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Red Gate Support Engineer

It always works on my machine.

Published 18 January 2012 10:17 am
Probably the most common question that the Red Gate developer tools support gets is “Does your X work with Y?” where X is your bit of software and Y is a bit of software made by a different company. This is probably the least answerable question in the known universe. Start with the obvious – “Does X work?” – full stop. Because with millions of possible configurations in Windows, it’s entirely possible that it won’t “work” at all. But I can personally guarantee you that it “works on my machine”! Second of all, what does “work” mean? Several things that come to mind:
  • Can X and Y peacefully coexist on the same computer?
  • Does X extend the functionality of Y?
  • Is X a replacement for Y?
  • Can the output from X be processed by Y?
  • Does the new version of Y cause the old version of X to fail?
  • If I run X and Y at the same time, will it Div/0 and open a hole in the universe?
Finally, as I already mentioned, the question could be about Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. For instance, if a new version of Microsoft .NET Framework comes out, there is a doubt that your program will not function correctly with it. I’ve heard of a dutiful network administrator mass-emailing every vendor he has bought any software from when a new version of SQL Server is on the horizon – “Does X work with the new version of SQL Server”? I believe it’s a bit lazy to ask a question this way and you may not get the answer you expect, unless you are perhaps more specific about the particular functionality you are interested in.

2 Responses to “It always works on my machine.”

  1. RobertChipperfield says:

    I think my favourite is “Does it work with Microsoft 2005?” The old Company != Product debate :-)

  2. Sam Jost says:

    I think the real question these people wanted to ask is:

    did you run into any problems when switching to X I might want to know of?

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