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Office 2008, 502 & You

Every little baby calls 502 its mama.

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Joel Bruner couldn't get into the right Macworld conference. All he had left was something sponsored by - Microsoft.

'All because IDG double booked a room and the session I wanted got bumped until later. I instead went to see what's new at the Office2008: Form Meet Function session. Cute sounding eh?'

Yeah really cute.

'Within the first minute or two, to ensure our rapt attention I'm sure, our lady MC told us that we were all going to receive a free copy of Office 2008.'

Worth almost $500. Party on. But sell it or play with it?

'After debating whether I'd sell this bad boy or install it, I went with carnal knowledge of the beast.'

Except for the contribution to the scientific community: a Bad Move™.

Package Maker

Microsoft are now using pkg files. And the sorry thing installs 42,394 files and directories. And sets ownership to '502' for 42,293 of them. But there isn't necessarily a 502 on OS X - only if you set up an additional account after the first one [which is 501].

'So let's say Mr IT installs this on a user's machine where the first user is the admin (501) and the standard user is Joe User (502). After all's installed it will give Joe User (502) ownership of these folders and their installed contents.'

/Library/Automator (if it doesn't exist already)
/Library/Application Support/Microsoft
/Applications/Microsoft Office 2008


Security Holes No One Wants

'Hmmm that's not good now is it? Because A) Joe User will find a way to screw it up and B) those are security holes IT don't want to have. Oh if only they'd taken a peek at p 1060 of Cocoa Programming which basically says if you let root own the file but the person installing isn't root it will assign that user's ID to the installed files - that's how it should be. Instead if UID 502 doesn't exist on your system when you install it will still assign that UID as the file's owner anyway.'


The party's just begun.

'But there's an uninstaller, you say? Yes there is and it does a lovely job of moving the Microsoft Office 2008 folder to the trash - but it kinda misses the Application Support folder, the fonts folder (and moving the disabled fonts back) and all 97 automator actions.'

Don't Fix Permissions

'If you do get ownership fixed on all those files, make sure to delete all the Office 2008 files from the /Library/Receipts folder lest you reverse it all with one click of 'Fix Permissions' in Disk Utility. And no you can't use awk, sed, or some other readily apparent way to modify the BOM files - that's something for the MOAB crew.'

See Also
brunerd: Office 2008, 502, and You

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