There's a simple rule: Don't violate copyrights and don't get blamed for it. It's so simple.There's another simple rule that nearly everyone ignored in this discussion: don't shout and wave your arms when speaking softly and rationally will do just as well.
Michael: should have emailed OpenBSD folks privately, pointing out the similarity of the code and determining whether the similarity is a coincidence, a bad idea of using GPL code as a placeholder (as seems to be the actual event), or outright theft. If there's inadequate response to the inquiry, only then should Michael have sent email to hundreds and hundreds of people about it.
Theo: should have taken the whole matter off-line as quickly as possible.
everyone: let tempers cool. Wait a few minutes before firing off the next salvo.
The whole thing could have been resolved with a few emails, and everyone would probably have felt OK about any outcome. Instead, the outcome is (from the outsider's perspective) the worst possible, and no one is happy about it.
Be careful about who you call a thief. Defaulting to a conclusion of theft when there could be an innocent explanation ("fair use," anyone?) is a terribly pessimistic way to go through life. Default to a belief that there is a reasonable explanation for the circumstances, and investigate further.