In previous posts, I reported that upon upgrading from Office 2007 to Office 2010, corrupted some fonts caused Outlook and Word to crash. There are a couple of possibilities here. Maybe the fonts were fine before the upgrade, and somehow the upgrade corrected them. Maybe the fonts have been corrupted for a long time, and it wasn’t a problem for Office 2007, but is for Office 2010. The first alternative is extremely unlikely, since reinstalling the problem fonts doesn’t fix them.
It is clear, however, that the Helvetica and Times fonts installed on two computers (the only computers on which they are installed) cause Word 2010 to abend, and that Word 2007 was fine with them. This shows a clear lack of defensive programming on the part of the people who designed Word 2010.
There are two arguments against defensive programming. The first is based on performance: programmers argue that checking input variables and datasets causes the app to be pokey. The second is based on minimizing development time: putting in all of those checks and testing them doesn’t come for free. I don’t have a lot of sympathy with either argument; processing speed is getting pretty cheap, dataset testing is eminently parallelizable, and unreliable software puts users through hell.
I’m blaming this whole mess on the Microsoft programmers who let a little thing like an imperfect font crash their app (I used the word corrupted to describe the fonts before, but I think that probably overstates things, since the fonts worked in Office 2007).
Andrew Koenig says
What I find really remarkable is that I have been unable to find out just what the problems with the fonts are. I am pretty sure that the fonts on my system are not corrupt, but if I uninstall Helvetica, my machine works, and if I reinstall it from the original Adobe distribution files, it crashes.
The current state is that neither Microsoft nor Adobe will look at the problem becaus each one says it must be with the other company’s software.
I’d be more sympathetic to Microsoft if things hadn’t worked so well in Word 2007 and before. Word used to tolerate just about any Adobe font, and now it doesn’t.
In addition, is there any justification for crashing when you don’t like the font? I think not. Why not throw up an error message?
I have found out that if you have a printer installed that connects via USB, and the printer is unplugged or turned off – Word can not communicate with the printer. What happens is that Word times out and it appears like it has crashed.