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A somewhat easy puzzle for those familiar with Linux.

The Devil has found a way to make a Linux virus that, once executed on the right Linux machine, will break every single computer in the world permanently regardless of operating system and internet connectivity. It is evil, cannot be detected by malware scanners, survives storage media wipes, can stay in the volatile memory during cold reboots and breaks all encryption and hashing. It spreads faster than the Myspace Worm, inflicts more damage than Stuxnet does to a nuclear power plant and will share your porn habits with everyone you know. It just needs to be planted in the right computer and when Midnight on Halloween arrives, it will be unleashed.

On October 30th, the Devil's advocate breaks into the house of Linus Torvalds and copied the devil virus to his master computer, configuring it to automatically activate at Midnight on October 31st.

October 31st comes and goes, and the next day, the devil notices that there is a suspicious lack of global chaos. Linus had his computer on all night, he was even adding extra features to the kernel. Checking his Demonvision for the actions of the accountant, he realized that his advocate made a basic error when configuring the file in Linux. What went wrong?

If possible, try to answer with a small story and a technical explanation, separated by a horizontal line.

A first hint: Those that remember seeing a relatively well-known spy skulking around Puzzling.SE in May might get a clue as to the mistake the advocate made.

this question is a near-duplicate of another question in essence since it relies on the same Linux functionality, but how that functionality is used is different. I think, just like the 146 questions that are tagged as word riddles that require us to combine different words of the same type, they are different puzzles with a similar answer. I don't think they're exact duplicates, which is what the duplicate flag is about. I at least think we need to get some discussion in Meta to determine at what point something is a duplicate.


marked as duplicate by f'', Rohcana, Deusovi, michaelpri, mmking Aug 30 '15 at 2:24

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • $\begingroup$ It ACTIVATES at 10pm, but is UNLEASHED at midnight? Is that correct? $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Aug 28 '15 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Simple: Torvalds's master computer is not a Linux machine, thus the virus is never executed. $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Aug 28 '15 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, I'm wondering if this has something to do with the Halloween Documents. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween_documents $\endgroup$ – Kingrames Aug 28 '15 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ Nothing went wrong. He just has to wait a while - everyone's having a lie in as it's the end of Daylight Savings time. $\endgroup$ – Gordon K Aug 28 '15 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Being the devil, he set the permissions to 666? That would render the virus unexecutable. $\endgroup$ – dramzy Aug 29 '15 at 1:14

Linus Torvalds wasn't home at the activation time, and he shut down his computer for power-saving. When he returned later and turned on his computer, it was already behind the scheduled 10PM Oct 31st.

However, worry for next year.

  • $\begingroup$ This is not the correct answer. I edited my question to share more information. $\endgroup$ – Nzall Aug 28 '15 at 21:55

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