Aug 21

Skype Excuses Not Accepted By All

by in Techie :: Techno ::, Thoughts :: Pensieri ::

I'm not much of a Skype user these days. I have it installed on my desktops and laptop, but I use it mainly for instant messaging, as some of my contacts don't use ICQ, MSN, AIM, Y! or IRC.
Last week's outage seems to have upset quite a few people and I feel sorry for them. Though why so many people are that dependent on a free service is kind of disturbing.
So this morning Skype posted an explanation on their status site / blog claiming that it was a Windows update issue.
So let's see... the famous updates from Microsoft have been released on the same day for a long time.
So why would it only affect Skype now unless there was a more serious issue in their network topology?
Do they honestly believe that people will buy that excuse?
Obviously some people will, but others will simply laugh at them.
Infoworld's article echoes what a lot of networking and IT professionals have been saying:

Microsoft releases its security patches on the second Tuesday of each month, so this type of widespread restarting is nothing new. Skype hasn't said what in particular about August's updates led to the network crash, and its vagueness on the issue is causing some Skype users to cry foul.

Maybe the more gullible users will accept Skype's explanation, but I'd be seriously examining other options if Skype was one of my main methods of communication.

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6 Responses to “Skype Excuses Not Accepted By All”

  1. From wxFran:

    I’m not a big Skype user myself, but in fairness, I think there might be something to their assertion that Windows updates were at the root of the problem.
    A friend of mine had a weird Internet Explorer/network problem over the weekend, with no apparent cause, except that they occurred immediately after he applied this month’s updates. For some reason, as soon as he told me he was having a problem, I suspected it was to do with updates, so he was well impressed with my intuition – first thing I did on arrival was roll back the update, and everything was fine – even stranger was the fact the when I installed the updates a second time, everything continued to be fine.
    Don’t ya just love Windows? I know the whole “update” debate is a bigger issue, but I say that releasing updates which improve “stability and performance” is an admission that the non-updated software is unstable and performs poorly.

    Posted on August 21, 2007 at 1:41 am #
  2. From michele:

    I think you’re missing the point.
    Skype are claiming that when “everyone” rebooted that the load on their systems caused issues as there were supposedly so many simultaneous connection requests.
    Considering that MS release updates every month and everyone reboots at some point I find it implausible that this could be the root cause unless there was a weakness in their system that they’re trying to attract attention away from.
    As for updates – I am writing this on a desktop that runs Ubuntu Linux. I would be very upset if the Ubuntu developers didn’t release updates that address new security issues and provide new enhancements.
    While I may not be a huge fan of Microsoft I’m hardly going to criticise them for releasing updates that resolve issues or cater for new hardware etc.,
    I don’t think you’ll find any OS out there that is perfect :)

    Posted on August 21, 2007 at 1:57 am #
  3. From JP White:

    Just because updates are released every month does not negate Skypes explanation.
    The power grid is equally susceptible to huge collapse when weird stuff happens to it every now and then. We have seen this happen time and again. It seems Skype is a like a power grid where there is massive inter-dependancy and events can lead to collapse in rare circumstances.
    Many years ago the UK power grid collapsed after miss world ended on TV. Everybody switched on their kettles and down it went.
    All it takes is the ‘perfect storm’ scenario.
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/04/08/blackout_bug_report/

    Posted on August 21, 2007 at 4:29 am #
  4. From wxFran:

    I took a look at Skype’s blog earlier. It seems they are flagging the MS updates as the trigger rather than the cause, and admitting that the scenario revealed a previously unrevealed bug in their own code. They aren’t hiding behind blaming anyone else, but doing exactly what a good customer service organisation should do – apologising, fixing the problem and explaining why it happened.
    Reminds me very much of the phone system meltdown that triggered “The Hacker Crackdown” – I’m listening to Cory Doctorow reading through Bruce Sterling’s book on the subject at the moment.
    Granted, no OS is perfect, nor indeed any software package. Just yesterday evening I came across another old favourite of mine – an updated AC97 audio driver for Windows that kills the sound devices. Rolling back the driver and being on my way in two minutes makes me look good, but I’ve come across this problem too often to believe that MS isn’t ware of it.
    I think a lot of people with agendas (like the telcos who are losing all that long-distance revenue because of them) were waiting for Skype to come up against some type of problem, ready to nail them. Skype is at least as reliable as an other technology of similar maturity.

    Posted on August 21, 2007 at 1:21 pm #
  5. From Cormac:

    Earlier in the week, maybe Monday or so, Skype released a new client for Windows afaik. This was a day or two before the downtime but they haven’t mentioned if this was a factor.

    Posted on August 21, 2007 at 1:31 pm #
  6. From michele:

    They’ve posted an updated and more detailed explanation on their blog exonerating MS of any and all blame:
    http://share.skype.com/sites/en/2007/08/the_microsoft_connection_clari.html

    Posted on August 25, 2007 at 9:13 pm #

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