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Question of the Day: Automatically Setting Downloaded Executables +x?

May 24, 2001, 16:14 (79 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Miguel De Icaza)

Miguel de Icaza posed an interesting question on Nautilus-list centered around downloading executables from the net, which often don't have their execute bit set: "I would like to suggest that we set this bit manually if the user double clicks on a file that happens to have an a.out or ELF signature. Maybe we could popup a warning or something, but the result should be that files downloaded in this way would just work."

The ensuing discussion has been interesting, centered around the balance between usability and security. We don't encourage people to crash the Nautilus list if they aren't planning on contributing to the project, but it's a question worth considering for anyone interested in this sort of thing (and you're welcome to use our talkbacks.)

His complete message:

Currently when people download executables from the network, say for
installing software, they can not execute them because the execute bit
is not set.

So typical installation instructions for a Unix application look like
this:

        1. Click on this link to download.
        2. Run a shell
        3. type chmod +x file
        4. Run

Ideally, we want to avoid this problem in GNOME, and we just want
executables to just work.  As they do in Windows.  

So I would like to suggest that we set this bit manually if the user
double clicks on a file that happens to have an a.out or ELF
signature.  Maybe we could popup a warning or something, but the
result should be that files downloaded in this way would just work.

Comments?

Miguel.