Perens on the Virus

Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 06:28 PM EST

Contributed by: PJ

Bruce Perens has published the following article, which I reproduce in full, from the version on NewsForge.


The master version of this notice is at Please check that location for a more recent version. You may re-publish this material. You may excerpt it, reformat it and translate it as necessary for your presentation. You may not edit it to deliberately misrepresent my opinion.

January 26, 2004, a new virus became rampant. I have reports that the virus payload has two purposes: to send an email spam for a mail-order "Viagra" vendor, and to perform a denial-of-service attack on SCO's web site.

Denial-of-service attacks via virus have been a common trick of email spammers. They were first used to take out some of the anti-spam blacklist sites. Several of those sites had their (non-spam-related) business so heavily disrupted that they closed the doors of their anti-spam projects rather than be attacked again.

The Open Source developers are a target of spammers. We are the creators of most high-profile anti-spam technology. For example, SpamAssassin started out as, and remains today, an Open Source project. The predominant mail delivery programs of the Internet are Open Source projects such as Sendmail and Postfix, and thus most efforts to spam-proof those programs are Open Source as well. This is important, because it gives spammers a reason to defame us.

SCO also has a reason to defame us, as part of their stock-kiting scheme. We have assembled ample evidence that they have lied under oath in court. Such a company would not balk at attacking their own site in order to paint their opponents in a bad light.

Thus, it is likely that this virus has been assembled for the purpose of defaming the Linux developers by spammers, SCO, or others. Your behavior will influence whether or not it succeeds in this mission.

Thus, I urge all persons who have sympathy for Free Software, Open Source, and Linux:

Remember that your actions count. You are ambassadors of our community.

Many Thanks

Bruce Perens