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PlanetIT: Shockwave Virus Embarrassed Linux Supporters, but Negative Effect Is Receding

Jan 10, 2001, 20:44 (21 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Villano)

"...the year ended on a rather sour note [for Linux], when, toward the beginning of December, a computer virus entitled "Shockwave.A" promoted Linux. Resembling the infamous "I Love You" virus, this app spread through Microsoft Outlook e-mail program, crashing computers in dozens of organizations. The virus altered file extensions by adding text that read: "change at least now to LINUX." In addition, each attack ended with a message signed by "the penguin" -- the de facto Linux mascot."

"Immediately following news of this virus, a number of industry experts said that the virus could cripple the operating system's success. More recently, however, a number of those experts have mitigated those statements by saying mishaps such as this are part of life. One such expert was Dan Kuznetsky, vice president of systems software research for IDC Corp., in Framingham, Mass. Originally, Kuznetsky's assessment of the virus aftermath was grave. By last week, he had changed his tone, siding with users who said such setbacks were simply par for the course."

"Kuznetsky wasn't the only one to change directions midstream. At BASCOM, a Hauppauge, N.Y. educational software developer that utilizes Linux, CTO Bob DeRosa had a similar response, first calling the virus "a disaster," then deciding that in the long run, perhaps the experience would be good to show Linux users that even their OS isn't immune to this kind of computer vandalism. Today, while DeRosa admits the virus may have scared off some potential Linux users, he adds that it won't have any "long-term effects" on the OS."

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