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Python on a public library computer

P: n/a
Here's my situation:

I'm typing this in a public library on a computer with OS windows 2000
server. I can run Internet explorer, word, excel and powerpoint, that's
it. Maybe java, but it seems to be flaky.

I want to run python scripts from this computer. At home I have a
multi-computer network (from better times) but no internet access
anymore, I could use this to try out solutions. I also have access to a
friends computer which has internet connection, but I can't visit his
place all the time. He's away often but he's got a life of his own :-)

So I'm thinking of running some kind of python webserver from a
dedicated computer over there (visualizing some cherrypy webpage based
interpreter at the moment) but I would like to know other options.
However it would have to run from a webpage here ...

For example I would like to run a python script over there (e.g.
getting news from a usenet server) which puts the output in a zipfile
on another webpage so that I can fetch it here with the Internet
Explorer.

There seems to be no traffic load problem since there would be only a
few users (but it could become popular fast?). Also I'm worried about
security issues, but not so much that I would consider installing some
large scale payware professional solution.

Let me know what you think, unless it costs money. On the other hand
money would solve this problem so if I can do something to get that it
would be even better.

Anton

[the things they make you go through ...]

Jul 19 '05 #1
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23 Replies


P: n/a
"an*************@gmail.com" <an*************@gmail.com> writes:
Here's my situation:

I'm typing this in a public library on a computer with OS windows 2000
server. I can run Internet explorer, word, excel and powerpoint, that's
it. Maybe java, but it seems to be flaky.

I want to run python scripts from this computer. At home I have a
multi-computer network (from better times) but no internet access

[...]

Why not Jython?
John
Jul 19 '05 #2

P: n/a
John J. Lee wrote:
"an*************@gmail.com" <an*************@gmail.com> writes:
Here's my situation:

I'm typing this in a public library on a computer with OS windows 2000
server. I can run Internet explorer, word, excel and powerpoint, that's
it. Maybe java, but it seems to be flaky.

I want to run python scripts from this computer. At home I have a
multi-computer network (from better times) but no internet access

[...]

Why not Jython?
John

how locked down is the computer? there's a few (brave) public access
unix shell providers out there. if you could run telnet you could use them

Jul 19 '05 #3

P: n/a
usb key and moveable python.
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/movpy/

On 5/16/05, Timothy Smith <ti*****@open-networks.net> wrote:
John J. Lee wrote:
"an*************@gmail.com" <an*************@gmail.com> writes:
Here's my situation:

I'm typing this in a public library on a computer with OS windows 2000
server. I can run Internet explorer, word, excel and powerpoint, that's
it. Maybe java, but it seems to be flaky.

I want to run python scripts from this computer. At home I have a
multi-computer network (from better times) but no internet access

[...]

Why not Jython?
John

how locked down is the computer? there's a few (brave) public access
unix shell providers out there. if you could run telnet you could use them

--
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

--
Christopher Lambacher
la******@computer.org
Jul 19 '05 #4

P: n/a
Timothy Smith <ti*****@open-networks.net> wrote:
there's a few (brave) public access unix shell providers out there. if
you could run telnet you could use them


If you want to go that route, I highly suggest panix.com. They've been in
business forever, are geek friendly, and have a technical support staff
(and attitude) that just can't be beat. I get a unix shell account from
them, mostly for mail and news access (but, on occasion, it's nice to have
a unix box I can ssh into from anywhere).

They're currently running Python-2.4. A couple of the active pythonistas
that hang out here have panix accounts.
Jul 19 '05 #5

P: n/a
In article <ma************************************@python.org >,
Chris Lambacher <la******@gmail.com> wrote:
usb key and moveable python.
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/movpy/


That's pretty cool. Python on a stick!
Jul 19 '05 #6

P: n/a
Panix.com seems a little on the expensive side..

10$/mo?
Roy Smith wrote:
Timothy Smith <ti*****@open-networks.net> wrote:
there's a few (brave) public access unix shell providers out there. if you could run telnet you could use them
If you want to go that route, I highly suggest panix.com. They've

been in business forever, are geek friendly, and have a technical support staff (and attitude) that just can't be beat. I get a unix shell account from them, mostly for mail and news access (but, on occasion, it's nice to have a unix box I can ssh into from anywhere).

They're currently running Python-2.4. A couple of the active pythonistas that hang out here have panix accounts.


Jul 19 '05 #7

P: n/a
John J. Lee wrote:
Why not Jython?


There's no command prompt! The file menu from IE is also gone. There is
a sun Java console but it looks like this:

<quote Sun Java Console>

Java(TM) Plug-in: Version 1.4.2_06
Using JRE version 1.4.2_06 Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM
User home directory = C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx
----------------------------------------------------
c: clear console window
f: finalize objects on finalization queue
g: garbage collect
h: display this help message
l: dump classloader list
m: print memory usage
o: trigger logging
p: reload proxy configuration
q: hide console
r: reload policy configuration
s: dump system properties
t: dump thread list
v: dump thread stack
x: clear classloader cache
0-5: set trace level to <n>

</quote Sun Java Console>

Thanks for replying anyway!

Anton

Jul 19 '05 #8

P: n/a
John J. Lee wrote:
Why not Jython?


There's no command prompt! The file menu from IE is also gone. There is
a sun Java console but it looks like this:

<quote Sun Java Console>

Java(TM) Plug-in: Version 1.4.2_06
Using JRE version 1.4.2_06 Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM
User home directory = C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx
----------------------------------------------------
c: clear console window
f: finalize objects on finalization queue
g: garbage collect
h: display this help message
l: dump classloader list
m: print memory usage
o: trigger logging
p: reload proxy configuration
q: hide console
r: reload policy configuration
s: dump system properties
t: dump thread list
v: dump thread stack
x: clear classloader cache
0-5: set trace level to <n>

</quote Sun Java Console>

Thanks for replying anyway!

Anton

Jul 19 '05 #9

P: n/a
Timothy Smith wrote:
how locked down is the computer? there's a few (brave) public access
unix shell providers out there. if you could run telnet you could use

them

Sorry, no telnet. Every executable that is not listed is blocked. For
example I can download:

http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/scintilla/Sc1.exe

but if I run it I get two error messages:

a) a 15 seconds "appguard" message

b} 'access to the specified device, path or file is denied'

Maybe some shell provider is a good idea, however I still think I
should make a cherrypy form of 24 lines or so and run it over there and
simulate a python interpreter on a webpage which I can access from
here. Has this been tried before?

How can I use cookies to identify interpreter sessions?

Anton

'webpython_3000_server_at_xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx_>>> '

Jul 19 '05 #10

P: n/a
Chris Lambacher topposted:
usb key and moveable python.
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/movpy/


I have a usb card reader and I can use it. That saves me from having to
have remote storage at least. However I can only save files, not open
them, except if I use word, excel or powerpoint.

The moveable python is great indeed. This worked here before, but then
I could even access *other* peoples usb sticks in this whole building
.... Crazy. Not anymore though. They could really use someone like me
here for a sensible security policy that doesn't cripple the users. I
can't even set internet options, that means I can't remove my history
or clear my cache :-(

Anton

'security doesn't mean shooting everyone in the foot'

Jul 19 '05 #11

P: n/a
Anton Vredegoor wrote:
Timothy Smith wrote:

how locked down is the computer? there's a few (brave) public access
unix shell providers out there. if you could run telnet you could use


them

Sorry, no telnet. Every executable that is not listed is blocked. For
example I can download:

http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/scintilla/Sc1.exe

but if I run it I get two error messages:

a) a 15 seconds "appguard" message

b} 'access to the specified device, path or file is denied'


There is a Java SSH client that runs in the browser.

http://www.oit.duke.edu/sa/security/ssh.html

--
Robert Kern
rk***@ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter

Jul 19 '05 #12

P: n/a
Robert Kern wrote:
There is a Java SSH client that runs in the browser.

http://www.oit.duke.edu/sa/security/ssh.html


Great! I have a terminal. I can't figure out how to start jython from
there though.

Anton

Jul 19 '05 #13

P: n/a
On 14 May 2005 04:21:04 -0700, rumours say that
"an*************@gmail.com" <an*************@gmail.com> might have
written:
I'm typing this in a public library on a computer with OS windows 2000
server. I can run Internet explorer, word, excel and powerpoint, that's
it. Maybe java, but it seems to be flaky.

I want to run python scripts from this computer.


<snip>

I am not sure I will help you (uncertainty based on the part I snipped),
but the part so far can be easilly solved if you install Python for
single user inside the "Documents and settings\<username>" folder (or
whatever it is called). I did in a similar case.
End of reply here; and now for some completely minor python success
story.
Some months ago, I happened to be for full workdays at a client's site,
with strict security rules enforced (no domain login == no access even
to web proxy) but I needed to access my company's internal mail server
from my laptop (which I do by ssh forwarding usually). I could plug in
my laptop to their network, get an address, but that was all (local
network access only).

So I asked permission from an employee there (working on a computer
logged on to the domain) if I could run a putty session with forwarding
enabled. He said he'd ask their BOFH; now, the BOFH was strictly a
windows person (I somehow connect "strictly-<industry-standard-OS/app>
persons" with lack of resourcefulness, as if these people have 7 bits
per byte :), and he thought that my case was hopeless, since the
employee's account had only access to a web proxy, and CONNECT requests
were only allowed to port 443, but he said ok anyway (in his place, I
wouldn't; but then again, what do I know? ;).

After a call to a colleague in order to redirect connections to port 443
(from the client's network) of an underused computer at my site to port
22, I set up putty to connect through their web proxy, but that didn't
work (since no authentication was given as requested).

Then it was that I downloaded python, installed it in the employee's
documents folder, and created a 'sniffer' between the web browser and
web proxy to find out the authentication headers. After testing them by
hand, I wrote a script to pretend it's the web browser requesting a
CONNECT from the web proxy, and putty would connect to my script which
would just pass data back and forth. It didn't work.

I quickly found out that their web proxy did NOT let anything come and
go, unless its client had sent at least 4 octets (and that was also a
security measure they had taken which I was not told about-- they wanted
only protocols where the client talks first, ie (pun intended) typically
HTTP). So putty was waiting for the ssh server to announce its version
before announcing itself, but the announcement of the server would not
come through until putty sent something.

So I changed the middle-server [midsrv]: as soon as putty connected to
the listening port of midsrv, it opened the connection to the web proxy,
and instantly sent the putty announcement to the ssh server, consuming
it when putty sent it normally, and happily moving octets around for the
rest of the connection. From my laptop, I could get my emails with
plain POP3.

That was in 34 minutes time (debugging time included).

When the network guy dropped by a couple of hours later to ask me if I
needed any help, I just thanked him for letting me connect. He
scratched his head, tried to understand what happened (didn't realise
that the python app was important even though he absent-mindedly passed
over it checking running tasks), so I let him think over it for several
minutes before explaining to him what I did. He was most impressed with
the python program when I showed it to him, gave a warning to the
employee: "ok, run his program, but don't let him touch your computer
again!", and then came to the following conclusion (much similar to a
Python motto):

"If Python can do this, it {Python} should be forbidden..."
PS Unfortunately, I could not charge "security consulting" fees.
--
TZOTZIOY, I speak England very best.
"Be strict when sending and tolerant when receiving." (from RFC1958)
I really should keep that in mind when talking with people, actually...
Jul 19 '05 #14

P: n/a
Christos TZOTZIOY Georgiou wrote:
I am not sure I will help you (uncertainty based on the part I snipped), but the part so far can be easilly solved if you install Python for
single user inside the "Documents and settings\<username>" folder (or
whatever it is called). I did in a similar case.
..msi is blocked by the appguard. I knew that because I tried it a week
ago, but just to be sure I tried again.
End of reply here; and now for some completely minor python success
story.
[snip story]


Thanks, that was a nice story! However I still think ... But you know
what I think by now don't you :-)

Anton

'p***************@python.org>>> import NNTP '

Jul 19 '05 #15

P: n/a
"Anton Vredegoor" <an*************@gmail.com> writes:
John J. Lee wrote:
Why not Jython?


There's no command prompt! The file menu from IE is also gone. There is
a sun Java console but it looks like this:

[...]

ISTR (maybe incorrectly) there's a Jython shell you can run in IE.
John
Jul 19 '05 #16

P: n/a
"Anton Vredegoor" <an*************@gmail.com> writes:
Chris Lambacher topposted:
usb key and moveable python.
http://www.voidspace.org.uk/python/movpy/


I have a usb card reader and I can use it. That saves me from having to
have remote storage at least. However I can only save files, not open
them, except if I use word, excel or powerpoint.

[...]

That's because Word, Excel and Powerpoint are such noteworthy examples
of perfectly-secure software, invulnerable to macro viruses or subtle
interactions with IE.

Heaven forfend that you should exploit such a bug in order to get your
work done.

No, being serious, sinking to that level of hacking probably isn't a
great idea, but it is tempting when you're trying to do something
perfectly above-board and are blocked for reason of not being part of
the MS machinery...
John
Jul 19 '05 #17

P: n/a
an*************@gmail.com wrote:
Here's my situation:

I'm typing this in a public library on a computer with OS windows 2000
server. I can run Internet explorer, word, excel and powerpoint, that's
it. Maybe java, but it seems to be flaky.

I want to run python scripts from this computer. At home I have a
multi-computer network (from better times) but no internet access
anymore, I could use this to try out solutions. I also have access to a
friends computer which has internet connection, but I can't visit his
place all the time. He's away often but he's got a life of his own :-)

So I'm thinking of running some kind of python webserver from a
dedicated computer over there (visualizing some cherrypy webpage based
interpreter at the moment) but I would like to know other options.
However it would have to run from a webpage here ...

For example I would like to run a python script over there (e.g.
getting news from a usenet server) which puts the output in a zipfile
on another webpage so that I can fetch it here with the Internet
Explorer.

There seems to be no traffic load problem since there would be only a
few users (but it could become popular fast?). Also I'm worried about
security issues, but not so much that I would consider installing some
large scale payware professional solution.

Let me know what you think, unless it costs money. On the other hand
money would solve this problem so if I can do something to get that it
would be even better.

Anton

[the things they make you go through ...]


Hehehe. If it's possible you could run Knoppix from a CD. Or Damn Small
Linux from a memory key.

--
--------------------------
Lucas Raab
lvraab"@"earthlink.net
dotpyFE"@"gmail.com
AIM: Phoenix11890
MSN: dotpyfe "@" gmail.com
IRC: lvraab
ICQ: 324767918
Yahoo: Phoenix11890
Jul 19 '05 #18

P: n/a
"Anton Vredegoor" <an*************@gmail.com> writes:
Timothy Smith wrote:
how locked down is the computer? there's a few (brave) public access
unix shell providers out there. if you could run telnet you could use

them

Sorry, no telnet. Every executable that is not listed is blocked.


You sure? IE used to understand telnet: URLs, and would open a console
window talking to the remote end. It may have been doing it with an
external application, in which case this won't help you.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Jul 19 '05 #19

P: n/a
Mike Meyer wrote:
Sorry, no telnet. Every executable that is not listed is blocked.
You sure? IE used to understand telnet: URLs, and would open a

console window talking to the remote end. It may have been doing it with an
external application, in which case this won't help you.


Yes, I'm sure. At least now I am. I just did a "telnet://localhost" and
there was an error message from the appguard stating that "telnet.exe"
wasn't allowed to run.

Since some posters keep replying as if I just could install this here
or run that there (from a memory stick for example) I will say
something about what kind of solution I want.

I have little doubt that I could find a way to pass the security system
here if I really wanted that. The printing routine allows printing to a
file and has a filebrowser that can see all the 'forbidden'
directories. Also everytime someone prints anything around here the
complete network freezes for about half a minute so there's little
doubt that we have a high priority process here.

However that's *not* what I want (not saying that's what you think I
want, just speaking to the third person in general here). What I want
is to use the principle of flowing around the obstacle, leaving the
blocking instance out of the loop thereby "punishing" it for it's own
stupidity. It's the way internet works.

So if a telnet is offered I use it. If I have to create a webform on
*another* computer that I can access from here and which looks like a
telnet command line, that would be ok too.

So far I have received a valuable tip about a javabased terminal which
would in the end enable me to log in to some other computer and from
there I could possibly start a python interpreter session.

This also makes me think it should be possible to load a java based
python somehow. Maybe from a java text editor that can run jython?
However jython implies running jview.exe or at least some other java
interpreter? But then how does this ssh terminal run java?

It's a thin line between philosophy, fear of breaking the rules and
having the security personnel throw me out of here, and trying to live
in a just world.

Assume I can't or won't run .exe that are blacklisted. Any way to start
a python interpreter? This is a python challenge too isn't it :-)

Anton

'this parrot.exe is dead'

Jul 19 '05 #20

P: n/a
alex23 wrote:
You know, there _are_ valid reasons for libraries et.al. 'locking down' public terminals other than fascism...


Maybe, but in this case I can run only IE, word, excel and powerpoint.

Do you think there is a rational reason for that? Like Tim Peters
showing up, explaining that it's just a natural side effect of binary
floating point implementations?

On the other hand one might look at public libraries as places suited
to inspire people and showing them how one is to treat the users of a
public service.

Since Dutch government is beyond hope in that department and the local
governments of Cities are also becoming more and more corrupt (what
does one expect if one gives the City rulers a bag of money and says
"it's your problem now, do whatever you like with it, just don't come
back for more") one can only hope that public services stay functional
until there's an anti-fascistic movement that can remove those people
that sold public freedom, right, and dignity to the highest commercial
bidding party.

As to my personal situation, I just wanna run python here without
having to 'educate' the computer infrastructure persons of this
library.

Anton

'any buyers for the european constitution?'

Jul 19 '05 #21

P: n/a
> Maybe, but in this case I can run only IE, word, excel and
powerpoint.
Do you think there is a rational reason for that?
Yes. It's easier to support. As someone who has worked at administering
small & large scale networks, you want that job to be as easy as
possible...

In this case, it sounds like the library is providing computers for two
purposes: access to Office tools and to the internet. Given the
"everything not forbidden is permissable" attitude of most people,
unless the use is restricted to only those two activities people
legitimately wanting access will tend to end up waiting for others who
have co-opted the services for their own personal end.
On the other hand one might look at public libraries as places suited
to inspire people and showing them how one is to treat the users of a
public service.


By _secretly_ commandeering public resources for your own private use
outside of the scope of their intended usage, you plan on showing how
the public is responsible enough to do anything they want with those
resources?

At the end of the day, some staff member is left with having to clean
up whatever is done to those public terminals. I think the motivation
here has less to do with "selling out" the European Constitution and
more to do with someone just wanting to get home from their job with
the minimum of hassle.

-alex23

Jul 19 '05 #22

P: n/a
There are several ssh and telnet applets on the web. Of course it depends
on the Java support in your IE.
--
Piet van Oostrum <pi**@cs.uu.nl>
URL: http://www.cs.uu.nl/~piet [PGP]
Private email: pi**@vanoostrum.org
Jul 19 '05 #23

P: n/a
alex23 wrote:
In this case, it sounds like the library is providing computers for two purposes: access to Office tools and to the internet. Given the
"everything not forbidden is permissable" attitude of most people,
unless the use is restricted to only those two activities people
legitimately wanting access will tend to end up waiting for others who have co-opted the services for their own personal end.


But who are those people using this *public* library for their own
personal end? Is it the cannibal elite that is using this public space
to promote microsoft products and 'reducing' their workload (actually I
believe they are making their own job harder) or is it the user who
wants to run public domain software?

The current situation is such that in order to make the system 'safer'
I cannot clear my own cache, so my internet history is visible for the
next user, which compromises *my* security. Surely there should be a
balance between the interests of the provider and the client, but since
in this case the client is also the 'owner' of the service (it's a
*public* library) there should be room to run non-proprietary software.

The connection with the european constitution is exactly about this
shifting of the ownership of public buildings, institutions,
infrastructure etc. *from* the persons using the service *towards* the
people accidentally working in that place.

So social security starts to act like it's an employer, but since they
are also the state, they don't have to pay minimum wages, if one is
treated unfairly it's impossible to get a fair trial. If one doesn't
agree with this treatment they just keep the money they are obliged to
pay (according to our national constituton) to themselves.

Universities start to act like the buildings are extra living room for
the persons working there and in order to get a degree one has to
*work* for a professor.

The elite in the city starts building luxury appartments for their own
people (who are payed with public money stolen one way or the other
from the normal residents in the city) in the natural resorts because
their is some kind of 'shortage' in the housing market.

On the other hand one wants to "make the polluter pay" and creates
taxes for garbage. But these taxes are 'equal' for everyone, meaning
that they are negligible for the rich but a large part of the income of
the poor.

The same goes for fines for speeding or parking tickets. If you're rich
or know the people in the elite you can get away with anything.

The *european* constitution is related to this because our government
wants to limit the discussion to the merits of the document. The
problem is that even with a good constitution a corrupt elite can
interpret the terms in a way that is unfavorable for the poor (almost
anyone is poor or becoming poor by now). And secondly the document is
only intelligible for specialists, so even if it was good, there's no
way to tell.

So we might find ourselves in a situation one day when walking to the
water tap to fill our teakettle a voice will come out of it asking
whether we want *coca* cola or *pepsi* cola. When complaning about this
to our government we will hear something like: 'Look you *have* a
choice it's not like we prefer one brand over the other, so what are
you complaining about? Be silent out you will be removed from our
administration, which means no food, health care, money or friends."

I'm currently mentally analogizing this discussion with the one on
python dev about whether the decimal module should give users 'what
they expect' or conform to industry standards, but I guess one has to
be Dutch to see any connection at all here :-)

The rationale for all of this is that the economy is bad and we have
close to zero growth. We should be like China or other low wage
countries in order to be more competitive.

However the rationale is false! Because we have better infrastructure
here we are *further* up the exponential development curve so we could
have fenomenal growth if we wanted! The fact that this isn't happening
at all has nothing to do with with the economic potential but all the
more with conservative power consolidation tactics.

The media play a very nasty role in all of this. For example the
newspapers are complaining nobody reads paper anymore because of the
internet. IMO it is caused more by nobody wanting to read the same old
selfpromotion anymore. Something comparable is happening with public
television which is not a true representation of the public opinion at
all. Not to say public opinion is always good, but if noone thinks you
are giving the right characterization of the current situation, one is
not likely to want to join the discussion.

Ok, this is getting way to far off topic. Thanks to all for the hints
to get python running here. I'm now contemplating to access the already
running java interpreter that must hide somewher in this IE, and to
start a jython console from there (without even running a new
jview.exe).

Anton

'if you disagree this probably wasn't explained properly'

Jul 19 '05 #24

This discussion thread is closed

Replies have been disabled for this discussion.