Linked by Thomas Leonard on Tue 16th Jan 2007 00:32 UTC
General Development In the Free and Open Source communities we are proud of our 'bazaar' model, where anyone can join in by setting up a project and publishing their programs. Users are free to pick and choose whatever software they want... provided they're happy to compile from source, resolve dependencies manually and give up automatic security and feature updates. In this essay, I introduce 'decentralised' installation systems, such as Autopackage and Zero Install, which aim to provide these missing features.
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RE[4]: Great article, but...
by Moochman on Thu 18th Jan 2007 08:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Great article, but..."
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Hmm... while your solution does sound perhaps a bit more elegant, I still don't see why the system couldn't extract an identifier text file from the archive and then compare it to the archive's contents. Also, just to be clear: comparing the hash to the contents wouldn't do a thing to ensure security all by itself; it would also need to be compared to the hash at the project's website, right? Otherwise anyone could create malware and provide a hash to match it, but make it look like normal software. Furthermore, don't the archive contents have to be re-analyzed every time you want to verify their authenticity? So given that the website needs to be accessed and the hash needs to be recalculated in any case, couldn't we just skip the step with the local copy of the hash?

To rephrase: The hash being stored in the local filesystem does very little to ensure integrity of the program. Only by checking the folder's contents against an online hash of its contents can ensure the program's security, which effectively renders the local copy of the hash useless.

Or am I missing something?

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