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Microsoft Pressures Testers After Software Leak 263

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the everyone-play-nice dept.
narramissic writes "ITworld reports that Microsoft is 'taking tough measures to find out who leaked a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Windows Home Server to The Hotfix.net blog.' The software preview was posted on the site by a user named 'Richard' soon after it was released to a small group of testers. In an e-mail to MVPs whose names contain 'Richard,' Kevin Beares, the Windows Home Server community lead at Microsoft, wrote: 'For right now, you have no access to the beta until I can find the Richard who posted the WHS (Windows Home Server) CTP on this site.... I will work with the Connect Admin team to determine which one of you is the real culprit of this leak.'"
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Microsoft Pressures Testers After Software Leak

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  • Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:53AM (#18731429)
    If this was Apple we would get many posts defending their right and need to do this. Since it is MS we won't. -Larry
    • Re:Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jake73 (306340) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:23PM (#18732247) Homepage
      I think MS needs to root out the leak, that's just good business. But why exclusively ban people with the name Richard? I mean, if I were to do something like this, I wouldn't use my real name. That just doesn't make sense.

      In fact, I'd probably think that a real Richard was less likely to have done this. But perhaps that's what Richard would have me think...
    • If this was Apple, we would get a bunch of people bitching about Apple's secrecy, like we always do. Kudos on the "I'm pointing out Slashdot double standards, mod me up!" karma whore routine, though. It's a worthy classic.

      And you're wrong, there will be plenty of Microsoft shills defending Microsoft.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Falladir (1026636)
        I think you're confused about what a shill [wikipedia.org] is. They're not Microsoft shills if they're not being remunerated. Most of the MS defenders are probably just innocent, clueless fanboys and maybe some more mature supporters.

        To accuse someone of being a shill is a very serious thing. Please don't de-fang the word by broadening its meaning to include innocent fanboyism.

        (If you really do think that there are dozens of paid Microsoft employees surreptitiously posting pro-MS comments, then your use of "shill"
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jb.hl.com (782137)
          I've been called a shill before. By the same person, actually...in fact, that person has directly accused me of being paid by Microsoft and has made references to my being employed by Steve Ballmer.

          Which is odd, because last I checked my job involves selling groceries. And I'm a Mac user (albeit one who doesn't happen to think Bill Gates is some kind of anti-christ).
    • by smoker2 (750216)

      If this was Apple we would get many posts defending their right and need to do this. Since it is MS we won't. -Larry
      And you posted Anon. because ... no-one will ever find out that Larry posted it.

      Or maybe your name is Richard !

      Wheels within wheels, God how I love office politics.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Damn, I missed that one -

        I meant to say "perhaps you are the Dick in question" !

    • by hunterx11 (778171)
      If this were Apple, they would already have found the leaker and would have sued him into oblivion. In an instance like this, it's probably a good thing that Microsoft has generally been more lax than Apple.
    • That's because Apple actually has a need to do this: Apple has managed to create a mystique surrounding their product releases. Microsoft revealing a new product is about as exciting as the supreme court justices taking off their robes.
  • by ACS Solver (1068112) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:56AM (#18731437)
    foreach (Tester ReallyUnluckyGuy in GetTestersByName("Richard"))
    {
        ReallyUnluckyGuy.DenyAccess(Now);
        ReallyUnluckyGuy.AskQuestions(Later);
    }
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by eneville (745111)

      foreach (Tester ReallyUnluckyGuy in GetTestersByName("Richard"))
      {
      ReallyUnluckyGuy.DenyAccess(Now);
      ReallyUnluckyGuy.AskQuestions(Later);
      }
      foreach( sort keys %testers ) {
      if( $_ =~ /^richard$/i ) {
      undef $tesers{$_};
      }
      }
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eosp (885380)
        /^richard$/i and undef $testers{$_} for %testers;
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Leave it to a perl guy to *try* make some thing terse and unreadable, when he could have used javascript:

        foreach (Tester ReallyUnluckyGuy in GetTestersByName("Richard"))
        {
        ReallyUnluckyGuy.DenyAccess(Now);
        ReallyUnluckyGuy.AskQuestions(Later);
        }

        foreach( sort keys %testers ) {
        if( $_ =~ /^richard$/i ) {
        undef $tesers{$_};
        }
        }

        for( each in testers )
        x = /richard/.test(testers[each]) ? PWN(testers[each]) : null;

    • by glwtta (532858)
      Same capitalization rules for class names, methods, and variables? Whatever that language is, I don't think I like it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bsane (148894)
        Your language dictates capitalization of class names, methods, and variables? Whatever that language is, I don't think I like it.
  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Etherwalk (681268) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:56AM (#18731441)
    The leaker was arrogant/foolish enough to use his real name.

    Probably, at least. Granted, you'd think he was just being a Richard and it needn't have anything to do with his name, but think about--someone leaked MS's follow-up email to people named Richard. Might it have been the Richard we're looking for? :)
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

      by ClaraBow (212734) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:15AM (#18731635)
      How many Dicks (I mean Richards) work for MS?
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vertinox (846076) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:27AM (#18731751)
      The leaker was arrogant/foolish enough to use his real name.

      To be fair, it isn't that hard for a Robert to type in Richard instead.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Etherwalk (681268)
        Yes, but someone who received the email (meaning someone named Richard) then leaked the email.
      • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

        by cmacb (547347) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:29PM (#18732833) Homepage Journal
        "To be fair, it isn't that hard for a Robert to type in Richard instead."

        This just in:

        Kevin Beares, the Windows Home Server community lead at Microsoft, wrote in an updated memo to all testers named Richard or Robert: 'As someone on Slashdot graciously pointed out, someone name Robert might have typed in Ricard instead so for right now, you have no access to the beta until I can find the Richard (or Robert). Note, people named Kevin, Steve or Bill will not be affected at this time, however we may have to expand our search to people named Dick, Bob, Bobby, Rick, Roberto, Richardo. That is all.
    • The leaker was arrogant/foolish enough to use his real name.

      This is supposing a lot. I for one, would probably use the name of somebody I didn't like. Maybe something like Steve, or Bill. But that might be a little obvious, no?
    • It sucks to be Dick.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Soldrinero (789891)

      Might it have been the Richard we're looking for?

      "These are not the Richards you are looking for"

    • For all we know, it could have been a tester who found a way to spoof the username, or anyone at all who happened to pass by an unlocked console. Given the organization involved, it could also be that a UID table got corrupted and a completely different name originally existed.

      Based on the little that is known, the most obvious explanation is that this leak was intended to be discovered (there's no shortage of far more public sites that would offer far greater protection to the person involved) and that i

    • by KillerCow (213458)

      The leaker was arrogant/foolish enough to use his real name.


      Yes, and that really helped us track him down.

      -Bill Gates
    • by Pyrion (525584)

      "The leaker was arrogant/foolish enough to use his real name.

      That or Microsoft has never heard of pseudonyms.
  • Shades of... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:56AM (#18731445) Homepage
    ...the whole class being kept behind at school until they found the culprit.
    • Or keying the teachers car with the initials of the jerk you don't like in your class. Gotcha ya pocker, 3 months detention and 200 repair bill. Seriously if I wanted to pock over some dood at work I'd frame him with a leak.
  • NOT a Model employee (Score:4, Informative)

    by rueger (210566) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:57AM (#18731459) Homepage
    "The software preview was posted on the site by a user named 'Richard' soon after it was released to a small group of testers."

    I'd think that Microsoft's bigger question whether someone this dimwitted should allowed to work with their code. Why would I not be surprised if "Richard" really was the guy's name. Talk about poor judgment.
    • by kestasjk (933987)
      MVPs are not employees, they're people who help out with supporting people on the official forums and so on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I agree. He should have used the *full* name of another one of the testers.

      Microsoft would be happy cos they'd have somebody to blame. He'd be happy because he doesn't get blamed. The poor sap that got blamed would be very unhappy.

      - but that's just pure selfishness, since, as they say in Star Trek- 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.'

  • by Utopia (149375) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:58AM (#18731463)
    ...for leaking the letter too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ady1 (873490)
      Yeah and what more is that they sent a letter with unique spellings mistakes to each of the richards. Now he's really screwed.
      • by Fox_1 (128616) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:43AM (#18731893)
        The "Canary Trap" from Patriot Games or some other Tom Clancey Novel. Instead of unique spelling mistakes, a selection of unique words to each email using a Thesaurus . One email says "We will find out who did this" another "We will discover who did this" another "We will locate who did this" and etcetera ...

        Of course all they can find out is who leaked the email, there is no reason the Richard who leaked the email is the same person who posted the bad review. My AdultFriendFinder name is Richard Steel, you won't find me in the phone book under that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          And to foil that kind of obfusication, you just take one of those free translator services and translate it twice: once in a foregin lang, and once back.

          That munges things up enough.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by PPH (736903)
          Obfuscate my response, I will. - Yoda
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drerwk (695572)
          We had a similar problem at Infocom with some reviewers. The next game we sent out had a room with with a book shelf. One of the books had an inscription unique to each person receiving a review copy. It was quite easy at that point to catch the leaker.
  • by Speare (84249) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:59AM (#18731479) Homepage Journal

    In an e-mail to MVPs whose names contain 'Richard,' Kevin Beares, the Windows Home Server community lead at Microsoft, wrote: 'For right now, you have no access to the beta until I can find the Richard who posted the WHS (Windows Home Server) CTP on this site.

    Translation, "Are you the Dick who leaked?"

  • by tjrw (22407) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:00AM (#18731495) Homepage
    Sheesh,
    this is about as well-thought out as the no-fly list "algorithm". Well, Abdul looks a bit like Andrew so you're a suspect, eh?

    If they didn't watermark, or put some other individual identifying marks in each of the CTPs handed out, then they have no clue who leaked it, and punishing the innocent is not going to improve their chances.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:01AM (#18731501)
    Dear Slashdot,

    Thankyou for agreeing to help publicize our new products by spreading information about our phoney leak. You have my personal assurance that if we ever find this "Richard" character, I will be certain to punish him very severely for creating public awareness of our super-innovative new server software. Gosh, I do hope no-one downloads a pirate version and sees how awesome it is!

    Also, thanks for your good work on the Xbox 360. Who would have thought so many Linux dorks would be willing to buy into our wall-to-wall DRM and platform lockin?

    -- Bill Gates

    (This is a private email, right? IE is doing something strange....)
  • by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:01AM (#18731505) Journal
    This will be a great opportunity to get a rare insight in to the kind of proprietary, highly advanced digital fingerprinting schemes they're using at Redmond! Digital certificates, binary padding - who can say?!

    The software preview was posted on the site by a user named 'Richard' soon after it was released to a small group of testers. In an e-mail to MVPs whose names contain 'Richard,'....


    Oh...
  • Why Richard? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by apathy maybe (922212) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:01AM (#18731507) Homepage Journal
    And I wonder why Kevin Beares thinks it was a Richard who leaked this. If I was doing such a thing, especially when there are only a small group of testers, I would use a pseudonym. Richard is as good a one as any other.

    Also, I wonder how he thinks he can work it out? Contacting the ISPs perhaps? (From the article it seems as if the webmaster for the site where the leak was posted will help.) I'm sure all the testers will deny being "Richard" of leaking fame.

    This whole thing seems like a big beat up.
    • by multisync (218450)

      Also, I wonder how he thinks he can work it out? Contacting the ISPs perhaps?


      Oh! I know! Call the ISPs pretending to be the testers and ask "did I post a CTP of Windows Home Server to The Hotfix.net blog?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:23AM (#18731723)
    The next time this guy decides to leak something under a false name I suggest he try 'Bill' instead of 'Richard'.

    Bill
  • OK, get me if I am wrong here but the testers were working for free, correct. If MS (or any other company for that matter, even Apple), does not want to pay for work, then they take their chances. If they want testers that will follow their rules, they should pay the testers then. Very simple concept.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WED Fan (911325)

      OK, get me if I am wrong here but the testers were working for free, correct. If MS (or any other company for that matter, even Apple), does not want to pay for work, then they take their chances. If they want testers that will follow their rules, they should pay the testers then. Very simple concept.

      Oh, yeah, because we know that when you pay someone, they don't steal. If you say, "play nice", they will. If you had a little pink pony...what planet do you live on?

      When a guy at work is making $80K and stil

    • by westlake (615356)
      If MS (or any other company for that matter, even Apple), does not want to pay for work, then they take their chances. If they want testers that will follow their rules, they should pay the testers then. Very simple concept.

      here's an even simpler concept worth grasping: if you can't be trusted to respect the commitments you make you won't find a welcome among the volunteers who contribute to open source.

  • by hydertech (122031) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:29AM (#18731775) Homepage
    Could it be Richard Stallman in the conservatory with the wrench?
    • by DeadChobi (740395)
      Someone should tell him that there's a difference between free as in beer and free as in free. As in, that software as beer free but not free free.
    • Could it be Richard Stallman in the conservatory with the wrench?

      Nah. Communism was just a red herring.

  • by matt me (850665) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:30AM (#18731777)
    Which one of you Bills is abusing your monopoly?
  • Microsoft is being run by the Bush administration!

  • Inside job? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eudial (590661) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:46AM (#18731919)
    Did they ever stop to consider the fact that besides these testers, undoubtedly lots of people on the inside will have had access to the leaked version?
    • likely it would have been a specific build for the testers only that was leaked.

      Insiders doing it would probably have access to a great many test builds, not just the one sent to the externals. However insiders would also have fabulously well paid jobs and severe contractual penalties for doing something this stupid. Not the kind of people likely to risk all for a leaked test build.

      Besides, what would be the career consequences for someone being denounced by Microsoft for doing a thing like that? The closed
  • Are they absolutely certain that the guy's name actually is Richard and he didn't just make up the name to throw MS off the scent?
  • Torrent? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:56AM (#18731993) Homepage
    Anyone have a torrent of this so called leak?
  • by Kamineko (851857) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:01PM (#18732045)
    "Dick leaks, causes embarassment."

    That's not really front page news now, is it?
  • by mh101 (620659) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:15PM (#18732155)
    Wouldn't it be funny if all of them contacted MS, claiming to be this Richard?

  • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:20PM (#18732217) Homepage
    I hate to break it to you, MS, but the higher-end linksys routers (for about $100) now have a usb port where I can stick a hard drive and share it with all the network even if I'm not real computer literate. Likewise, the airport extreme from apple does the same.

    I'm not sure what all your "home server" does, but coming from you it probably uses far more hardware than most people want to buy for the purpose and it probably locks me into using one of your buggy, insecure operating systems to access it. Put another way, you're going to have a tough time convincing people who want to have a hard drive shared on the network (probably 99.99% of all people who would want a "server" in the house) to go with your buggy crap rather than the linksys router.

    I might be wrong, and laugh at me in 10 years if I am, but I really think you guys are getting in a huff because someone leaked your latest "Microsoft Bob" to the world.

    By the way, the people who downloaded it probably didn't do so to use it; it was probably most hackers getting their paws on it to figure out how to break into it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by omicronish (750174)

      I'm not sure what all your "home server" does, but coming from you it probably uses far more hardware than most people want to buy for the purpose and it probably locks me into using one of your buggy, insecure operating systems to access it. Put another way, you're going to have a tough time convincing people who want to have a hard drive shared on the network (probably 99.99% of all people who would want a "server" in the house) to go with your buggy crap rather than the linksys router.

      It'd be nice if yo

  • So lucky for Microsoft that the leak wasn't posted by somebody with username "Bill".
  • Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:29PM (#18732287)
    For right now, you have no access to the beta until I can find the Richard who posted the WHS (Windows Home Server) CTP on this site.... I will work with the Connect Admin team to determine which one of you is the real culprit of this leak.'

          It's great to know that a corporation always has plenty of funds for a witch-hunt even if product security is sacrificed due to "budget constraints"...
  • Witch hunt? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @12:53PM (#18732495) Homepage
    Unless this person was exceptionally stupid and brags about it, they are home free. Their ISP will *not* release the information.

    Of course, this does bring out that simply having someone sign an NDA in today's climate means nothing. If you release a product to beta testers, they are going to feel free to distribute it to potential competitors worldwide without any fear of retribution. Why? Because it can be done and it isn't going to be traceable.

    I suppose you could watermark each copy that is distributed. It would be a hassle to do and still probably not really mean all that much. Yes, you might then be able to visit some kind of retribution on the person that did it. Do you really think they are going to care? I think most people these days would regard having letters sent to their employer from Microsoft as sort of a merit badge of achievement, even if it got them fired.

    Any sort of anonyminity will result in this kind of behavior. Most people - not everyone, but most - will do things they would never consider doing if they believe their actions cannot be traced back to them. Would you rob a bank or steal someone's wallet? Most people would not. Would you pick up a wallet in an alley that was clearly abandoned and take whatever was inside? Most people would if they were sure nobody would see them. Nobody sees you on the Internet, and the ISPs believe they have an interest in keeping users isolated from consequences of their actions.
  • by CharonX (522492) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @01:31PM (#18732849) Journal
    Well, what can we say?
    The typical Microsoft=Evil bash aside, their response was rather understandable and logical. They have beta-software, and they have low number of people who a previewing/testing that software. That software ends up leaked on the internet. Thus the only logical conclusion is that (at least) one of those people is responsible for the leak.
    Assuming that leaks is not what you want and that somebody who leaked software before, will do so again, it is best to freeze the entire process until the one(s) responsible has been found. Also assuming that they accepted a NDA (the usual stuff forfeiting your propery, soul, and firstborn) this one guy or gal will not be in a happy place.
    So, all in all, its nothing extraordinary.
  • WHS? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mathness (145187)
    Why is Microsoft even putting a lot of work into WHS? Most people have already moved onto DWD. :P

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