Servicing plans for VS 2003 and VS 2005

Today has been a big day, with the official launch of Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006.

We've seen some questions today in blogs and forums about our servicing plans for VS 2003 and VS 2005, and I thought it would be a good idea to communicate them here.  We use "hot fixes" to address time-critical issues, and periodically release service packs that have multiple fixes.  By having the combination of these methods, we hope to provide timely fixes for critical issues and also make it easy for customers to deploy fixes broadly.

We have plans for two service pack releases for the first part of 2006:

  • VS 2003 SP1 is scheduled for April 2006.  We have done much of the work for this release already, and are anxious to get it to you.

  • VS 2005 SP1 is scheduled for the first half of 2006.  We will be more specific about the date in a few months, once we have more customer data.


Comments (50)

  1. Marlun says:

    Will this include the Express editions?

  2. Jeff Lewis says:

    Is there one common place (or will there be) to get a list of the hot fixes for VS2005?

    Searching for them in the msdn knowledge base is a miserable experience! 😉

  3. andersonimes says:

    Thank you. Very much… I’m glad MS decided to address these issues sooner rather than later. Thanks for listening to your users.

  4. Orand says:

    I agree, publicly posting what hot fixes are available would be very helpful. I realize you would rather that people wait for the SP instead of applying hot fixes, but PLEASE make them available without having to call PSS and sit on the phone for an hour first.

    If you’re able to ship new beta and RC drops faster than hot fixes and/or service packs, something’s wrong. I’d rather stay in permanent beta mode than have to live with "we might get something out in the next 8 months" once it RTMs.

    It’s pathetic that people are actually saying "Thank you very much" in response to your "next 8 months" announcement and calling 8 months "sooner rather than later." Shame on you Microsoft!

  5. Dru says:

    When will VS.Net updates be available over MS Update?

  6. Thanks!

    It’s great to see Microsoft committing to something that’s obviously an issue in the industry.

    With that committment to Whidbey, I think I might reconsider my planned "embargo" on Visual Studio 2005. Hopefully my C# adventures will be less turbulent in 2006.

    Sincerely appreciated this entry from you.

  7. Matt Dunn says:

    Hi Scott,

    Do you also know when .NET 1.1 SP2 is scheduled for release?



  8. thushan says:

    Great news about the SP:-) thanks!

  9. Toma Bussarov says:

    Microsoft will release VS 2003 SP1 when??? 3 (THREE) years after its release!?

    The SP strategy needs serious revising at Microsoft. I remember the days of Windows NT and Visual Studio 6 and they were the days of REGULAR Service Packs. A service pack delayed like those for VS 2003, Windows XP and so on does NOT gives much value to customers. Just because it is too late. I have already swallowed the bugs in VS 2003 and I just acept them. You even cannot persuade me that they will be fixed some day … Can you guess why? Because in April 2006 I will be using VS 2005, I won’t even try to istall a SP1 just to throw away 15 mins or so…

    That’s from me. I hope the author will read it.

  10. Adam Young says:

    Finally! I welcome this, I really do. Reminds me of the good old days of VS prior to version 7 (aka .net).

    However, we have to wait until the middle of next year for a VS 2003 service pack? I don’t really understand this, bearing in mind how long VS 2003 has already been out. I work in a bank where the standard desktop is updated at about the speed of a glacier moving over a mountain. We won’t be moving to VS 2005 until the rollout of XP service pack 2 and .net fx 2. Which won’t be for a very long time. So I guess I’m stuck with the VS2003 bugs for the best part of another year. Sigh.

  11. Service packs! Thank you! I really think that Visual Studio need an Update feature much like Windows and Office have been given. This would be an IDEAL way to send out updates and fixes in a fast-paced manner. Please consider this.

  12. Bernie says:

    Thanks for listening to everyone, dev’s and mvps, on this, except for that whole part where WE BEGGED FOR ANOTHER BETA.

  13. Joe says:

    > except for that whole part where WE BEGGED FOR ANOTHER BETA

    Well those of you who wanted another Beta can consider RTM to be Beta 3. When SP1 comes out you can consider this as the "real" RTM. I expect the final version of Team Foundation Server and DSL Toolkit will require some updates to VS 2005, so I would expect the SP1 release to coincide with their release.

  14. Soma just posted a long blog entry ( discussing our future work, including servicing plans for VS 2005.

    He is more general in his specification of SP schedule than I was above. As we get more feedback and do more work, I am sure we will be more specific about the schedule. As Soma said, "As we get more mileage on the product usage in your production environment and get your feedback, we will firm up our plans here."

    I apologize for any confusion.


  15. LeeB says:

    Are there any plans for a service pack for the 2.0 framework itself? There are framework issues (in particular with ASP.NET) which were either postponed or "too late to investigate" when reported through the product feedback center.

  16. Mike Diack says:

    I can only second what others have said.

    Releasing SP1 for VS 2003 THREE years after the product launched is ludicrous. I’d periodically seen at kbalertz and other places all of these patches for VS 2003 and they are still not readily available. This is ludicrous. Why on earth have Microsoft withheld supporting VS 2003 for so long?

    I agree with others, the way in which VS prior to .Net got lots of support from Microsoft in terms of timely updates was a lot better, even if VS 2003 is a good tool.

  17. lane says:

    I don’t see what the confusion is; why would MS release a free SP when they can charge us on a per-hotfix basis so we can get our work done?

  18. Vinay Menon says:

    Is it possible to have both VS 2003 and VS 2005 installed on the same system ?

  19. Softwarekoch says:

    Why isn’t it posible to fix BUGs per-hotfix basis? VS2003 and VS2005 have bugs which make the IDE hardly useable.

    The code-generation does not work properly, the designer shows errors after replacing a referenced library (still under development in another solution).

    Somtimes I rue to choose VS2003 or VS2005.

  20. Customer looking for Customer Service says:

    VS.NET 2003 SP1, in APRIL? Are you crazy? Given that VS.NET 2003 has an auto-update feature built into it, there is NO excuse. Patches should be out TOMORROW!!! And VS.NET 2003 was the service pack for VS.NET 2002, which was also unacceptable. VS.NET 2002 was so buggy that I had to use the VS.NET 2003 beta for a long time because it was the only way to get work done. This is not MS Office. This is a development platform. Please delay patches for Outlook, or MS Project, but please do not neglect the development tools.

    MSFT developers actually like using your products, and this lack of service packs is a great way to alienate these customers.

    There are a few ways to easily start moving in the right direction

    1. Post all the hot fixes, so that we can apply them at will (without phone calls)

    2. Accelerate the deployment schedule for VS.NET 2003 SP1.

    3. Instead of applying a Mega Patch VS.NET 2003 SP1, apply a series of patches via the auto-update mechanism in VS.NET 2003, so that the customers feel PROGRESS being made toward fixing the bugs.

    It is maddening to code an application, and constantly come across a possible bug, do the detective work to find the root cause, only to learn that there is a known problem, and there is a hot fix available, and we a have to pick up the phone to get it. It’s like there are booby traps all over the place.

    Please post, in one location, all hot fixes available, and the problems they solve. Then developers can pick and choose, or gloss through the list of fixed issues to see if their problem matches. This is much easier that using search engines, blogs, and digging through KB articles.

  21. vijay says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Requiring us to make a phone call to obtain a hotfix is EXTREMELY frustrating. VS 2005 service pack 1 and VS 2003 service pack 1 is being released around the same time? this doesn’t make sense to me.

    I don’t understand why the hotfixes need to be controlled. why does it need to be "rolled up" to a service pack before it’s released? is it because it requires more testing? (as a service pack?).. if we have the option to install and rollback a hotfix, then let US test it for you!. It’s probably better than living with "process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process" and having our code build fail. I don’t want to speak for everyone but I am willing to bet most developers are willing to try/test it for you. As someone mentioned, we are not MS Office customers. We are developers! Let us work with you to get these issues resolved! Call it "Hotfix labs" if you have to. =)


  22. s_orbit says:

    If Not Do Something ASAP


    End If

  23. Mike Gale says:

    I think a good exercise would be to tabulate the cost of the problems.

    hours-per-incident x incidents-per-year…

    You then have a TCO contribution that you put into your management plan. I’d be prepared to consider a system where I can inform you of the problems, with nice factual number. (I’ve just been through an internal compiler error experience. Waste of time. How many commit suicide when faced by too many of these??)

  24. Johnathan Fendermeister says:

    But according to Vierck’s Law, Half the software I will Wirte will be no longer in use within 18 months. How do you feel about that?

  25. Matthew Webb says:

    Totally agree with most of the posts here. Release a service pack now is a joke and should have been done a long time ago. As if most developers can ask the people they work for for $$’s to call MS to fix the product unless it’s a show stopper?

  26. CB says:

    Agreed you should have a comprehensive list of fixes. The product has been out for 3 years and there is only 2 security fixes. A day doesn’t go by where i’m not a victim of a bug. You really have to fix event handlers from getting removed for no apparent reason other than switching view panes. You can compile without error causing bugs in production versions.

  27. AleV says:

    I think we will be spending time and money in Microsoft until we realize there is no SP for our headaches. We can´t wait anytime for this SP. HAHA, good joke Microsoft, VS2003 SP1!!

  28. Efter nu at have brugt VS 2005 igennem temlig lang tid er der efterhånden nogle ting der er begyndt at gå…

  29. Me says:

    VS2005 is the buggiest release yet. Not a freaking action I take but I have 1 chance on 5 to make it crash. So unstable and so buggy. No was it was ready from prime time in Novembre 2005!! Heck, it won’t be even ready in Novemnre 2006!!

  30. Randall Berkeley says:

    It looks like microsoft is trying to sooth us with the Product Feedback Center. But if you look closely most of the bugs posted are glossed over and marked ‘unable to reproduce’. Maybe MS should try harder to reproduce the damn bugs. We can’t all be wrong!

  31. With obscure compile time errors like "Previous AppDomain was unloaded", the annoying restart requirements…

  32. Ian Nelson says:

    Another random bunch o’ links:

    A November CTP of Enterprise Library

    has been released.  It’s…

  33. Why does it take Microsoft longer to release a service pack than it take most companies to release a…

  34. I just cannot stress how upset I am with the Visual Studio team. Since VS2005 was released, developers

  35. Servicing plans for VS 2003 and VS 2005

  36. Service Packs for Visual Studio .NET 2003 and 2005

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