Newbie still confused about potential for virus problems on Ubuntu

Amedee Van Gasse (Ubuntu) amedee-ubuntu at
Tue Apr 28 13:11:02 UTC 2009

On Tue, April 28, 2009 14:30, Robert Parker wrote:
> On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 8:59 PM, Amedee Van Gasse (Ubuntu)
> <amedee-ubuntu at> wrote:
>> Nobody ever said that Linux isn't vulnerable to malware.
>> It just isn't vulnerable to Windows-style viruses, the only thing that
>> ClamAV scans. Linux is still vulnerable for every other type of exploit.
>>  There are more bad things in  the world than virii. :)
> Your posts in this thread have been right on the money IMO but just
> one little nit pick.
> Virii is the plural of virius and there is no such thing in Latin.
> Vir = man and viri = men so "Windows viri" - No such thing, real men use
> Linux.
> According the OED virology is the study of viruses so that is the plural.


I just *knew* that someone was going to respond to the "virii".
Perhaps you haven't noticed, but the only place where I used that word was
in the rather ironic sentence at the end of my mail. Did you notice the

Congratulations, You Took The Bait! ;-)

Contrary to what most scholars believe, the word "virii" is not a Latin
word. It is a ironic neologism constructed by hackers[*]. Hackers are
known to play with language. Compare this with another ironic neologisms
like "interwebs".

A lot of the irony depends on the audience and the context. "Windows viri"
is double irony on a Linux mailing list, exactly because of the reason you
gave. It's an inside joke.

However you are absolutely right that we should be cautious when such
words spread to the general audience. Chances are that they won't
understand the joke.
OTOH we can use the neologisms as a shibboleth: an "in-crowd" word or
phrase that can be used to distinguish members of a group from outsiders.


[*] How To Become A Hacker:


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