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Win2k for Alpha alive, well, and loose on the Web

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Win2k for Alpha is alive, as well as can be expected under the circumstances, and escaped into the wild some time back. Despite our confident assertion yesterday that Windows 2000 Professional for Alpha build 2128 was firmly under lock and key, it appears to be available for download.

These are, after all, Redmond locks and keys, so it's perhaps more surprising that it isn't all over the place than it is that it broke loose. But a 350 meg zip file of something that isn't likely ever to be supported or updated is perhaps something of an esoteric perversion.

The sky fell in on Win2k for Alpha in the final run up to Win2k's release to manufacture, and as far as we know the 2128 Alpha build, which would otherwise have gone out with Win2k Release Candidate 3 in November 1999, never made it out via official channels. But considering the timing it had to exist.

So here's our difficulty. Neither Compaq nor Microsoft, we presume, approve of the code being available to all and sundry, even if it is a very small and specialised all and sundry. But on the other hand, given how ruthlessly a nearly-ready product was butchered, we think there's a certain moral (nope, definitely not legal) justification for whoever it was who shoved the code up to have done so.

But on yet another hand, if the Compaq and MS gumshoes haven't the brains to track this one down we're not about to help them. And on the final hand (aliens are among us, limb-wise) once code is out on the Web it'll be warezed all over, if people want it, so the genie won't go back into the bottle.

So if you want it, we're inclined to tell you where you can get it, on demand. That's if we can remember where the site is, of course...

Warning: As we haven't checked the code out, we can't absolutely guarantee that it is 2128, but you know that about unauthorised downloads anyway. We're told the code comes with a 444 day time bomb, but we believe there's a way around that. And if there have been any other sighting of the last Windows for Alpha, we'd be interested to hear about them. 7reg;

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