I wrote this waaay back in college, while doing the webmaster / perl thing at the Power Transmission Products Company Who Shall Remain Nameless. It took maybe a couple evenings after work plus a weekend to code, and probably just as much time coming up with test cases to throw at it (not to mention valid installations of Microsoft’s many OSes for testing). It was source-licensed to a few companies for incorporation into their own products, mainly anti-spyware utilities (software licensing? Hey I was young, I needed the money! ;-), but the binaries were free.
LSP-Fix was basically a fixer for a rash of problems left behind by a specific malware vendor, but I couldn’t exactly come out and say so (or code it against that specific product) since at the time I couldn’t really afford (time OR expense-wise) to deal with the pile of lawyers this would invite. After release, it was soon discovered that several other malware products broke Windows in the exact same way, leaving hapless users stranded without internet access, so that may have been a bit of a good thing. It developed a bit of a following.
Anyway, I kind of forgot about it for a few years, then last week or so I got a letter from the Geek Squad* (now owned by Best Buy) asking permission to add it to their techs’ diagnostic CD. For Free, you say? I know, this is the part where I’m supposed to stick my hand out for money or something, but I DID release the binaries as freeware, so they could just as easily include it anyway without asking. It’s also already used by various ISP tech support departments, etc. Anyway, after a quick Google I think I found out why they’re so meticulous about getting permission these days.
So as long as these guys are getting freebies, let’s not give ’em an unfair advantage… “hey, I have a real job now and can’t be bothered handling that source licensing crap”, so I fixed a few niggling issues**, and released the new update under the GPL. Now to see if any of the former licensees / questionable spyware removers come neeping at me with “whaaat, our competitors paid $xxxx for THAT?!” ;-)
* The Unit E Geek Squad of TSU had the name long before these beetle-driving starfish hunters ever laid claim on it.
** …and one showstopper: if run as a normal user instead of Administrator account in those newfangled (in 2002) OSes that had such a thing, it would simply report a dire warning about missing registry keys and exit, rather than ask the user to try again as Administrator. Strangely, I have never had a bug report about this. Probably because the people most likely to get infected by malware are also the ones most likely to be running as Administrator all the time… *sigh*