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back to article Politico's locked room mystery Linux install crime solved

A surprising twist has emerged in the tale of a New York politician who found Linux had been installed on his office computer after miscreants supposedly broke into the locked room. After his office windows were smashed by rocks, Michael Grimm, a US Republican who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, denounced the " …

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Does Richard Stallman have an alibi?

He is about the only person one hears speaking of the "open-source operating system GNU/Linux".. (Though maybe he dislikes the expression "open-source"--I forget.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does Richard Stallman have an alibi?

Of course he dislikes open source since it has been hijacked by lots of big corporations (Microsoft too is open source in case you might wonder) so now he prefers Free and Open Source. Do you have anything in particular against end-user digital freedoms ? In case you do, we would appreciate if you'd share it with us.

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WTF?

Re: Does Richard Stallman have an alibi?

@AC - Do you have anything in particular against comments in jest by people who don't take IT issues way too seriously? In case you do, we would appreciate it if you'd not share it with us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does Richard Stallman have an alibi?

Is this your best answer ?

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Trollface

Re: Does Richard Stallman have an alibi?

Is this your best answer ?

Hell, no. I tailor my answers to the quality of the questions.

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Re: Does Richard Stallman have an alibi?

Richard? Is that you?

You sly dog!

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Linux

It's a kind of magic

"a campaign staffer wiped the hard drives accidentally after mistakenly inserting a Linux system disc into a Windows machine"

I reckon he/she would also have had to provide some really dumb answers to some fairly obvious questions for this to happen.

Or maybe Steve-O was right after all and Linux is indeed a cancer.

<- Autorun penguin

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a kind of magic

You're quite right. Just inserting the disk is not enough no matter how deep you try to insert it.

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Re: It's a kind of magic

Unless it was a linux install with an automated set up script - a la Redhat/kickstart...

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Happy

ɔıbɐɯ ɟo puıʞ ɐ s,ʇı :ǝɹ

"Or maybe Steve-O was right after all and Linux is indeed a cancer."

Linux is extremely user friendly.

Unfortunately, it's very picky about its friends.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a kind of magic

"corrupted and erased the hard-drive of the campaign computer server"

Except earlier in the article this "Windows machine" was in fact a server containing "confidential campaign files and polling data". Which begs the question why anyone has access to it, let alone is rebooting it and shoving a Linux disc in.

Being a server though, it will obviously have had backups enabled so no real problem? (There might be some sarcasm in there - but I don't know the actual answer or even if it was a server.)

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Happy

Re: It's a kind of magic

I've seen other articles reporting the server was backed up the day prior and was restored using that backup

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Happy

Re: ɔıbɐɯ ɟo puıʞ ɐ s,ʇı :ǝɹ

s/Unf/F/

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This post has been deleted by its author

Coffee/keyboard

Re: Just inserting the disk is not enough no matter how deep you try to insert it

Unless it's a Live CD and it sticks in the drive (that way Linux becomes permanently installed on the computer).

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Vic
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Re: It's a kind of magic

> Unless it was a linux install with an automated set up script - a la Redhat/kickstart...

You still need to answer a number of questions unless you have a specific, tailored auto-install. And if you've set that up, the installation isn't accidental...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Still weak explanation!

It is absolutely impossible to erase a hard-disk just by inserting a Linux installation CD in a computer. You need to start and go through the installation procedure up to the point where you define partitions and the changes will be written on hard disk only if you confirm you really want to do it. You can't install Linux by mistake, even the most incompetent Windows user can't do that.

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incompetent Windows user

You think you're talking about an incompetent Windows user. You have to remember that the person who cocked up was a campaign staffer. A level way below a windows user like many other politicos. Just witness any politicians' attempts to control the Internet.

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Re: Still weak explanation!

Indeed... First the machine has to be set to boot from CD, then rebooted. Next there are dozens of selections and menu options before partitioning... And that's hardly straight forward even if you want to install it!

I say someone was told to install it, but put it on the wrong machine and is now hurriedly covering their arse.

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Re: Still weak explanation!

Unless the distro happened to be dban (dban.org)

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Stop

Re: Still weak explanation!

I see from the comments that some people think that it had to be deliberately installed because no one is that clueless to accidentally install it. Trust me, people CAN be that completely clueless!

I know of one person who accidentally reinstalled Windows 98 over the top of Windows 98. Upon asking her, eventually it transpired that she was looking for a possible password feature and despite the multiple obvious-to-techies prompts during setup she was just clicking on "Next" (or whatever the exact prompt is in Windows Setup - it's been a long time since I've done a Windows 98 installation) in a vain attempt to find the feature.

Never attribute to malice that which could be explained by stupidity.

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Joke

Re: Still weak explanation!

"I say someone was told to install it, but put it on the wrong machine and is now hurriedly covering their arse."

Are you saying that the boys were paid to chuck the concrete blocks through the (wrong) Windows?

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Holmes

Are you sure?

I have never seen a Linux install disk, Live CD or Alternate, that didn't ask at least twice, if you are sure you want to destroy existing files. The staffer may have messed up and thought he was doing a dual boot or whatever but I doubt "autorun" wiped the box.

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Re: Are you sure?

It could have been a customised installation disk.

But then I would expect that someone in possession of such a thing would know what they are doing.

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Re: someone in possession of such a thing

The first owner sure. The second?

Perhaps not.

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Vic
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Re: Are you sure?

> I have never seen a Linux install disk, Live CD or Alternate, that didn't ask at least twice

I have created just such disks. They can make life a lot easier in certain circumstances.

But it's not easy to create such things, and they'll *always* be marked "dangerous" or suchlike by the originator. And they'll invaariably only do the installation on a specified machine...

> I doubt "autorun" wiped the box

I'm quite certain it didn't.

Vic.

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Vic
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Re: someone in possession of such a thing

> The first owner sure. The second?

The owner.

You don't leave disks like that lying around. Once used, any remote config is destroyed or neutered, and the disk itself is destroyed.

THis isn't something that gets passed around...

Vic.

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Coat

Someone accidentally installed Linux? Installing Linux is much easier than it used to be - but the number of warnings 'are you sure that you want to delete all data' should be high enough to warn everyone except the biggest morons. Oh - he was working for a political campaign - never mind...

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On the other hand ..

a Linux installation can only improve his server

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Meh

Re: On the other hand ..

If it's a server. And if he has anyone who knows how to use linux.

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Re: On the other hand ..

""corrupted and erased the hard-drive of the campaign computer server"

I quote The Register - who they quoted is anyone's guess.

In my amateur experience using Linux as a file/printer/compute/web server is easy.

( of course I'm not a politician )

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Linux

I guess no one here has set scripts to auto install Linux before?

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Anonymous Coward

Riiiight

Then burnt them to disk and given them to a US politicians office to pop in a machine?

No. Have you?

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Trollface

Re: Riiiight

No, but I will whenever the opportunity presents itself!

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Anonymous Coward

Pay An MCSE

You get monkeys.

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Mushroom

Re: Pay An MCSE

MCSEs earn more on average than Linux admins...

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Linux

Re: Pay An MCSE

"MCSEs earn more on average than Linux admins..."

They deserve to. Anyone who has to deal with that shite on a regular basis deserves to be well-remunerated.

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Re: Pay An MCSE

Weird every sysadmin job I have seen pays on average about 20-40% more for Linux....

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Linux

Re: Pay An MCSE

"MCSEs earn more on average than Linux admins..."

Must be hard doing that point and click method of admining.

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Black Helicopters

Magic

Priceless.

I wonder did a Parent or Grandparent of Michael Grimm the Republican work with McCarthy?

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Facepalm

US Pols

It would be difficult to underestimate the technical ineptitude of the average US politician. When this fact is combined with their predilection to speak first and save the challenge of coherent thought for some future time, we get news reports like this one.

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Facepalm

My theory

How about...

Someone left a live CD in the drive, and once it boots into Linux they can't eject it.

They have managed to ascertain that there is no C: so clearly the hard disk has been wiped.

This will continue until someone really Really REALLY needs a cup holder and un-bends a paperclip.

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Re: My theory

I think you're getting close. I was thinking more along the line that the person was fooling around with a Linux install and then when confronted, decided it was better to call it "an accident" rather than being branded a commie.

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Trollface

Let's see if I can piece this together (arm chair detective and all):

A part-time staffer (probably a kid that knows a little about linux) decides that "upgrading" the campaign systems is a good idea because windoze suks. S/He probably even received permission from the higher ups to do it, although most likely they completely misunderstood the request.

The person completes the install and goes home for the day. Sometime that night the 14 year old breaks the window. The regular people come to work the next day and see the windows broken. Fearing a real break in, they check the computers and all of their data is missing!!

Instant call for the police and media (probably not in that order) to come in. They make a claim that miscreants hate the democratic system and get a few headlines.

In the meantime, the part-time staffer shows up either later that day/night or the next day. Goes to check on the computers and says, "Hey! the install is done." At which point the adults in the room figure out what happened and try to come up with a way to say, "oops" without admitting they were actually wrong.

As a final note, the part time staffer gets to keep his/her job because ultimately this whole fiasco led to a lot more publicity about the campaign than their miserable attempts have thus far done.

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Trollface

So he had his windows broken and then he broke his windows?

Taxi!

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pun

This seems to be the nearest that El Reg commentards have got so far to the obvious pun on "breaking Office Windows".

As for Linux installation "deleting all my files", I for one have been pretty pissed off when Ubuntu trashes /usr /etc, especially when it ends up screwing up initramfs so that that machine ends up being unbootable.

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We need to kill some data, and make it look like an accident...

No problem, and we can make it look like some pinko, freetard, commies did it too.

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Childcatcher

I see...

So what we have here is a fairy tale from somebody called Grimm.

That sounds entirely appropriate.

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Anonymous Coward

Too much of a coincidence?

Someone accidentally erased a disk on the politico's system whilst the FBI are investigating illegal fundraising? Hmmmm

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Linux

Re: Too much of a coincidence?

Yeah, the Penguin ate my folders, officer, honest!

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