'Time bomb' strikes Visual Studio.Net beta

Another headache for Microsoft as users learn they will have to reinstall Visual Studio.Net to fix bug
Written by Peter Galli, Contributor

Microsoft has alerted attendees of its recent TechEd conference that the second beta of Visual Studio.Net, which was handed out at the show, contains a 30-day "time bomb" that will cause the product to expire on 31 July.

"To correct the issue, we are immediately sending out replacement CDs, which you should have well before the 31 July expiration," said Yuval Neeman, vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, in a note to developers.

The beta glitch comes at the same time the Redmond, Washington software giant has faced a prolonged outage of its MSN Messenger service as well as a slew of problems with the preview version of its Windows XP operating system. Some customers were able to download the Windows XP preview for free as a result of a server problem, others have received incorrect passwords, while those who requested the CD aren't expected to receive it until later this month.

Neeman said the bug in the early builds of the Visual Studio.Net Beta 2 affected only the Visual Studio design time environment. "It will not affect any of the code that you have written or the applications that you have deployed with Visual Studio.Net Beta 2," he said.

VS.Net is the centrepiece tool set for building .Net applications. But the fix means the VS.Net program will have to be replaced, which "unfortunately means a reinstall of Visual Studio.Net will be required," Neeman said. "To ensure that your copy of Visual Studio.Net does not time out on 31 July, you will need to uninstall your existing version of Beta 2 and reinstall the new CDs when they arrive."

Neeman continued: "Because we know this is an added burden for you, we are upgrading your version of Visual Studio to the beta version of Visual Studio.Net Enterprise Architect, which is now available. This new version does not contain the bug and offers significantly more features than the version you previously received."

While admitting that the uninstall/reinstall process would take a few hours, Neeman remained upbeat about the product, saying Microsoft was "confident you will still have a great experience with Visual Studio.Net Beta 2, and we look forward to continuing our support for your development needs".

This isn't the first headache Microsoft has had with the second beta of VS.Net. As first reported late last month by ZDNet sister publication eWEEK, testers recently found a list of target operating systems to be supported in .Net in that beta. The list included Linux (kbLinux), Unix (kbUnix), Macintosh (kbMacintosh), Windows and Windows CE.

This led testers to speculate that Microsoft could well be preparing to allow a smaller version of its .Net common language runtime to ship on operating systems other than Windows, including Linux and Unix.

A Microsoft spokesman denied the speculation, saying "basically, we merged our documentation generators across MSDN and all our products earlier this year, and what you're seeing is that other Microsoft products can handle these other operating systems."

But the next day Microsoft announced it would work with Corel to build a shared source implementation of its C# programming language and the Common Language Infrastructure specifications on the Windows and FreeBSD platforms.

That implementation, however, will be non-commercial and developed only for academic, research, debugging and learning purposes. It would also be published as source code under Microsoft's Shared Source licensing framework, Tony Goodhew, Microsoft's product manager for shared source and CLI, told eWEEK at the time.

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