03 November 2006

Is IE7 a Virus?

You might have heard of an old joke called Is Windows a Virus? If not then let me refresh your mind

No, Windows is not a virus.

Here's what viruses do:

They replicate quickly - okay, Windows does that.

Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system as they do so - okay, Windows does that.

Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk - okay, Windows does that too.

Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with valuable programs and systems. Sigh... Windows does that, too.

Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup, that's with Windows, too.

Until now it seems Windows is a virus...but there are fundamental differences:

Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems, their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become more sophisticated as they mature.

So Windows is not a virus.

It's a bug.

A similar comparison I found in here between IE7 and a virus. True IE7 does seem to be a virus. Some of the points being

  • It gets installed without any user intervention. You have no control over. Just like protection from a virus you need to make prior arrangements and patching to prevent its installation or turn off some features.
  • It just hogs your system to the highest level. It makes you feel that the RAM is not enough and you need more of hard disk space. You might be led into believing that you need a faster processor.

  • Miscreants(read MS) make you believe that it is needed for getting your work done.

  • But inspire of all this it’s still not a virus. Because of the same reason that windows was not a virus
    • It’s not stable
    • It’s not fast
    • its code is not compact nor efficient.
    • Most of all its not come out with new features and is a cheap copy of others like Firefox and Opera.
Hence IE7 too is a bug and not a sophisticated virus as it may seem.

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