this blog is girtby.net

Posted
03 February 2005

Categories
Nerd Factor X Provocation

Tags

14 Comments

FileOpen are wankers

Just for fun, here's what happened when I tried to view the DRM-protected PDF mentioned earlier.

So I pop the CD in my handy WinBox, navigate to the PDF file, and it opens Adobe Reader. Unfortunately no PDF appears. Instead I get the following ominous-looking message:

Missing Plugin

Click the Yes button. It opens IE, not my default browser. After a series of browser redirects that possibly starts at the Adobe site, it eventually settles down.

Plugin Download

Umm, exsqueeze me? Baking powder? A sphincter downloads what?

I don't care if they did manage to somehow get a redirect from Adobe, there's no way I'm downloading anything from some anonymous IP address and sticking it on my pristine computer. Even IE, bless it's heart, is warning me not to do it.

So the point here is to ridicule the wankers from the VileOpen FileOpen corporation, who are apparently the authors of this plugin and the perpetrators of this nonsense. Thanks guys, and may the popups of a thousand different Spyware variants infest your WINDOWS/SYSTEM32 directories.

(It should be pointed out that Sybex do provide an installer for the plugin on the CD.)

14 Comments

Posted by
Matt
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

How about using the offically sanctioned method and verifying the signature on the control is from a trusted source? Microsoft chose to use cryptographic signatures over URLs for ActiveX trust decisions for many good reasons.


Posted by
Sanford
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

As you note, the CD contains an installer. That's the one you'd want to use, since only the Sybex installer will let you open the files on the Sybex CD.

And only Adobe can explain why the Acrobat plug-in finder launched IE, rather than some other browser. Obviously that isn't our doing (you didn't yet have any of our code on your machine).

Our installers are signed with Authenticode, and the anonymous IP is only because we hadn't yet transfered the fileopen.com domain to that IP. We provide the ActiveX only as a convenience; nobody has to run it, and it doesn't do any spying. We have a message about that at http://www.fileopen.com/privacymessage.html

Good luck with your blog, anyway.


Posted by
alastair
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

So are you telling me that even if I do the unthinkable and download your plugin from some anonymous IP address it won't even work with the PDFs on the Sybex CD? Sheesh, do you guys like pissing off your users or what?

Do you understand why I first opened the PDF in Acrobat instead of using the Sybex installer? It's because I (more or less) trust my copy of Acrobat more than I trust any software on the Sybex CD.

Can I take it from your dog-ate-my-homework excuse that you accept that downloads from anonymous IP addresses are bad? Looking at the screenshot above there is no way to tell whether I am downloading from the intended source or not, and hence the trustworthiness of the download is severely in question.

The privacy message is meaningless - there is no way for me to associate that message with the software being downloaded.

But I don't care about whether or not I can trust your software. It's the global effects that I'm worried about.

When supposedly reputable companies start distributing their software in this way, and it becomes acceptable practice to download from anonymous IP addresses, it lowers the barrier to entry for all the malware authors trying to get their crap onto our desktops.


Posted by
Sanford
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

FileOpen Systems produces software used by publishers to control their content. We don't, and in fact can't, give users permission to open files; only the publishers can do that. Our plugin is necessary but not sufficient to open Sybex's files, you also need to run their installer (or you can run only their installer - there's no requirement that you go to our site first).

I do agree with you that it is bad form, and frankly a bit lame, that our installer is at an IP address. The whole browser-install system is new, as i mentioned; we're fixing that now.


Posted by
Matt
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

It gets even worse. Apparently the sybex installer doesn't get along with the latest version of Adobe Reader, 7.03. This wouldn't be much of a problem, except adobe follows microsofts practice of disallowing the installation of earlier versions once you've got the latest version installed.


Posted by
Conn Campbell
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

I too am in the same boat


Posted by
Boris Johnson
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

Matt

If you manage to finally get FileOpen working then let me know and I shall send you an email of a company that sells PDF conversion tools that remove the FileOpen DRM controls. This is not some hacking tool (I am not into that) but a legitimate company that converts PDF documents to other formats (so as long as you can get the fileopen plug-in working then once the file is decrypted then you can extract whatever you want from it). I can't understand why anyone purchases this product. Not only is it a pain in the ass for users to install but it does not seem to provide any security anyway. Maybe companies enjoy giving their customers a lot of pain for no reason what so ever...

Boris


Posted by
Rod
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

Boris,

We are in the process of adopting FileOpen... your comments about a legit co having a product that will allow me to convert a FileOpen encrypted PDF into another format causes me some concerns. Can you provide me with the name of the software?

Thanks, Rod


Posted by
Boris Johnson
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

Hi Rod

There are quite a few out there. Try LD-Converter http://www.pdftoall.com/pdf%20magic.htm for starters.

Boris


Posted by
Zz
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

What I can read http://files.idg.pl/pdf/macworld/20060208_02_macworld.pdf

please help me


Posted by
shin
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

it's a joke LD-Converter don't work ... I have tri snagit and it's work but i can capture only picture ...


Posted by
chris
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

fileopen is useless, third party add-on that is suposed to stop you doing what ? elmcroft software works a treat


Posted by
Brett
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

I got LD Convertor to work for me. I guess it depends on what version of the plug-in you are using and what version of Publisher is used. I have found there are quite a few ways to get around Fileopen including converting back to PDF without any restrictions. I think a LOT of companies have wasted their money on this product... It is not even if you have have to try and crack Fileopen since simple utilities just get around all of the controls. Fileopen can be easily broken without any effort. Fileopen might be bad news for a publisher but it is great news for me and other users who did not want any controls on their PDF files to begin with.


Posted by
Kevin
2005-02-03 00:17:00 -0600
#

I have the same problem. I open Adobe 7 and it says plugin is installed