"viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)

Benjamin Rossen b.rossen at onsnet.nu
Wed Apr 6 20:24:41 UTC 2005

On Wednesday 6 April 2005 19:50, John Cowan wrote:
> What is more, outside that world it has drawn to it (or rather has had from
> the beginning: the Latin word _virus_ means among other things 'poison' and
> 'slime', which is why it has no Latin plural) some pretty negative
> connotations. 
Virus also means "magical and medicinal" ... something like 'a potent fluid 
for good or bad'. It does have a plural: viri. It does not mean 'slime', for 
which the Romans had several words: 'pituita', 'mucosa' and 'limus'.

Viral marketing, however, is derived from the English use of 'virus' for an 
infective agent that is not bacterial. The contemporary use of the term is 
analogous to the notion of meme, and not obviously related to the concept of 
a license that prohibits the folding of its associated code into proprietary 
products. I would avoid the word as it has been used in this thread, singular 
or plural, slimy or not. 

Benjamin Rossen 

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