Office 2008 Installer Creates Mac OS X Permissions Problems
by , 9:05 AM EST, January 25th, 2008
Microsoft's freshly released Office 2008 for the Mac is good news for users looking for better cross-platform compatibility, but bad news for anyone that strictly controls user access in Mac OS X. Mac consultant Joel Bruner discovered that the Office applications and files are installed with the owner set to user 502 which could potentially create control or security-related issues in multi-user environments.
Mr. Bruner said on his blog "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's User (502), well, when after all's installed, it will give Joe User (502) ownership of [the Microsoft] folders and their installed contents."
While assigning ownership of Office 2008's components to what may be a standard user means that control over those pieces may be in the wrong hands, there is another potential problem with the file and folder settings, too: All of the components are set as executable instead of read only, or read and write, even if they don't need to be executable.
"Now tell me does... /Microsoft Office 2008/Read Me.html need to be executable for you to look at it? Tick, tick, tick, *ding*! No," he said.
On a Mac with only one user this may not be a major issue, but in a workgroup setting it could cause unexpected headaches for network and IT managers expecting application control to be handled by a different user.
Erik Schwiebert, Microft's MacBU Developer Lead, responded on Mr. Bruner's blog with "The MacBU is aware of this issue," but did not offer a time frame for a fix.