Virus free desktop

Robert P. Goldman rpgoldman at
Thu Nov 20 03:15:26 GMT 2003

>>>>> "John" == John Davidorff Pell <johnpell at> writes:

    >> What you'd need to do is to forbid the user ever to create
    >> instructions that are executed by the system (or cripple the available
    >> set of instructions really, really, badly).  This means no macros in
    >> your spreadsheets, etc., etc.

    John> Does anyone ever actually use ANY MACRO that does ANYTHING
    John> more than move some data around the spreadsheet, or copy it
    John> to another sheet? If you use a MACRO to do anything more
    John> than simple stuff like that then you're begging for a simple
    John> typo to wide out some important stuff!

    John> Also, isn't a MACRO (and I'm not talking about in M$ Orifice
    John> where MACROs are written in VB) just a script? Why couldn't
    John> you write and run a complete script as a non-privileged
    John> user??

Well, you can, but that doesn't make it a virus-free desktop, since if
you have macros, and you have people sending you email, which could
contain macros.  You do something with the macro-containing email, it
mails itself to a zillion other people and, hey presto!, a virus.

Viruses don't need root privilege.  That's why I think this idea is

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