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Comment Re:Not really a virus, or at least not effective. (Score 2) 86

This is a somewhat different definition of "virus" than I remember from the '80s. I haven't actually encountered a virus since then, so perhaps usage has changed, but back in the day a "virus" was a self-replicating program that worked by attaching itself to or embedding itself within an existing program, while a "worm" was a stand-alone program that worked by exploiting security holes in remote computers and copying itself over independently.

Evading detection is a secondary effect of the fact that the virus works by embedding itself within an existing program; it takes advantage of some existing process to replicate itself. Of course evading detection is a good thing if you want your virus to succeed, but a self-replicating program does not fail to earn the label "virus" simply because its author took no special care to disguise it.

Comment Re:Losing Appeal (Score 1) 310

Google's ecosystem is very strongly tied together. You might not notice this if you are already using GMail, but all their other tools depend on it. It is difficult to use any of Google's stuff without somehow getting roped into GMail.

Googletalk, for example, used to be, or at least look like, a stand-alone chat service; I signed up for a googletalk account and used it to chat for a while. Then I noticed that quite a few of my friends were having trouble getting email through to me - they kept referring to things they'd sent me which I'd never received. Huh?

It turned out that there is no such thing as a "googletalk account" - it's just a gmail account. Since I have never used gmail, I had no idea there was an email address associated with this thing. But any gmail user who chatted with me would find my googletalk address added to their address book - and would try sending email to it!

The same thing seems to happen with google groups, google wave, all these things. I have not been able to find any coherent explanation of which login systems will automatically create a google mail account and which ones won't. I get the impression that Google engineers tend to think of their new services as extensions to gmail, and don't really consider that people might not want to use gmail.

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UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn