Feeds

WinXP RC1download leak is Preview Program code

And you're supposed to pay for that...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The WinXP RC1 code that can be downloaded for free is actually the XP Preview Program code, it turns out. In order to get this you're supposed to give Microsoft money ($9.95 in the US and Canada, and £17.63 for a CD in the UK), fill in forms and have your Passport checked, but if you know the right URL, this is entirely unnecessary.

The right URL, which was still operational this morning in the UK, is rapidly spreading around the web, so unless Conxion, the Microsoft partner hosting the code, puts a padlock on it the Preview Program is going to turn out to be a lot wider and a lot more expensive for Microsoft than the company had anticipated. Conxion itself announced that it would be hosting the Preview Program download code on Monday; Microsoft didn't make an announcement, but Conxion also sent out emails to Program subscribers on Monday saying the download was now available.

According to John Frederiksen, general manager of Microsoft's PC Experience (you just couldn't make some job titles up, could you?): "We chose Conxion for our first online beta OS delivery to the general public because of their proven ability to deliver Windows XP to our customers. Their new ActiveX Digital Delivery Manager will improve the delivery experience for our customers."

The leaked URL however skips whatever that is entirely, and allows you to get at the code via a download manager, e.g. Netant.

This is the second time this year that it's been possible to download Microsoft code from Conxion via some form of 'unofficial' route. Download links to Windows 2000 SP2 leaked out before Microsoft actually announced that the code was ready. In that case, the code was free anyway, so the only thing that got hurt was Conxion's load-balancing.

This time, however, the leak is more serious, and raises questions about Microsoft's ability to successfully sell code on the Internet. If security holes of this sort mean people can just walk in and help themselves, then the .NET future mightn't be so lucrative for Microsoft after all.

The legal side of this particular matter is also interesting. Now we all know that the code is for the Preview Program, and that we're supposed to pay for it, it'd clearly be stealing if we went and took it (which is why we're still not publishing the link). But what if - as has no doubt been the case for most of the people downloading the code over the past couple of days - you grabbed it without knowing what it was, and that it was supposed to be paid for?

You might argue that it's obviously something you're not supposed to have access to, and that you're equally obviously supposed to pay for - but is it that obvious? Microsoft gives software away sometimes, so why not this time? Actually, if they don't get the locks on the download soon, they'll probably wind up having to just give it away anyway... ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.