Microsoft pressures testers after software leak

Microsoft is taking tough measures to find out who is leaking previews of software to a blog.

Microsoft is taking tough measures to find out who leaked a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Windows Home Server to The Hotfix.net blog after 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 a email to testers obtained by the IDG News Service, the Windows Home Server community lead at Microsoft, Kevin Beares, wrote to Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) whose name contain "Richard" that they would not have access to the beta until he found out who leaked the software to The Hotfix.net site. MVP is a title Microsoft gives people who are active and helpful in communities for Microsoft's different product groups, and many MVPs end up being early testers of products.

"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," the email said. "I will work with the Connect Admin team to determine which one of you is the real culprit of this leak."

Beares apologised for having to punish all MPVs with the name "Richard" by withholding the CTP, and said if the person who posted the release "comes clean" he may "have some discretion as to what actions I take".

Windows Home Server is a new version of the Windows OS that lets users set up secure networks of PCs at home so they can share and store media files. A Beta 2 of the software is available now, and the final release is expected to ship before the end of the year.

The owner of the Hotfix.net site who works as a quality assurance manager for a Bellevue, Washington-based software company, Ethan Allen, said that Microsoft also contacted him to ask him to remove the Windows Home Server CTP from his site. He said it has been moved from the main site to a private download page.

Allen said he has caught flak from Microsoft since he posted fixes that he claimed would be in Windows Vista Service Pack 1 on his site last week. The company asked him to take down the software pack, which he did. However, Microsoft had been on his case about other things, he said, the CTP of Windows Home Server amongst them..

He said that Microsoft had "spies" in the forums on the Hotfix.net in an attempt to find out who was leaking software previews on his site. Microsoft also asked him to provide the names of who was leaking Microsoft files to his site, but he said he declined to do so.

A spokesperson from Microsoft's public relations firm said she was unaware of Beares' email or that the CTP was posted on The Hotfix.net site, but she would look into the situation with Microsoft.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
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