. In response to the feedback we’ve issued much simpler .reg file links to sort out the issue.
The post from the Register is a very nicely written and quite funny piece from Mark Whitehorn which is worth a read. Here is a taster:
The word draconian seemed appropriate, so we used it with Reed Shaffner, Microsoft Office Worldwide Product Manager. Very disarmingly, he agreed.
“Yes, I agree, it was too draconian.” he said. We hate it when Product Managers do that.
Check out the official blog post from David Le Blanc on the rationale behind the decisions and the solution. The comments are long but deeply get into the issues if you have time. I think David does a great job of handling the slashdotters politely. I particularly liked this part of one of his comments:
please try to be polite in public. Your main point of "why didn’t you just fix the older parsers?" didn’t need expletives to get the point across. You’re speaking to a person here. It’s also in your self-interest – employers do use web searches to help make hiring decisions. Wag more. Bark less