[OS X TeX] Command-line fun

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Mon Jan 15 15:01:46 EST 2007

Le 15 janv. 07 à 18:42, Peter Dyballa a écrit :

> Bruno, you're planning to deliberately make the whole branch owned  
> by root! Giving it "root privileges." Your doing would be more  
> dangerous by some magnitudes ...

Actually I was trying to reproduce with TeXLive what is done by the  
TeX i-Package (in Expert mode at least) at the end of the Configure  
stage: set ownership of the texmf trees.

Usually, after any addition to texmf.local, I run this Configure  
stage again, to make the addition owned by root (= System  
Administrator), in order to prevent myself from inadvertently  
modifying later these additions (for example, opening a .sty file to  
inspect the code inside and inadvertently changing this code, or  
erasing a file in the Finder by pressing Cmd-Delete without noticing).

> More seriously: changing bits in the inode of a file or directory  
> (that's what chmod, chown, or the automatism do) is still some  
> light years away from actively executing a file via sudo. Proof:  
> when some mortal user invokes latex, which is owned by root, on  
> some TeX file (STY, CLS, ..., DTX, XeTeX test file), owned by root,  
> then the output will /not/ belong to root. The mechanism with  
> setting for example 2775 permissions for a directory is like adding  
> a hook (in Emacs speak), an automatic side-effect that inherently  
> invokes chown. And it's secure: no-one else than the owner of the  
> directory is allowed to put anything inside.
> And "root privileges" are not only semantically different from  
> "owned by root!" Only the latter happens.

You're right, of course. I should have thought a bit more before  
posting. The mere fact that I precisely set the ownership of files to  
root in order to prevent myself from modifying them, should have  
showed me my post was just nonsense!


> Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists  
> elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
>                     -- Bill Watterson, in his comic strip Calvin  
> and Hobbes

Calvin: Do you believe in the Devil? You know, a supreme evil being  
dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?

Hobbes: I'm not sure man needs the help.

(in The Days Are Just Packed)
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