VMWare Users Hosed Due To Date/Time Bug…. Oh Noes! [UPDATED x2]

VMWare ESX and VMWare ESXi are used to run virtual machines in a bunch of corporate environments all over the world. A lot of this stuff is mission critical as you can imagine. So the suits in these companies must just be freaking out because of a rather major bug in the VMWare license management code which stops virtual machines from powering on as of today if you are running ESX or ESXi 3.5 Update 2. Apparently the bug is that VMWare ESX and ESXi will shut down as of today because the licesnse management code thinks it should expire today (as opposed to when your license actually expires). There is a rather “lively” discussion about it on the VMWare Communities about this issue.

For its part, VMWare has an alert on it’s website that they are working on a fix that should be out in 36 hours. In the meantime, they suggest NOT upgrading to the affected version. Which implies that if you have, it sucks to be you.

With thousands (if not millions) of lines of code, bugs will pop up. That’s just the nature of software. The unique thing about this one is that it’s happening in some code that exists for no reason other than to harm their own customers. It is the intent of the code is to make the software fail if the code thinks you’re a software pirate. I’ll stick my neck out to say that 90% (or higher) of VMWare customers are not pirates (seeing as they have released some of their products for free. VMWare ESXi is an example of this). In fact I would say that in any major corporation, fear of massive fines and prosecution is enough to stop them from pirating software. So, If I were a VMWare customer I would be beyond pissed at these guys.

UPDATE: Ironically, there’s a press release on the VMWare site that says “VMware ESX Hypervisor is Hands-Down Product of Choice for Windows Administrators.” I’m guessing that some Windows Administrators wouldn’t agree with that right now.

UPDATE #2: “Express Patches” are now available that apparently fix this issue. That was quick damage control. There’s also this posting from VMWare CEO Paul Maritz. He doesn’t look happy.

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