Student reprimands Facebook for bad manners and exposed code
Rebuke comes amid new leak of purported Facebook code
A recent college grad is taking credit for the disclosure of Facebook's proprietary source code in an episode that demonstrates just how porous Web 2.0 technology can be.
His warning, which also included a rebuke for bad manners at Facebook, came as a second batch of purported Facebook code surfaced online, raising new questions about security at the social networking site.
According to 23-year-old Trae McNeely, a graduate in information studies from the the University of Oklahoma, the episode started early last weekend when he logged in to his Facebook account to check for new messages.
"What was supposed to be the home page with all the events and what's going on, there sat a bunch of code," he told El Reg. "I said, 'Whoa!'"
McNeely copied the code and pasted it to WMDTalk, a site he runs to discuss online movies, and then he submitted the link to Digg. "It might not be worth much but it's insight into facebook and how it works," he wrote in the submission.
The post got only six Diggs, but it nonetheless received the attention of a Facebook attorney who promptly sent McNeely an email claiming his posting infringed Facebook copyrights and requesting he remove the code.
And that gives rise to the first point McNeely has derived from the event. To wit: The site ought to be more polite.
"It sounds like it was written by a young, 20-year-old trying to use legal mumbo jumbo to make me take the code down," McNeely complained of the email. After all, Facebook forced the code down his throat. "This showed up on my browser. I didn't hack into their server. I'm in the clear."
Despite his belief that he was probably under no legal requirement to remove the code, McNeely did just that, having expunged the post at exactly 2:10, Oklahoma time, on Saturday afternoon. But the gesture also came with a little finger wagging.
"Listen, let me give you some advice," McNeely responded in an email to the attorney. "Next time respond more cordially because you, most likely, are not authorized to practice law in any fashion in any jurisdiction. If I hear anymore crap from you guys I'll sue for harassment."
Compiled code vs
Compiled code such as servlets and C++ cgi scripts vs Perl and PHP
Question is if todays developers used compiled code would this have happened ?
I use perl from time to time and have used servlets I think developers should think twice about perl and php since for a start its defintily slower.
Misconfigured server indeed
Facebook also appear to lack proper separation between their production and testing/development servers. Bad code will be the least of their worries.
Just don't use it
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If this is Web 2.0, I'll wait for 2.1.
Most of the code is written by guys (almost exclusively guys, it seems) who have never had to write real code for the real world. Testing seems to be a case of "why, check this out and tell me what you think". No walk throughs, probably no design analysis, very little specing. Nothing you'd find at a serious software company. Not that there are very many of them left.
If you're going to post on Facebook or MySpace, you might as well post the following information: home phone, mobile phone, home address, car license number, credit card number, DOB, mother's maiden name, SSN (or equivalent for your region of the world) and nude pictures. I recommend, however, that you Photoshop the pictures first to enhance those physical features that typically need enhancing. Or go to one of the fakes sites and get one of those guys to do it.