Thursday, April 2, 2009

Visual Studio SP1 installer blues

I have but one question - what is taking it so long?

It takes 1.5 hours on my 2.5GHz, 4GB Core 2 Duo laptop running Windows Server 2008.

In 1.5 hours one could, at a typical speed of my laptop:
- Write 263GB of data to disk, at 50MBps
- Transfer 131GB of data over the network, at 200Mbps
- Copy 15 TB (!) of memory (on 800Mhz bus)
- Execute a whopping 26 trillion instructions (2 cores retiring 2 instructions per core per clock).



Left said...

Neil said...

I reckon it's .NET config, SxS, registry. I eagerly await the return of a VC++ standalone IDE.

BadTux said...

It's doing synchronous registry updates between a jillion small file writes, each of which requires all data currently in the write cache to be synced to disk. That's my suspicion anyhow.

DzembuGaijin said...

It is a Windows, dude :-) I been asking this question for a very long time. I did complained to you, but you was not very supportive: you got junk laptop ( yes, I was using Balmer approved 700$ systems mostly) I did had a lot of it with startup, updates, e.t.c. Not just VC. I asked this question zillions times while working in Microsoft with a super powerful workstation under my desk: why for example WinCE debugger is so slow freaking working over Ethernet connected to my hub? Why every connection takes a few minutes. I never figured this out: just got used to it.

Than I realized: I do not have to suffer: there are in fact a system and software exist that work very snappy. It come with free IDE that is snappy. It is stand alone and there is not .NET BS build-in. I can totally update or install it in just a few minutes or less. Same for rest of applications of course. It boots very fast, applications starts fast. You know :-) If some strange things like "slow" happens, this considered a high priority bug and fixed by the company that invest in design and really cary about end-user experience ( not very common in Windows world). So while not a 100% perfect, you feel good about it and it "just works" in waste majority of the time.

Another thing: you do not have to hunt for SP-packs. The go down via update. When you go get some thing, you get a latest version. In ONE file. A very different from Visual Studio : I would not even start here about what it takes to install a WinCE environment that works. ( SDK for "other"mobile platform I am talking about is just one file and it come with IDE and compiler of course)

Anyway, call me a funboy :-) but my Visual Studio expirence teach me one thing: Microsft hate developers and it customers in general.

Now, try to run this SP1 installer not on your "super duper" ( and probably expensive - more than 1000$ machine) but "Balmers aproved" 17'' AMD 700$ laptop from BestBuy :-) Do not even know if you can do it before you upgrade it from a "demo" version of Vista Home :-) and if junk ware installed on it will be happy about .NET changes :-)

Want make things better? Try to convince some one "up the food chain" in Microsoft that this is NO GOOD user experience and have to be fixed: and I am not talking about fancy round buttons. Most likely the answer you will get:"This is a LOW priority for us. Developers are smart they can do it. They only do SP1 install once. Duh!" I love his company :-)

Sergey Solyanik said...

Mac and PCs follow different directions. Mac has a very small application base, and very few supported hardware configurations. Under these constraints, it is rather easy to get it to work well. I don't think I've ever had any problems with device drivers (or applications) on Yamaha MSX computer I had in high school.

If Mac does all you need to do, and you're ready to pay twice the amount of money for it, you should use a Mac. Why not?

PC model supports thousands of applications and thousands of permutations of hardware configuration.

This is hard.

Blaming Microsoft for an occasional bug where it tries to solve such an insanely complicated problem is, well, stupid. Sorry, but I have no way to sugar-coat it.

If you look at the Linux world right now, there's no difference (as far as bugginnes/sluggishness is going). OS/2 was no different before that.

PC model works best for me - I am a dev, and Visual Studio is the best tool set I've seen so far, and I've paid my duty to Linux, Eclipse and Python for a year. I know what the alternative is at this point.

I am also a manager, and MS Office allows me to produce and share documents that other people can read easily. Yeah, there are alternatives to Office, but I am not sure the money I could save is worth the trouble.

My laptop works out of the box - no tweaking - with everything on Microsoft corp domain as well as at home.

PCs on my home network serve out terabytes of storage, play music and videos - I don't have TV, - run Exchange, provide directory services and user authentication, protect the network, and host many virtual machines in HyperV environment.

If I were to duplicate this using Mac servers, I would have been paying literally tens of thousands of dollars more for hardware and software.

With Linux I would have to spend many weeks extra to set this environment up. If I did not have access to cheap MSFT software, I might have just done that :-). Luckily, I do, and it saves me a lot of time.

The morale of the story - to each his/her own. If you like Macs, use Macs. If Linux does it for you - be my guest. Why not? And it's free as in speech :-)!

But I am yet to see a case where a fanboy approach to reality have converted anyone.

DzembuGaijin said...

Dude! My only point is: .NET was about killing a crapy COM model and end DLL hell. It was almost advertised as installation via "just copy". That how most applications installs on Mac: you drag a "bundle" ( folder) to your \Application. But in any case, install or update time is about the same as copy time. That what anyone would expect. Right?

What happens in realty in "Windows" is very far from that. Why it can not be done with just a copy ( almost instant on your super computer ) and just few registry updates ( duh! ) and cleaning your recycle bin after that, I dunno.

So, my post is not about Mac vs PC ( I do not even mentioned Mac to avoid provoking you :-) but you did) , but just confirmation to you post: things got ugly and crapy and some one have to stand up and fix it. I do not think that this is just a bug. That is a typical behavior I observed many times.

I believe Microsoft have to fix that :-)

Sergey Solyanik said...

If you install something shared by many applications, you have to put something in a shared place to advertise yourself, right?

Visual Studio, just like most other Microsoft apps, is a programming platform in itself, and it exports and API. Eclipse, for example, is not. This is why Eclipse is xcopy-deployable (Windows, Mac, or Linux), and Visual Studio is not. It has nothing to do with .NET. A self-contained .NET app is xcopy-deployable.

I don't think the problem here is with .NET or Windows.

It's that VS setup developers are just doing something really, really inefficient (some O^3 algorithm stuck somehwere), and they need to fix this.

Vadik said...

Thank you for feeding the troll! Working alone I was looking for an opportunity to beatch about some thing :-) and here it is ( Mac vs PC!)

Now, if you come down to my level, you know... I will beat you up with experience :-) he he he

Now... Yes, I DO think that all is needed for common libraries is

1) Copy ( probably under new \V X.Y.Z)
2) Updating registry with few bytes

All who use "API" should and probably do so via

CreateObject and calling interface.

That how I believe it was designed to work.

So, even if this is O^3 I wonder where it is: not that it is that hard to write 3 nested loops :-)

Anyway, calling you on your Mac vs. PC price issue: you are still VERY STUBBORN on it: Mac are less expensive, but they offer less choice and they do not sell crap. (so no comparison with cheap systems)

Ex: Say Dell Adamo is cheap? Nope. Does it look cool?
Nope. Battery life ? Nope.

Question to you:

What is a prise of your laptop?

How much WS2008 + VS Pro and Office
cost on street? ( not MSFT)

How much that make a typical developers PC Laptop cost?

My MacBook Pro is 2000$ plus 100$ for family 5 seat license of iWork ( office that handle all Microsoft Office formats in/out good enough for me) and XCode is free
as well as there is only one OS X.

My other developer system ( desktop - macMini ) is 600$ and it is 100% capable developer system I use.

I could be using a 1000$ MacBook just as well: many Mac fans inside Microsoft do just that and love it.

Now, all my machines are muti-user and both computers shared in family. They come with iLife - to handle all media.

When I need to stream music to backyard or video to AppleTV it goes out of my Laptop ( external HD connected for extra storage) that iPhone "wake up" if it is sleeping.

Here you go: no extra or hidden cost. ( my setup also includes 80$ Adobe Elements, but it is just me :) and I had the same thing on Windows )

So, what is a street price of your laptop and your "essential" software?

Btw, we should make our own Mac vs. PC video : may be that will help me to became internet celebrity like you :-)

Sergey Solyanik said...

Ok, my laptop has 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 Gigs of RAM, 120GB HD, a 15" screen (1920x1200), extra 12 cell battery, 3 extra power adapters, and a docking station that allows me to connect it to two monitors. All this was < $2k. What are the parameters of your Macbook Pro?

Yes, I do use Server 2008 because Vista is an insane piece of crap (there, I said it!), and Server 2008 is free for me. If it were not, I would have been using XP Pro, which would have been included with this laptop. If I were not working at Microsoft, I would have bought a copy of Office with my laptop ($150 - and it would still be under $2k), and, unless the company where I would have worked provided me with the compiler, I would use a free copy of Visual Studio Express and SQL server 2008 express. Or Eclipse for Java. Or Python. I have choices, you see. I can (and do) use both PC software and Unix software, because it's all ported to a PC. You, on the other hand, can only use Unix software on your Macbook :-)...

The PCs we use in our household are notmulti-user. They are not even multi-function. Every PC does one and only one thing. There is one game machine, and it only plays games (mostly Halo). There are two media center PCs, and all they do is show media. Nothing else. There are 2 file servers, one backup file server, and an SBS that is a domain controller and Exchange server.

The reason we can do it is because PCs are cheap - I can afford doing all this while not breaking the bank. The static configurations of these machines means that they last for years on one OS installation, are very unlikely to catch anything bad, and are incredibly reliable (as in, I've not seen a bluescreen at home for many years now).

DzembuGaijin said...

I could not say it better myself :-)

Both your Laptop and "home farm" cost SO MUCH MORE than mine setup. :-)

Also Microsoft charge ARM and LEG for it software: it is very expensive ( much more than Apple's) and there is no decent consumer OS on the market from Microsoft today. And of course not for 100$ ( OS X street price)

So, it is all PR and false economy: there are A LOT of crap in PC world, but when you want some thing that "works", dude, you got pay and YOU HAVE TO BE SMART to both find it out and install: it is impossible for normal person to get a good computer and software in say Best Buy ( right 700$ Balmer's 17'' HP laptop with Vista Home!)

You do not have to explain me how would you save money "if not MSFT": I been there and I was actually buying Laptops in Best Buy :-) with rebates. They "kind of" worked. Like "Ford Focus" is a car that can drive you from A to B :-) duh


My "Mac" setup is SEVERL FOLDS cheaper than your
"PC" farm: for about the same family and habits. ( I also believe I do more media editing, btw)

But dude, that is not the point: that is your toys, no matter how much they cost: Have fun and be proud that you paid so much for that ! :-) Do not buy in Balmer's crap : there is nothing to be ashamed of :-)

Sergey Solyanik said...

Wow, wait!

"My MacBook Pro is 2000$ plus 100$ for family 5 seat license of iWork"

You MacBook Pro is MORE expensive than my laptop, and would you please - for the record - post it parameters?

For the record, mine is: 15" screen 1920x1200, 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 120GB hard drive, docking station with 2 monitor connections (how many external monitors does your Mac support?) 1 extra batteries and 3 power supplies.

Please post yours, so we could compare :-).

agiantalienforce said...

"because Vista is an insane piece of crap" .. Sergey, I really don't get this part. What's wrong with Vista SP1?

And.. 15" with 1920x1200? This has to be insane.. I mean, I have the same rez on 24" and I had to increase the default font size in windows to something like 120%.. what about your eyes?

Sergey Solyanik said...

There is a whole bunch of things that are wrong with Vista :-(.

I still have just one box in my household that runs Vista - and the only thing that this box does is Halo (it won't work on XP). And I am going to be upgrading it to Win7 very soon...

Server 2008 on the other hand is great - the memory use on my laptop dropped by half a gig (at least!) when I switched from Vista to Server.

Vadik said...

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro4,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo

My MacBook Pro is old (previous generation) but I like it. I could probably use more RAM, but it is enough for OS X and I can even run XP under VM when I need it ( here I would love to have 2 extra G, but it is bearable)

HD size is also a bit small for me : 200G. Mainly because I deal with HD video and I have to move this out to external 750G drive, that is directly connected for speed.

Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 800 MHz
Sudden Motion Sensor:
State: Enabled
lluminated keyboard ( of course!)
and light sensor.

Chipset Model: GeForce 8600M GT
Type: Display
Bus: PCIe
PCIe Lane Width: x16
VRAM (Total): 256 M

Screen resolution is : 1440 X 900 and probably optimal for 15'' wide screen it has: resolution on your Laptop is a bit too high for me eyes.

It is also connected to my 19'' screen with even lower resolution ( 1280 X 1024 )

Yes, I bough iWork for 100$ ( for both of my Macs ) and iLife was included. I also got Adobe Elements and the rest of s/w is free ( and even open source ).
I could use GIMP, and I have it, but I just used to Adobe even so they tried to break as much as posable in last Elements :-)

Bottom line: I love my setup. It allows me to do all I need under OS X and I fire XP once a month to fix bugs in my old Windows product I still support. Btw: I use PIMP from WinAmp and it is very snappy installer. I post update on my site and program check for it when starts and offer user to load and install. It is all works in matter of seconds. :-) Of course my silly application is no where near as complex as VS, but I see no reason why Microsoft can not make update and install as fast as xcopy or even better (using Diffs Patch for example)

Anyway , you asked, I posted my data.

Here is a data on modern MacBook Pro, that has a nicer aluminum unibody and allows easy swap of RAM and HD ( in mine I have to open like 30 screws!)

15-inch: 2.4GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB Memory
250GB hard drive
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M +
9600M GT with 256MB
lluminated keyboard

As you see it is just a little bit more powerful to justify update.

It is the same 2000$.

Btw, White MacBook is now
and has
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M making it a cool 13'' Laptop. 2.0GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo
2GB DDR2 Memory
120GB hard drive
( HD is easy to swap in MacBook even old one)

Even if you get 1000$ MacBook or 600$ macMini you would not regret it in terms of speed or capabilities.


BadTux said...

Yawn. OS Wars. How droll.

I had three laptops running three different OS's on my kitchen table last night. On the left was a Macbook with 4GB RAM and a 300GB hard drive. It is my primary development machine. I needed a 13.3" laptop because a 15" laptop is unusable in today's cramped airliners or on Caltrain or VTA light rail, and all the other 13.3" laptops were not only more expensive than the Macbook, but were running Windows Vista (a.k.a. unacceptable). Besides I am a Unix developer, and getting Linux to run on those other laptops so that I can do Unix development was far too difficult. MacOS is, of course, Unix. So nothing else had to be installed for me to develop Unix software, it Just Works(tm).

In the middle was an Acer Aspire One 10" UMPC running Windows XP Home. This one is used in my Jeep for mapping purposes and for connecting to my ham radio for control and packet radio purposes, and on the road for Internet access and word processing. Windows XP with the Atom processor works nicely, with an 8 hour battery life and plenty snappy interface.

On the right was a tiny little Asus EEE PC UMPC with Asus Linux. Even Windows XP runs sucky on that limited hardware (yes, I tried it, it was Massive Fail), but Linux is nice and snappy and filled only half of the 4GB primary SSD, leaving the 16GB secondary SSD entirely for user data. The built-in Linux OS handles wireless fine, includes FireFox and Thunderbird for browsing and email, OpenOffice for word processing and spreadsheets and presentations, Skype for IM, and otherwise does everything you'd want to do with a tiny little UMPC that handily fits into a cloth shopping bag along with all your other touristy stuff. Back before the iPhone made portable web browsing usable, this was the tiniest way to access the Internet in a usable manner (don't even talk to me about the sucky web browsing experience on PalmOS, Windows Mobile, or Crackberry, much less the even suckier cell phone browsers). As with MacOS on the Macbook and Windows XP on the Acer, Asus Linux Just Works(tm), and does that on hardware so limited that MacOS or Windows XP would just sneer in disdain and refuse to run (or run so slowly as to be unusable).

Three laptops, three different purposes, three different OS's. Anybody who says there is only One True OS is probably mainlining more hillbilly heroin than Rush Limbaugh...

Sergey Solyanik said...

To Dzembu:

So in my previous post ( we established that even though Macs have more vulnerabilities, they are more secure. In this one we can see that although Apple charges more for crappier hardware, Macs are cheaper.

Yay for alternative reality!

DzembuGaijin said...

Yo! Dude! You are VERY STUBBORN ( and you know that :-))

You should see a big picture, not a distorted realty :-)

I do not know if Mac's per see have more vulnerabilities :-) After all it is UNIX and BSD is old OS that was patched by now very well. OS X.5 have less core security crap features build in right now. Not that it helped much to Vista :-) Making life "harder" to hacker does not mean a secure system, unfortunately.

There are for sure still JavaScript bugs in WebKit.

Google Chrome, btw, sounds like nice thing, but I do not know if it is 100% secure, say especially if you run Adobe Flush in it.

You may read a first page of this web site :

to see how things are now in Mac world.

Compare to just one ( but very nasty worm - one that come to your computer without any actions on your part... eweeeeeuuuu )

Here is a Mac vs PC price comparison:

If you like, as I said I do not care: Mac's are VERY AFFORDABLE and you know what you get: good product with best consumer OS and even all media tools you need ( no need to buy Nero, e.t.c) You can always get a nice Mac for 600$ or Mac Laptop for 1000$ This is cheap enough and it will work for years ( my G3 MacBook worked till stolen ). Case closed. :-)

Now, there is really no choice today. OS X is just the best consumer OS today, by far.

Here also what Mac hackers himself use and think, they surely know better then I do:

Apple is not in h/w business. They sell SYSTEMS.

Microsoft does s/w only. That is a BIG difference.

When you get Mac you can be sure you get a nice, fine tuned and designed system that just works: it is not OS or computer you get: SYSTEM. FUCKING USER EXPERIENCE.

With PC it is a bit harder, but if you do not know better, after all modern computers are very fine machines. Even junk Laptops for 700$ I assume not that bad after all. You can still browse WEB :-) just the same.

PC is also great for people who love to play IT guy: you can buy a lot of h/w and s/w and play with it all. I know I did. You still do, that why you have so many computers ( that surely total a lot )

Some people also have to have PC: not consumers, but say people like you. CorpNet. Some suffer with Vista, some downgrade to XP, some upgrade to WS2008 :-) very few are happy with things just as they are.

So, while it is very clear what system is better just as a "computer", the rest is matter of your needs and preferences.

Some people just do not like round buttons I guess :-)

NS said...

Apple sells appliances. They work well for people who don't want to spend time figuring out how to configure stuff, etc.

A direct spec/price comparison is meaningless. It's like comparing cars based on what computer they have inside.

My daughter has an iBook, I got to play with it for a while. It's a reasonably well-designed appliance for, well, iLife. You open it up, and it works (except when it breaks down).

That isn't worth much to me, but there are plenty of people for whom it is a good deal.