There are apparently still some programmers out there who think creating adolescent pranks are OK when working on the job. An example of this came to light this week when someone discovered a piece of code in a Microsoft software product that, well, was not supposed to be there.
The BBC reports that the hexadecimal string "0xB16B00B5" was put by someone at Microsoft for a system that allows the Linux kernel to work with Microsoft's HyperV software. The "0xB16B00B5" code translates into "big boobs."
The piece of code was discovered by Linux programmers when it was sent out to a mailing list. Network World reports that Microsoft was alerted to the issue and sent out this statement:
We thank the community for reporting this issue and apologize for the offensive string. We have submitted a patch to fix this issue and the change will be published in a future release of the kernel.
There is no word on who actually put in this code at Microsoft, nor if Microsoft plans any kind of disciplinary action for the unknown programmer. Some people on the mailing list were not amused; one of them, Linux developer Matthew Garrett, wrote on his blog:
At the most basic level it's just straightforward childish humour, and the use of vaguely-English strings in magic hex constants is hardly uncommon. But it's also specifically male childish humour. Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren't welcome.