2006 Edition Free and Open Source Software Developer's European Meeting


2006-02-20 - Tomasz Kojm


An interview conducted by Lionel Dricot (aka "ploum")
FOSDEM - Please present yourself.

Tomasz Kojm - My name is Tomasz Kojm and I'm one of those who control your e-mail^w^w^w^w^w^w^w the project leader of Clam AntiVirus, a GPL AV toolkit for Unix. My main duties in ClamAV include the project maintenance and the anti-virus engine research and development. I hold M.S. degree in Computer Science from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland.

FOSDEM - What is "different" with ClamAV? What are the competitors on this "market" and why must we choose ClamAV?

Tomasz Kojm - There are many players in the AV market and most of them are very good ones. Moreover, every anti-virus product is unique on its own. It's up to the administrator to choose the most suitable solution for his network.

ClamAV is a popular choice for e-mail gateways. It's known for its flexibility and good reaction times to new threats. ClamAV has many unique features and I will be talking about them on FOSDEM.

FOSDEM - What, in ClamAV, makes you very proud of it?

Tomasz Kojm - I'm very proud of the ClamAV team. They're fantastic individuals and working with them is both a pleasure and a great experience.

FOSDEM - What, in ClamAV, ashamed you the most?

Tomasz Kojm - Two years ago we were testing new engine extensions and one of them was support for signatures based on MD5 checksums. During the test phase, a signature for the COPYING file from the ClamAV package got into the daily virus database unnoticed. As a result, ClamAV-Devel started detecting... GPL programs as viruses! Although the problem only affected the development version and was quickly fixed, the electronic media made a big fuss about the incident, often providing their own, dreamed up, explanations. Some of them even supposed, that the problem was a sabotage of one of the developers!

After that incident, we improved our internal QA process to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

FOSDEM - Most people believe there don't exist viruses for GNU/Linux. Do you think ClamAV will stay a server product or will it reach GNU/Linux workstations as well?

Tomasz Kojm - Linux Magazine has recently published a brief article on viruses in Linux and made it available online:

Linux users are not that exposed to viruses as Windows users, however they may still want to run a local scanner in some cases, eg. if their internet provider doesn't scan e-mail for viruses. There already exists a number of desktop solutions utilising our software and KlamAV (An Anti-Virus Manager For The KDE Desktop) is one of the best examples.

FOSDEM - How do you see the future of ClamAV and your own future in the
OpenSource world?

Tomasz Kojm - It's hard to talk about the future, but be sure that I will do my best to keep ClamAV open and effective.

FOSDEM - What will you talk about at FOSDEM this year (more precisely than just "it will be about ClamAV")?

Tomasz Kojm - My talk will be about two sides of the anti-virus development: software and service. I will describe the design of ClamAV, present some interesting facts and tips, and explain how the virus databases are maintained.

FOSDEM - What do you expect from FOSDEM and what makes you happy (if any) to come here in Belgium?

Tomasz Kojm - Open source conferences are always fascinating events full of computer geeks. I expect FOSDEM to be exceptionally interesting as it's one of the most prestigious OSS meetings. Moreover, I've never been to Brussels and I always enjoy visiting new places.

FOSDEM - Thanks you for your answers, for coming to FOSDEM and for your involvement in Free Software.

Tomasz Kojm - Thank you for inviting me to FOSDEM. I'm happy as a clam! :-)


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