Getcomments FAQ

This is a list of frequently asked questions about Getcomments.


o Configuration Problem Questions
o Getcomments Possibilities Questions
o Miscellaneous Questions

Configuration Problem Questions

1. I have put into place. Now when I try to execute it by submitting a form, I get an error like "Error 500 Internal error: execve() failed". What's going wrong?

2. After submitting I form to Getcomments, I get a message starting with "could not chdir". What's up?

3. After submitting I form to Getcomments, I get a message starting with "could not open count". I do not have the above problem though. What's going wrong?

4. <something> works when I try running from the command line, but doesn't work when I do it from the form. Why is this?

Getcomments Possibilities Questions

1. Will Getcomments run on a non-Unix machine?

2. Can I have different users/forms use the same Getcomments script?

Miscellaneous Questions

1. Somebody asked: If I make the directory in which getcomments resides readable/writable to the outside world in order to facilitate the writing of comments, is this directory not wide open to anything the outside world cares to do? In other words, how do I protect my HTML and other files from vandals?


Configuration Problem Answers

1. It sounds like your server could not locate Perl. Here is what you do:
  1. Locate the perl executable on your computer. Depending on what shell you use, "which perl" might work.
  2. Look at the first line of the file.
  3. Change the path in this line to the full path to the perl executable. If they already match, the this was not the problem.

2. Your _comment_dir field is not set properly. Set it to the actual location (not URL) of your comment directory.

3. It sounds like your file permissions are wrong somewhere. The files that Getcomments changes need to be writable by whatever user/group your server runs as when accessing pages. So make sure your comment directory has the "x" bit set for the world (try "chmod +x <comment dir>") and your "count" file has the "w" bit set for the world (try "chmod +w count")

4. It sounds like your file permissions are wrong somewhere. Remember that the permissions need to be set for user/group your server runs as when accessing pages, or the world. The configuration "out of the box" should be correct.

Getcomments Possibilities Answers

1. No. But I welcome any ports to non-Unix machines.

2. Certainly. Just set up the control fields and format files of different forms to each situation.

Miscellaneous Answers

1. I answered:
	As a researcher in computer security I would say there is reason to
	take note of the situation and it is good that you are interested.
	However you probably don't need to worry too much.
	If as is the default setup, the only thing in the publicly writable
	directory is the comments and the count of the number of comments,
	the degree of potential damage is limited.
	Possible bad happenings from the outside:
	1) New files being added to the directory.  The means by which to do
	this are limited presently, however theoretically possible.
	2) Garbage added to the comments file.  This can be done through
	legitimate means.  After all, when you ask for comments, you invite
	people to append their text to your file.
	3) Files being deleted in the directory.  Similar to 1).  If you are real
	concerned, make backups regularly.
	Threats from people who have accounts on your system or crackers
	that have broken into your system are more realistic as any of the 3
	things above can easily be achieved.  Unfortunately, under UNIX there
	really isn't anything that can be done.

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Copyright © by James Hoagland |
27 June 1995