[armyops] Solution to PunkBuster Client Errors on Linux

Andrew Pilley ashridah at icculus.org
Tue Sep 2 01:05:14 EDT 2003

On Tue, 2003-09-02 at 14:43, Alexander Winston wrote:
> For now, the only solution that I have found to the PunkBuster errors is
> to run America’s Army: Operations as root, allowing the PunkBuster files
> to update themselves “properly”.
> PunkBuster assumes a lot of things about its environment and some are
> wrong. For one, it assumes that an arbitary user (read: America’s Army:
> Operations player) has write access to the directory where the game
> files are stored. This is unsafe.
> On most systems, the files will be installed in /usr, so that all users
> of system can play AA:O. Even on Windows systems, this will be
> C:/Program Files, another place where it isn't safe to allow arbitrary
> users to play around. /usr being read-write is not required by the
> Filesystem [sic] Hierarchy Standard.

MM. it is notable that quake3, which also has punkbuster support under
linux uses ~/.q3a/pb/ to store any modified files. Not that punkbuster
hasn't caused people some issues in the past with quake3 either.
Personally, I think this has quite a lot to do with the way they encode
binary files into text, which strikes me as an unnecessarily

I wonder why they didn't use ~/.armyops190/pb/ or something this time
around, however.

> I hope somebody will be able to wake up PunkBuster and enlighten them.
> While they seem interested in keeping online games nice and safe, they
> don’t seem very concerned about the users of those games and their
> privacy. The following text is from the PunkBuster license agreement.

> Kids, remember to read software licenses. So far, PunkBuster’s license
> has explained that it is free to report your computer’s statistics and
> snoop around your hard drive looking for files of any kind. It has also
> said that it is free to take screenshots while you’re running the game.
> Note that it does not specify if it is taking screenshots of your
> America’s Army: Operations session or screenshots of your e-mail client
> or possibly even your banking software. The most important part is the
> last paragraph/sentence, where PunkBuster states that playing a game
> without cheaters is more important than losing basically all of one’s
> privacy.

If that really was a problem, there are plenty of relatively easy ways
to make sure punkbuster *cannot* read the files in question, both from
an administrative standpoint, and a simple 'not letting punkbuster be
used on a sensitive machine' standpoint.

Andrew Pilley

I hereby pose this question for analysis. 
Are Microsoft users smarter than hamsters?
*Bluescreen* Reboot *Bluescreen* Reboot *Bluescreen* Reboot
Hamsters 1, Users 0.

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