[texhax] On \centerline, etc. (AMS LaTeX)

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Thu Oct 25 14:22:47 CEST 2012

Am Sonntag, den 07.10.2012, 04:35 +0200 schrieb Reinhard Kotucha: 
> On 2012-10-06 at 23:05:28 +0200, Uwe Lück wrote:
>  > For that purpose, it may be a good idea to redefine Plain TeX 
>  > macros or even some primitives so they produce error messages 
>  > saying "Please replace #1 by ... according to the guidelines 
>  > for submissions". 
> This is at least partly done by the onlyamsmath package 

Good to learn -- indeed, January 2012, I haven't read the CTAN 
announcements for a year -- oh no, the update hasn't been 
announced at all, annoying.

> and I suppose that l2tabu has the same goal.

Different publishers/journals have different guidelines, 
so l2tabu badly can aim at them. I rather think that its athours 
should think and write about their goals. 

> > However, it may be difficult to defeat the Plain TeX guerilla for
>  > good, who will reintroduce Plain TeX constructs by \newcommand
>  > under new names, such as \xirtam.
>  > I have just started to think how you can attack the journal's LaTeX
>  > guard in your submission, and how the guard in turn can protect the
>  > journal from certain types of Plain TeX attacks in advance, and
>  > what new types of attacks could be invented ... finally you might
>  > submit something not for the reputation of getting something
>  > published, rather just for enjoying a successful Plain TeX attack.
> I'm not convinced that Plain TeX is less secure than LaTeX.  As you
> said yourself, there is \newcommand.  TeX Live provides protection
> already:
>   shell_escape.tex = f
>   shell_escape.initex = f
>   % Allow TeX \openin, \openout, or \input on filenames starting with `.'
>   % (e.g., .rhosts) or outside the current tree (e.g., /etc/passwd)?
>   % a (any)        : any file can be opened.
>   % r (restricted) : disallow opening "dotfiles".
>   % p (paranoid)   : as `r' and disallow going to parent directories, and
>   %                  restrict absolute paths to be under $TEXMFOUTPUT.
>   openout_any = p
>   openin_any = a
> Since files in parent directories cannot be [over]written, it's safe
> to put non-trusted stuff into subdirs and load it with
> \include{dir/file}.  The default setting of openin_any is quite
> insecure, it's easy enough to write TeX code which puts your private
> ssh key into a PDF file, even invisibly.  If you have to process
> material from people you don't trust, it's advisable to change this
> setting.
> You, as a TeX programmer, probably have something different in mind:
> If a publisher has to \include many files, one file could break files
> included later.  This can be solved by including each file within a
> group, but I'm not sure whether it's safe to \let\aftergroup\relax.
> Not to mention \global, \globaldefs, ...

? By "Plain TeX attack" I only meant placing a Plain TeX construct in a
paper although the staff has spent years developing strategies and
macros to keep Plain TeX constructs out. A funny game against another
funny game. Or a kind of fundamentalist suicide attack.



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