[OS X TeX] Why this .ps file can not be viewed?

Anthony Morton amorton at fastmail.fm
Mon Mar 15 22:59:06 CET 2010

> For me Apple's  Mail.app  tried to convert it for display within the  
> Mail window.  Of course it fell into a loop, thus freezing the  
> application and forcing me to (eventually) Force Quit.  On reopening  
> Mail all I could do was reduce the viewing window to nothing and  
> delete the email -- no opportunity to save the attachment.
> Doubtless something similar has happened to others on this list.
> Leo,
> what makes you think that it is sensible to include an image which  
> you know is bad, within an email message ?  You should place it on a  
> website and post the URL to it.

Ross, I would class this as a bug in Mail, of which Leo was doubtless  
completely unaware, and which Apple and not Leo is duty bound to fix.   
Any software that deals with potentially malformed input -  
*especially* software that triggers automatically without user control  
- must be designed to handle error conditions gracefully.  After all,  
if this sort of thing can be triggered by someone who innocently  
attaches a little PostScript file to a message, imagine what happens  
if a spammer starts doing the same thing with malicious intent.

Most of us work with the expectation that attaching a small image to  
an email is harmless.  Some of us even have software that attaches  
images in a signature block on all outgoing email.  Not that I'd  
encourage that practice, but given this is a list where people  
habitually post their non-working TeX files requesting assistance, I  
can understand someone assuming that doing the same thing with a 30Kb  
PostScript file would be similarly innocuous.

That said, my own Mail.app on 10.5.8 didn't fall into an infinite loop  
when displaying the message.  If your version of Mail is newer I would  
file a bug report with Apple.

Tony M.

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