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LinuxWorld: Love letters

May 20, 2000, 00:19 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nicholas Petreley)

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"You may be surprised to hear that I do not believe the answer is to cripple Outlook by disabling its ability to run attachments as programs. It irks me that many technical users who were smart enough to avoid opening this particular attachment seem to feel superior to those who were caught by the virus. I challenge those users to give me a legitimate technical reason why people should not be able to open any attachment to any mail message."

"Why isn't it preferable to create an environment where people don't have to know the difference between opening a file to view its contents and opening a file to run its contents? Most people I know don't want to know the difference between viewing and running a file. And I don't think they should have to. Every reason why you can't safely open an executable mail attachment today can be traced back to a flaw in the design of the mail program, operating system, or both."

"Microsoft can deliver this kind of environment, but it won't. The only way to build a truly safe execution environment for applications is to insulate the applications from the guts of the system. In other words, in order to make Windows safe, the Windows execution environment has to become more abstract. This creates a big problem for Microsoft. A safe, abstract execution environment is relatively easy for competitors to reproduce on platforms other than Windows."

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