Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Microsoft Your Rights Online

MSN Search Blocking Results For XFree86? 875

Posted by simoniker
from the because-they-made-a-mistake? dept.
Peacefire writes "Thomas Shaddack spotted this on http://www.root.cz/ (in Czech) -- if you go to http://search.msn.com/ and search for 'XFree86', it tells you that you've 'entered a search term that is likely to return adult content', and directs you to the porn search engine NightSurf.com, which lists a bunch of porn sites that ostensibly match the term 'XFree86'. If you search for 'XFree86' on Google, however, it's clear that the top matching terms returned by a normal search, are XFree86 sites, are not a bunch of porn sites. MSN is apparently blocking the specific term 'XFree86' and not just filtering on something stupid like the 'X' or the 'Free', since you can search for 'XFree85' and 'XFree87' with no problem. And search terms like 'Linux', 'AOL' and 'Macintosh' are allowed, so at least MSN hasn't simply blacklisted all competitors' keywords as 'porn', but why would they be blocking 'XFree86'?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MSN Search Blocking Results For XFree86?

Comments Filter:
  • Mirror List (Score:4, Informative)

    by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:16PM (#8457532) Homepage Journal
    Since it's about to get Slashdotted, here is the mirror list section from the xfree86.org [xfree86.org] site:

    Web Mirrors

    Our web site is very busy and often causes timed out connections. The following sites have been verified as being both accurate and reliable in their mirroring process, and so we recommend these for the best access:

    Costa Rica [ulatina.ac.cr]
    Copenhagen, Denmark [opensource.cph.dk]
    Paris, France [ovh.net]
    St. Denis, France [univ-paris8.fr]
    Berlin, Germany [berlios.de]
    Dortmund, Germany [desiato.de]
    Athens, Greece [xfree86.ntua.gr]
    Seoul, Korea [mirror.or.kr]
    Amsterdam, Netherlands [kookel.org]
    Bucharest, Romania [unibuc.ro]
    London, United Kingdom [earth.li]

    Not posting as AC 'cause the troll potential would be too high...
  • XFree69 (Score:5, Funny)

    by vondo (303621) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:16PM (#8457535)
    Even a search for XFree69 [msn.com] doesn't return the porn warning.

    Something has gotta be wrong with that.

  • What's weird (Score:5, Interesting)

    by prostoalex (308614) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:16PM (#8457541) Homepage Journal
    XFree85 seems to work [msn.com]
    And so does XFree87 [msn.com]

    Here's a search for a possible culprit - just x86 [msn.com]. Seems fine, although notice how the first 9 results are all AMD, with some impostor Intel claiming #10 spot (and it's not even Intel's site, it's Solaris on Intel document).

    But back to searches for XFree86. So it wasn't the X86 part, how about
    free86 [msn.com] - oh, look, XFree86.org is listed with Microsoft search engine after all. You just don't search it by name, search it by keyword that's reasonably close.

  • X Windows (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dukerobinson (624739) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:17PM (#8457551)
    Perhaps they are blocking it because anything that uses the term "Windows" they consider to be a threat. Just look how "Lindows" Has had to change it's website to l---ws.com in several European countries
  • by themaddone (180841) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:17PM (#8457556)
    Not to beat the dead horse, but how many people using MSN as a search engine would know a thing about XFree86?
    • by MooseByte (751829) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:22PM (#8457616)

      "how many people using MSN as a search engine would know a thing about XFree86?"

      Apparently none, given the MSN results.

  • by Zorak Man (732141) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:19PM (#8457573)
    1. Linux with Xfree86
    2. ???
    3. porn

    I mean come on, can't you see that?
  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mgcsinc (681597) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:19PM (#8457580)
    This is a use of market share to gain market share, which could easily be seen as an antitrust violation. The question is, does it count as hindering a consumer's capability to investigate competitors in this unique situation, where users would be attempting to do so via the infrastructure of the original company. Interesting indeed...
  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:19PM (#8457581)
    search terms like 'Linux', 'AOL' and 'Macintosh' are allowed, so at least MSN hasn't simply blacklisted all competitors' keywords as 'porn', but why would they be blocking 'XFree86'?"
    Like the short man said, "Never ascribe to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence".

    Of course the fact that such mistakes can be made, and left undiscovered for so long, speaks against closed blicklists like MSN's.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:12PM (#8458229)
      Back in the good old days ... of the dot-com boom, I worked on the first web-based airline-travel reservation system ever (online in June 1995 to be precise). A while later, Microsoft got into that business, and at that point, we discovered that all traffic from MSN customers to our site was blocked. Prior to this, something like 5-10% of all hits came from there, and the drop in traffic was noticable. (We had breakdowns: AOL was about 10%-15%, Prodigy another 5%-10%, and netcom another 10%).

      We talked about doing the full investigation, and suing, etc. and even called the district attorney since this seemed to be criminal behaviour to us. We decided we were too small and too poor to pursue the matter as a civil case, and I don't know what happened w/ the DA.

      I thought it was pretty foul play, it was one of a number of incidents that helped turn me into a bitter Microsoft-hater.

  • by ag3n7 (442539) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:20PM (#8457584)
    Maybe they don't like the new license and are blocking it for our own good?
  • nightsurf! (Score:5, Funny)

    by termos (634980) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:20PM (#8457597) Homepage
    I continued to nightsurf [nightsurf.com] and i found another side of XFree86!

    Live Now: Free cams with 'xfree86':(Click to zoom)

    Get 'xfree86' at the Websites of the Hottest & Naughtiest Webcam Starlets, Hunks, Couples & Groups in the World. Click any star to visit!

    Looking for xfree86? I deliver, and I'm live right now.

    It sure it convenient with a graphical user interface but this is TOO MUCH.
    • Re:nightsurf! (Score:5, Informative)

      by arkanes (521690) <arkanes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:59PM (#8458097) Homepage
      Despite the implication, nightsurf is not actually a search engine. It returns exactly the same results for any search term.

      Ah ha, upon further checking this is not true. It returns the exact same search results for anything thats not porn related, so this is probably a listing of the sites that paid for "any results" postings (Nightsurf doesn't even pretend to be anything other than pay-for-placement). A search for the sexual fetish of your choice does return results related to that fetish, however.

    • Re:nightsurf! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:01PM (#8458127)
      Gotta ask... could this have been the result of enough adult sites trying to trick MSN's spider. Afterall, Google as a company doesn't exactly have a political stand on George W. Bush, but it was webmasters who got the "Miserable Failure" association made...
  • by ENOENT (25325) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:21PM (#8457606) Homepage Journal
    MSFT is going to block all websites containing the letter "X", which will be all of their competition.

    I.e. Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, hot XXX grits, etc.

  • by switcha (551514) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:21PM (#8457615)
    Why of course it's naughty.

    Don't tell me I'm the only one who asks my wife if she wants to XFree86 tonight?

  • by nvrrobx (71970) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:22PM (#8457619) Homepage
    Hotmail blocks my best friend's last name, which is Raper, because it's "offensive"...

  • by t-maxx cowboy (449313) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:22PM (#8457620) Journal
    MSN returns all sorts of hits, it does not say anything about likely to return adult content.
  • by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <<slashdot> <at> <jgc.org>> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:22PM (#8457621) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps they are doing soundex/metaphone type matching on the words to see if they are sex-related. Perhaps "xfree86" sounds like something you might find on a porn site.

    Either than or it's X FREE 86 where 86 is some position that involves finding a woman with two heads.

    John.
    • Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

      by roystgnr (4015) <roystgnrNO@SPAMticam.utexas.edu> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:59PM (#8458094) Homepage
      Perhaps they are doing soundex/metaphone type matching on the words to see if they are sex-related. Perhaps "xfree86" sounds like something you might find on a porn site.

      Maybe it does, but "xfreee86" sounds the same, and returns real search results, and "xfree66" has more "six/sex" sounds in it and returns real search results. They're not filtering by sound.
  • Funnier still... (Score:3, Informative)

    by thesolo (131008) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:26PM (#8457676) Homepage
    Guess what a search for XFree87 gives you as its top result? This slashdot article, talking about Xouvert (an XFree Fork)! [slashdot.org]

    Honestly, this seems more like incompetence than censorship.
  • perhaps a better question to ask is: Who the hell is using search.msn.com instead of google?
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummelNO@SPAMjohnhummel.net> on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:27PM (#8457697) Homepage
    Not that I believe that Google is really doing their service out of the goodness from their hearts - they're doing it to make money.

    But people wonder why I don't want to see a Micorosft Internet Search built into Windows (oh, and made so you can't remove it without damaging the operating system, like you can't remove IE or Media Player or anything else Microsoft decides is essential).

    Call me crazy, but MS seems to have this weird habit of shutting down things they don't like. Is this just a stupid mistake? It could be - I mean, block things starting with X to keep kids from porn, right?

    Oops - but Xfree85 works, so that can't be it.

    MS gives away IE to shut down Netscape. That wasn't the crime that I thought was terrible - it was going to their OEM partners and threatening them with extra high cost of Windows if they put on Netscape.

    So if they should take over the search world, can we really trust it to reflect accurately? I'm all for giving something a fair shake, but if before the game really starts they're already blocking alternate product possibilities I think "trust" is something that won't apply to MSN search.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Could just be a simple misunderstanding.

    Sadly, even if it is, based on their past history, I don't think I could believe that's it.
    • by Awptimus Prime (695459) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:51PM (#8457986)

      MS gives away IE to shut down Netscape. That wasn't the crime that I thought was terrible - it was going to their OEM partners and threatening them with extra high cost of Windows if they put on Netscape.


      It's refreshing to see another person not consider the Netscape fiasco a 'crime'. I was working for an ISP when IE came about. At the time, Netscape charged us $20-40 per copy that we shipped to our customers. You can imagine how quickly that adds up. When IE became an alternative, Netscape refused to negociate and lost out big-time. Meanwhile, MS would do advertising partnerships and offer a wide range of support services for free. A very tempting offer when your shop isn't making much money to begin with.

      Anyway, the people at Netscape didn't move quickly to improve their browsers and, for quite some time, IE was way better concerning stability in Windows. It's not like the 2 clicks and 10 minute download destroyed them.

      The anti-MS folks who always find fault in MS never really seemed to complain about Trumpet Winsock being put through the ringer by NT and 95 including their own network stacks. How about notepad.exe and calc.exe? Before that time, you could download and register shareware editors or look for freebies. I've never heard somone argue that Windows was destroying software companies by including it's own program to display image files.

      But anything to do with [potentially] commerical media, such as web pages and audio/video content, grabs everyones attention and ends up with MS back in court acting confused and innocent.

      I know, totally off topic. Back on topic, I promise:

      I think the reason for the search results problem is likely a goof-up. Likely a low-level employee who had no idea what XFree86 is, didn't care, didn't double-check, etc before adding it to the DB. It seems reasonable that many MS employees would not be familar with Unix at all.
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by NotAnotherReboot (262125) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:27PM (#8457699)
    Finally a viable competitor to Google. I have been looking for XFree86 adult content for quite some time. Google could just never bring up what I needed.

    Thanks MSN!
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:28PM (#8457713) Journal
    heh, google [google.com] lists itself sixth, but doesn't list MSN search at all.

    MSN [msn.com] lists itself first, and google is fourth - higher in the rankings than it is on google itself.

  • by saforrest (184929) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:32PM (#8457757) Homepage Journal
    Notice that a search for "X Free 86" [msn.com] returns xfree.org, the XFree86 website, as its first hit.

    If you think about it, it's unlikely their adult filter is catches pornographic searches by the query text alone. I can think of any number of queries which would give porn but which it would be difficult to computationally distinguish from non-pornographic queries.

    My guess is that MSN performs the search in any case, probes the first hits in their cache with some porn-detection algorithm, and redirects you if the algorithm thinks it might be porn.

    This would suggest that, for whatever reason, the first few hits for XFree86 (as opposed to "X Free 86" or XFree85") pass the porno test.

    On the other hand, the notice says "You have entered a search term that is likely to return adult content" which suggests strongly that only the query is being studied. So I don't know.

    Anyway, I'd be more inclined to think it's a crappy test than to think they've explicitly coded this as some incredibly obscure means of spiting XFree86.
  • by slagdogg (549983) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:37PM (#8457812)
    Let's break it down ... X, as in XXX (porn), free, as in beer, and 86, as in people who have been 86'ed. I certainly wouldn't want my children seeing that :-o
  • by rjelks (635588) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:38PM (#8457822) Homepage
    I think we're overthinking this. This could be a subtle way for Microsoft to block information about OSS, but I think it's because their search engine kinda sucks. Isn't it more likely that we're so used to engines like 'google' and 'alltheweb' that we assume that Microsoft must be up to something. Now, I don't believe that this would be beyond their scruples, just that this seems like a screwup. Anyway, how many of us use msn.com anyway? Try hitting 'alt-home' and you'll get my point.

    -
  • by Bistronaut (267467) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:39PM (#8457839) Homepage Journal
    The simple, conspiracy-free answer to this riddle is that MSN just has a crappy search engine that DOES return porn sites when you search for XFree86.
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:44PM (#8457906)

    And while XFree86 gets blocked on MSN, let's see how a search for "SCO" fares on the two engines. (Top 11, "Because it's one more, you see".)

    Hmmmm. Yep, no surprise there.

    MSN Search Results "SCO" (Top 11):

    1. SCO www.sco.com
    2. California State Controller Kids Site www.kids.sco.ca.gov
    3. Newsgroup: biz.sco news:biz.sco
    4. Reuters - MyDoom Worm Aimed at SCO Web Site
    5. DealTime - Sco Product www.dealtime.com/xGS-sco~NS-5320
    6. InfoWorld - SCO: IBM Cannot Enforce GPL
    7. Computer Business Consultants, SCO Unix Sales, Service & Support
    8. Calibex.com - Simple Tech SCO-QUBE3/256 256MB for Sun
    9. Bagpipe Marches & Music of Sco CD - Amazon.com
    10. Northern New Jersey Council - Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco www.nobebosco.org
    11. Northern New Jersey Council - Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco www.nnjbsa.org/camps/nobebosco

    Google Search Results "SCO" (Top 11):

    (Note: Includes the Google News "teaser" links just added.)

    News:
    1. SCO posts $2.3 million loss - InfoWorld - 2 hours ago
    2. Perth firm files complaint against SCO - The Age - 9 hours ago
    3. User group hits out at SCO - VNUNet - 11 hours ago
    4. www.caldera.com
    5. SCO | SCOsource www.caldera.com/scosource/
    6. OSI Position Paper on the SCO-vs.-IBM Complaint
    7. The SCO Group | SCO Grows Your Business sco.com/
    8. the SCO v IBM info website
    9. Analysis of SCO's Las Vegas Slide Show
    10. California State Controller's Office www.sco.ca.gov/
    11. GROKLAW www.groklaw.net/
  • Never assign.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:45PM (#8457914)
    Never assign to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity....
  • by LS (57954) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:59PM (#8458088) Homepage
    Paranoids,

    Blocking XFree86 is not an indication of concious effort by Microsoft to divert traffic. Perhaps their blocking software has the following algorithm:

    For terms that have been searched for more than 10,000 times, block the term if the first letter is X and the second letter is a consonant.

    As you can see, this search doesn't consciously target XFree86. And XFree85 and XFree87 probably wouldn't meet the 10,000 criteria.

    Wouldn't you think that anyone who knows what XFree86 is would not be detered by MSN anyway?

    This is non-news. Hey everybody, the dots on acoustical tile above my cube spell out "Microsoft rules!" oh no!!!

    LS
  • Shifted characters (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Reckless Visionary (323969) * on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:03PM (#8458143)
    Interestingly XFree*^ (SHIFT+86) returns the correct site listed as number one (xfree.org). Yeah, I did it by accident.
  • by dalabrat (575903) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:07PM (#8458189)
    Goto http://search.msn.com select "Advanced Search" put in XFree86 then click on search.

    You'll get a page with a box that has "Sponsored Sites" at the top and a link to NightSurf.com

    Now click on the link below that box that says "Go Back to MSN Search"

    OMG.... it's the results of the search for XFree86.. perhapse their "BETA" search engine is having problems with the basic search and sponsored links code. Overall the original article is BS since they rushed to slam Microsoft and didn't double check everything.
  • But these work? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fdamstra (209474) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:16PM (#8458265) Homepage
    The following search terms, which I'd think would trigger their detection algorithm, all work fine for me, and even return porn sites:

    Catholic Schoolgirls

    Hot teen sluts

    upskirt shots

    pictures of women licking my balls

    sexy XFree86 girls

    So, even if XFree86 was unintentional, what content do they think they're protecting us from?

  • by BubbaFett (47115) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:20PM (#8458317)
    Where would they get that idea [freshmeat.net]?
  • by Tin Foil Hat (705308) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:21PM (#8458322)
    I'm a fairly competent internet programmer, so here's my analysis: follow the money. First thing to examine is the url that MS presents. I've split it into multiple lines for readability. Notice that it contains two other urls as parameters.

    http://search.msn.com/adpassthru.aspx
    ?ADTARGET=http://ads.msn.com/ads/adredir.asp
    %3F&TARGET=http://apps.NightSurf.com/~wsapi/nssear ch.dll
    %3Fdealcode%3Dmsn%26src%3D1%26key%3D&QUERY=xfree86
    &IMG=http://ads.msn.com/ads/IMGWB3/004400170001_TR .gif

    This url takes you back to the msn search site so that it can record your click. The search site responds with a code 302 (Document moved) and redirects you to ads.msn.com. Here is the url for that. Notice the similarity.

    http://ads.msn.com/ads/adredir.asp
    ?url=http%3a%2f%2fapps.NightSurf.com
    %2f%7ewsapi%2fnssearch.dll
    %3fdealcode%3dmsn%26src%3d1%26key%3dxfree86
    &image=http://ads.msn.com/ads/IMGWB3/004400170001_ TR.gif

    This ad site responds with another redirect that finally takes you to nightsurf. Here is the url for that.

    http://apps.NightSurf.com/~wsapi/nssearch.dll?de al code=msn&src=1&key=xfree86

    Now here's where it really gets interesting. Notice the dealcode and key parameters in particular. They would seem to imply that MSN has some kind of deal with NightSurf.

    I have to conclude that NightSurf paid MSN to feature it's ad (that's what it is, not a search result) when users type in 'XFree86'. I had difficulty understanding why a porn search site would want to do something like that, so I started investigating. First stop, betterwhois.com. Here's what they have to say about NightSurf.com.

    Registrant:
    WebPower Inc.
    ATTN: NIGHTSURF.COM
    c/o Network Solutions
    P.O. Box 447
    Herndon, VA. 20172-0447

    Domain Name: NIGHTSURF.COM

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
    Inc., WP av4xg8hq3ck@networksolutionsprivateregistration.co m
    ATTN: NIGHTSURF.COM
    c/o Network Solutions
    P.O. Box 447
    Herndon, VA 20172-0447
    570-708-8780

    It seems that this is a private listing from Network Solutions and any further investigation will have to include sending an email to the listed address.

    So the question remains, why is NightSurf.com (A.K.A. Web Power, Inc.) paying Microsoft for the XFree86 keyword? Did Microsoft knowingly accept that or was it more automated? Do I or do I not have a hole in my hat?

    • by T3kno (51315) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @10:05PM (#8459262) Homepage
      Good work, I was just about to post the same thing my self. An interesting search is this one site:nightsurf.com [google.com] It looks like the dealcode paramater is the affiliate, for lack of a better term, who nightsurf is paying. Bomis [bomis.com] is some kind of bogus search engine, and any key word that is listed on the google search in Bomis gives you a very similar page to the one search.msn.com gives you for the XFree86 result.

      Something very fishy is going on as it looks like there has to be some sort of agreement for nightsurf to like a specific query. Changing the dealcode to msn on one of the Bomis search strings redirects you to the dealcode=other site and porn is only for grownups warning.
  • by Aphrika (756248) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:25PM (#8458370)
    I got the adult content warning and tried:

    xfree86 bullshit its adult content... [msn.com]

    for a laugh, which for some reason bought back a bucketload of Slashdot stuff (!?). Conspiracy against xfree86? No, it's just a really bad search engine.
  • Y Windows (Score:5, Insightful)

    by failedlogic (627314) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @08:43PM (#8458549)
    This is nitpicking but interestingly if you search for Y Windows Y MSN Gives you this [msn.com] and Google Gives you this [google.com]. Google finds it without problems.

    I've tried a few other terms like Microsoft loses lawsuit [msn.com] and they don't seem to be filtering results. Interestingly searching for Microsoft Warez [msn.com] IS being manipulated pointing to microsoft.com/piracy. Don't blame them. Just interesting to compare the results with other search engines.

    While I can possibly see this as some form of censorship, especially when searching for Xfee86, what I'd like to know is what other terms they have manipulated which might be interpreted as a conflict of interest. What would happen if the US government had a Goolge like search engine - what kind of censorship would occur on their site? At what point will NBC (of MSNBC) become involved - if ever - to filter out searches whose results are not in their favor. Does CNN, the BBC the CBC and other media do the same thing on Internet searches on their websites?
  • by giannifive (240187) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:01PM (#8458714)
    You know what's fun? Search for "GNU" or "GPL" on MSN, and compare that with Google. The GNU website is the first hit on Google, but doesn't even appear on the first page of MSN. The first MSN result is an African safari thing... The first MSN hit for "GPL" is: "InfoWorld - SCO: IBM Cannot Enforce GPL". Insane.
  • by pganelin (744348) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @09:19PM (#8458837) Journal

    I tried to submit similar article on Jan 22 but it was not accepted. Evidently Microsoft responded to the complain and Apache is not blacklisted anymore. Below is my original one month old post. Sorry URL show proper results now and I did not saved the original search results.

    A few days ago I noticed that every time I use Internet Explorer (i.e. MSN search) to look for apache related projects I never got a reference to apache.org websites.

    Examples: jelly script [msn.com] , maven apache [msn.com] , cocoon framework [msn.com].

    *.apache.org sites never came up. I am not even talking about listing it as "featured web site". It never came up as the link at all!!! The best you would get is a reference to XML.com [xml.com] website discussing the technology but not to technology itself.

    Even search for "apache web" got the reference www.apache.com [apache.com] as the featured site instead of www.apache.org [apache.org] Only "apache" got "apache.org" as the featured site at the second place after oil related Apache corporation. Yahoo and Google as you would expect did proper job.

  • Probable explanation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DunbarTheInept (764) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @12:56AM (#8460308) Homepage
    While I hate Microsoft for all the same reasons most of you do, I think in this case there's a non-malicious explanation. That redirection is probably triggered by the following conditions:

    (1) The search term contains certain things that tend to find X-rated content. The algorithm might look for dictionary terms and try to form seperate words out of the serch phrase (so if you looked for hothornybabes it would notice that it contains the words "hot" and "horny" and "babes".) So, "Xfree86" probably gets flagged because it's "X" followed by "free" and some irrelevant number. But, wait, you say 'Xfree87" and "Xfree85" don't trigger, so that can't be it, right? Well, it still could be because of the next point:

    2) It probably *also* only triggers the redirection if the search result returns a lot of hits.

    So 'Xfree86' triggers a lot of hits, and contains red-flagged terms, while 'Xfree87' has the same flagged terms, but triggers few hits, and so isn't assumed to be porn.

    Anyway, that's one possible explanation. I'd attribute this to stupidity on the part of the algorithm before attributing it to maliciousness.
  • by Greenrider (451799) on Thursday March 04, 2004 @01:29AM (#8460451)
    The MSN search isn't biased against Linux at all!

    For proof, just go here [msn.com] and read what it says in the title.

    For the lazy: "MSN Seach: linux -- More Useful Everyday"

The Universe is populated by stable things. -- Richard Dawkins

Working...