Subject: Re: "viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2005 23:01:09 -0700

Quoting Benjamin Rossen (

> Yes, but that reference is about English. 

FWIW, it also covers the Latin usage.  You really should read
Christiansen's piece:  It's about as comprehensive a treatment of the
question as you'll find.

> The relevant point is this: we generally understand virus by its
> English meaning to be an infective agent that replicates itself. This
> is not a useful analogy for a license. It is for software when the
> software is an agent of infection (which is exactly why it is used for
> computer viruses) but not for the kinds of software we find arising
> from Open Source Projects that have licenses. These do not infect. We
> select.

Well said.