Windows source leaked?

Eric Murray ericm at
Fri Feb 13 14:08:13 PST 2004

On Fri, Feb 13, 2004 at 11:45:34AM -0800, Major Variola (ret) wrote:
(in reply to someone else)
> >Lots has been said about OSS developers not wanting to look at this
> >for fear that they will be "tainted."  While it is true that simply
> >the act of looking at the code is unauthorized and illegal,
> If you didn't steal it, its not your problem if you read it.

I disagree.  I don't have time to look up the cases now
but there have been a number of cases of companies being sued for
(effectively) their programmers having SEEN some other code.
The theory being that they are somehow contaminated with
the valuable ideas embodied within and are helpless to resist
implementing them.  This has resulted in
many companies having "chinese walls" between some programming
groups who are working on a version of a competitors product that
the company has the code for.

This may not be "right", but it was extremely common in the early 90s.
It's very expensive so I would be quite suprised if there was not
strong case law on this.

> I wonder
> >if there is any truth to the claim that a developer who looked at
> >Windows source would endanger future projects (assuming, of course,
> >that simple copying---which is clearly illegal---doesn't happen).
> How would M$ show that you had in fact read the code?

They'd just alledge that you had, and then have "discovery"
all through your files.  Essentially any program could look
like an "infriging work" to some judge somewhere.

If I were a conspiracy theorist I'd say tha MS released the code
themselves just for this reason.


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