Update: Windows 2000 and Windows NT Leaked to the Web?

Various Internet-based sources are reporting that source code for Windows 2000 and Windows NT may have somehow been leaked onto various pirate-related Web sites. The story first broke on the Neowin.net Web site. Some people speculate that the code may have been obtained and leaked through Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative program.

At least one report stated that the alleged Windows source code included over 30,000 files and over 13 million lines of code. That's short of the actual number of lines of code that are included in Windows 2000 or NT, however Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative only makes available code they actually own, which might account for the lower line count.

One issue already being discussed and warned against is the theft of intellectual property. On Slashdot.org, some Linux users have cautioned people who somehow obtain the code not to copy any of it for any reason because if some of the code somehow made it into Linux then the Linux community could face another backlash similar to what they're experiencing from the SCO Group right now.

According to eWeek a Microsoft spokesperson said, “The rumor regarding the availability of Windows source code is based on the speculation of an individual who saw a small section of un-identified code and thought it looked like Windows code. Microsoft is looking into this as a matter of due diligence. If a small section of Windows source code were to be available, it would be a matter of intellectual property rights rather than security."

ZDNet reports one source who claims to have seen the code as saying the it is aspreading via peer-to-peer networks as well as IRC. However ZDNet's source said Windows couldn't be compiled from the source code and that it appears to only be “chunks of code.”

The code has already found its way into the Bit Torrent networks. Another Slashdot user posted a note about a file, “windows_2000_source_code.zip,” which he found on the Bit Torrent peer-to-peer network. The poster said the file was listed at some 213748207 bytes (over 203MB) in size with at least 23 people participating in the file's propagation at the time. Other reports state that the zipped file expands to about 660MB.

Other reports state that the leaked Windows NT source code is from the server version with SP3 including IE 4.x in some 27,000 files, but does not include IIS. The Windows 2000 source is reportedly a small subset (not the whole code base) that includes SP1, IE 5.x, SNMP, PKI, and other subsystem components.

Late Thursday, Microsoft said “\[we\] became aware that portions of the Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 source code were illegally made available on the Internet. It’s illegal for third parties to post Microsoft source code, and we take such activity very seriously. We are currently investigating these postings and are working with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities. At this point it does not appear that this is the result of any breach of Microsoft’s corporate network or internal security. At this time there is no known impact on customers. We will continue to monitor the situation.”



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