Microsoft Senior SDE Nate Waddoups:
The Windows team invests a mind-boggling amount of time, hardware, and people into maintaining compatibility. There are bugs in Windows that could have been fixed years ago, but can’t be, because that would break applications that (deliberately or accidentally) depend on those bugs. Bug-for-bug compatibility is a problem, but breaking backward compatibility would be a much bigger problem, so even as the lowest layers of the operating system are revised and rewritten, the layers that applictions talk to (the application programming interface, or API) are carefully tested to ensure that no changes are visible to the application.
Think about that for a second. Let that just sink in. They’re not just allowing bugs. They’re making them a feature of the OS. [via MG Siegler]