ASCII Shell Forkbomb (2002) by Jaromil
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. 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.