Microsoft fixes 'big boobs' coding gaffe

Microsoft presentation Microsoft is gearing up for the release of Windows 8 that will run on desktops, tablets and phones

Related Stories

Microsoft has swiftly fixed an embarrassing gaffe which saw a chunk of code labelled "big boobs".

The hexadecimal string 0xB16B00B5 was discovered lurking in code that helps a Microsoft program work with Linux open source software.

The controversial string came to light on a mailing list for developers who oversee the core, or kernel, of Linux.

The string was used every time the Microsoft program ran a virtual version of Linux.

Kernel hacker Paolo Bonzini posted a message about the string on the Linux Kernel mailing list saying "Somone (sic) was trying to be funny, I guess".

Microsoft was alerted to the mistake and swiftly issued a statement.

"We thank the community for reporting this issue and apologise for the offensive string," it said to Network World.

It added that it had prepared a patch that would change the spelling of the string in an update.

Commenting on the gaffe, developer Dr Matthew Garrett noted that the first version of the Microsoft code used a similar string of 0x0B00B135 - a form of letters that roughly translates to "boobies".

"Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys' club where girls aren't welcome," Dr Garrett wrote.

His comments, and those on the Linux mailing list, have started a huge debate about whether use of the string was sexist and how male developers should conduct themselves.

On his blog, Dr Garrett also wondered how easy it would prove to change the string. Other services, such as access to Microsoft's Azure cloud service, are believed to make extensive use of it.

In early June, Microsoft suffered another embarrassment over '"vulgar" language used during a song and dance routine at a company conference.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Leonardo da Vinci Self-PortraitMagical masterpiece

    The Leonardo hidden from Hitler in case it gave him special powers


  • Woman smelling pot of herbsWake up

    Is eating sage better for your alertness than coffee?


  • "$4BN" written on dollar billAn oligarch election?

    The super-rich, secret donors and rise of ‘dark money’


  • Zoe Quinn'GamerGate'

    The developer forced to leave her home due to threats


BBC Future

(Thinkstock)

Five steps to colonising Mars

Checklist for life on the Red Planet Read more...

Programmes

  • Francis Rossi, co-founder of band Status QuoHARDtalk Watch

    Status Quo's Francis Rossi explains how alcohol led him to take cocaine

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.