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Details on Refining Vista's User Control 304

Posted by Zonk
from the progress-moving-forward dept.
borgboy writes "Windows Vista has gotten a lot of negative press recently following the release of the latest beta, especially regarding excessive prompting for privilege escalation for seemingly common activities. On his blog, Steve Hiskey, the Lead Program Manager for User Account Control in the Windows Security Core group, details what the issues with the excessive prompting are, what the design goals of the feature are, and how they plan to achieve them. Briefly - they know the excessive prompting is a royal pain, they know that have to reduce it to an absolute minimum to be both productive AND an effective security risk mitigation measure, and they want as much feedback as they can get on the beta."
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Details on Refining Vista's User Control

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  • malware safeguards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Douglas Simmons (628988) * on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:10PM (#15454810) Homepage
    As a result, Windows cannot tell if YOU launched the application or if malware launched the application.

    So what's to stop malware from affirming the prompt? It isn't even a hurdle.

    • by Tim C (15259)
      Presumably the malware won't know your password...
    • by spongman (182339) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:25PM (#15454971)
      the prompt appears on a sparate desktop, it's HWND isn't retrievable by any application, and the regular keyboard message pumping mechanism is bypassed.

      unfortunately, this breaks the brilliant synergy2 [sourceforge.net] tool temporarily...

      • That sounds like it won't work very well with screen readers (i.e. for visually impaired users). Do you know how they get around that sort of thing?
        • by spongman (182339)
          good question. i'm not sure. the built-in narrator works while the UAC dialog is up, though, and while it's not as good as some of the 3rd party readers, it should suffice for the UAC dialog navigation.

          maybe they should add an option to enable the build-in reader during UAC elevation...

        • I presume that there's some mechanism to install drivers that function on the login prompt. At least for the fingerprint readers on Lenovo laptops, the driver hooks the login prompt, which is something an every-day application generally can't do.
    • That's hysterical. I bet it takes fewer clicks to format a hard drive.
    • Regarding the link posted by parent, the problem is: why the Hell doesn't this file (a shortcut), which actually seems to be on the main user's desktop, BELONG to the corresponding user?? Why does it belong to "SYSTEM"? I can't understand how Microsoft succeeds in screwing up things so much each and every time. It's not like there aren't easier, working and well-thought security models (look at UNIX's perms simplicity and efficiency, and they can be completed with a more thorough ACL system).

      Those who do
      • And btw, just to make things clear, the default configuration is a part of the security model. Which means a file with wrong permissions, or wrong owner, created by the system installer, shows misunderstandings in the security model chosen. It's like you'd have file belonging to root on your desktop.

        Another thing is surprising: how can you do privilege escalation without entering your password/authentification of any kind? How is it more secure if there is no user entry? It's just like a sudoers file wi
      • Why, because if it belongs to system and a big dialog box pops up telling you so that's scary so you might just not delete the file. Remember how Windows used to populate your desktop with links to AOL and a few other things as advertising? Does it still do that? Want to bet all the ad icons will be owned by System?
    • Perhaps that'll annoy people enough not to delete the system icons. I used to get so mad when I used the family computer and my dad would delete an icon for something on his account and it got deleted on mine too. Another thing about shortcuts I hate: some applications only install them for the account you installed the program with. I had to make shortcuts by hand for every account on the machine or manually copy the shortcut to the shared shortcuts.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      First, two of his seven steps are just emptying the recycle bin. He says he has to do this "every time he wants to delete a shortcut". He clearly doesn't understand the recycle bin. If he doesn't want its functionality, he can turn it off or shift+delete the file (which bypasses the recycle bin for that operation)

      Second, his first step is simply "look at the shortcut." No action was taken.

      Third, it's already been publically stated that the UAC will not cover this case in the future. Now we're down to 3 cl
      • My gut feeling is this is another Microsoftie doing damage control.

        the optimal number of steps
        Is one. Just one. On my kde desktop, I right-click the icon, select delete. Apple's desktop is similar.

        In both instances, there's a robust security model underneath my desktop that does not require an extra "are you sure?" button on my desktop to work right.
        • Not to mention that the entire reason the trash can exists is so that you don't have to have an "are you sure" prompt because if you "delete" something by accident you can just grab it out of the trash!
    • From the article (one of the blog comments)"

      "We fixed deleting Desktop Icons in the current RC1 builds. Unfortunately, the Beta 2 build still has the (many) step user experience. It is an interesting dilemma on how ISVs should write their installers to place icons though. The advantage to putting the icon on the all-users desktop is that any NEW user will also get the icon. We (windows) need to add some sort of "hide" technology to have it both ways... and we haven't done that yet."

      • May I humbly suggest not allowing any program to put anything on anybody's desktop? Make it easy to drag shortcuts out of the start menu or whatever. Of course random icons popping up on your desktop does serve as a useful indication that you've been infected by spyware.
    • the real problem (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BerkeleyDude (827776)
      The real problem is: the icon belongs to the system, not the user. So the user shouldn't try to delete it, since it will affect other accounts, too.

      Of course, that means the user can't get rid of the icon at all, which is a bug in the way desktop displays icons. It should either:
      1) display only the user's icons, or
      2) allow the user to "hide" system icons.

      Same problem with the Start menu, by the way.

      Freedesktop.org's menu standard is much better. (At least, the way KDE works - I assume that other DEs support
    • Anyone else think it a bit odd that it says "You don't have permission to delete this" (step 4) followed by the prompt to go ahead and do it anyways? Well, I suppose that's how life works - I wonder if Vista will arrest me a short while later?
  • Mac uses have gotten used to the authorization of petty procedures by now but it was a real nuisance in the beginning, some five years ago. Software developers have gotten used to it also and have written better installers that don't require multiple instances of authorization, or any at all, installers that installs in non restricted areas and so forth. I think these issues will pass with time for Vista users too. In the mean time, they really shoud take joy in the fact that malware will be increasingly s
    • I am a mac user, and have been using it since osX's early days, and the tasks they request authorization for are not "petty".

      on the other hand, I have gotten those prompts in osX for microsoft and real built applications which were trying to do things which they had no business doing.

      all the open source players i have installed on osX (I have 2 or 3) have never required root authorization for anything, yet wmp and real wanted to access my root files, why? This hints at how invasive the programs are, what ar
    • by Frobozz0 (247160) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:34PM (#15455076)
      No, this isn't even close to be the same. Vista asks you for confirmation of nearly everything you can possible do on the computer. At no point did OS X do this. While *installation* of applications have always asked for confirmation, and access to your Keychain has also, pretty much nothing else does. Vista, on the other hand, is about a gnat's hair away from asking you to confirm "Did you really want to click?"

      I've used the beta. It's awful. The usability of the file "explorer" is atrociously convoluded. It makes it even more complicated to know what's going on that XP did. And, to keep this on topic-- the security measures are astoundingly invasive. Vista seemingly asks you to confirm the same type of function, triggered in the same way, but by different applications. Look, if I want port 80 HTTP requests to go through, I want them to go through all the frickin' time. Don't make me repeat myself. (Yes, this is only an example but it's indicative of the process you'll go through time and time again.)

      Maybe it's the horrible presentation of the dialogs that does it? They offer ZERO information about what *application* (in English instead of seemingly random strings of letters and numbers!!!!) wants your attention. It also offers no real understanding of what is being asked of you. Microsoft, for all they did correctly with the xbox 360 interface, needs to learn how to design a dialog. Here's a fine example:

      I open a jpeg file or some other seemingly harmless thing. I get a security alert box that unnecessarily shares the shit out of me with it's inappropriate use of iconography. It says something incomprehensible like this:

      Application gobbleygook.exe is attempting to access suckit.dll. Do you want to want to allow this? (This is considered a minor threat.)

      Oh. Great. So some EXE with a name I don't recognize wants access to a DLL (what's that-- hahaha?) that I also don't recognize. Now that I'm completely lost, Windows tells me this is not that much of a threat and I can probably click "allow" for the application I don't know to open the dll I don't know to do some task that I have no clue to what it's purpose is. Super.

      I'm trying to make a point by being a bit funny about this-- but Microsoft really needs MAJOR improvement to this process. First, don't assume everything is a threat and scare a user into confirming something that is not needed. Second, improve the presentation. Third, figure out how to discen between Malware and your own software!
      • "Application gobbleygook.exe is attempting to access suckit.dll. Do you want to want to allow this? (This is considered a minor threat.)"

        This is the same problem with software firewalls. Unless your an expert user you have jack shit of an idea whether or not to allow xxxxx.exe to connect to xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx port xx.

        I just don't see the constant prompting as a better alternative, I honestly hope I'm wrong though. It would be nice if MS finally was able to deliver security to the masses. Personally I am partia
      • "Vista Beta 2asks you for confirmation of nearly everything you can possible do on the computer."

        I fixed that for you. :p
        Regarding all of your complaints, this is what betas are for. To get user feedback and address the problems, and obviously Microsoft is doing just that.

      • Yeah.

        My favorite was something I encountered yesterday: creating a new folder inside C:\Windows\system32, I get the "you must authenticate blah blah"... ok, fine, makes sense, I want to create a directory inside the system space.

        But then when I type in the actual name I want (replacing "New Folder") and hit enter, I get the authentication rigamarole AGAIN. What, like I was going to leave it named "New Folder"? Sheez...
      • Thanks for your detailed report. Will be fixed in one of the next versions of Windows.


        - Microsoft
      • No, this isn't even close to be the same. Vista asks you for confirmation of nearly everything you can possible do on the computer. At no point did OS X do this.

        Agreed, the previous poster overstated this by quite a bit.

        Vista seemingly asks you to confirm the same type of function, triggered in the same way, but by different applications. Look, if I want port 80 HTTP requests to go through, I want them to go through all the frickin' time.

        Not me. I want my Web browser to be able to get to port 80. I

    • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:34PM (#15455079)
      Well, Apple required everyone to rebuild their applications for OS X, and when they did so, they fixed all the stupid single-user assumptions. Which is great so long as your apps were ported to OS X.

      Windows, on the other hand, has hundreds of thousands of apps that expect to be administrator. The software companies don't want to fix them, and Microsoft doesn't want to break them.

      So MS defined a middle ground -- annoying prompts which you can't get rid of. Since there isn't a special security level which hides the prompts. presumably people will complain to the software authors and the software authors will fix the apps. And if they don't fix the apps, at least the programs will still run.
      • Windows, on the other hand, has hundreds of thousands of apps that expect to be administrator. The software companies don't want to fix them, and Microsoft doesn't want to break them.

        So MS defined a middle ground -- annoying prompts which you can't get rid of. Since there isn't a special security level which hides the prompts

        I haven't been testing Vista personally, but I just read a Paul Thurrott article on User Account Control [winsupersite.com] that seems to indicate that these annoying prompts do go away after instal

    • Huge Difference (Score:3, Interesting)

      by astrosmash (3561)
      This kind of security model has always been present in OS X, and other various unix-like flavors, so applications written for these operating systems have always expected to explicitly request super-user authorization before doing any system-level configuration.

      The situation on Windows is completely different. Microsoft is retrofitting Windows with this security model, but it must still support the vast catalog of existing software that was written assuming the traditional Windows security model. So, inst
      • Re:Huge Difference (Score:3, Insightful)

        by croddy (659025)
        The situation on Windows is completely different. Microsoft is retrofitting Windows with this security model, but it must still support the vast catalog of existing software that was written assuming the traditional Windows security model.

        Yeah, supporting older applications would be a pain in the ass if your users expect to be able to use the exact same ancient binary image they were using before your OS was conceived. When you willingly give up your right to the source code of the software you use, you'

        • Until Microsoft finally stands up to its lazy, demanding users and says "enough is enough! take your 8-year-old binary image and shove it!"

          Considering there's only a few million Windows applications, that action would likely crash the world economy. Or at least prevent large swaths of the market from ever upgrading.

          Apple has a small and highly loyal group of users, so their upgrade policy works for that ecosystem. But it's also a huge self-limiter on their marketshare, because they throw old users overboard
  • Considering (Score:2, Insightful)

    That every new iteration of Windows I've used I have hated more than previous, I doubt that any amount of refinement is going to keep me from hating Vista. But we'll see.

    Of course if the j-o-b foists it on us anyway, at least there will be the necessary hardware upgrade at long last...

    • Re:Considering (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richthofen80 (412488) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:26PM (#15454982) Homepage
      I kind of disagree. For me, it was more of a parabola. I hated Windows 3.1, hated 95 less, 98 even less, 98SE I had contempt for, and then the peak is Windows 2000, which was the most Stable and least-resource hungry. Then ME and XP were released... XP maintains some of the stability but they wonked up a ton of little things. And it looks like Vista is just stacking more 'stuff' on top to annoy me.

      I think why I liked 2000 so much was that it was NT done right, a well written and stable OS without a lot of clutter. I think that if Vista really was a new OS, not just enhancements to their existing codebase, then we'd be okay with it.

      I think we'll have a 2000-like resurgence in a good Windows when a Windows OS is released as a managed code OS. until then I'll keep dreaming.
      • Windows 2000 was good because it was built on "NT Technology". Or, in other words, it was built on "New Technology Technology" (since NT originally meant "New Technology").

        Brought to us by the Department of Redundancy Department.
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:17PM (#15454877) Homepage

    Tough crowd here at Slashdot. We all know it's going to suck, but at least let them release it first before you criticize. Seriously though, it is just a beta and not the end result. They're looking for feedback to make improvements and thats a good thing.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • It's too late to change the design once you've made it to Beta. Beta testing is about finding the obvious bugs in the system so they don't end up in the final version. If they tried to fix all their design errors after beta they'd never release anything.
      • This kind of thing probably counts as a tweak, I would have to assume. They talk about changing the UI, not the mechanism itself. As much as people like to bash Microsoft, they have some really smart people working there.

        Of course, it's easy to criticize. If the challenges in pointing out flaws were anywhere near creating something in the first place, Slashdot would have about 3 comments per story.
      • First, if the user feedback compels it, then you *do* make design changes in beta. I don't care what wikipedia has to say about it, beta != release candidate.

        Second, you clearly didn't bother to read the article, since the underlying design isn't going to be changed anyway.
    • They've had how many years and an unbelievable amount of people/money thrown at the problem and this is the best they've got?

      My previous post on the subject covers it pretty well:
      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=187221&cid=154 47596 [slashdot.org]

      It's funny that it's moderated 30% Interesting 40% Troll 30% Underrated

      Just pay me and I'll promote Longwait.
    • by starfishsystems (834319) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:16PM (#15455505) Homepage
      Yes, it's a tough crowd here at Slashdot.

      Some people here still expect beta to mean beta, which is conventionally intended to identify bugs in an otherwise stable product. A beta release is not, as you suggest, an invitation to change the feature set, though that has never prevented Microsoft from bending the rules at its convenience.

      To be charitable, I can imagine that with this Vista beta, the codebase might indeed be as stable as what we ordinarily expect from a beta release, and so what we're looking at now is just a matter of tuning the configuration parameters so that it prompts at the right thresholds. And, on the principle of security by default, the system will initially tend toward maximum prompting. However, thinking more soberly, a secure system will have fully addressed these issues at the design level, and prompting will not be excessive but appropriate and meaningful. If it's not, that's a clear sign that the design has deeper problems than can be fixed just by changing the prompting parameters. Pardon my cynicism, but in my experience, that would be entirely typical of Microsoft.

      Definition of beta at: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org].

      For usability see: Whitten and Tygar [usenix.org].

  • I just read this article last night and remember reading about having to keep entering the admin password.

    Why can't they set it up so when you open control panel, you have to enter the root password (like opening yast as a non-root user in suse and the like) and then you're essentially su'd until you close control panel, or I suppose you could time it out, so after 10 minutes even if the CP is open, you will have to re-enter the password if you click on a little icon in there.

    From reading the articl
    • I agree with you; a system like linux uses does seem to be the best way to keep security... what I don't understand is how MS's system is fundamentally different from what linux does. You need to be what is the functional equivalent of root to install or change settings; but just for normal use I bet it wouldn't ask you that much. For me MS is doing the right thing here

      ...don't get me wrong I won't be moving from linux (which has many other advantages of windows)
      • For me MS is doing the right thing here

        I'm not saying what they're doing is bad. I'm saying they went a little extreme. With as many times, I believe the article I cited said 17 times, it should have a do not show again. Personally, I do not believe in caching passwords, but for that many times...

        I actually commend them for doing this, but it needs to be more practical.
    • Because the Windows control panel, unlike, say the Preferences menu in GNOME, is a mishmash of user preferences and systems administration functions. IMHO, they should just remove all of the the system admin functions out of control panel, and have a new Start Menu shortcut that opens the 'Manage...' window you get when right-clicking on computer.

  • Market Forces? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PepeGSay (847429) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:17PM (#15454888)
    Reminds me of talking cars. Users ask for an easy to use operating system without it getting in the way. Users complain about security issues. Users ask for a more secure operating system. Users complain about the OS getting in the way. Microsoft's response? You can't have your cake and eat it too. It sounds to me like their security implementation isn't half assed and that they realize that the closest you get to a totally secure machine is one that isn't turned on and has never been used. Their implementation therefore is going to cause some "Yes You Can Do That" "yes" "yes" "yes you can" headaches.
  • Anytime you install a program, it has to change the registry. You want to see a video encoded in a new format? Ah, you have to register the format and the codec - and there ya go, you have to change the registry. You want to associate a new filetype with a program? There ya go, you have to change the registry.

    Sometimes I wonder - rootkits use stealth techniques to intercept registry calls. Why doesn't microsoft use the same rootkit approach to "cage" the registry into the directories used by the programs you install, and let the programs only use their caged registry? That way programs would only need access to their own caged directory and maybe a temporary or data directory.

    IMHO, the registry was the worst idea Microsoft could have come up with.
  • getting there... (Score:5, Informative)

    by spongman (182339) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:31PM (#15455047)
    beta 2 is much better than previous CTPs which were almost unusable - I had to turn off UAC to preserve what's left of my hair.

    there's still some core OS UI that's not UAC-enabled, though. for example, you can't fully configure network connection settings without running running explorer.exe elevated.

    • I got into it with a(nother?) Microsoftie on this a few weeks ago.

      I predicted there was no clear path with their access control plan.
      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=186700&cid=154 07442 [slashdot.org]
      The microsoftie claiming just because I had never used it, I shouldn't criticize and masterfully dropped a few personal insults too.

      I fired back that I didn't see it happening.
      http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=186700&cid=154 08915 [slashdot.org]

      Funny how I was right...

      Today's Lesson: Run away from Longwait and don't look back.
      • The only thing those links show is that you're a ignormaous flamer that doesn't know how to use linebreaks. And that you managed to hook a "microsoftie" with your low-wait slashbot-style trolling. It's pretty pathetic that you are bragging about that little exchange, because it shows you in an extremely poor light.
      • I'm sorry mpapet, but I don't see the personal insults. You appear to come off attacking Vista without detailing any knowledge of actually using the product.

        What do you expect when using terms such as "Longwait"????
  • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:31PM (#15455048)
    The issue here is extensibility of Windows. Windows prides itself it on being pluggable and extendable. For example, to facilitate the accessibility extensions, Windows needs to be able to send keystrokes on the user's behalf so that a Windows user can talk to an input device and have that be translated into keystrokes that drive a dialog or type an email message. This also allows interesting and useful scenarios such as "show me how" buttons inside help dialogs.

    However, that means that malware, running as a Standard User, can download an administrative application, and send keystrokes through Windows to simulate the user invoking the application. As a result, Windows cannot tell if YOU launched the application or if malware launched the application.


    So they're *still* designing insecurity into the system because they place a higher priority on the "extensibility" that lets applications do things the user isn't expecting them to do.

    Once that is true, we can then move to educating the users to know that "good" elevations are ones that they initiated and "bad" elevations are ones that suddenly appear without their explicit action.


    And they're still relying on Grandma logged into her AOL account as the last line of defense.

    Have they learned nothing?

    Sorry, that was rhetorical.
  • Easy fix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    One solution is for developers to write applications that don't need to be installed, nor run as, the Administrator user. Of course, that is if Vista was designed to allow applications to run properly as non-admin.
    • That's not just one solution, that's *the* solution. UAC, as I understand it, works just fine. It's just that applications are trying to access things that they have no logical need to do, hence the prompts. Unfortunately, that seems to include many applications that are part of the system as well as third party apps. Basically, they should only require admin privelages at install time, and after that they should write only to the user's home directory (C:\Documents and Settings\YourNameHere under XP).
  • I read the article's justifications. And I don't doubt that the number of elevation prompts seen in 'normal' usage will decrease as the betas roll on, to a number that most people will just learn to live with.

    But I can't shake the feeling that their idea of increased security is, "WE decide, case by case, what operations are safe for you to do on your computer." Especially with sentences like this: "The hope here is that the user won't need to launch many administrative applications." Or, "Why can't my chil
    • You do realize that you can turn off UAC (maybe only if you're an admin, I'm not sure), don't you? Or just use Linux (and be sure to run as "root", since you want to be free to do anything and everything at a whim). Be sure to stay away from Macs, though, as OSX also prompts for operations that Apple thinks are dangerous.
    • That doesn't scare me at all, so long as I can log in as a superuser whenever I need complete control.

      A child (or parent) shouldn't be running antivirus. That should be started and run by the system, because it needs those privelages.

      There absolutely needs to be a list of things that a regular user can do, and it needs to be short. On a Linux system, that list consists of not much more than reading and writing in your home directory, viewing the contents of some other directories, and accessing some input/o
  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Friday June 02, 2006 @12:59PM (#15455329)
    A big feature touted in Vista is the Instant Search feature. Will it become a new security hole?

    If it can search and index file contents, then it has full access to my data. If access to that index or search feature is insecure then it's taking control of my data out of my hands and giving it freely to others. Why should applications need to access files that I created but which I haven't explicitly opened for their use?

    Will the security be in place in both the API and data storage files so that instant search won't just become a new way for malware to quickly focus on the data it wants (e.g. Credit Card or Social Security Numbers)?

  • While Microsoft has everyone screaming bloody murder about all these security prompts - keep this in mind: It's probably an intentional distraction.

    Very few folks seem to be analyzing and criticizing the other 99% of this operating system. Keep focusing on this security-prompt-red-herring, and we'll fail to uncover the real turds before it's too late.
  • The point of UAC is to make sure the user has to authorize any actions that need administrative privileges. So address the authorization instead of the actions. Do what my Debian box does when programs need root privileges. When I run a program like that from my normal user account, a wrapper prompts me to enter the root password or abort the operation. If I enter the password and it's correct, root credentials are added to my keyring temporarily and the program can run as root. As long as those credentials

    • So that malware now just needs to wait until the user has authorized root privs for some other purpose in order to do its mischief, I assume?

      Linux and Macs don't suffer from viruses because it isn't worth it for device writers to target them, not for any inherent higher level of security. Ok, that's not entirely fair... Linux has the advantage of being so forked and fragmented that a virus has to be much cleverer in order to spread (i.e. not being a monoculture provides a certain degree of immunity much l

  • I used to deal with UAC before [bungie.org]. :)
  • by mrn121 (673604) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:32PM (#15455636) Homepage
    i have dealt with some difficult customers, but this slashdot crowd right now is just utterly ridiculous. there are a few that are willing to go against the grain and give vista a chance before dismissing it entirely, but the vast majority of the slashdotters lately are as close-minded and biased as any group i have ever seen. if MS adds a feature that you all love from another OS or application, they are copying. if they don't add it, they are behind the times. if MS tries to beef up security, they are doing too little too late, and it probably won't be effective anyway. if they don't try to beef up security... well i think you know what you all think of that. if MS releases a patch for IE, it is yet more proof that their software was flawed in the first place. if they don't release the patch, they are too slow to react to security threats, and are failing their users. this is the best one, and it happened just like this, a few posts up... if they open up to a beta group and ask for suggestions, they are skimping out on doing actual work and getting us, the computer elite, to do their design for them. if they don't open up to a beta and take suggestions, they are ignoring their users. i could go on, but i think you catch the drift. i get it, you guys hate MS. i thought this was a forum for open-minded people to share ideas and learn from each other, but if you want to just sit around and play target practice on a company that you have decided a long time ago that you will hate for life, then i might just have to give up on getting any more actual insight from reading the comments on slashdot, particularly on MS related stories.
    • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Friday June 02, 2006 @01:48PM (#15455837)
      LOL
      Your post is spot-on, but what do you expect from a site that uses a broken windows icon for Windows stories and a Gates-Borg icon for Microsoft stories? These are the only topics on this site whose icons contain editorial spin of any kind (and that spin is derragatory, of course). This site really doesn't have any credibility whatsoever when it comes to Microsoft stories. Sad, but true.
    • Amen brother.

      Sometimes I think /. starts these little wars for traffic. Sort of like the stock market. The brokers hate it when the stock market does nothing. But when there is a downward trend or an upward trend, they're happy. So when MS announces _anything_, it will get spin on /. and twisted immediately to start a flamewar.

      I've been using the last two releases of Vista and I also own a Mac-Mini and a Windows XP box. I ran Linux for three years (Debian) before giving up. I agree that there are stil
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:32PM (#15456961)

      i have dealt with some difficult customers, but this slashdot crowd right now is just utterly ridiculous. there are a few that are willing to go against the grain and give vista a chance before dismissing it entirely, but the vast majority of the slashdotters lately are as close-minded and biased as any group i have ever seen.

      What exactly do you think all these Vista articles are about? They are discussions of what MS has done, what they have right and what they've screwed up. If you see a preponderance of what they got wrong, well that is partly human nature and it is partly because MS has gotten a lot wrong lately and not so much right.

      if MS adds a feature that you all love from another OS or application, they are copying. if they don't add it, they are behind the times.

      Both of the above are true. Are you implying copying is a bad thing?

      if MS tries to beef up security, they are doing too little too late, and it probably won't be effective anyway.

      What!?! This is a discussion about such a security feature, and one that a lot of people are having problems with, which MS acknowledges and has asked for feedback on. So you think discussing why it has problems is somehow biased? Facts aren't biased, your opinions of them might be. MS implemented more strongly user level security, something other OS's have had for a long time. A lot of it, they have done less well than other OS's which is what is causing a lot of the problems. The alerts are too frequent due to architectural decisions and some poor decisions in the implementation. The UI is terrible and a huge hole in this security. Pointing this out is a good thing and it lets MS know where to start fixing things.

      if MS releases a patch for IE, it is yet more proof that their software was flawed in the first place. if they don't release the patch, they are too slow to react to security threats, and are failing their users.

      There is a right way to handle vulnerabilities and exploits, but MS neglects it in favor of the most profitable way. They deserve to be taken to task for that.

      f they open up to a beta group and ask for suggestions, they are skimping out on doing actual work and getting us, the computer elite, to do their design for them. if they don't open up to a beta and take suggestions, they are ignoring their users.

      They certainly should ask for suggestions, but at the same time, due to some of their very unethical business practices, a lot of people would rather not help them. Where's the conflict?

      i could go on, but i think you catch the drift.

      I do indeed. You claim people here are close minded, but all of your complaints amount to people stating facts as they see them and having different opinions. That sounds like the opposite of close minded to me.

      i get it, you guys hate MS.

      Most people who love computers have a strong dislike for MS. They have single-handedly done more damage to the industry than anyone would have thought possible. People in the industry see that and are forced to deal with the consequences. That has nothing to do with this discussion of how they implemented a feature, other than whether or not some people are willing to provide them with helpful feedback. If you want to take issue with someone's opinion here, go ahead, but actually address one. Don't whine that people don't have the same opinions as you, or they have unspecified things to say that you don't like.

      i thought this was a forum for open-minded people to share ideas and learn from each other, but if you want to just sit around and play target practice on a company that you have decided a long time ago that you will hate for life, then i might just have to give up on getting any more actual insight from reading the comments on slashdot, particularly on MS related stories.

      Since you don't seem to have any insightful or even useful opinions about the discussion, maybe we'd all prefer it if you did ta

  • In Windows, even simple actions require accessing TONS of DLLs. I imagine that MS simply set up Vista to ask for "authorization" EVERY TIME a "privileged" DLL needs to be accessed. Obviously, that gets out of control.

    They need to figure out a way to make it so that you authorize certain ACTIVITIES, instead of every individual executable that activity requires.

    Of course, that's damn hard, because of the way Windows is designed.

    Personally, I don't find the dialogs that bad, and if it can keep people
  • silent elevation (Score:3, Informative)

    by microbee (682094) on Friday June 02, 2006 @02:36PM (#15456367)

    From the blog:

    The problem with marking Windows binaries to "silently elevate" is that we feel it will lead to "worms" or self propagating malware.

    Marking "silent elevator" should require administrative privilege, so what's the problem?

    Unix has this for years, that is called "setuid root". This is extremely useful.

    Also, it's very easy to have a knob to allow all signed applications to do silent elevation. Much cleaner than developing hacky shims.

  • by cheezit (133765) on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:20PM (#15456831) Homepage
    What everyone seems to miss is that the fundamental flaw, which the blog author alludes to, is Microsoft's desire to allow applications to masquerade as the user and send messages via the Windows message pump (via SendMessage() etc).

    The real flaw is that MS is maintaining a design decision that was made back in the days of Win3.1: there shall be one method for structured message passing (the message pump) which will cover user input, application IPC, system notifications, clipboard copying, window redraw requests, etc. This message pump is built into the core threading model for the OS (many other windowing systems have this too, it isn't just Windows).

    Since there is only one front door, user input uses the same facility as everything else, and it becomes impossible to tell if the user pressed the "A" key or if an application sent a KEYPRESS message.

    One solution is to have OS-enforced segregation between these types of input, and force multiple input channels. The mouse and keyboard (and other legitimate devices) get to use the "user input" channel, and other apps get to use a different channel.

    But Microsoft doesn't want to do this because they want to enable Bob-style guided interactions with applications, where the target application can be automated/scripted without its knowledge. Changing this also has huge backward-compatibility issues---basically anything built for pre-Vista windows must be modified and rebuilt.

    So MS is talking security, but this is a case where market footprint and backward compatibility are fighting with security---and ease of use is caught in the crossfire. A first for MS.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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