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Re: [News] Word Crippled to 'Safe Mode'

Ray Ingles wrote in <slrne78lth.lh1.sorceror@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> on Wed,
May 24 2006 08:48:
> On 2006-05-24, Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Microsoft advises 'safe mode' for Word
>  Does it bother anyone else that a word processor is so complex that it
> *needs* a "safe mode"?

Yeah, that can be said again.

The _real_ problem, however, is not just one problem, but in fact, more then
one problem.

The first problem is that there is a scripting language there at all. 
Microsoft Office uses VBA, which can potentially do things across the
entire system.  StarOffice uses StarOffice BASIC, JavaScript, and
BeanShell.  IIRC, OpenOffice can use Python, as well.  So, now there is all
of these languages.  In theory, StarOffice/OpenOffice on a default Windows
installation could experience the same problems as Microsoft Word, with
regard to certain types of viruses that attempt to damage the host system.

Now, the second problem is, of course, that Windows by default has its users
operate as an Administrator by default.  That is a bit of a problem because
most of the users out there don't bother to muck around with the defaults,
and run as it is.  So that means that if they're going to get hit with a
virus, there is nothing that stands in the way of the virus killing the
system as a whole.  At least on a default Linux/UNIX installation, the
scripts only have access to a users home directory.

Now, your average user will suffer a loss because most users do not back up
their installations.  That is rather unfortunate, but it is life.  As long
as one does regular backups, however, the effects of such a rogue program
are minimal.  However, the fact that scripting can be done, and the fact
that there are many malicious users out there, makes it understandable that
such thing exist.  Now, there could be further restrictions on the
scripting that could help, but I'm not exactly sure how that would work or
operate, to be honest.

In any case, it's a problem as the needs of software and its ability to do
more things grow, and unfortunately, as long as rogue individuals exist in
the world (as they likely will, always), we will be combating similar

        - Mike

Registered Linux User #417338, machine #325045.

If Bill Gates has a dime for every time Windows failed...

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