Re: virus: Re:virtuality

Alex Williams (
Mon, 6 Jan 1997 11:37:20 -0500 (EST)

> Kind of like the way binary is the root of all computer "reality"?

Actually, binary /isn't/, necessarily, the root of all computer
reality. Analog computing, however, was never a real eye-catcher like
generalized binary machines.

The thought that the underlying mechanism of the universe may be
modellable by cellular automata, however, goes deeper.

> I heard recently that someone had designed a computer organism which was
> supposed to be capable of infecting the Net like a virus, but not actually
> doing any harm, all it did was exist, if you like. I think it was prevented,
> but I'm not even sure of the validity of the story. Could a programme be
> written to invade the net, and use it like it's own little planet?

What is the Net? [Its a collection of various computers running
various OSs that just happen to have settled on a standard to yell at
each other down wires with.]

Can you build a piece of software that not only /runs/ but is
self-replicating on the /broad/ number of OSs and physical platforms
making up the Net? [Not on your life, buster.]

Theoretically, a piece of software could be written that took
advantage of a particular security architecture on a particular
platform and OS, and spread throughout that niche, but seeing as one's
hard pressed just to get N(ye)T and UNIX boxes talking to one another
in the best of times, I think its safe to say you won't be seeing a
distributed net-entity anytime soon.

In a sense, however, the new network.Tierra software /does/ use the
Net and multiple machines on it, as an extended `planet.' Of course,
it has its own ports and communication protocols and, as such, doesn't
actually facilitate /invasion/ so much as it prepares a place for
Tierran organisms to be received.

> > If you can write
> > emulations of multi-platform network environments, why're you wasting
> > your time yapping with us instead of out there making big bucks? :)
> How do you know I'm not?

Cuz you're here. :)