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Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case

by merlyn (Sage)
on Dec 24, 2001 at 00:44 UTC ( #134101=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

See my fors-announce message for details.

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

  • Comment on Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case

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Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by grinder (Bishop) on Dec 24, 2001 at 01:42 UTC
    That really sucks. Really, that really, really sucks.

    I dunno, I've followed this saga on and off for years, I'm pretty familiar with the case. But maybe there are other people, new to Perl, who don't know what this is all about. Do you have a link to a web page that explains the issue?

    Maybe if people knew the whole story, they would be less inclined to downvote you on this...

    g r i n d e r
    just another bofh

    print@_{sort keys %_},$/if%_=split//,'= & *a?b:e\f/h^h!j+n,o@o;r$s-t%t#u';
Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by Chrisf (Friar) on Dec 24, 2001 at 11:39 UTC
    I'd have to agree with grinder here, this really does suck. If I had any respect left for Intel, or the U.S. Justice department I would have just lost it.

    For anyone who is unfamiliar with the case, there's a good summary here (

Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by jepri (Parson) on Dec 24, 2001 at 03:18 UTC
    Your link didn't work in my browser for some reason, but I located the article fairly quickly.

    I'm sorry to hear the court declined to hear your case. It's always a terrible thing to hear about the law being used to punish someone frivolously.

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by tachyon (Chancellor) on Dec 24, 2001 at 21:07 UTC

    I have lived for the past eight years in the hope that the legal system was truly a justice system, but that hope has now faded, and I'm older and wiser, but permanently battle-scarred.

    Chin up, shoulders back. The legal system just is. I did a single year of law once upon a once upon before I saw the light. I was continuously chastised for my idiotic notions of justice - this was law afterall - what did justice have to do with it? The two may have been related at some time in the dim and distant past but....

    The sun will rise tomorrow and it will be a new day. With that thought compliments of the season to you.




Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by schumi (Hermit) on Dec 24, 2001 at 15:57 UTC
    That is very sad news indeed. I have always thought - rather na´vely I guess - that courts would listen to facts and decide according to them. Your case just proves once more that this obviously is not the case. It seems that justice the longer the more becomes a question of who has more money, power and influence.

    I wish you a quiet, merry Christmas despite all this, and all the Best for the new year.


Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by vladb (Vicar) on Dec 25, 2001 at 03:06 UTC
    Randal, I can't believe it! I didn't hear about your case until this moment and it now strikes me so hard, I simply fail to understand how one could cope with all this. I should comment your 'hacker' spirit! I'm still not 100% aware of the circumstances of your case; however, from what I have been able to dig up on the web, I say that laws (especially those of Oregon state) are "bull shit!". I don't trust COPS now either. I never trusted the government. To produce such llama laws is shameful.

    I'd like to learn more about what _exactly_ happened.. God knows, it might help me never get in the same pile of dirt =/.

    Randal, you are the _MAN_! I wish you good luck in ur career and hopefully some positive resolution in this case.

    "There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels." -- Confession of Faith
Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 19, 2002 at 06:54 UTC

    Interesting to see this case mentioned in Maximum Security, 3rd edition (In chapter 14 - the password cracking process):

    The problem with distributed cracking is that it makes a lot of noise. Remember the Randal Schwartz case? Mr. Schwartz probably would never have been discovered if he were not distributing the CPU load. Another system administrator noticed the heavy processor power being eaten. (He also noted that one process had been running for more than a day.) Distributed cracking really isn't viable for a cracker unless he is the administrator of a site or he has a net work at home...

    Unfortunately it doesn't appear the publicity helped to reverse Intel's or the justice department's position. Hopefully other people did learn something from the case though, I know I did.

      It's also incorrect. I was not "distributing the CPU load". I was using the shared server that we had just installed but not yet deployed for its designated task, partially as a test of the new server, and partially as a test of the new Crack version which I had not used. And it was the only server on which I was running crack. There's no "distributing" there.

      While I appreciate that my case has been written up in at least half a dozen books, I do wish some of them had come to me for a bit of fact-checking first.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        Doesn't surprise me, almost half the statements in that book are flawed in some way.

Re: Oregon Supreme Court declines to hear my case
by Jouke (Curate) on Dec 24, 2001 at 17:55 UTC
    Although I really symphathize with you merlyn and I wish you got better news, I am also someone who downvotes offtopic postings, and I am sure this hardly has anything to do with Perl

    No personality downvoting, no anonymous downvoting...

    Jouke Visser, Perl 'Adept'
    Using Perl to help the disabled: pVoice and pStory
      It has quite a bit to do with Perl, and the Perl community, actually.

      My involvement with the case has sucked a lot of spare time and money from me that could have been contributed to the community.

      It's why the second camel was delayed.

      It's why I haven't released any other books.

      It's why I didn't contribute more to the Perl Institute, or even the current Damian and crew funding.

      And many of the Perl community are also sys admins, and this case has a strong chilling effect on sys admin activities around the world.

      I'd say it affects the Perl community directly.

      If it didn't, I wouldn't have posted it.

      And just so there's no anonymous downvoting, I'm voting you down for not using your head to see the relevance.

      -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

        It's why I didn't contribute more to the Perl Institute, or even the current Damian and crew funding.
        Whatever his other felonies, we certainly can't convict Randal on this count! Last year he individually donated over $5,000 -- 10% of my entire salary funding. In fact, his was the third largest single donation overall.

        Failing to contribute? Not guilty, your Honor!



        I expected no less than to be downvoted for my node...and it happened of course. However I still feel that if you posted a node explaining what happened and how we could learn from it, I would have no problem at all with it, in fact, I'd be happy to see it.

        What you did however was telling us something quite unrelated to Perl, being the court decision. People would learn from your story if you explained the whole thing, which I think is no longer nessecary because I think the whole Perl world knows about it already

        Again, I do symphathize with you and I think the State of Oregon is being rediculous, but like I said on the CB yesterday: if anyone else, an unfamous monk, would have posted this, it would most definately be reaped because the content of the node is not related to Perl.

        But that's my final word about it. I expect you will respond to this one, and if I feel the urge to respond again, I'll /msg you.

        May your court-troubles soon be over!

        Jouke Visser, Perl 'Adept'
        Using Perl to help the disabled: pVoice and pStory
        You'd better downvote me too, because I agree that your courtroom drama is not relevant to the Monastery. Your being "world famous in Poland"(1) isn't reason enough to make your major life events points for public discussion.

        When Larry starts posting his stock portfolio, we'll talk. Until then, the Monastery is about Perl, not about people who happen to be known to each other by means of Perl.

        (1) "To Be Or Not To Be"; I've only seen the Mel Brooks version, so I don't know if the Henny Youngman version originated that line.

            -- Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

      As a sysadmin who uses perl, I must respectfully disagree. I find the fact that computer crimes laws could be used against me for doing my job extremely disturbing. I find the legal system's lack of comprehension of the issues in this case even more disturbing.

      Professional practices are regularly discussed in this space. Some of the nodes discussing them are among the highest rated in the monastery. IMO, this post tells me more about the place where my practices come up against the U.S. legal system. It's unfortunate it didn't meet your criteria, it certainly met mine.


        As a sysadmin who uses perl, I must respectfully disagree. I find the fact that computer crimes laws could be used against me for doing my job extremely disturbing.

        Have you actually read any of the documents surrounding this case? Computer crime laws were not used against Randal for doing his job. That is simply plain false and I am disappointed that Randal isn't doing a better job trying to clear up that misconception. In no way was running crack on password files part of his job description at Intel at the time. Installing programs to subvert Intel's security policies regarding machine access was also clearly outside the realm of any of his stated duties, and was an activity which he admitted to having been repeatedy told by superiors to cease.

        If you wish to persist in your belief that Randal was busted for doing his job, that's your affair. Please do not continue to spread such unsupported allegations here. Please do show us how computer crime laws were used against Randal for doing his job! There is a great deal of stuff floating around claiming that Randal was blindsided by laws that made his job-related activities illegal. The activities he engaged in that led to the charges and convictions against him were simply not part of his job. I'd feel much more sympathy for the man if he would more publicly assert the fact that he did break the law, that he was operating well outside of his then current job description when he did so, and that he had been warned on more than one occassion by superiors to doing some of things he was eventually charged for.

        Yes I think there were certain miscarriages of justice involved. They just aren't the miscarriages you and many others seem more than willing to believe.

      As I mentioned in the chatterbox... it's a lesson to others in the community who might not realise that the neat things they are doing with computers can be treated as seriously as mugging little old ladies. In fact, the penalties can be much higher.

      As such, they story is relevant to most people here (regardless of your geographical local). We should be telling people about this very vocally - the same way we have many posts about using CGI or dot-star. Stories like merlyn's and Mitnick's should be required knowledge for any wanna-be coder.

      If this sounds overdone, try sending Kevin Mitnick an email and get his opinion on the issue. Oh wait... you can't. We should be taking this as seriously as the rest of the world does, and they take it very seriously.

      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

        Merlyns's case I think is a bit different than Mitnick. Mitnick stole and had in his possession credit card numbers. Perhaps you'd like everyone to have that info but I wouldn't.

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