[TUHS] Happy birthday Morris worm

Bakul Shah bakul at bitblocks.com
Tue Nov 5 04:57:24 AEST 2019

I am surprised no one mentioned The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner, published in 1975. Excerpt:

Then the answer dawned on him, and he almost laughed. Fluckner had resorted to one of the oldest tricks in the store and turned loose in the continental net a selfperpetuating tapeworm, probably headed by a denunciation group "borrowed" from a major corporation, which would shunt itself from one nexus to another every time his credit-code was punched into a keyboard. It could take days to kill a worm like that, and sometimes weeks.

I read it in late 70s/early 80s and don't remember much of it but this bit had burrowed its way in my subconscious. I have been meaning to re-read it along with Stand on Zanzibar but they would be too depressing in the present era!

> On Nov 4, 2019, at 10:10 AM, Paul McJones <paul at mcjones.org> wrote:
> Another possible source of inspiration — including the name “worm” — were the publications by John Shoch and Jon Hupp on programs they wrote at Xerox PARC around 1979-1980 and published in 1980 and 1982:
> John F. Shoch and Jon Hupp:
>  The “Worm" Programs — Early Experience with a Distributed Computation.
> Xerox SSL-80-3 and IEN 159. May 1980, revised September 1980
> http://www.postel.org/ien/pdf/ien159.pdf <http://www.postel.org/ien/pdf/ien159.pdf>
> John F. Shoch and Jon Hupp:
>  The “Worm" Programs — Early Experience with a Distributed Computation.
> CACM V25 N3 (March 1982)
> http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~margo/cs261/background/shoch.pdf <http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~margo/cs261/background/shoch.pdf>
>> On Nov 3, 2019, Paul Winalski <paul.winalski at gmail.com <mailto:paul.winalski at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> On 11/2/19, Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com <mailto:imp at bsdimp.com>> wrote:
>>> the notion of a self propagating thing
>>> was quite novel (even if it had been theoretically discussed in many places
>>> prior to the worm, and even though others had proven it via slower moving
>>> vectors of BBS).
>> Novel to the Internet community, perhaps, but an idea that dates back
>> to the 1960s in IBM mainframe circles.  Self-submitting OS/360 JCL
>> jobs, which eventually caused a crash by filling the queue files with
>> jobs, were well-known in the raised-floor world.
>>> In hindsight people like to point at it and what a terrible thing it was,
>>> but Robert just got there first.
>> Again, first on the Internet.  Back in 1980 I accidentally took down
>> DEC's internal engineering network (about 100 nodes, mostly VAX/VMS,
>> at the time) with a worm.  ...
>> Robert Morris worked as an intern one summer in DEC's compiler group.
>> The Fortran project leader told Morris about my 1980 worm incident.
>> So he certainly had heard of the concept before he fashioned his
>> UNIX/Internet-based worm a few years later.
>> -Paul W.

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