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Visual Studio bug complaints surface

Far away from the fanfare of Microsoft's database and tools launch on Monday, the unknown company curmudgeon and blogger at Mini-Microsoft has compiled a chorus of complaints over the quality of Visual Studio 2005.

Meanwhile, in response to "questions," a Microsoft product manager on Monday posted plans to release the first Visual Studio service packs next year: the 2003 Service Pack 1 is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2006 while the 2005 SP 1 is due sometime in the first half.

On Friday, a few days before Microsoft released Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, Mini-Microsoft, an employee who complains often and anonymously about Microsoft's bureaucracy, linked to six developer bloggers who wrote about bugs in Visual Studio 2005.

Mini-Microsoft said these product quality problems stemmed from Microsoft's insistence on delivering the oft-delayed products at the expense of quality. In August, Microsoft rejected a request by some customers to push back the delivery date of Visual Studio 2005 to remove bugs.

"If the date can't move, major features get cut so that the more important features can be stabilized with the available resources. It's not rocket science. It's computer science and software engineering. And we do it enough every day such that big nasty bugs shouldn't be shipping in one of the jewels of the Microsoft franchise," Mini-Microsoft wrote.

The blogger followed up the initial bug-related post with one on Saturday and a second on Monday, both linking to discussions or blog posts on the issue.

Mini-Microsoft's posts have been criticized by some Microsoft employees, who have asked the writer not to air the company's dirty laundry. Some have also said that Microsoft did the right thing by shipping Visual Studio 2005 when it did. For example, well-known developer Wesner Moise, who Mini-Microsoft linked to originally, wrote a follow-up item entitled: "VS 2005 is A Good Product."

Microsoft executives at the product launch even defended their decision to ship Visual Studio 2005 when they did.

In an interview with CNET News.com, Prashant Sridharan, lead product manager in Microsoft's developer division, said the company was deliberately open with the development process and gave its customer regular updates.

"I thought our beta 2 was higher quality than most of our RTMs (final versions) in the past. I think the quality is pretty significant. It's pretty high," Sridharan said. "That said, software is software. There are bugs."

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed.