RealTime IT News

A Windows Source Code Feast Online

News about the leaked Microsoft Windows source code has raced through the Internet Relay Chat (IRC)--the Internet's real-time discussion forums--like wildfire.

On Friday, there were more than 1,000 active IRC discussion channels in operation with ongoing conversations about the Windows leak. At the same time, the leaked code remained widely available over peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa and the open-source eMule network.

In discussions monitored by, IRC chatters boasted about being the first in their group to get the leaked Microsoft property. Many mentioned that the code is not complete and therefore will be unintelligible to many.

A number of chatters talked about why they downloaded the source code and what they hope to gain from it. "I wanted to see how Microsoft puts it together and their comments," wrote one participant on the Dalnet IRC channel. Another wrote, "I just wanted to look at it 'cause it's there; I'm not evil."

Other were not as sincere. One "undernet" IRC chatter wrote: "We've got to spread it as fast as humanly possible." He opined that the availability of the source code damages Microsoft by allowing people to understand how to attack a Windows system. Proliferating the code, he wrote, allows downloaders to make a name for themselves. It may also help open-source developers "work stuff out."

"I already found 5 exploits!," boasted another Dalnet IRC user.

Linux users were for the most part unimpressed with the source code leak. Comments seen included: "I'm a Linux guy, I get the source code for my OS for free," and "We care not for Windows source code. Why would I want to see how full of bugs it is?"

Another Linux user said he thought that the source code leak might be able to show that Microsoft code uses either GPL-licensed or copyrighted code.

Turning to the quakenet IRC channel, one user addressed the size of the leak. "It's 650 megs of source code. You cannot deploy it, and I doubt anyone in the world outside of Microsoft would have had the time to work out the code structure by now."

Another chatter retorted, "Anyone who's written for Windows NT and knows the application programming interface is going to be able to track down the object model for specific bits, no problem. The standard stuff--like locking, pipelining and scheduling--is all going to be easy enough to router-out, because the algorithms are all off-the-shelf stuff."

By afternoon, interest in the topic on some IRC channels was beginning to wane. A popular refrain became: "We don't have the leaked code here so don't ask us!"