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Old 2010-11-15, 20:58   #1
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Angry Why does prime95 hide itself on XP?

I work at the University of Georgia math department, where we have a serious problem with our classroom computers running prime95. This ties up the machine, making it virtually impossible to run demonstrations for our lectures during class. In addition, the software bypasses install permissions and puts itself in a hidden folder.

I don't mind the idea of people donating their own computers to a joint computing project, but I think that you're crossing the line when your software hides itself. Why not have the software install itself in the usual way (requiring permission) in a non-hidden folder?

If you don't even have admin status on a machine, you are probably NOT the person who should be volunteering that machine for GIMPS.
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Old 2010-11-15, 21:14   #2
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Prime95 does not come with an installer nowadays. It used to have that feature a long time ago. Anyway it never installed in a hidden folder. Unless explicitly specified (and bypassing a warning) it runs at the lowest priority and thus does not tie up the machine.

I think you have a problem with someone who has administrative rights on those machines and has been carried away trying to perform more work.

As you could see on this forum if you took the time, this kind of behaviour is strongly discouraged.

Jacob
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Old 2010-11-15, 21:54   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I work at the University of Georgia math department, where we have a serious problem with our classroom computers running prime95. This ties up the machine, making it virtually impossible to run demonstrations for our lectures during class. In addition, the software bypasses install permissions and puts itself in a hidden folder.
Speaking as someone who's not a GIMPS administrator, but has been extensively involved with GIMPS about 15 years:

Some of the behaviors you're seeing on your UofG systems are NOT typical of GIMPS software. Someone who installed that software has gone beyond the default (and recommended) GIMPS methods.

If GIMPS software is running at any priority other than the lowest, it's because someone has disregarded GIMPS's defaults by specifying a higher priority, against our recommendations.

I think we would fully support UofG's stopping and uninstalling any GIMPS software that, because of nonrecommended installation, is interfering with legitimate class work.

Quote:
I don't mind the idea of people donating their own computers to a joint computing project, but I think that you're crossing the line when your software hides itself. Why not have the software install itself in the usual way (requiring permission) in a non-hidden folder?
It was not GIMPS or its software that crossed that line; someone did it against GIMPS recommendations. Our software does not hide itself; someone did that in a manner GIMPS does not approve, recommend, or condone.

I think I can speak for us in: We fully agree, and expect, that our software should be installed as you say -- "in the usual way (requiring permission) in a non-hidden folder".

It is NOT GIMPS's policy or procedure to install its software in any "hidden" manner or to bypass permissions. GIMPS is above-board, not sneaky in any way. We cannot prevent someone from installing GIMPS software in an unapproved method, but our documentation opposes that, and we'd be happy to help you rectify the situation.

- - - -

George,

Can prime95 detect whether it is installed in a hidden folder? Or detect other ways in which it has been installed or executed in a disapproved manner? If so, how about adding that detection and refusing to run when such things are detected?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-11-15 at 22:14
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Old 2010-11-15, 22:42   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Can prime95 detect whether it is installed in a hidden folder? Or detect other ways in which it has been installed or executed in a disapproved manner? If so, how about adding that detection and refusing to run when such things are detected?
Some people want to install in a hidden directory and run without a tray icon for very good reasons.

If the person who installed prime95 on these machines had gotten proper permission to do so, he'd probably want to install prime95 this way so that casual machine users don't accidentally or willfully mess up the installation.
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Old 2010-11-15, 23:01   #5
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Unregistered,

As I noted, I'm not a GIMPS administrator. George ("Prime95") Woltman's advice supersedes mine.
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Old 2010-11-15, 23:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
As I noted, I'm not a GIMPS administrator. George ("Prime95") Woltman's advice supersedes mine.
Cheesehead's advice was spot on. Users are strongly encouraged to get written permission before installing prime95 on machines they do not own.

We're sorry you've run into a student that doesn't understand the implications of what he is doing.
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Old 2010-11-16, 06:11   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
This ties up the machine, making it virtually impossible to run demonstrations for our lectures during class.
As a 'lay user', it sounds like they have selected a work type and settings that are not advised for machines that need to be responsive. P-1 work type with high memory usage is ok for when the machine does not need to be responsive (like at night). That is generally the only thing that would make 'demonstrations' impossible. The major other thing would be even more ill advised, playing with the priority status of Prime95.
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Old 2010-11-17, 16:01   #8
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Dear GIMPS folks,

Thanks for your helpful comments! (Sorry about the annoyed tone of my first post on this.)

Obviously, I don't know too much about GIMPS (or, to be honest, Windows-- I'm a Mac and Linux programmer). But is it possible to require Windows authentication before selecting the "P-1 work type" (or, generally speaking, before running prime95 at a priority other than lowest?).

I could imagine that a legit user on a "public" machine might want to run hidden or without a tray icon. We could live with this as long as such an install had to either:

1) require an admin password on the machine

or

2) run at lowest priority

It's really the combination which is killing us.

I know that the user shouldn't have done this, but I humbly submit that it's still at some level your program and hence your problem: I strongly suspect that my problem user does not read your forums and does not know (or does not care) that their behavior is "strongly discouraged".
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Old 2010-11-18, 00:11   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I know that the user shouldn't have done this, but I humbly submit that it's still at some level your program and hence your problem: I strongly suspect that my problem user does not read your forums and does not know (or does not care) that their behavior is "strongly discouraged".
The first few lines of the license.txt file that comes with the software:
Quote:
Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search
Research Computing Software v26.2

END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT

The full legal rules are at http://mersenne.org/legal/

It is up to you to get your employer's permission before installing this software
on any office machines. Many companies have a strict policy against running any
non-business software, however hundreds of companies and other large organizations
are participating successfully in the GIMPS research project. Your network
administrator, MIS or IT manager is welcome to contact us about this software at
primenet@mersenne.org.
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Old 2010-11-18, 06:48   #10
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Unregistered,
I've been a Prime95 participant for just over 11 years and yours is the first complaint of this type that I have ever seen. I'm only mentioning this fact because your suggestion(s) sound rational, practical, and very doable to me (especially requiring an admin password to change the priority) and I wanted to explain why your suggestions weren't already in effect.

It is of course, George Woltman's call, and I am sure that he will respond as soon as he notices the updates to this thread.

By the way, several university math departments (e.g. UCLA, Univ. of Central Missouri, Northeastern State Univ. (OK), etc.) run Prime95 as a way of testing and making sure that the PCs in their labs are performing properly. I'll bet that the Univ. of Georgia could give these other schools a "real run for their money".

Last fiddled with by RMAC9.5 on 2010-11-18 at 06:49
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Old 2010-11-18, 08:15   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
(Sorry about the annoyed tone of my first post on this.)
It was quite understandable -- but see below about whom you should really be discussing this with instead of us.

Quote:
But is it possible to require Windows authentication ... before running prime95 at a priority other than lowest?
Running prime95 at a priority other than lowest requires knowing the Windows command for doing so and having the Windows authority to do so. So, "Windows authentication" is already required.

If a user with the required authority doesn't realize (or care) what the consequences are, prime95 can't stop him/her. Your school, not prime95, grants those authorities to users.

Quote:
I know that the user shouldn't have done this, but I humbly submit that it's still at some level your program and hence your problem: I strongly suspect that my problem user does not read your forums and does not know (or does not care) that their behavior is "strongly discouraged".
No, it's YOUR problem, not ours.

Please take a moment to shift to a realistic point of view.

Does your home's security depend on getting all possible intruders to voluntarily agree not to trespass? Or do you have locks on your doors?

Does your school have locks on its doors?

Your school should have an effective and enforced policy that prevented folks from installing software on your systems without sufficient permission -- that would protect your school against other software, not just prime95. If your school currently has no way of preventing users from installing unauthorized software, what protection does it have against software that's far, far more malicious than prime95?

Suppose we satisfy all your security requests for prime95 -- How does that protect your school's systems from the million-and-one other pieces of software out there?

Your school's computer security should not depend on the good will of software writers!!!!! If it has no way of preventing prime95 from being installed in a manner that bothers your systems' performance, then it has no way of preventing installation of viruses, Trojans, worms, or other malware.

You should not be seeking security from us. You should be seeking it from your own school's administration!!!

(My guess is that you don't have actual computer security experience, or else you'd have known that all along, and not be asking us to solve your problem. You need to be discussing this with your school's computer security people, not with us.)

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-11-18 at 08:39
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