A comment on Skype’s outage-related official statement

So, at the end of the day, Skype explained the reason for the outage that broke its P2P network. To make a long story short, the point is that Skype relies upon a closed source approach (that slows the bug finding process) and on Microsoft technologies that, in that specific case, create the problem. This reinforces my early assumption, that crash cause was Skype design instead of a unpredictable problem. It simply unacceptable that an outage of that dimension has been provoked by the inability of an operating system to patches itself without always rebooting. And who did that choice should account for it.

Right, Skype is very clear in repeating that Microsoft has nothing to do with the Big Crash. Nevertheless, it raises some suspect, to me, reading statement such as: “The Microsoft Update patches were merely a catalyst — a trigger — for a series of events that led to the disruption of Skype, not the root cause of it.” or “Microsoft has been very helpful and supportive throughout.” or, again,  “In short – there was nothing different about this set of Microsoft patches.”, “The Microsoft team was fantastic to work with”. But this PR stuff doesn’t change the basic stuff: Skype is the next component of a “vulnerable society”, where problems, risks and damages are created mainly by the ICT companies – instead of the “dangerous criminals” that fall under than unspecified label of  “hackers”.

One thought on “A comment on Skype’s outage-related official statement

  1. I would say that there is culpability here for Microsoft. Years ago, at my university, we had a power grid failure blowing one of the transformers. The cause was eventually traced to all of the department offices opening at the same time (8:00am) and everybody turning on there computers, at the same time. Eventually, greater capacitance was added to the grid to handle this phenomenon.

    The nature of security patches, et al., and upgrade downloads from Microsoft represent another ‘moment’ when resources are strained due to an action by a single player in the system. When a panic is generated through broadcast information or that upgrade notices are released then it should be assumed that the drag on the system may be communicated to other parts of the online system. Skype is bringing into the general network system telephone services with its own expectations of availability developed over a number of decades but that have risen to peer status with general computing expectation creating dependency relationships. It is, in my opinion, unconscionable to continue this willy-nilly presumptive dominance of general network resources by Microsoft. They still act like a big dumb kid.

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