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Free Software Group under Preasure for refuting MyDoom Slur

category national | sci-tech | news report author Thursday February 05, 2004 00:58author by Linus - none Report this post to the editors

Members Employers contacted as act of intimidation

The Irish Linux Users Group, the volunteer body of Linux and Free Open Source Software advocates in Ireland, are tonight under siege after, members & their employers were threatened with being contacted after they defended themselves against MyDoom creation claims and refused to remove postings from their mailing list.

The MyDoom virus, it was suspected on national radio, was created by supporters of the open source movement. In a press release, the ILUG counteracted this claim, but now are facing certain legal proceedings after refusing to remove posts on the subject.

Individual members have also been threatened with libel action if they refuse to remove their postings. Coupled together with a threat to contact their employers to have them reprimanded.

The legal action which is coming from an organisation with links to Microsoft, it likley to cost the volunteer group a substantial amount of money which it is feared they don't have.

No one was available from ILUG to comment further, but the are expected to make a press release shortly.

The Broadcast: http://www.rte.ie/news/2004/0202/morningireland/morningireland5a.smil
http://homepage.eircom.net/~fuzzbucket/mi.ogg (Ogg Mirror)

Related Link: http://www.linux.ie/pipermail/ilug/2004-February/010950.html
author by Badmanpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems that the ignoramus who gave an interview defamatory of the open source community is threatening ILUG with legal action unless they remove all commentary about his interview. The person in question is one william campbell of a company called bua training.

Related Link: http://www.linux.ie/pipermail/ilug/2004-February/010955.html
author by Leonpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On the other hand that ignoramus, is one of the main Critical Mass organisers.

author by Huggermuggerpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 17:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Has no organisers. It's a spontaneous association of cyclists gathered for multifarious purposes. Don't go spreading misinformation.

author by Chekovpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 17:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Statement from the ILUG committee:

"It has been suggested that some employers may be contacted to see if they concur with their employee's postings in the Morning Ireland thread. Please note that this is speculation and as of yet we have had no indication that this will indeed be the case".

Also, from a personal point of view, I have read the entire thread and I find it baffling that mr. Campbell would threaten to sue for libel over the comments on the ilug list. The worst that has been thrown at mr Campbell is that he is ill-informed about open source software. The strongest language that has been used is 'clueless'. The text of the interview, which is transcripted on the mailing list, fully supports this assertion. For example, he claims that the current myDoom email worm is somehow related to the browser wars. He claims that Linux is a company, talks about 'open system software' and bizzarely says that "the reason this S-C-O company was targetted was because eh, if you go to a website such as openoffice.org you can ..., you can download a free copy of what is a competitor for Microsoft Office."

In light of the content of his interview, I think clueless is a fair description of mr Campbell's knowledge of computer related matters in general. Particularly as he did not object to the interviewers description of himself as an 'expert'.

However, this whole thing is really probably no more than a minor spat on a mailing list. Mr Campbell will hopefully retract his threats to sue and will see sense. If he hadn't made the threats in the first place, the whole thing would have been forgotten about quickly. In my opinion that was an even more foolish decision on his part than his decision to give an interview as an expert on something that he was so obviously ill-informed about.

Related Link: http://www.linux.ie/pipermail/ilug/2004-February/011078.html
author by Leon - Anarchist Driverspublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 17:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well he gives out flyers at Parnell square and goes along regularly.

He clearly doesn't know that much about either viruses or Linux.

His oddest comments were the ones about StarOffice.

author by R Isiblepublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 17:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr.William Campbell isn't the only person insinuating that the "Leee-nux" (or whatever mispronunciation he used) or OSS people are responsible for the worm. The good ol' Beeb (also known for accurate and unbiased coverage of the Iraq war) has this gem from their "North American Business Correspondent":

--------------------------------------------------------------
Wrath of the geeks

If anyone's anger has no measure, it is the wrath of internet zealots who believe that code should be free to all (open source).

So, it seems likely that the perpetrators of the MyDoom virus and its variants are internet vandals with a specific grudge.

--------------------------------------------------------------

He (the bbc correspondent) makes absolutely no mention of two other (not mutually exclusive) theories:

1. SCO/Microsoft played a role in the release or creation of the worm in order to defame Microsoft's single greatest threat: Free Software

2. The worm was created by spammers to flood the counter-spam measures in place. As a diversion they included an attack on SCO so that the blame would fall elsewhere.

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3457823.stm
author by Chekovpublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 18:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The worm was created by an individual or a small group of individuals who were looking to get as much publicity for their worm as possilbe and hence chose high-profile targets with an obvious media angle. Virus writers and crackers are the internet equivalent of graffiti taggers. Their aim is to get as much publicity as possible to raise their cred and also just from the kick of seeing the whole world talking about something that they are responsible for. A symptom of alienation no doubt.

For those who don't live in internet geek land. SCO recently took a high profile court case in the US, wherein they claimed that they own the intellectual property rights to some of the Linux source code, the number one open-source operating system. SCO produce their own closed source version of Unix (which imho is a crock of shit when compared to linux) and own the rights to the name "Unix".

author by R Isiblepublication date Thu Feb 05, 2004 19:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It certainly would fit the profile of the script kiddie (and even of more sophisticated netizens). The first worm (Morris?) was written as a proof-of-concept dare and brought a good deal of attention and kudos (as well as legal troubles) to it's educated, apparently socialised author.

That sort of attention might be motivation enough for someone.

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