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From Brian Behlendorf <>
Subject [Jim Horning <> (by way of Brian Randell): FW: Author of GPL Virus Apprehended!] (fwd)
Date Tue, 10 Aug 1999 17:46:32 GMT

Warning for the humor-impaired, sarcasm ahead!  =)

From:	Derek White <>
Sent:	Friday, August 06, 1999 10:50 AM 
To:	Funny Stuff
Subject:	Author of GPL Virus Apprehended!  


-- A long international manhunt finally came to an end today as the
suspected author of the GPL virus, Richard M. Stallman, was apprehended by a
multinational police force outside of his office in the Laboratory for
Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Software
companies around the world have praised the coordinated efforts of the
multinational law enforcement coalition as they struggle to recover from the
disasterous results of the virus outbreak.  

The GPL virus, unlike other more conventional specimens of malicious
computer code, attacks a program's source code instead of the object code.
Once the source code has been infected, the GPL virus replicates itself and
becomes a part of every copy of that program that is distributed.  Other
side effects include the sudden availability and distribution of the
program's source code -- the program instructions in human readable format.
All of a sudden, anyone who obtains a copy of the infected program is able
to modify it at will, and redistribute the changed version of the program.
Of course, the modified program will also be infected by the virus.  

One of the first victims of the virus outbreak was University of Helsinki
graduate student Linus Torvalds. "Well one day I was working on this
UNIX-like operating system kernel," he said.  "I guess I must have caught
the virus when I downloaded this compiler called 'GNU C'... anyway, I was
hoping I could make lots of money by having people pay me lots of money for
a binary-only copy of a UNIX compatible OS."  

"Then," he continued. "My kernel gets infected and then I find out that all
these people have a copy of my kernel ALONG WITH the SOURCE code! I mean, I
did all this work for nothing! Now anyone can come along and mess with my
kernel! Man am I glad they caught that bastard that wrote this virus!"  

Mr. Torvalds wasn't alone. All over the world, software developers have been
suddenly discovering that their software is infected with the GPL virus. To
make matters worse, a number of copycat viruses are appearing. Netscape
Communications Corp, a division of America Online, recently reported that
their next-generation "Mozilla" browser product was infected with the NPL
virus. Apple Computer reported that their "Darwin" product was also
corrupted in a similar fashion.  

There is, so far, no known way to remove the GPL virus from a program that
has already been infected. Fortunately, anti-virus software companies have
been successful at detecting this threat and have posted updates to their
anti-virus software packages on their WWW pages. It turns out that every
program infected with the GPL virus contains a signature "license" that can
be used to detect the malicious code before it has a chance to claim another

Law enforcement officials warn that the threat is not yet over.  Other
members of the hacking group that Mr. Stallman belonged to, "G. N.  U.", are
still at large. Some have broken into WWW sites and posted large "FREE RMS"
banners. Others have threatened to write and distribute viruses even more
deadly than the GPL virus. Law enforcement officials and anti-virus software
companies stand ready to face this threat.

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