RunUrl

Summary

First we added apt: support to Firefox, making software installation easier. This spec proposes to add a "run:" handler to launch software from a web page.

Rationale

Useful and dangerous.

Running sofware with a single click could be dangerous, but a wide range of possibilities come to scene:

  • Web (wiki) recipes with automatic links to required tools
  • User manual with links to (python?) assistants
  • Support Team mails with links to scripts.

In order to make this runnable urls as safe as possible, whitelists or a secure directory with links to allowed apps could be the solution.

User stories

An user is reading a Ubuntu forum with some kind of recipe about configuring fonts, but he/she doesn't know how to launch font-config-dialog. Another user post a link "run:fontconfig-voodoo" so the first one just need to click on it.

An html manual could include a link to run an assistant for network configuration right from its pages.

I want to design a nice & simple desktop for my parents with only a few big icons, but I have no programming skills. However, I can set a local html page up with launchers for them.

Authoring tools like Ubuntu Tweaks would be really easy with little knowledge about gtk interface.

Design

URls beggining with "run:" should trigger (in Firefox at least) a wrapper application (/usr/bin/run-url) to control execution permissions.

"run-url" will parse and check the second part (program name) of the URL. If this program is part of a distribution package, execution is granted with no more dialogs.

A simple 'dpkg -S' will do the job.

Implementation

  • A package with Firefox tweaks (similar to apturl) is needed, although anyone can test the launcher script tweaking the about:config page or including a run-url.js file in /etc/firefox-x/ containing these lines:

pref("network.protocol-handler.app.run","/usr/bin/run-url");
pref("network.protocol-handler.warn-external.run",false);

Sample test page

This wiki doesn't support run:// links, so download and save this page in order to test run-url:

My Programs

Click on program name to launch it.

ProgramDescription
Select your favourite mirror site to download your upgrades
Calculator Simple calculator
Network Properties Proxy and network parameters Configuration
Sudoku The most famous numbers game

test-run-url.html

Discussion

  • AlfonsoDeCala: another runurl project already exists in launchpad with a different focus. That one download and execute scripts from Internet (really insecure IMHO). In order to avoid confussion, this firefox-run-url should use a different name for the plugin: "run-url" or "execurl"

RunUrl (last edited 2010-05-03 16:05:44 by alfem)