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[5]: Great article, but...
by Tom5 on Thu 18th Jan 2007 17:52 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Great article, but..."
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Otherwise anyone could create malware and provide a hash to match it, but make it look like normal software.

Yes, just because something is in the shared directory doesn't mean it's safe to run it. One reason why unfriendly names are OK here is that you really don't want users browsing around running things that just look interesting!

Furthermore, don't the archive contents have to be re-analyzed every time you want to verify their authenticity?

No, that's why you have the privileged helper. It checks the digest once and then adds it. So, if you see a directory called:


then you don't have to calculate the XXXXXXX bit yourself. If it didn't match, it wouldn't have been allowed in.

BTW, you don't need to use the web to check the hash. It may be that Alice and Bob both trust the CD (in which case they get to share the copy on it). Denise doesn't trust the CD, so she checks with the web-site instead (and will share the copy only if it matches).

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