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Simson Garfinkel

A View from Simson Garfinkel

Microsoft Source Code is Out (Who Cares?)

The Associated Press reports that Microsoft’s Windows source code is now making the rounds in the hacker underground, or something to that effect. People are concerned about the potential security implications, of course.But the article doesn’t make a lot of…

  • February 13, 2004

The Associated Press reports that Microsoft’s Windows source code is now making the rounds in the hacker underground, or something to that effect. People are concerned about the potential security implications, of course.

But the article doesn’t make a lot of points that are important:

1. Cisco’s source code has been out for some time, and it hasn’t caused serious problems.
2. Microsoft has already released its source code to universities and, I believe, to some countries.
3. There is no “source code” for tomorrow’s system until tomorrow. So even if the code is out, security vulnerabilities discovered now won’t necessarily matter after the next major release.

I’ve long argued that it would be in Microsoft’s interest to release its source code. People already pirate Windows. Releasing the source code wouldn’t make Windows free. Indeed, it would probably make Windows more secure, by allowing more people to find the bugs faster.

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