Thursday, January 05, 2006

MS Office 2004

... or, how Microsoft wants to own your Mac. Maybe it's because they don't have that labyrinth of horror and evil known as the Windows Registry to work with in MacOS X that they have to secretly open ports on your machine to make sure you're not running a Hong Kong bootleg copy on your Powerbook.

When any Office 2004 program starts on an Apple computer, it opens up a 2222/udp port and a tcp port randomly in the 3000 range. It will then broadcast to any other computer on the subnet looking for similar ports on other computers and check it's license code against the other computer's license code. If it finds one, it terminates the application. Here's the details.

Here's why this drives me crazy:
  1. So now I'm stuck without a usable piece of media or license key to install this with, despite the fact that I have perfectly valid, legal licenses for all of those computers.
  2. Opening ports up on a computer is a security risk. Doing so without informing users of your software is inexcusable.
  3. Adding a firewall rule is enough to defeat this, so why bother using it???
  4. I'm sick and tired of being treated like a criminal everytime I deal with Microsoft and their arcane licensing model. I purchased the license, now why am I jumping through hoops to be able to use it??
Goddamned Microsoft. *ack, spit*


Blogger David G said...

"Site licensed versions of Office for Macintosh OS X (where all installations have the same serial number) do not have this mechanism enabled."

Mon Jan 09, 07:05:00 AM PST  
Blogger Chico said...

Yeah, the only problem is that finding one of those at NU is a pain in the ass.

Besides, I was horrified that the software was opening ports without telling me! Can't wait for that zero day exploit to pop up.

Mon Jan 09, 07:28:00 AM PST  
Anonymous bob said...

I think the important thing to note here is that M$ is opening up ports without notice!

Piracy is a legit concern for any software company...but submitting (i.e. punishing) paying customers to security risks to enforce your own financial interests is not an acceptable solution in my put it lightly.

Just because some users (e.g. site licensed users) are not at risk in this case does not mean they will be exempted from future "solutions".

I used i.e. and e.g. in one post! Yay I'm a dork.

Mon Jan 09, 01:54:00 PM PST  

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