Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Viruses and bacteria

Why computer "virus"?  The metaphor would surely work better with the image of a computer "bacterium," wouldn't it?  A bacterium can be eradicated, unlike most viruses.  Bacteria can be contagious, and can multiply cells and colonize a particular location.

Yes, "Computer bacterium" from now on, I think.


  1. But a bacterium doesn't need a host for reproduction, does it? Isn't host-dependency the point of the computer virus metaphor?

  2. Hmm. Good point. Still, the (general) non-curability of medical viruses is a big problem for the metaphor.

    I've just read Wikipedia on bacteria and viruses and I'm not sure the parasitism of viruses is a make-or-break issue for the metaphor.

    Another problem for "computer bacterium" might be that bacteria are alive (in some sense), and viruses aren't (in some sense).

    Should we bring archaea into the discussion, and confuse everyone terminally?

  3. Whatever fiendish plot we devise has to involve inflationary use of the word "extremophile"!

  4. "Oh dear!" said Daisy, "My computer has an extremophile archaeon and it's trashed my hard disk."