Python obfuscation

Alex Martelli aleax at
Fri Nov 11 06:41:51 CET 2005

petantik <petantik.fool at> wrote:
> I think that is not workable because it is easy to say the the internet
> is available everywhere.

This implies that, if it were difficult to say it, then the scheme WOULD
be workable... which I doubt is what you mean, of course;-)

> It is not available in developing countries or in rural areas and so

Things are getting better all the time in these respects - and they will
keep getting better, quite apart from "web apps", because access to
information is MUCH more precious than mere computation.

> these people who live/work there will never benefit from a webservice
> type protection scheme, 

It's debatable whether the customer BENEFITS from having their ability
to run an application RESTRICTED.  It appears that the trend (in
developing countries even more than in rich ones) is towards using open
source, anyway.

> and what if the network in your area goes down?
> bye bye app that I *really* need for tomorrow.  Reliability is

But the risk of your specific MACHINE going down is much higher than
that of the NET going down in all of its forms at once!  If I rely on a
web app, and need to use it tonight to have something ready tomorrow,
then if my machine goes down (or I suffer a power brown-out in my area,
an occurrence that is frequent in many developing countries, and not
unheard of in developed ones), then I stand a chance to rush elsewhere,
to a library, town hall, internet cafe, or ANY other location where I
may be able to grab a machine, ANY machine, connect to the net, identify
and authenticate myself, and keep using that crucial web app.  If said
app is well designed and mature, it will have autosaved most of my work
up to the point of my machine's crash (or the area brown-out, etc), too.

The importance of reliability speaks in FAVOUR of keeping important
stuff on the internet, rather than on unreliable, crash-prone local
machines (...and when's the last time you did a full backup of all of
your work with all proper precautions...?  For most users, "never" --
for users of web apps hosted on well-maintained sites, on the other
hand, backups ARE taken care of, professionally and properly!).

> important but so is protecting your code in an effective manner

There is no effective manner of protecting your code, except running it
only on well-secured machines you control yourself.  If you distribute
your code, in ANY form, and it's at all interesting to people with no
interest in respecting the law, then, it WILL be cracked (and if users
choose to respect the law, then you need no "protecting").

> I do believe that you are right about those that crack software for
> kicks or money.  If you look around at you local market place i'm sure
> there are many 'discounted' commercial softwares/games sold.  of course
> the big software companies might say 'trusted computing will save us'
> but I for one will never truly trust it.
> Perhaps a comprehensive protection for interpreted languages can never
> be built because of their high level nature?

Many, perhaps most, of those cracked commercial programs have NOT been
written in "interpreted languages" (whatever that means), but in
assembly code, C, C++... so your last paragraph is easily shown to be an
irrelevant aside -- it's not an issue of what language the code is in.


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