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...in Internet Explorer 7!

But perhaps that's redundant. "Dumb bugs" and "Internet Explorer" have long gone together like chocolate and peanut butter.

Anyway, one of my coworkers wanted to know why attempts to install Firefox always bombed out on her system. She was going to the Download page and clicking the "Run" button, which in reality actually means "download and then run."

The Firefox executable has spaces in its name (it's called something like "Install Firefox 3.0.6"). Now, as we all know, the Web turns spaces into %20, which is the hex ASCII code for a space.

So Explorer downloads the file as "Install%20%Firefox%20%3.0.6" but saves it as "Install Firefox 3.0.6". Here's where things go all hinkey:

It then runs the file "Install Firefox 3.0.6" but sets the path to the file as "Install%20Firefox%203.0.6"--which doesn't work. When the installer attempts to run, it can't locate its own built-in libraries because the Windows file path parsing APIs do not change "Install%20%Firefox%203.0.6" back into "Install Firefox 3.0.6".

*rolls eyes*

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Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
6_bleen_7
Feb. 6th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Is that a bug, or merely IE7 looking out for its own best interests?
xaotica
Feb. 6th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)

that was my initial reaction too. i wouldn't be shocked if the "bug" was overlooked
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
I'd be inclined to think cynically if it weren't for the fact that it happens on any executable download whose name contains a space. It's easier for me to attribute this one to stupidity rather than malice; one function receives an escaped file name in a string somewhere and just blindly passes it on to another function (probably written by a different programmer) without looking at it.
dayo
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
So how do you fix it? I think I've been having similar issues.
delphinea
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Hey there dayo! *waves*
dayo
Feb. 7th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
Hi ya:) Have we met?
masterhyde
Feb. 7th, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
When I see your name, I want to sing "Here I come, and me want go home"
dayo
Feb. 7th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Highly deadly black tarantulas *nods*
(Anonymous)
Feb. 7th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
*smiles* Long live Harry Belafonte!
delphinea
Feb. 7th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
After DragonCon -- we went out to eat.
delphinea
Feb. 7th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
With this little guy...
dayo
Feb. 7th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
I had a guess that that's who you were. I didn't recognize the LJ nick so I was wondering. Hope you're doing well!
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Download the file to disk and then run it manually. That seems to work.
delphinea
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Shouldn't that be chocolate and peanut butter *with salmonella*???
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
*snerk*
much_ado
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
peanut butter! dude!!

okay, srsly, this is about to become a thing:).

i should just stop now, before your name becomes irrevocably entwined with the kinds of thoughts that definitely don't go well with grad school and research :)
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Mmm, peanut butter!
musicman
Feb. 6th, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't this be restraint of trade? No wonder they make so much money at Micr20&s20%ft
cjhm
Feb. 6th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oddly, last year CRA (IRS) has a similar problem with IE with the Tables on Disk. They've fixed it now by making all the files one big self-extracting zip file but it always struck me as odd that the federal government couldn't figure out the problem themselves and had to have thousands of complaint calls.

Or IE could be made to not change things like that.

I dunno - just a thought.
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
It may be that the problem is new with IE 7, which might explain why they didn't uncover it in testing. Of course, this presupposes they tested the Web site...
valsmith
Feb. 6th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
another
IE will parse a file and if it finds any code, it will attempt to execute it, regardless of the extension.

For example if you make a text (.txt) file and post it on a web server, Firefox will display the text as text, no matter what is in it. Firefox will only execute if the extension is correct (like .js)

If there is say a javascript or other code tag inside your text, IE will execute it, even if the file extension is .txt.

IIS, the sister to IE will do this as well. Ex. GIF files with embeded visual basic script.

Go mircosoft.

V.
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: another
*blink*

Dear. God.

I don't know WHAT to say to that, other than "OMFG what were they thinking??"
msantisocialite
Feb. 7th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
waa?
"Now, as we all know, the Web turns spaces into %20, which is the hex ASCII code for a space." LOL ...should I be embarrassed? :p
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Re: waa?
Heh. It's easy to see in action. Type an address like "www.this isanexample.com" into your Web browser and it'll change to "www.this%20isanexample.com". Web addresses can't contain a space, so the browser sees the space and changes it to %20.
msantisocialite
Feb. 10th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Re: waa?
You teach me so much, I hope my dry and far and in-between comments are payment enough.
zotmeister
Feb. 10th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
That is a dumb bug, but I'm not sure it takes the crown from Civilization: Call to Power. In its unpatched state, using a nuclear weapon on another civ's city is NOT considered an act of war. (Arguably dumber from the same program is that network games will unfailingly crash if any of the player's names as inputted begin with the letter 'Z'.) - ZM
tacit
Feb. 10th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
Wow.

The "nuking a city isn't an act of war" thing I'd be more inclined to call a misfeature than a bug--it's not a coding error, the program's doing exactly what the designer intended, but the design is broken because the designer didn't think about that.

The network game crashing if a player's name starts with the letter Z, on the other hand, is clearly a bug, and a pretty dumb one.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )