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Re: GnuTLS for W32

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: GnuTLS for W32
Date: Sat, 07 Jan 2012 11:31:58 +0900

Óscar Fuentes writes:

 > But now that you ask, yes, I'll appreciate that all projects would
 > include a system for notifying me that its software is putting my
 > machine at risk.

Óscar, I'll tell you right now: all of the software on all of your
machines is putting your systems at risk.  If those systems are
connected to the Internet (including by "sneakernet"), that risk is
nonnegligible.  You know that.

What one[1] really wants is something like "I'll appreciate that all
projects will inform me that features of their software that I use has
a known and relatively high security risk."  But identifying features
that you use is impossible; at best the software can determine what
features you have used in the past.  The software also cannot
determine what you mean by "relatively high"; it can only use some
"objective" criterion of exploitability, which might or might not
matter to you.  The bar has to be higher than zero (or you'd just add
my first paragraph to the startup message, no need to check), so some
users (and I gather you are a member of that group) will not get as
many warnings as they like.  But others will get too many, and shut
off a system that they would find beneficial if the bar were set higher.

 > You are sidetracking from my question by going back to the GnuTLS
 > dll. I'm genuinely interested in your reasoning for rejecting an
 > automatic notification system built into Emacs.

Did he reject such a system, or simply insist that it not be turned on
by default?  I don't see how he can reject the system itself, if
somebody else volunteers to create and maintain it.  Rejection is
different from what he actually said, which is that he thinks those
volunteers would be doing a better service for Emacs by developing
Emacs instead of trying to keep up with the security details (which
are normally not public, as you know) of an independent project.

 > Something you can use to warn users that a problem was found that
 > would pose a risk to their data (a security breach, data
 > corruption, whatever).

Something includes "email", "website", "RSS feed", etc; you just want
to feed that information to all users, including many who don't want
it, and some who believe in turning off all services that they don't
need, and won't approve of having Emacs turn it on for them by default.

[1]  Cf. larsi's infinitely extensible example of why he doesn't like
checks at startup.  Maybe you would be happy to see that, but I doubt
very many people would.

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