Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Here it is: Poem Twelve in The Twelve Poems of Christmas

Thanks to for this lovely poem!

The Worm Before Christmas

'Twas the night before finals and all through the lab
Not a student was sleeping, not even McNabb.
Their projects were finished, completed with care
In hopes that the grades would be easy (and fair).

The students were wired with caffeine in their veins

While visions of quals nearly drove them insane.

With piles of books and a brand-new highlighter,

I had just settled down for another all-nighter –

When out from our gateways arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter

Away to the console I flew like a flash

And logged on as root to fend off a crash

The windows displayed on my brand new Sun-3

Gave oodles of info -- some in 3-D.

When, what to my burning red eyes should appear

But dozens of "nobody" jobs. Oh dear!

With a blitzkrieg invasion, so virulent and firm,

I knew in a moment. It was Morris's Worm!

More rapid than eagles his processes came

And they forked and exec'd and they copied by name!

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!

On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!

To the sites in .rhosts and host.eqi

Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

[ Note: the machines,,, etc., have been renamed deer1, deer2, deer3, etc., so as not to confuse the already burdened students who use those machines. We regret that this poem reflects the older naming scheme and hope it does not confuse the network administrator at your site. -Ed. ]

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the phone,

The complaints of the users (thought I was alone!)

"The load is too high!" "I can't read my files!"

"I can't send my mail over miles and miles!"

I unplugged the net, and was turning around,

When the worm-ridden system went down with a bound.

I fretted, I frittered, I sweated, I wept.

Then finally I core dumped the worm in /tmp.

It was smart and pervasive, a right jolly old stealth,

And I laughed when I saw it, in spite of myself.

A look at the dump of that invasive thread

Soon gave me to know we had nothing to dread.

The next day was slow with no network connections

For we wanted no more of those pesky infections.

But in spite of the news and the noise and the clatter

Soon all became normal, as if naught were the matter.

Then later that month, while all were away,

A virus came calling, and then went away.

The system then told us, when we logged in one night:
"Happy Christmas to all! (You guys aren't so bright.)"

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