No restricted \write18 just yet!

Having posted about restricted \write18 support in TeX Live 2009 (and MiKTeX 2.8), a message to the TeX Live mailing list now tells me that for the moment there’s been a change:

… we pulled the plug and try to fix it. The problem is that
allowing epstopdf we in fact obliterate openout_any becasue
epstopdf can write everywhere.
As long as we are not able to provide a restricted epstopdf that
only allows writing to subdirectories or similar we will
unfortunately not have this feature …

So for the moment you still need to turn on \write18 explicitly if you need it (at least with TeX Live: I’d imagine that MiKTeX will be updated with the same change). I hope that a solution can be found to provide easy to use \write18 for a subset of ‘safe’ programs, but for the moment we have to wait.

8 thoughts on “No restricted \write18 just yet!

  1. Pingback: Jürgen Fenn (juergenfenn) 's status on Wednesday, 14-Oct-09 19:07:58 UTC -
  2. And tonight we just re-activated restricted form of epstopdf (except maybe on windows). That’s why there was no announce: it was a temporary step in the process of reviewing the security issues with restricted write18.

    (By the way, since tl09 pretest were supposed to be frozen starting from Monday, it’s interesting to see that some people are still updating daily…)

  3. Manue,

    I thought it was worth a post to point out that security was a top priority for the Tex Live team. Wasn’t sure how long it would take to fix.


  4. We reactivated the automagic eps to pdf conversion today (I was too optimistic about last night). It now uses a restricted version of esptopdf. Hopefully, the security issues are now addressed, while preserving the most interesting application of this new restricted write18.

    See my post to the texlive mailing list for more details.

    Joseph, I didn’t want to imply it wasn’t worth a post, but only emphasize the temporary nature of the situation described.

  5. Pingback: Jürgen Fenn (juergenfenn) 's status on Monday, 19-Oct-09 10:13:52 UTC -
  6. Well, We finally de-activated it again, after discovering a bug in the C code, and problems with our wrappers on windows. We will release TL09 without restricted write18 by default nor any option to activate it in the installer, and take our time in order to fix things, review them and test them extensively as we should have done earlier.

  7. Manuel,

    Thanks for the update. I’m sure that you’ll crack the problems in the end. I’d like to believe it’s possible to get a workable balance here between functionality and security.


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