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APPLE'S UNLIKELY GUARDIAN ANGELS

SOFTWARE PIRATES OFTEN distribute their booty to computer users on the Net unable--or unwilling--to pay full price. But software aficionados--some of whom admit to pirating--are being unusually merciful to foundering Apple Computer. Many, in fact, not only promise to refrain from plundering but are going so far as to monitor bulletin boards to discourage postings of pirated versions of the recently released Macintosh operating system, OS8. Says Apple spokesman Russell Brady: ''I've never heard of anything like this before.''

Its defenders have decided that Apple must stay alive--if only to be a thorn in the side of their archenemy, William H. Gates III. ''If you decide to...use a pirated version [of OS8], you'll be stating that you don't care about Apple's success, and you're also making B. Gates's life a whole lot easier,'' chides one hacker's posting.

To protect OS8, which hit stores on July 22 at $99, computer hackers are setting booby traps. One electronic missive warns that some downloads labeled OS8 are actually computer-killing viruses. And so keelhauling evolves.

By Roy Furchgott
EDITED BY PAT WECHSLER


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Updated July 25, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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