So it appears that the sourcecode for Windows got leaked. I’m finding the reactions to this to be very odd. I suppose it’s a direct consequence of my Open Source mindset, but I don’t get what the big deal is.
Sure, there will be lots of eyes on the code, and they will find bugs. Surely this is a good thing? Yeah, there will be a big surge in viruses in the next couple years. Of course, that assumes that Microsoft sits around and does nothing for the next two years. Seems to me that this incident will (or at least should) encourage Microsoft to do an actual full-scale code audit, and find those very same things that the “hackers” would find.
There are just two ways that this thing concerns me about this, and neither one of them has to do with negative impact on Microsoft.
First, it seems abundantly clear to me that Microsoft will take this incident and use it as the excuse for the next 50 security problems that are discovered. And, therefore, as “proof” that their policy of closed source equals security.
Second, we’re going to see lawsuits in the next 2 years where Microsoft identifies code in Linux, added after February 10, 2004, which are either copied from, or influenced by, the Windows source code. And, as absurd as this is, it will be used to have, as Microsoft would say, a chilling effect on innovation.
So, no, this is not bad for Microsoft. They stand only to benefit, both in improvements to their source, and in avenues for their slimy lawyers to put the squeeze on the Open Source community. Anything you hear to the contrary is marketing spin.