On Feb. 25, Microsoft announced that SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1 was available at the Microsoft Download Center. The Office folks repeated the announcement on March 3 at the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas. Last Thursday, with no notification that I can discern, Microsoft pulled the Service Pack and removed it from the Download Center.
SharePoint 2013 SP1 contained the usual security patch rollup, along with new security patches, 45 bug fixes, and a series of feature upgrades that, according to Microsoft, "address some of the most common scenarios faced when moving to the cloud," such as hybrid connection to OneDrive for Business in Office 365, support for Yammer, an easier method to replace the default newsfeed, and support for JSON Light in OData v3 requests.
On April 3, this announcement appeared on the Knowledge Base article attached to SharePoint 20013 SP1, KB 2817429:
We have recently uncovered an issue with this Service Pack 1 package that may prevent customers who have Service Pack 1 from deploying future public or cumulative updates. As a precautionary measure, we have deactivated the download page until a new package is published.
At the same time, the version number of the KB article was increased to 4.0.
Since then, we've had a more detailed (but not particularly enlightening) explanation posted on TechNet:
We have recently uncovered an issue with the following Service Pack 1 packages that may prevent customers with Service Pack 1 from deploying future public updates. As a precautionary measure we have deactivated the download pages until new packages are published.
SharePoint Foundation SP1: KB 2817439
SharePoint Server 2013 SP1: KB 2817429Project Server 2013 SP1: KB 2817434
Office Web Apps Server 2013 SP1: KB 2817431SharePoint Server Language Pack SP1: KB 2817438
SharePoint Foundation Language Pack SP1: KB 2817442
I've seen no advice on how to recover from the problems, or what SharePoint admins should do -- except to wait until Microsoft issues a new version of SP1. SharePoint Server 2013 with SP1 is available on MSDN, as of this writing. There's no indication whether it has the same problems.
It's important to realize that the yanked SP1 only applies to on-premises SharePoint 2013 installations. For all of you using Office 365's option to run SharePoint in the cloud -- or if you rent your SharePoint service -- heaven only knows what version you're running, when (or if) the version changed, or whether the cloud SharePoint is affected by the same problems that plague the on-premises version.
Rod Trent at WindowsITPro has drawn an interesting conclusion:
Possibly due to a cloud-first development mentality, updates targeted toward on-premises services seem to be missing one of the most important pieces of the release process: quality assurance. To the company's credit, Microsoft has been extremely quick in fixing botched releases. And Microsoft products are used across vast and varying environments, making a perfect release almost impossible. Still, the type of bug identified in Service Pack 1 for SharePoint 2013 seems like something that should have easily been identified before release.
While it's hard to isolate a specific bug and say, "Microsoft didn't test this well enough because it's primarily interested in cloud-first these days," I think Trent has a valid point.
We've seen lots and lots of bugs in Windows patches over the past several years. Clearly, the folks on the client side have been dropping the ball, repeatedly, habitually. Let's hope the server side hasn't picked up the same ailment.
This story, "Microsoft yanks SharePoint 2013 Service Pack 1, KB 2817429," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.