Jun 142012
forkbomb-dejavu-sans-mono aus pdf_web

2002 – 2012
digital prints
[* Trans Adriatic Grey Area] 


The code :(){ :|:& };: provides arguably one of the most elegant examples of a fork bomb.

It was presented as a free and open source piece of net:art in 2002, along with a text titled la bohème digitale.

Within the first 5 years of circulation, this net:art piece has propagated on computer screens, t-shirts and most impressively for its own author: tattoos.

Also featured on the geekytattoos website, among the pioneers carrying a logic bomb everywhere are SilveiraC0le and V.

This forkbomb is a kind of poetic virus. If its visually attractive line of only thirteen characters is entered into the command line of a Unix system and the enter key is pressed, within seconds the computer will crash because the devious little program commands it to make multiple copies of itself, setting off a chain reaction and thus quickly exhausting the system’s resources. Jaromil: “In considering a source code as literature, I am depicting viruses as poésie maudite, giambi against those selling the Net as a safe area for a bourgeois society. The relations, forces and laws governing the digital domain differ from those in the natural. The digital domain produces a form of chaos—sometimes uncomfortable because unusual, although fertile—to surf thru: in that chaos viruses are spontaneous compositions, lyrical in causing imperfections in machines made to serve and in representing the rebellion of our digital serfs.”

From the Wikipedia article Fork_bomb

In computing, the fork bomb, a form of denial-of-service attack against a computer system, implements the fork operation (or equivalent functionality) whereby a running process can create another running process. Fork bombs count as wabbits: they typically do not spread as worms or viruses. To incapacitate a system they rely on the assumption that the number of programs and processes which may execute simultaneously on a computer has a limit. A fork bomb works by creating a large number of processes very quickly in order to saturate the available space in the list of processes kept by the computer’s operating system. If the process table becomes saturated, no new programs may start until another process terminates. Even if that happens, it is not likely that a useful program may be started since the instances of the bomb program will each attempt to take any newly-available slot themselves. Not only do fork bombs use space in the process table: each child process uses further processor-time and memory. As a result of this, the system and existing programs slow down and become much more unresponsive and difficult or even impossible to use. As well as being specifically malicious, fork bombs can occur by accident in the normal development of software. The development of an application that listens on a network socket and acts as the server in a Client-server system may well use an infinite loop and fork operation in a manner similar to one of the programs presented below. A trivial bug in the source of this kind of application could cause a fork bomb during testing.

 Posted by at 1:35 am

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