Microsoft has been ordered to open up the Windows source code for expert inspection to determine whether claims that it is technically impossible to remove some components of the operating system are true.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly this week appointed Lee Hollar, a professor at Utah University's school of computing, to lead the effort.
Throughout the inspection process, Judge Kollar-Kotelly said that the code will remain "highly confidential" and is only to be used for consulting or testifying in the case.
Nine states and the District of Columbia have asked the court to force Microsoft to ship a stripped down version of Windows, free of add-ons such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player.
The nine states signed the proposed settlement between Microsoft and the US Department of Justice late last year.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly's decision to appoint Hollar goes against the state's motion asking for a technical expert to take on the task.
In the past Hollar has made a number of appearances as an expert witness in the antitrust case and several other Microsoft cases which have granted him a review of the Windows source code.
All of Hollar's findings will remain confidential, bound by a protective order he signed in 1998.
Microsoft is trying to avoid releasing the code, claiming that there is not enough time before the approval hearing for the proposed settlement to the antitrust case, which is due to start on 6 March.
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