There was much mocking in the Linux camp this weekend when it was discovered that the Sir Cam virus will run under the Open Source operating system - but only under the Wine Windows emulator.
Although Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is not technically a Windows emulator for Linux, it is a compatibility layer allowing Windows binaries to run on the Linux OS. It is that compatibility that enables it to run the Sir Cam virus.
Reports emerging over the weekend have confirmed that the Sir Cam virus, which spread across the internet throughout July, runs under Wine.
However, it has been noted that because of the way Wine is constructed, Sir Cam is unable to create the relevant registry entries to make itself relaunch at boot. And for users of Wine without a Windows mail client installed, the virus is unable to mail itself out to names in the address book.
One Wine user commented: "The effect was that Sir Cam was exposed but not functional, and I was able to explore its code without fear. There were no registries to infect, no exchange list to exploit, and the 'hidden' Trojans were easily seen and removed. Sir Cam is totally harmless on Linux under Wine."
The discovery caused more than a few chuckles amongst the die-hard Linux community, with many joking that the only way Linux can run viruses is under emulation, "otherwise it wouldn't have any."
There is a long-running argument in the security community over the vulnerability of Unix-based operating systems to viruses.
Another user commented: "Wine supporters have finally ported the single most popular Windows application to Wine. It took a lot of work and years of research and determined effort, but it can finally be put to rest. Yes, thanks to the efforts of hackers worldwide, Linux is now capable of running Virus programs designed for Windows."
Meanwhile, the latest version of the Linux kernel was released today. Version 2.4.10 is available here.
More information on Wine can be found here.
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