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Delicieuxz

The original Xbox' source code leaks online, along with Windows NT 3.5's kernel code

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Posted · Original PosterOP

A couple of months after the graphics source code for the Xbox Series X was leaked online, the complete source code for the original Xbox has been leaked. And along with it, the kernel for Windows NT 3.5, which the Xbox used.

 

Xbox and Windows NT 3.5 source code leaks online

Original Xbox's complete source code leaked online

 

Quote

Microsoft’s original Xbox console source code has leaked online, alongside code for a version of Windows NT 3.5. The Xbox source code includes the kernel for the operating system on the original console, a custom version of Windows 2000. We can confirm the leaked Xbox OS is genuine, and appeared online earlier this month. “We’re aware of these reports and are investigating,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

 

While the Xbox OS leak includes some build environments, the Xbox Development Kit, emulators used for testing, and internal documents, we understand this kernel and source code has been passed around privately among enthusiasts previously. That means it’s unlikely to help further homebrew and emulator efforts for original Xbox games.

 

...

 

Unofficial emulators have tried to replicate this kernel for years, but so far only around 40 games have limited emulation support compared to the 900 games available for the original Xbox. Microsoft has its own proprietary emulation for Xbox and Xbox 360 games, but it’s only currently available on Xbox One consoles and not on Windows PCs.

 

Alongside the Xbox leak, source code for a near-final version of Windows NT 3.5 has also appeared online. The source code includes all the necessary build tools, and should allow enthusiasts to dig into the old operating system. As Windows NT 3.5 support ended in December 2001, the operating system is only used in a small number of systems worldwide so a source code leak isn’t a significant security issue.

 

Microsoft has largely protected its proprietary Windows and Xbox source code over the years. Partial Windows 2000 and NT 4 source code leaked back in 2004, and even some Windows 10 source code was posted online in 2017. We asked Microsoft to comment on the Windows NT 3.5 source code leak, but the company says it has nothing to share about this particular incident.

 

It's mentioned that this data has been shared before, so maybe it isn't that big of a deal. But if it had been, why have unofficial emulators tried to replicate the kernel without much success?

 

I wonder if the Windows NT 3.5 kernel is of any use for a project like ReactOS. But given how old NT 3.5 is, I doubt it.

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I think this may be the same topic as this. 

 

 


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12 minutes ago, ARikozuM said:

I think this may be the same topic as this. 

 

 

Nope, completely different topic.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
19 minutes ago, ARikozuM said:

I think this may be the same topic as this. 

 

 

I hadn't checked that thread out, thanks for the heads-up.

 

It looks related in that it's potentially about the same source code package. Curious Pineapple says that Xbox Live project started at the end of last year, and so it could be the result of the code previously being passed around privately as the Verge article mentions:  "we understand this kernel and source code has been passed around privately among enthusiasts previously" .

 

If so, this wider public leak could be new. Interested to see what @Curious Pineapple thinks. I wonder if this public leak contains more, or just the same stuff as that previous one. It's certainly interesting that both news topics are coinciding at the same time. I wonder if someone working on that Xbox Live server project might have been concerned that their project would be shut-down by Microsoft and so handed the source code it's based on to the public.

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3 hours ago, Delicieuxz said:

A couple of months after the graphics source code for the Xbox Series X was leaked online, the complete source code for the original Xbox has been leaked. And along with it, the kernel for Windows NT 3.5, which the Xbox used.

 

Xbox and Windows NT 3.5 source code leaks online

Original Xbox's complete source code leaked online

 

 

It's mentioned that this data has been shared before, so maybe it isn't that big of a deal. But if it had been, why have unofficial emulators tried to replicate the kernel without much success?

 

I wonder if the Windows NT 3.5 kernel is of any use for a project like ReactOS. But given how old NT 3.5 is, I doubt it.

Because that requires a clean-room re-implementation. One person who never sees the emulator, describes what they see in the source code of the devkit, and vice versa, nobody developing the emulator sees the source code. 

 

Basically

Person A has the source/reverse engineered code of the thing they want to duplicate

Person B is developing the item to be duplicated

Person C is the person who has to interpret Person A's information to Person B

 

The problem when code leaks, is it gives ammunition to the copyright holder to take down emulators as they are now using stolen binaries (if emulators weren't already primarily designed to play pirated materials.)

 

On the other hand, if someone has access to the original source code, and compiles it in a way for it to run on a whitebox PC, and then, say dumps it on a torrent site, you pretty much have no gaurantee that that "emulator" is not malicious, but if you have the source code and can compile it and produce the same binary, you know it's legit.

 

At any rate, there's not really a lot of value in the source code of Nintendo/Sony/Sega/Microsoft consoles to emulator developers. It's only of interest to those wanting to produce counterfeit consoles.

 

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There's been dirty Xbox code on the internet for ages, but this source code leak is slightly interesting. Still, probably won't amount to much as there's already squeaky clean open source implementations of things like the SDK that people use for homebrewing.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
3 hours ago, Kisai said:

Because that requires a clean-room re-implementation. One person who never sees the emulator, describes what they see in the source code of the devkit, and vice versa, nobody developing the emulator sees the source code. 

 

Basically

Person A has the source/reverse engineered code of the thing they want to duplicate

Person B is developing the item to be duplicated

Person C is the person who has to interpret Person A's information to Person B

 

The problem when code leaks, is it gives ammunition to the copyright holder to take down emulators as they are now using stolen binaries (if emulators weren't already primarily designed to play pirated materials.)

 

On the other hand, if someone has access to the original source code, and compiles it in a way for it to run on a whitebox PC, and then, say dumps it on a torrent site, you pretty much have no gaurantee that that "emulator" is not malicious, but if you have the source code and can compile it and produce the same binary, you know it's legit.

 

At any rate, there's not really a lot of value in the source code of Nintendo/Sony/Sega/Microsoft consoles to emulator developers. It's only of interest to those wanting to produce counterfeit consoles.

 

How tough do you think it would be for a person versatile at coding to examine the source code and rephrase it sufficiently to make a legal community version of it?

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2 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

 

How tough do you think it would be for a person versatile at coding to examine the source code and rephrase it sufficiently to make a legal community version of it?

They can't. Even the FPGA console re-implementations, the engineers are not stupid, and will not look at VHDL code for chips.

 

If, say, Microsoft gave it's blessing and released the source code to Original Xbox under the MIT license, and someone decided to use that code to port it to the Mac or Linux, or build a "XboxOnWindows" layer, so long as it's only designed to play the optical disc media, it would probably pass.

 

Recompiling it as a Hyper-V/VirtualBox QEMU type of image might also pass, since that nothing inside the image can be seen from the outside*.

 

*yeah yeah, I know there are third party tools for this.

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Not really new, this lot leaked over 10 years ago. It's how all the custom BIOS' were made. The SDK was leaked too which is how all the homebrew software was developed. Almost all of it used the SDK whch is why you can only download the source code unless you dig deeper.

 

That said the emulators and build environments seem new to my knowledge so I'll try hunt this lot down and see what's in there :)

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All I shall say is holy shit, this is more than the source code for the OG console. It's half a terabyte MORE data than the OG source code.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 hours ago, Curious Pineapple said:

All I shall say is holy shit, this is more than the source code for the OG console. It's half a terabyte MORE data than the OG source code.

If you've had some time to sift through it, what do you see as making up all that size difference between this and previous leaks?

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16 minutes ago, Delicieuxz said:

If you've had some time to sift through it, what do you see as making up all that size difference between this and previous leaks?

I gave up, most of it is beta versions of games, there's some sdk's that are of no real use. Only thing of interest is a massive 7z file that refuses to download. Not worth my time really, it's a boring load of unplayable games and development tools.

 

I've had more luck with an older complete OG Xbox source leak that includes the original dash. Can't get any working code to compile though.

 

I've spent 12 hours farting around with OG Xbox stuff and chatting on the Insignia discord, going to do something more productive tomorrow, most likely abandon Proxmox as the USB audio stutter is intolerable.

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