Stealth vs. Clean

Discuss anything related to portable freeware here.

Which term for describing programs that don't leave any rubbish on the host PC?

Clean
6
26%
Stealth
10
43%
Other (specify)
7
30%
 
Total votes: 23

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m^(2)
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Stealth vs. Clean

#1 Post by m^(2) » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:41 am

The reasoning for this post is great popularity of calling applications that don't leave any rubbish on the host PC "stealth" which I find highly inappropriate.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stealth wrote:Stealth:
1. Not disclosing one's true ideology, affiliations, or positions: a stealth candidate.
2. Having or providing the ability to prevent detection by radar: a stealth bomber; stealth technology.
3. disguised or hidden [Old English stelan to steal]
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/clean wrote:1. Free from dirt, stain, or impurities; unsoiled.
2.
a. Free from foreign matter or pollution; unadulterated: clean air; clean drinking water.
b. Not infected: a clean wound.
3.
a. Producing relatively little pollution: a clean fuel; a cleaner, more efficient engine.
b. Producing relatively little radioactive fallout or contamination: a clean nuclear bomb.
4. Having no imperfections or blemishes; regular or even: a clean edge; a smooth, clean joint.
5.
a. Not ornate or intricate; spare: "the clean lines and exquisite proportions of early modernism" Judith Thurman.
b. Sharply defined; clear-cut: a clean outline against the sky.
6. Free from clumsiness; deft; adroit: a clean throw.
7. Devoid of restrictions or encumbrances: a clean bill of health.
8. Thorough; complete: a clean getaway.
9. Having few alterations or corrections; legible: clean manuscript.
10. Blank: a clean page.
11.
a. Morally pure; virtuous: led a clean life.
b. Having no marks of discredit or offense: a clean voting record.
12. Fit for all readers, listeners, or audiences; not ribald or obscene: a clean joke.
13. Honest or fair: a clean fighter; a clean competition.
14. Slang
a. Not carrying concealed weapons or drugs.
b. Innocent of a suspected crime.
15. Informal
a. Free from narcotics addiction.
b. Showing no evidence of using banned or performance-enhancing substances: proven to be clean before the race.
I don't see how any computer program can fit (or almost fit) the first definition.
Newbies tend to believe that if they run a "stealth" program, the owner of the computer won't be able to see what they've been doing. It's wrong as no program can do this; if the owner wants it, it can have detailed logs of all activities backed up by a video of the screen during the "stealth" work.

It's incorrect and significantly misleading. I request changing the "Stealth" in the database entries to another word. I propose "Clean", but other suggestions are welcome.

Thanks 2 Donald for the idea of creating this post.

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#2 Post by ashghost » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:42 am

While I think "clean" is more accurate, I prefer "polite", if only for the fact that "clean" is often used to mean "free from spyware and viruses".

EDIT: Actually, "clean" may be less accurate, because its most common usage would describe the registry/filesystem and not the software.

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Zach Thibeau
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#3 Post by Zach Thibeau » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:23 am

I'm going to agree with you guys. Clean is a better description

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Checker
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#4 Post by Checker » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:30 am

I prefer "stealth", because I am used to this term.
If someone says to me: "This software is clean", I will think there is no virus/spyware within.

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#5 Post by m^(2) » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:17 am

Indeed it would be ambiguous. Hmm...anyway, I never heard anything worse than "stealth".

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I am Baas
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#6 Post by I am Baas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 8:56 pm

How about Pure?

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#7 Post by justsky » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:10 pm

If someone lends me their truck for some hauling then, at a minimum, I will return it in same condition as I found it. Usually, for me at least, clean and with a full tank of gas. I takes less than 10 minutes to go through a car wash.

My point is that I do those things out of courtesy. They are polite behaviors. Not as lofty as pure, not necessarily clean, and not sneaky like stealth.

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Re: Stealth vs. Clean

#8 Post by Terrine » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:52 am

What about 'traceless'?

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#9 Post by ashghost » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:34 am

"Traceless" is as misleading as "stealth", because it also implies that there would be no record of the software even being used.

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#10 Post by Checker » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:53 am

A "stealth" app for me is an app which leaves no traces on the guest pc (e.g. your office pc) when being used.
I think "traceless" comes very near and sounds not so military.

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#11 Post by m^(2) » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:56 am

Spent a few minutes with dictionaries to ensure I get meanings of all these words with all nuances - "courteous", that's exactly how I see such apps. However it doesn't sound well. I think that "pure" is better.
"Traceless"? I agree with ashghost, just as bad as "stealth".

UPDATE: Checker posted while I've been writing.
But all apps leave traces if admin wants them too! That's why I think it's as misleading as "stealth".

UPDATE2: Or with other words: You can move in a very sneaky way, but if admin covers your soles with pink paint, he'll know exactly where have you been.

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#12 Post by Checker » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:03 am

m^(2) wrote:... But all apps leave traces if admin wants them too! ...
That's correct.

How would you like: "unobtrusive" ?

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#13 Post by fpelletier » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:28 am

Look at you guys laboring to be syntactically correct. Stealth is a perfectly viable term for the meaning that this forum is trying to convey. Have any of you guys ever stumbled over its meaning before this philosophical discussion ensued? It seemed intuitively appropriate the first time I stumbled onto its use in this forum. Stealth is a generally accepted term that is quickly understood. Consider its context for the military, meaning to come and go in an unnoticed manner...same as a stealth operation or a stealth bomber would do. I agree with Checker...if we have to coin a new term that would be less likely to "confuse" the occasional internet wanderer, I might consider "covert" or "unobtrusive". Perhaps a thesaurus would be of more help than a dictionary? Puritanically speaking, even rootkits can be detected with Sysinternals tools and they are pretty good at avoiding detection by any standard. However, how about "stealth"?
Be thankful for your challenges...if your job was any easier, someone else would have it.

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#14 Post by m^(2) » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:44 am

Checker wrote:How would you like: "unobtrusive" ?
A good one.
fpelletier wrote:Stealth is a generally accepted term that is quickly understood.
From my experience, few people understand it. Most think that "stealth" programs have supernatural powers, which they don't.

Practically any tool that logs any kind of computer activity, logs "stealth" programs. And few notice well written rootkits.
If ProcessMonitor sees what a rootkit does, then the rootkit is definitely not good at avoiding detection.

ADDED: "Stealth" is actually laughable in case of programs that don't clean MRUs. And few do this. I think that doing this is barely reasonable, but if we're talking about undetectability...

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#15 Post by m^(2) » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:02 pm

fpelletier wrote:Look at you guys laboring to be syntactically correct. Stealth is a perfectly viable term for the meaning that this forum is trying to convey. Have any of you guys ever stumbled over its meaning before this philosophical discussion ensued? It seemed intuitively appropriate the first time I stumbled onto its use in this forum. Stealth is a generally accepted term that is quickly understood. Consider its context for the military, meaning to come and go in an unnoticed manner...same as a stealth operation or a stealth bomber would do. I agree with Checker...if we have to coin a new term that would be less likely to "confuse" the occasional internet wanderer, I might consider "covert" or "unobtrusive". Perhaps a thesaurus would be of more help than a dictionary? Puritanically speaking, even rootkits can be detected with Sysinternals tools and they are pretty good at avoiding detection by any standard. However, how about "stealth"?
I'd like to thank you because you pointed out a problem that all (except for "clean" which is ambiguous) current proposals share.
They don't give a hint about what meaning we want to give them. If I called an app polite, would a person who never heard about polite software understand what I mean?
Stealth is greatly exaggerated, but it's not some abstraction.

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