Re: Working Within the System

From: Martin Ling (
Date: Sun Apr 30 2000 - 08:25:56 MDT

On Sun, Apr 30, 2000 at 09:52:08AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > That's absolutely incorrect.
> >
> > ActiveX was rejected (by just about everyone, including people using MS
> > software) primarily because it's a HUGE security problem. 'ActiveX'
> > programs (there's nothing special about them, they're just Windows
> > programs your machine downloads and runs) would load automatically and
> > run with full priveledges on your machine. They could trash your hard
> > disk, read your files, send your data to someone. ActiveX was an
> > absolute *disaster*.
> >
> > It's only a secondary point It meant people producing content for the
> > Web that was only viewable by people using Microsoft browsers on Intel-
> > based computers.
> Wrong. So long as browsers on other OS's are made with runtime's to
> operate these programs, it really doesn't matter what OS is browsing it.
> I've done this with cobol programs. You can run acucobol programs on any
> machine you want so long as you have the runtimes installed. That is a
> failure of other browser manufacturers who refused to implement ActiveX
> runtimes in their browsers simply because it was a Microsoft creation.
> It is they who were being anti-competetive.
> Additionally, there is no problem with making a runtime that disallows
> (or allows the user to disallow) certain types of system functions, just
> as Java does. So the only security hole is due to the release of an
> unready implementation. That is a typical Microsoft fault, premature
> releasing things. I'm sure that many of those suffering from Bill-envy
> will extend that failure to his personal life.


ActiveX components are simply Windows executables. Making a runtime for
them would basically mean making a runtime to allow Windows programs to
run on other OS's. This is *not* a simple task, and not one Microsoft is
willing to allow (they refuse to document the APIs, hence everything has
to be reverse-engineered). Witness the Wine project (allowing Windows
programs to run on Linux) - which has taken years to get as far as it
has, and although an impressive job is *still* only experimental.


| Martin J. Ling              Tel: +44 (0)20 8863 2948   |
|      Fax: +44 (0)20 8248 4025   |
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