Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Office 2003 Bug Locks Owners Out

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the file-available-but-not-to-you dept.

Bug 247

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Microsoft Office 2003 bug is locking people out of their own files, specifically those protected with Microsoft's Rights Management Service. Microsoft has a TechNet bulletin on the issue with a fix. It looks like they screwed up and let a certificate expire. There's no information on when the replacement certificate will expire, though, or what will happen when it does."

cancel ×

247 comments

Tag: Not a bug, defective by design. (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428652)

Actually, it's not really a bug, just the usual friendly reminder from Microsoft that there's a new version out and it's time to ante up again.

Totally off the mark. (5, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428948)

Microsoft gets people to update by giving their product to the CEOs and "bigwigs". When everybody _else_ in the organization cannot read or use the new format for the documents, they have to keep bouncing transfered documents back to the aforementioned bigwigs. Eventually the bigwigs get tired of the fact that they cannot understand how to use save-as-older-format, and they dislike having their underlings telling them to do things, and they cannot bear to find all the files they saved and re-save them before they downgrade back to the old version... So the entire company naturally has to pay to upgrade everyone.

Repeat that at the border of the company. Every iteration of Little Company that works with and is dependent on Big Company, cannot allow themselves to be seen as unhelpful nor out of date, and they cannot bounce the documents they receive via email etc. without giving that exact impression...

Letting certificates expire is _not_ a Microsoft "strategy", it's an artifact of their adoption of "We don't care. We don't have to. We're The Phone Company" where there is no longer just one phone company, but Microsoft wants to be "The Software Company".

This _is_ egg on their face, but the only ones who will not yell "brilliant omelet" are the people who can connect the "Trusted Computing" dots. Letting the world _again_ see what it means to leave the keys to your property in the hands of any entity that doesn't _have_ to care is just another Microwhoops...

Re:Totally off the mark. (5, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429152)

Eventually the bigwigs get tired of the fact that they cannot understand how to use save-as-older-format, and they dislike having their underlings telling them to do things, and they cannot bear to find all the files they saved and re-save them before they downgrade back to the old version... So the entire company naturally has to pay to upgrade everyone.

Or, the admins download and roll out the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack [microsoft.com] and leave the CEO with his new shiny-shiny.

Re:Totally off the mark. (5, Informative)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429410)

And then the admins get to deal with documents that can't be handled by the converter. I had one last month, had to install 2007 to open it. I forgot to check Open Office first though. 2007 isn't as bad as the problems '97 caused, but it still causes some.

Re:Totally off the mark. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429330)

Or the companies could hire tech people that know how to set the default "Save-as" to automatically save as the older format in the options..

Re:Totally off the mark. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429416)

But it's never us causing trouble, it's always them, as in other companies.

Re:Totally off the mark. (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429530)

My reaction to someone sending me a MS Office document:

I’m sorry, but we do not accept files in proprietary formats. Additionally, we decided not to work with software from criminal companies [wikipedia.org] .
We accept files in all open standard formats, including, but not limited to: PDF, all Open Document formats, RTF, all XML formats, PS, TXT, PNG, JPEG, TIFF, WAV, OGG, FLAC, MKV, OGM, etc.

I”m no needy loser, who caves to every shit. I have limits of the behavior that I will or will not accept. And because I’m clear about that, I don’t have to.

Same thing with women. ^^

Re:Tag: Not a bug, defective by design. (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428998)

I guess in some way you're right. When Office 2003 goes unsupported, the certificate will expire and people will be forced to upgrade and that probably is something Microsoft has documented and understands (and thus a "feature"). However, I still think we could call this an operational screw up. I really don't think they want to remind people of their power to do an Amazon [theregister.co.uk] on all and any of your files until they have people nice and solidly locked in.

Re:Tag: Not a bug, defective by design. (2, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429418)

'Destruction' of archived records is a no-no in some places. We'll see if anybody important gets bitten.

Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (5, Interesting)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428654)

I know a LOT of people still using MS Office 2003. Some people dislike the Ribbon System with '07's version. Some people are too cheap to upgrade when the old copy still "works". Now, Microsoft isn't making any money from all those old copies of 2003, so what's stop them from "Programming Obsolescence" into their software?

It sounds a bit sinister, yes; but it's not technically illegal. It might even be in the oft-skimmed EULA. Or maybe it's just similar to the way HP printers always fail a week after the warranty expires.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (5, Insightful)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428718)

I know a LOT of people still using MS Office 2003. Some people dislike the Ribbon System with '07's version. Some people are too cheap to upgrade when the old copy still "works".

That's why there's OpenOffice. An experience that brings you back to the good 'ol days of Office 2003 for free. Actually, it may even bring you back to the days of Office '97.

At least until the next version comes out. Then you have the ribbon too. God, I hope it can be disabled.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (2, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428724)

Luckily open office writes to an open, patent unencumbered format. So if you dislike the UI- find a fork with a better one. Or a completely different program. No vendor lock in.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (-1, Troll)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428770)

Luckily open office writes to an open, patent unencumbered format. So if you dislike the UI- find a fork with a better one. Or a completely different program.

What did I do today? Well, I didn't like the ribbon bar in the new OpenOffice, so I forked the project. I spend a few grand on new servers and I'll probably spend the better part of next week setting up mailing lists, web servers, build and test machines, etc...wait...what do you mean I'm fired?!?

No vendor lock in.

It's still vendor lock in if there's no competing product that reads their open formats. I'm also too busy/retarded/cheap to create my own.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (1)

Jack Malmostoso (899729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428814)

It's still vendor lock in if there's no competing product that reads their open formats. I'm also too busy/retarded/cheap to create my own.

Have you tried Abiword?

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428862)

Have you tried Abiword?

No. But then I'm not unhappy with my occasional use of OpenOffice to read MS Office docs that people send me. Just playing devil's advocate.
...although I've never heard of anyone having trouble opening documents typed in vim...

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428886)

...although I've never heard of anyone having trouble opening documents typed in vim...

Funny, Everyone I know has issues when I use vim -x to edit files...

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429372)

...although I've never heard of anyone having trouble opening documents typed in vim...

"Erm... why are all the £ signs showing like € in that text file you sent me?"

"And why are all the quote marks messed up?"

Presumably this is more annoying for localities with more than a couple of often-used non-ASCII characters.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429534)

I wouldn't exactly class it as trouble, but as an Emacs user it does make me feel dirty...

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (-1, Troll)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429030)

Have you tried Abiword?

Seriously? I haven't tried it for a few years, and I would be interested to see if it was any more capable of handling writing a letter to my Grandma than it was in the late '90s. At the time, I was looking hard to find something other than the superannuated WordPerfect to handle writing scientific reports on Linux, and AbiWord wasn't up to the job. (Note to trolls: please don't bother with shill posts for TeX/LaTex. I'm sure it's very good, but I've got work to do.)

For some years I ended up stuck on StarOffice until OpenOffice became mature enough to replace it, and Abi never got a look-in since. It's sort of a shame that the Gnome Office suite fizzled the way it did. Although Abi sucked, Gnumeric was (and presumably still is) a truly awesome spreadsheet program.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429124)

...to handle writing scientific reports on Linux, and AbiWord wasn't up to the job (Note to trolls: please don't bother with shill posts for TeX/LaTex. I'm sure it's very good, but I've got work to do.)

Excuse me but would you also consider someone who tells a carpenter that a hammer is a much better tool for driving nails than a stapler a troll because you can't be bothered taking three seconds to figure out what end of the hammer to hold?

/Mikael

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (3, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429166)

I like Gnumeric too.

Abiword is a good lightweight word-processor, but not as feature rich as OpenOffice.

What exactly is your problem with Latex? If the learning curve is too much, you use Lyx.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (5, Informative)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428820)

It's still vendor lock in if there's no competing product that reads their open formats.

Umm... There are a huge number of programs that read/write ODF (OpenOffice's default format). Wikpedia has a fairly extensive list [wikipedia.org] of software that handles the various ODF files.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (3, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428832)

I get your point but this is a little different.

Not having perfect page layout might take you 30 minutes to fix. Worst case, the text is in a zip file and can be pulled out.

Not being able to read encrypted data would be a little bit more serious.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428860)

It's still vendor lock in if there's no competing product that reads their open formats.

That is not relevant to OO.org and ODF at all. There are lots of programs out there that read and write ODF.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428934)

What did I do today? Well, I didn't like the ribbon bar in the new OpenOffice, so I forked the project.

Wow, that's crazy. Why did you bother going to all that trouble when IBM's [lotus.com] already done it for you?

If you don't like Symphony, there's plenty more choices. That's the great thing about being open and having competition, right?

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (4, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428838)

This has nothing to do with open formats.

If you encrypt and digitally sign (aka DRM) your OO.org files, and loose the ability to decrypt them, you are in the same boat.

This is a story about DRM, not formats. A story about the forgotten idea of key escrow idea and of DRM cert servers, not file formats.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (4, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428956)

At least until the next version comes out. Then you have the ribbon too. God, I hope it can be disabled.

Agree. The Ribbon was a tremendous step backwards in user friendliness, all in the name of eye candy. It sucks. Way too long a familiarisation curve. In contrast, I'm having zero trouble -- almost zero thought -- in using the plain vanilla Gnome / Open Office interface to do the stuff I need to do on the home laptop, i.e. load documents, edit them, and store them.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429254)

Argh... tell me about it.

Maybe, just maybe, it's more user friendly to those who have never used a computer in the last 15-20 years, let alone Office, but I'm not sure why those five people deserve more attention than the rest of us.

Those who have been using Office all this time have managed to become pretty proficient... up until the point where they completely changed everything about the user interface, for no good reason. I upgraded just over a month ago and I'm still wasting half my time thinking "Where the fuck did X go?", "What the fuck have they done with Y?".

Really, what the hell was wrong with the old interface?

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429364)

The ribbon is bad in many cases because displays have got wider more than they have got taller.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429430)

Let me guess, Office 2012 will have a vertical ribbon on one side of the screen.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (5, Insightful)

shrimppesto (766285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428742)

Why did you put "works" in quotes? Office 2003 still does, in fact, work. It works just fine.

A lot of people are still using Office 2003 because the number of new features that impact daily usage seems to shrink with every new release. Why upgrade when the version you have does everything you need it to, and the new version doesn't do anything you wish it did?

There's always someone who will benefit from [insert new feature here]. But for the rest of us, Office has suffered from a paucity of innovation since 1995. If anything, things have gotten worse -- e.g. they keep trying to make Microsoft Word "smart," but the result is a program that's too smart to be obedient and too stupid to do what you actually want it to do.

The writing's on the wall for Office. If the folks in Redmond don't figure out something reeeal soon, Office is toast.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428780)

Does OpenOffice, or whatever the fork was called in 2003, still work on current systems?

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (1)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428822)

"Works" is in quotations, mainly because the whole point of the article is that Office 2003 DOESN'T work anymore.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (2, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428878)

Sure it does, so long as you didn't lock up your own files with Microsoft's rights management services.

Considering that this is used mostly, if not entirely, by corporate clients implementing access control, the idea that it's Microsoft doing evil in the background is foolhardy. Locking documents out because of the failure of a security certificate would hardly convince a corporate client to upgrade to a newer version of Office.

Re:Screw Up Or Forced Upgrade? (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429154)

Microsoft isn't making any money from all those old copies of 2003, so what's stop them from "Programming Obsolescence" into their software?

Most of my customers (Automotive Manufacturing) have rules all vendors MUST submit to that disallows any system or software to stop being operational (by design) - even if license-keys, certs et al expires.

Now, whether MS has managed to work around this by throwing money at the GMs of this world, I cannot say. All I know is that if we pulled a stunt like this, we'd end up handing over the company to the first one that sues us.

Unbelievable (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428658)

God I hate microsoft. I really do.

Re:Unbelievable (2, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429012)

Sorry AC - that's what you get when you have free will

- God

Re:Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429240)

Yes, you have the power to avoid proprietary software like Apple and Microsoft make!

Re:Unbelievable (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429452)

But not the power to stop them making it.

Locks OUT!? (2, Interesting)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428666)

I was about to type out a long post extolling the virtues of... erm... something... and then I blinked back to my screen and realised I had just envisaged what a mistake like this from an upstream supplier (in this case Microsoft) would have on my work day.

I am in IT and I would have had hundreds of phonecalls for this by now, and it is only 09:24... sheesh to apply a hotfix like this to all my clients...

woops there I went again imagining what this would mean for my workday... I can't actually say that any of our clients use the RMS service on their office documents.

Wowee, dodged a bullet there.

Good luck to all the IT grunts out there in the trenches trying to get this fixed right now...

Re:Locks OUT!? (3, Insightful)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428764)

What's worse is when Microsoft does not exist anymore at some point in the future. Eventually, the certificates will expire again; then -- without Microsoft to renew them anymore -- you're screwed.

Want to access your important, digitally protected documents? Sorry.

Re:Locks OUT!? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428962)

That's what happens when you hand the keys to your kingdom over to someone whose best interests don't align with your own.

Re:Locks OUT!? (3, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429310)

That's what happens when you hand the keys to your kingdom over to someone whose best interests don't align with your own.

Saying you should avoid that is all very well but it's practically impossible in any business.

Want to take out a loan? The moment the bank thinks you may be in trouble they can and will send you a rude letter saying "Repay the whole lot. Now."

Want someone to do your accounts? Paying an outside company will be a sight cheaper than paying a wage to someone who you only need for a few weeks of the year, but the accounts they prepare will be full of disclaimers to the effect of "We have prepared these using information supplied by our client...." and it's you the tax man will come after if he smells a rat. Too bad if the office junior did your accounts and the senior person who signed them off was in a hurry to get home that day - they'll never admit it in a million years.

Want an email, calendaring and contacts platform? Free clue: The F/OSS exchange alternatives are generally just as complicated as Exchange itself, with the added bonus that finding someone who knows them can be a hell of a lot harder.

Re:Locks OUT!? (2, Funny)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429158)

Don't worry about it, even after the certificates expire, you have Microsoft's guarantee that no one will be able to access your secure data.

Re:Locks OUT!? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428846)

Who the fuck enables the "copy protection" feature in every-day office work? Most normal users don't even know it's an option.

Re:Locks OUT!? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428936)

I don't know either, but whoever did is very upset right now, and I bet so is their IT support.

Re:Locks OUT!? (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429270)

Who the fuck enables the "copy protection" feature in every-day office work?

The government?

Re:Locks OUT!? (2, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429454)

Oh hell no. It'd make tracking leaks too easy.

Design Choices (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428684)

Why wouldn't Microsoft allow the end user to setup and manage their own certificates upon installation?

Re:Design Choices (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428730)

Because idiots like you would complain if they didn't.

Re:Design Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428916)

Because you can allow other word installs to open the file, so it has to be external (or at least available to the 'public'), well beyond the target audience...

Re:Design Choices (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429460)

Because people could then use self-signed certs and we know those are only used for evil.

amazing... (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428686)

Putting that amount of trust in a third party that has the power to lock you out of your own files... It boggles the mind as to why that is acceptable in anything of importance.

Re:amazing... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428856)

This is Copy-Protection becoming self aware.

Apparently the software realized that YOU still have the ability to copy your data.

Re:amazing... (-1, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428874)

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know it's unlikely, but this is a what-if.

Would you trust it to OpenOffice? Why? Couldn't it hold your files for ransom too? It couldn't? Because the source is open you say? Having the source out there before the fact didn't help in that case [omgubuntu.co.uk] , so why would it help in this case?

Re:amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428882)

The simplest explanation is that ODF is not only a well-documented and well-understood standard, but also widely implemented by various other office packages (KOffice etc.).

Re:amazing... (3, Insightful)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428920)

Technically, yes. I could not be bothered trawling through the source code of OOo to look for malicious code (and frankly, I doubt I'd understand most of the code anyway), so I am placing my trust in the dev team. But I know that it's less likely to happen, because it wasn't developed by a single company, but by many people. That, and if this happened, a fix would appear quickly (a lot more quickly than if it was a M$ product)

Re:amazing... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428960)

Having the source out there before the fact didn't help in that case, so why would it help in this case?

So having a binary package uploaded by a third party, not compiled by trusted developers proves that source doesn't help? Perhaps if it was a compiled app, with source available, pushed by a trusted source rather then a website that allows anyone to upload anything you would have a point...

Important PSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428972)

in that case [omgubuntu.co.uk],

WARNING!

Ridiculous FUD site (OMGubuntu) in parent comment.

Please put aside any credibility before reading or you may suffer significant loss..

Re:amazing... (2, Informative)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429122)

You are referencing a SCRIPT that was MEANT TO DO HARM.

There is a difference. The "malware" was really a simple script that asked for root before it got installed and used pre-installed programs that are available in the Ubuntu install to ping a server and download a file from another to do... something nefarious.

The easiest fix in the case of that script would be to force wget to launch with a tty attached instead of being launched in the background. Presto you have plugged a hole that this script exploited right there.

Security holes will be found continuously, by both sides of the fight - it is just up to who finds them first that dictates which way that scenario goes. Now if you compare the proprietary vs the open source software vendor's security track records you will note that the OSS guys are doing rather better than the proprietary guys.

Why? In OSS the source is available for those who protect AS WELL AS those who exploit, yet the exploits are less, and are patched quicker. In proprietary land the source is available ONLY to the vendors - yet exploits abound.

Another point is that you are comparing a targeted attack on a discovered weakness to a possible software bug that migh cause problems in the future.

Also, you forget that in the case we are discussing the fix HAS to come from Microsoft - they responded admirably quickly with a hotfix btw - but in the case of OpenOffice (for instance) you would be able to implement fixes from a larger number of vendors, or their partners or well meaning codesmiths all over the world.

The odds just favour OSS in this scenario to perform better, and to be fixed quicker if something breaks.

Re:amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429142)

Having the source out there before the fact didn't help in that case [omgubuntu.co.uk]

Except it did help because the malware was found since it was a shell script. Also it's a lesson not to install stuff which is untrusted.

Re:amazing... (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429544)

If I had my way, documents would be done using plain text and markup languages. Everything is simple and separate, so you don't have many security issues that way.

Re:amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428892)

Millions of people appear to find it acceptable when it comes to e-mail through Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc..

Re:amazing... (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428952)

Simple cost/benefit analysis: if it gives you a competitive advantage, it may be worth it, even though you may have to pay for it down the road. The value of documents to businesses decreases as time passes: they are interested in making money, not in retaining archives.

That said, I'm not entirely sure using Office 2003 gives you such a competitive advantage over other products. But that is not my decision.

Re:amazing... (2, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428968)

And yet people use such things as gmail, hotmail, facebook, and etc.

Any workarounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428688)

MS Office has a rights management service??? Everywhere I've ever been has relied on NTFS/SMB permissions on a network or encryption to protect their documents. Has anyone ever used this feature? Can Open Office rescue these files? If it's all about an expired cert, does turning back the system date allow you to open the file and re-save it unprotected? I'm a big fan of silly system date cracks/rescues. :-)

Re:Any workarounds? (2, Informative)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428842)

RMS is for controlling the documents once they are outside the organisation. They're encrypted, and you can't get the key unless the RMS server lets you have it. And only Office can decrypt, and the RMS allows the author to block the ability to do things like edit, print or forward the document to someone else.

Some customers like the idea. When we implement it, rule #1 is "You no longer have sole control of the document". IIRC, there are ways to set RMS up so that internal people always have access - it'd be strange if that was what was broken.

Re:Any workarounds? (3, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429496)

It sounds like RMS is a good tool for pushing free software.

Or... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428704)

It's just something they over looked. They're not forcing anyone to upgrade and they've even fixed the problem.

Microsoft IS a software development company. They make money on your purchasing their new offerings and eventually they quit supporting the old crap. It's 2009, 2003 was 6 years ago. What do you expect them to do?

Re:Or... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428988)

Microsoft IS a software development company.

Exactly.

And I'm so glad I backed up all of my documents to my Sidekick before this happened.

what does RMS stand for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30428710)

Did anyone else find it funny that they call it Microsoft RMS [stallman.org] (rights management system)?

Re:what does RMS stand for? (1)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428784)

More like Rights Mismanagement System.

Re:what does RMS stand for? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429296)

More like Microsoft RMS [wikipedia.org] .

Re:what does RMS stand for? (1)

Renegrade (698801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429556)

No, it's correct in it's original form. It's managing Microsoft's rights to raep the customer base. Exactly like Digital Rights Management. It's like saying "rightsizing", to an extent, as well.

People just don't seem to get the context at all. Try to view it from the corporation's side.

Note that this is in no way unique to Microsoft, just about every large corporation will try to rights manage you, sooner or later. If it's big, and IT, you better have your personal lube ready, because they sure as hell didn't bring any.

Russian Reversal "rights manage YOU !!"-type joke not included.

Re:what does RMS stand for? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429506)

Already used this line, but "RMS is a good tool to push free software."

So if you had no web, you'd be hosed? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428738)

If you have Office 2003 and no web access, are you hosed?

Re:So if you had no web, you'd be hosed? (4, Informative)

El Capitaine (973850) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428804)

The cases where the user would be "hosed" are few to none.

This bug only applies to documents protected with Rights Management Services, which is part of Active Directory and the Windows Server operating system.

Therefore, the only way you would have an issue is if you were on a network that used RMS but had no internet connection, in which case you'd have your IT guy download a fix from some other internet-connected machine and deploy it to the systems with the bug.

This will not affect people who are simply running their own copies of Office 2003 without RMS or Active Directory or any other fancy add-ons.

Re:So if you had no web, you'd be hosed? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428806)

I don't think you can use this feature without internet access to start with.

I can haz? (1, Funny)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428778)

So, it's gone from I can haz cheezeburger to I can haz stdio to I can haz accez to meh filez or I can haz certificate ?

Really this would be solved by one simple request:

I can haz openoffice?

It's late, I blame the time...

Re:I can haz? (0, Offtopic)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428946)

So the source of OpenOffice is written in LOLCode ?

Wouldn't surprise me, geek jokes are rarely *that* funny outside the basement clique.

Re:I can haz? (0, Offtopic)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429096)

I'mma let you finnish, but C++ is the best programming language of all time.

I do believe (1, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428782)

that I warned Y'all about this long ago.

Me too... (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429070)

There's been a boatload of warnings about depending on this kind of technology.

The problem is, there's been plenty of opportunities for "I told you so", and people still buy software with time bombs built into it.

Unexpected error? (5, Funny)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428818)

From the article...
"Office 2003 users receive the error, "Unexpected error occurred. Please try again later or contact your system administrator,""

WTF? Is there anyone out there that can point me to an expected error? Can these wannabe programmer motherfuckers ever pass on real information on an error to the end user? Their error messages might as well say, "Our program fucked up, we're dipshits, we don't know what the fuck is going on. In fact, we couldn't have put together a crappier piece of software if we were drunk, or high."

Re:Unexpected error? (5, Funny)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428866)

You would prefer 'Expected error occurred. We could have handled with this transparently, but we'd rather pop up an annoying dialog box?'

Re:Unexpected error? (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429178)

I'd prefer it to say "The document you are trying to access has been secured by Microsoft Rights Management Service, but the signing certificate has expired. Please see your Administrator regarding updating or renewing your certificate."

Still, I suppose no MS coder had ever considered that a time limited certificate would ever expire.

Re:Unexpected error? (1)

Sparx139 (1460489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428898)

In fact, we couldn't have put together a crappier piece of software if we were drunk, or high."

Or maybe they weren't drunk enough [xkcd.com]

Re:Unexpected error? (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30428930)

Their error messages might as well say, "Our program fucked up, we're dipshits, we don't know what the fuck is going on. In fact, we couldn't have put together a crappier piece of software if we were drunk, or high."

It would be funnier to get messages like: "Our program fucked up. -- Error code: ss324. Help me. I've been in a cage for the last two years. They feed me the corpses of the programmers who didn't make it through the big flood. I don't want to die. Please help! ... HH/991.DDF. For more information, contact your system administrator."

Re:Unexpected error? (5, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429064)

Is there anyone out there that can point me to an expected error?

What's worse is that insulting little click-box that sits there jeering at you saying [OK]

...when as we all know, the correct response is "No, it's NOT fucking OK, you dipshit."

Re:Unexpected error? (1)

Nabeel_co (1045054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429116)

You, just, made, my, day.

Thank you!

Re:Unexpected error? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429472)

Wait till you get a phone call asking you what to do with that box, for the third time, today, from the same person.

Re:Unexpected error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429214)

As a 1337 hax0r u shud nou *cough* that you can only create specific messages for accounted exceptions you catch. Those not "expected" due to bugs, noise, crashes etc. simply fall under generic 'Unexpected error..' message. I know only the elite can expect the unexpected but hey, give us simple folks a break.

Re:Unexpected error? (4, Interesting)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429326)

this is simple. Error handling basically works like this

try {
command1
command2
command3
}
catch(DiskFullError E) {
messagebox("not enough free disk space\n"+E.ExtendedInformations()); // this is an expected error
}
catch(NoWritePermissionError E) {
messagebox("you don\'t have write permission in that directory\n"+E.ExtendedInformations()); // this is an expected error
}
catch(DirDoesntExistError E) {
messagebox("the directory you chose doesn\'t exist\n"+E.ExtendedInfo()); // this is an expected error
}
catch(...) {
messagebox("an unexpected error occured"); // this is where the unexpected errors are handled
}

you try to do some stuff and if something goes bad, the codes throw an exception, which can be caught by the error-handlers. and if there is no error handler for the error, then this is an unexpected error. this would crash the program, unless you do catch(...), which can also catch unknown exception types
well, in redmond it goes more like this (see MSDN)

if(!command1) {
switch(ERRNO) {
case 1: messagebox("Error code 1, contact your vendor"); break;
case 2: messagebox("Error code 2"); break;
default: messagebox("unexpected error");
}
}else {
if(!command2) {
switch(ERRNO) {
case 2: messagebox("Error code 2"); break;
case 3: messagebox("Error code 3, press F1 to see some useless hexadecimal bytes"); break;
default: messagebox("unexpected error");
}
} else {
if(!command3) {
switch(ERRNO){
case 1: messagebox("Error code 1, contact your vendor"); break;
case 4: messagebox("Error code 4, why don\'t you switch to linux?"); break;
default: messagebox("unexpected error");
}
} else {
// wohoo, nothing went bad!
}
}
}

if something goes bad, a global variable (ERRNO) is set to some error code and the functions return false. the default case takes all the values of ERRNO, that are not handled explicitly Yes, this is prehistoric and non-thread-safe error handling, but what do you expect from the masters of disaster?

Re:Unexpected error? (1)

Karellen (104380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429398)

errno is completely thread-safe on all modern platforms. errno is allowed to be a macro, and often looks like

#define errno (*get_pointer_to_per_thread_errno())

i.e. there's a function which returns a pointer to a static, but per-thread thread-local, errno variable. The errno macro dereferences this pointer, so that reading from and assigning to "errno" still works as expected, but is a completely thread-safe manner.

Re:Unexpected error? (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429338)

Every error message that Microsoft has ever written is like this.

Sometimes they think to include a way of getting the full error in proper technical language across - maybe by writing to the event log or having a "click for technical details" option but more often than not they don't. As a Unix admin, it's immensely frustrating dealing with software which goes so far out of its way to be opaque.

Re:Unexpected error? (4, Informative)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429362)

I blame this kind of error messages on programmers who use exceptions. Instead of doing error checking within the routine that has the problem and crafting an error message in there, you just throw an exception, hoping for the caller to take care of it. If the caller doesn't then the exception keeps floating up until nobody has a clue to what the condition was, hence "unexpected error". I hate exceptions.

Re:Unexpected error? (3, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429564)

The funny thing is I can read in stuff from the 1980s that doesn't even use ASCII and these clowns can't even keep files readable for six years.
Proudly brought to you by the guys that stranded a ship with a divide by zero error and halted devices for a day because they forgot about leap years. They are only ready for the "Enterprise" is you have a few spare redshirts to lose.

Re:Unexpected error? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30429580)

I love these kind of messages. Everybody keeps calling me, it says here you know what is going on. WTF? I don't have a clue what you've done, just because I am the system administrator I am not telepathic or having some kind of better error messages mailed to me...
Even better, you are installing something and the dialog pops up: "Contact your system administrator". I am the fucking administrator if I wasn't I wouldn't be logged in as 'administrator'...you haven't told me what the problem is...

Thats why I am NOT an early adopter (3, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429072)

Now that I know that this won't affect the Isolated Basement Department, I can now safely install Office 2003...

Receipt, check. Shrinkwrap off, check. Must keep original box...

A copy protection system called RMS? (5, Funny)

mattcsn (1592281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30429126)

Obviously, someone at Microsoft has a sense of humour.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...