Under The Microscope

Leaky PHP

TechCrunch has a story about how the PHP source code to Facebook’s front page was leaked (by an Apache configuration bug, apparently).

The write up goes right into rather breathless speculation about it:

The first (ramification) is that the code can be used by outsiders to better understand how the Facebook application works, for the purposes of finding further security holes or bugs that could be exploited.

The second implication with this leak is that the source code reveals a lot about the structure of the application, and the practices that Facebook developers follow.

This I find amusing, as you can infer very little from just the front page of a site. The front page is normally a complete one-off from all the rest of the pages. It’s unlikely that it implements any important functionality that could be exploitable. Furthermore, the architecture of Facebook could probably only be described in many pages of written English. The code here would only reveal a small fraction of it.

But even though I don’t think this “leak” is anything important, I do enjoy seeing code from such a large website. It gives you a brief glimpse into what the actual work they do is like, in all its messy hackiness, something you otherwise never see.

Given all that, I’ve decided to “leak” the source code to the front page of rogueamoeba.com, right here (it’s even less interesting than Facebook’s). But perhaps you’ll enjoy seeing it.

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