Thursday, July 10, 2003

If you use Windows XP, then you know that this little balloon dialog telling you about a new set of updates to XP is a common sight:

When you click on the balloon, you get a dialog that looks like this:

The majority of updates, like the two shown above, are security updates. Microsoft is repairing security holes that have been discovered in XP or various applications.

I measured it, and this batch of updates took four and a half minutes to install on my machine and a little over 6 minutes to install on my wife's. In other words, roughly 10 minutes of my life was spent on this batch of updates. It makes you wonder -- how much time does the nation spend patching Windows XP? Let's make some assumptions:With those assumptions, it means that 8,561 man-years are spent installing patches to Windows XP each year. In other words, it's like having a company with 8,561 employees who are devoted full-time to patching Windows XP. If you assume that the average person's time is worth $15/hour, it works out to $375 million per year.

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