Counterfeit Linus Torvalds Autographs Hit eBay

Fake News written by James Baughn on Friday, July 20, 2001

from the i-want-my-autograph-to-be-counterfeited! dept.

Beware, that autographed copy of the printed Linux 0.1 kernel source code you just purchased from eBay is probably fake. According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation & Privacy Violations report, several thousand forged autographs of minor celebrities -- including Linus Torvalds, Dmitry Sklyarov, and Jesse Berst -- have been discovered on eBay and other venues.

"If you see any autographs that look suspicious -- for instance, where the signature is spelled 'Linux' instead of 'Linus' -- please contact our office immediately," said Bob Smith, the Assistant Undersecretary to the Associate Vice-Chairman of the FBI&PV. He added, "Every call is strictly anonymous; you won't know the identity of the agent on the other end of the line."

The agency also warns Linus groupies to be on the lookout for fake Linus memorabilia and collectibles. "If somebody tries to sell you the 386 computer that Linus originally used to write kernel 0.1, it's almost certainly fake," explained an expert in the minor celebrity collectibles trade.

"Somebody tried to sell me a chair which Linus supposedly smashed in frustration after getting 512 different compiler errors at once. But it's definitely a fake. For one thing, everybody knows that Linus is a programming god who always writes perfect code on the first try," said the founder of the Linus Torvalds Personality Cult.

Even with all of the commotion surrounding his name, Linus Torvalds has been relatively quiet. Yesterday he simply issued a press release which stated, "This press release is not here yet." As usual, he was unavailable for comment at press time.

On the other hand, Richard M. Stallman is always available for comment at press time. He issued this statement: "Unlike Linus Torvalds, I have made my signature available to the public under the GNU General Public License. It may be freely copied, distributed, and modified. However, I do request that users continue to write my signature as 'GNU/Richard M. Stallman'."

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