[tex-live] Re: Bug#316154: texmf.cfg: Close possible security problem

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sun Aug 21 19:40:27 CEST 2005

Hi Hilmar,

    % The default settings are not secure when you process LaTeX files of
    % possibly doubtful origin. In this case, set openin_any = p.

I'm not too excited about putting such a vague and alarmist message into
texmf.cnf.  I have no objection to putting in something more specific,
along the lines of "openin_any=t will let TeX documents read any file on
the system; if you're allowing unknown people to run your TeX over the
web, you should change this to openin_any=p."  Well, that's not great,
but you get the idea.

What's the scenario where this is a problem again?  Ordinarily the
output from TeX is not readable except by someone on the system who can
read any file TeX can anyway.  If we're talking about some hypothetical
web interface which allows generic uploading/running tex/displaying
back, that's not a good idea for lots of other reasons, too.

    I've no clue if that will really help many people, 

I agree with you that 99% of users (at least) will never see a note in
texmf.cnf, but we could write a couple of sentences in the
documentation, if we can come up with something useful to say (even if
just to point to when this question arises in the future).  That would
have slightly more of a chance of being seen.


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