Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 27/04/2004We've suffered at the hands of the virus writers and worm-mongers. They've probed our disks, erased our files, clogged our mailboxes and stolen our passwords: indignity enough at the hands of these anonymous monsters?

Tuesday 27/04/2004
We've suffered at the hands of the virus writers and worm-mongers. They've probed our disks, erased our files, clogged our mailboxes and stolen our passwords: indignity enough at the hands of these anonymous monsters? You'd think so. You'd be wrong.

No, today is the day that our tolerance has been stretched beyond endurance, our stoicism swept aside like the plot at a Matrix Revolutions script conference. The so-and-sos are adding bad poetry to their payloads.

And it is very bad poetry. Take a look at this Vogon-class ditty, extracted from the payload of Bagle.Z

"Unique people make unique things
That things stay beyond the normal life and common understanding
The problem is that people don't understand such wild things,
Like a man did never understand the wild life."

Now, class, what is the writer trying to say here? That's right, Dylan, that he's a misunderstood genius whose creations lie beyond the comprehension of the common man. And what is he actually saying? Correct again: he's a incoherent teenager justifying his grotesque incontinence by boastful ranting. Overcompensated insecurities and inadequate socialisation? You don't need to be a CIA psychologist with a PhD in profiling to know that here we have someone in direr need of a girlfriend than any person in Christendom. We've all had desperate times in our lives, but most of us haven't felt the need to advertise the fact to millions of computer users.

I'm all in favour of humanising software. I think any major package should have a credit screen just like a movie, and if the software business got its act together and created an equivalent of the Writers Guild it could be made a contractual obligation. This would have many good effects: people would take more pride in their work, adverts for software would look a lot more interesting, and when the darn stuff went wrong we could hunt down the perpetrators with pitchforks and torches.

I'm not so sure it's advisable for programmers to start expressing their innermost feelings in public. To paraphrase Tom Lehrer, those of you who've met programmers will be wondering how they got that way, Trust me, you don't want to know -- and if as a result of some unfathomable psychosis you really do, all you need is to read a few blogs in the developer community. Let us hope that Bagle Boy's arch-enemy, the Netsky Guy, doesn't take up the challenge to turn the virus wars into some terrible sub 8 Mile rap-style face-off. This could get very messy indeed.

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