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makeinfo function execute feature

From: joseph
Subject: makeinfo function execute feature
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 06:47:02 -0500

        It _is_ disabled by default; see the variable
        Info-enable-active-nodes.  And the variable itself is marked risky.
        I think it would be nice if we supported this feature.
    Now that we have the stand-alone info reader, this feature
    could only work in Emacs, so using it would be a bad idea.
    Also because of security concerns, using it would be a bad idea.
    So I see no point spending any time in enhancing it.
    Maybe we should get rid of it now.

I am dismayed to hear your proclamation.  Does not every internet browser have 
this same
risky security concern.  A solution to improve security might be to add a check 
emacs that notifies the user if any lisp code tries to set 
Info-enable-active-nodes.  The
user would be forced to acquiesce to having it set or abort the loading of the 
lisp code
that sets it.  A real solution is to run the emacs process (actually this also 
applies to
those high risk internet browsing programs that also execute processes in the 
without user knowledge) in a login restricted to using rsh and only permitted 
to run
processes and access file system areas selected by the person creating the 
account.  The rsh solution uses the kernel and file system builtin features to 
keep any
rogue emacs or browser function execute feature from mischief.

Besides, taking it out now would lead me to put it back into each new release 
that I
compile.  It is too useful a feature to abandon because it suffers the foibles 
of all
browser tools.  I believe Benjamin Franklin once said that it is too great a 
price to pay
to lose my liberty in order to gain a little security.  Benjamin Franklin seems 
to have
known about emacs in advance.
Joseph Patterson
VLSI Design Tools
P.O. Box 378
W. Boxford, MA 01885-0378

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