MS Programmers: So Like Us

By on February 16, 2004

It turns out Microsoft’s Windows programmers have to deal with the same crap as the rest of the world’s programmers. has put up a overview of the comments in the recently leaked Microsoft source code. (Some of the comments are not rated G. If you use a text-to-speech reader, cover your kids’ ears. )

In the struggle to meet deadlines, I think pretty much all programmers have put in comments they might later regret, including swearwords and acerbic comments about other code or requirements. Also, any conscientious coder will put in prominent comments warning others about the trickier parts of the code. Comments like “UGLY TERRIBLE HACK” tend to indicate good code rather than bad: in bad code ugly terrible hacks are considered par for the course. It would therefore be both hypocritical and meaningless to go through the comments looking for embarrassments. But also fun, so let’s go.

The overall conclusion is rather flattering towards Microsoft: a lot of good code, with the obligatory ugly hacks for compatibility with other stuff. No stolen open source, either. Better go have a look before their cease-and-desist shows up.



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