One of my longest standing pet hates with desktop software developed in .NET relates to the almost inevitable security exception that will occur if you attempt to run it from a network share. Its always one of the first things I notice about software, as I often download and unzip software onto my desktop (which on my work machine is located on a network share) and then attempt to run it in place. Many large and quite impressive pieces of software that get distributed as .ZIP files rather than installers suffer this plight, and a lot of them don’t handle the exception well (One that springs to mind was the much heralded release of NDepend 2.0).
The good news is that this anguish may well be about to come to an end, as Brad Abrams requests feedback about the .NET teams possible plan to make network shares trusted. As he mentions, there really is no good reason not to trust a network share for running managed .NET code – there is no such protection for unmanaged code, and there is little or no way a normal user would be aware of which is .a NET EXE and which is unmanaged EXE.
To answer Brad’s Questions:
A) Have you ever run into this limitation (a security exception when running a .NET application from a network file share)?
I frequently experience these issues – I tend to use this problem (and if its been worked round in the application) as a yard stick as to how well written the application is.
B) How often do you use network file shares for deploying applications (managed or otherwise)?
Most of my development is web based, however for utilities written for in house use we tend to distribute them on a network share – being able to run these in place would be a great help, as updating them would be easier.
C) If you think we should make this change, when would be a good time? Is it something we should do sooner in a service pack of the .NET Framework or later in a full release of the framework. Note, we are DONE with .NET Framework 3.5, so there is zero chance it is getting in that release.
From my point of view a patch as soon as possible, and have it included in the next release of the framework – Since this is a relaxation of the current restriction, I can’t see that it would cause any more problems in terms of support of existing application, as a reduction of the support incidents caused by this issue would reduce.
D) Can you ask your local network admin what they think of this issue? Would they be in favor of this sort of change? If so, when?
This change should simplify deployment – allowing Managed EXE to run from shares should mean that local disks can be more locked down as there would be no need to copy programs locally to run them.
All in all, I’m very much in favour of this change – It will level the playing field, give a more consistent user experience, and reduce the problems people have with winforms applications.
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