[TUHS] Happy birthday, Morris Worm!

Doug McIlroy doug at cs.dartmouth.edu
Fri Nov 3 10:53:50 AEST 2017


I think "classlessness" is intened as an antonym to "classy".

Spafford with high dudgeon called early for punishment. He had tempered
it somewhat by the time he wrote his CACM article, published in June
1985. But still some animus shows through, in "even-handedly" 
speculating about whether the worm was intended as a lark or as
something nefarious. He evidently had mellowed a lot by the
time of the last quotation below.

In the CACM article Spaff quoted someone else as suggesting that
Morris did it to impress Jodie Foster, and he called Allman's
back door in Sendmail a debugging feature that people could
optionally turn off. As far as I know it was not disclosed that
DEBUG allowed remote control of Sendmail. In fact Sendmail was
so opaque that Dave Presotto declined to install it and wrote
his own (upas) for Research.

I don't recall the cited "contest". And Dennis's reaction to
the CaCM article seems somwhat harsh. But the context is that
Spafford's overheated initial reaction did not win friends in
research. 
> 
> Can anyone remember or decipher what this was about???
> 
> Date: 24 Mar 90 06:52:43 GMT
> From: dmr at alice.att.com
> Subject: Re: Contest announcement
> To: misc-security at uunet.uu.net
> 
> My own contest is "Most appalling display of classlessness in dealing with
> a serious subject."  The nominees are:
> 
> 1) National Center for Computer Crime Data, Security Magazine, and
>    Gene Spafford, for their "How High Shall We Hang Robert Morris?"
>    contest.
> 
> 2) Gene Spafford, for the most tasteless article ever to appear in CACM
>    (special credits for the Jodie Foster joke).
> 
>         Dennis Ritchie
> 
> Some context maybe?
>> 
>> “He has not tried to make any money or work in this area,” Purdue 
>> University computer science professor Eugene Spafford said of Morris 
>> in an interview with The Washington Post. “His behavior has been 
>> consistent in supporting his defense: that it was an accident and he 
>> felt badly about it. I think it’s very much to his credit that that has 
>> been his behavior ever since.”


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