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Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:00:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: "David A. Wheeler" <>
To: "oss-security" <>
Subject: Re: Thoughts on Shellshock and beyond

On Thu, 9 Oct 2014 10:34:49 -0700, Tracy Reed <> wrote:
> Sure, but at least with Haskell (and the like) you have to make it very
> explicit that this is what you want to do.

Not in this case.  A Haskell implementation of the POSIX "sh" specification,
that then added function imports, could have made the same mistake
just as easily.

> Educating developers will be equally hard as switching to safer languages but
> at least it is something people will stomache getting started on.

I'm all for switching to safer languages where it makes sense; many
problems are completely prevented by them.  Heartbleed, for example,
would have been prevented in almost all languages *except* C and C++,
as I have already publicly noted here:

But let's not oversell the tools.  Shellshock was the running of data
as a command in program whose *purpose* was to be a command interpreter.
A rewritten Haskell version (for example) could do it just as easily.

Also, I think you're underestimating the cost of language switching.
It is a *big* deal to switch languages in an existing code base.
Educating developers is less risky, way faster, and costs less too.

--- David A. Wheeler

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