Q: why would anyone do such a thing?
A: because they can.
If you leave your front door wide open all the time chances are the contents of your home will be stolen. Most operating systems are like houses without front doors, they give one next to nothing in the way of protection of harmful apps. So you can be secure by not installing any software on your system (somewhat analogous to not having anything in your house to steal), or you can tolerate the insecurity that is part of using a computer these days.
Or you can get mad as hell and not take it anymore. But don't get mad at Real Networks - the door was wide open, they were just taking a peek inside. Get mad at your OS for not having a front door that you could close.
The OS needs to give the user -
No wait, conventional termilogy works against the point I'm trying to make, if someone is "using" something there's not much implied in the way of rights, perhaps "owner" is a better term, although right now I'm using an OS that I don't own (I'm in the office) ..."master" is a good term I think, I don't own the OS I'm using right now but it's entirely appropriate that I be considered its master, so -
The OS needs to give its master control. The master needs to be able to clearly dictate policy about what applications are and are not allowed to do, for instance:
- Don't reveal any of this class of data unless I (the master) explicitely says so.
- Don't mess with system objects like cursors unless I explicitely say so.
I'm really surprised that this is not considered a major shortcoming of OS's. With the proliferation of software, and increased acceptance of freeware as viable software, and the proliferation of connectivety, it's only going to get worse. Real Networks atleast has some interest in protecting its image, therefore responds to feedback from the world, but there's got to be alot of forces out there that don't have an image to protect and will not mind corrupting your system to do things not in your best interest.
The only thing in a position to protect one from such forces is one's OS.
When will it start doing so?