Aug. 4th, 2012

piranha: inui's disgusting red juice dripping out of a glass (penal tea)
why do you want me to hate you? i really don't want to. i don't actually want to uninstall all your software because i am coming to distrust you as much as i distrust microsoft. i've dumped gmail, picasa, chrome, and search when you decided you knew better than i do what my real name is and that you somehow have a greater right to it than i do, but i still love google maps and google earth and google sketchup, and a whole host of lab stuff. you've given me a lot of neat software. but frankly, i'd rather pay for it in $$ than have you extract your price in whatever way you feel justified. because it's not "free".

now it looks like i might need to uninstall those apps as well, because you have decided you know better than i do what connections i allow to breach my firewall, and when.

for the last month every hour a process called ksfetch got stopped by my network monitor littlesnitch (HIGHLY recommended) when trying to connect to over TCP port 443 (https). it doesn't take long to find out that this is a google update process, probably serving apps related to keystone. usually i have always whitelisted google update processes because i've considered them trustworthy enough. though in general i prefer to have an option to tick "automatic updates" rather than have it happen behind my back, which option doesn't exist in google software (black star for that). but worse, ksfetch started to hammer my system, i had to dismiss 4(!) dialogues each time, and in fact i couldn't whitelist it with littlesnitch, which is what i had initially wanted to do. what the fuck?

turns out google does something sneaky for which i haven't discerned the reason -- ksfetch gets created as a new process in /tmp, and therefore littlesnitch can't associate any white (or black) listing parameters with it because it isn't a standard app. why in the world would google do such a thing? this is the sort of thing malware does! i looked in google's product update forum, where there are tons of people inquiring about this, and the only customer service rep who showed her face warned sweetly that disabling this would mean we'd no longer get security updates. no shit, sherlock! whose fault is that, do you think? why doesn't google act like a good software citizen on my machine?

so i archived and removed the /Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate directory. felt a bit drastic, but i wanted some peace while figuring out a more elegant solution. except it didn't give me peace for long; seems google software recreates that directory and its files when it notices it missing.

the littlesnitch people offered this workaround (in terminal, either use sudo or issue as root):
defaults write checkInterval 604800

which supposedly sets the launch agent to check only once a week (in seconds; can be set to longer or shorter as you wish). that slowed things down on 10.6.8, but it's nowhere near once a week; it still dials home several times a day. i don't want to waste any more time, and i am stopping myself -- barely -- from just wiping all google software from my system. this is my last try; restricting all access to the directories, including for all users (if present).

chmod -R 000 /Users/yourPersonalHomeDir/Library/Google
chmod -R 000 /Library/Google

most people won't ever even notice, so google seems not to care about those of us who're actually active in monitoring our systems.

i wonder whether there is a growth limit to corporations beyond which they simply no longer give a fuck about anything but their bottom line. if i ever allow myself to run a corporation, somebody please knock me over the head when i start to act like i know better than anyone else what's good for people instead of actually listening to them.

ETA 2012-08-22: ok, so denying google all permissions on both directories "works". i am writing a script to undo the permission once a week for a short period of time, so it can phone home and check for updates. the whole thing is kludgy as hell, and i don't really like running my system with kludges like this; automatic updates are supposed to be a winning proposition for everybody. it also means that GoogleUpdateUpdateAgent throws an exception every time it tries to run: "KSStatsCollection requires a storage path." but that's less annoying for me because it just clutters up the log, like so many other apps. as this has been going on since june, it looks like google doesn't give a shit that some techies are complaining; alrighty then, i'll have to treat google software as actively hostile to my system. sucks when companies i used to love turn more and more to crap.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

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