I thought on writing about why Office 2011 SP2 is a headache few days ago but now that there is a new update and the bugs are not still addressed I think is the right time.
To get a little bit of background everything started back in April when Microsoft decided to release the SP2. Back then the Munki, and similar mailing lists got many comments about administrators that could not deploy the patch trough command line based installations because it got stuck on one of the scripts. Also Dave Castelletti discovered that the volume installer left the Office folder world writable!
It was not the only problem as the SP2 introduced a new “optimised” way of handling the emails so when you first launched Outlook after the patch there was a migration to the new format, if it failed because your identity was a mess you lost all your emails. Not technically lost but lost from the point of view of a user. This caused maaaany reports from users to Microsoft about problems so they released a good practices article of what to do before you upgrade.
Then they released a second patch 14.2.1 to make both admins and users happy. Me as an admin did not quite like it because even Munki had to patched to work with it (who do the heck hey think they are? Adobe!?)
On the next scheduled monthly patch release (this a great thing about MSFT) they released 14.2.2 to cover some security vulnerabilities.
Then yesterday they released a new security bulletin, this one for July, that patches some more vulnerabilities and updates the version to 14.2.3
Telling all this long story has a point, in fact a big one. Since April there are two bugs that affect the user functionality up to a point where I am not giving the updates a green light.
1. When you receive an email from a sender and you have in on the contacts you won’t be able to know from which email he/she sent it unless you click on reply
2. Using Outlook with Exchange 2007 when a user replies or forwards an email the date is missing on the header
For this last one there is a work around which consists on dragging the email to the Finder, double click to open it with Outlook in a new window and reply or forward from that window.
Now the big question, would you let your clients unpatch when there are two remote code execution and one privilege escalation out OR you patch them and ask your thousands of users to change their behaviour while blaming MSFT?
I think that if there is a work around known that works on the same application would not be difficult to fix it and it is important enough to be a show stopper.
Microsoft, please, get your shit together! Maybe if you finally get the suite rewritten, it’d not take you this long to fix your code, plus you could support all the languages that OS X natively supports.