Fun bug department: the anti-virus program that consulted the user's calendar
by Andy Oram
The first responses naturally focused on whether the database was corrupt or otherwise failing to update. But eventually a savvy technician figured out the real problem.
It seems that my colleague had checked his calendar for a date in the following month and had left his calendar on the month of October while in fact it was still September. Norton Antivirus relied on his personal calendar to determine what date it was. The software had been updated for September, but the program thought the month was October.
I am curious as to why a programmer would take such an unrobust decision to use a user's calendar setting to determine the date. I'm wondering whether the programmers discovered that to get the date from the operating system would require a variety of different calls on different systems, and found it simpler to consult a calendar. Obviously, this backfired. A program that installs automated updates should use an external authority to find the date, and not depend on any settings on a user's PC at all.
The bug was particularly amusing because the program was promising to have an update it couldn't possibly have for the upcoming month.
|What the user has done is changed his system clock (the "calendar") forward a month. Now whenever the AV software starts up, it compares the date of its virus signature file with the system time and determines that it is a month out of date. Nothing to do with "consulting the user's calendar". I've heard this sort of thing before, where Windows users use the calendar widget on the date / time settings control panel as if it is just a reference thing, and don't realise that they've changed the system time.|
Mac OS X Server has a "Server Assistant" application that lets you create a configuration file to build out a Mac OS X Server installation.
this has been like this for years. in fact if u set ur callendar back u can continue to get updates even when ur subscription runs out. update then correct ur callendar and carry on.
unfortunately the last good norton av was pro2003. maybe their aquisition of sygate will reduce the hog of an application they currently have.