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Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0

by jjn1056 (Novice)
on Jan 19, 2006 at 11:22 UTC ( #524184=perlquestion: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??
jjn1056 has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Last week when I moved to Beijing the airline lost a bag that contained all the source code to my most current perl project. My client has the current working version in the form of an activestate perlapp 5.3.0 binary that was compiled as a standalone executable. At this stage this executable is my only link to the code.

After searching through google and perlmonk's supersearch I uncovered some links (perlmonks.org/?node=A+real+challenge inparticular) but they were all pretty old, like from 2001 and since then Activestate has updated perlapp enough so that none of the techniques listed in those threads really help me. Or I am just not smart enough to figure out how they could help me :) I also asked on the chatterbox, but nobody has any ideas beyond what I've already mentioned.

I tried disassembling the code in PE Explorer, but to be honest I am not an expert on this subject so that didn't really help me at all. I understand that perlapp is not really designed to be super secure, just to make it easier to distribute files, so I am hoping there is a way to do this.

BTW, I already tried searching my temp directories while the application was running and that only turned up a handful of dll files.

If anyone has any suggestions I would be eternally grateful.

Comment on Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0
Re: Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0
by holli (Monsignor) on Jan 19, 2006 at 11:37 UTC
    Maybe you can find some help in ActiveState's mailing list or ask there. Also, contacting their support would be worth a try. I mean, you *have* licensed your perlapp, don't you? ;-)


    holli, /regexed monk/
Re: Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0
by marto (Chancellor) on Jan 19, 2006 at 12:12 UTC
    jjn1056,

    Lessons learned here could be to take regular backups and use a CVS system, but I'm sure you really don't want to hear that now :)

    However to address you immediate issue (loss of source code), people often compile Perl apps containing sensitive data such as database connection strings so that others can't easily access this data as plain text. I don't mean this to sound rude, but for all we know this exe is not yours, and you are trying to extract the source code for someone else's work. I agree with holli, that you should firstly contact ActiveState support or ask on the pdk mailing list.

    Martin
Re: Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0
by diotalevi (Canon) on Jan 19, 2006 at 13:50 UTC

    See also The Coroner's Toolkit Lazarus. This will recover stuff that's been deleted and/or is otherwise unknown to anything else on the computer.

    ⠤⠤ ⠙⠊⠕⠞⠁⠇⠑⠧⠊

      diotalevi,
      While that is great FYI, it is not applicable to jjn1056's problem. It would be a really neat trick though to to recover something no longer in your possession.

      Cheers - L~R

        jin1056 mentioned temp files. Perhaps there's a copy that was here but isn't any longer.

        ⠤⠤ ⠙⠊⠕⠞⠁⠇⠑⠧⠊

Re: Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Jan 19, 2006 at 14:22 UTC
      I don't know what you searched for to find those links, but they really helped me. I was able to accomplish my mission and should be able to meet my customer's expectations now. I'm sorry I couldn't find this on my own, maybe if you can give me some hints about how you searched for this (I tried supersearch) so that I can do a better job helping myself in the future? Thanks for all the comments.
        jjn1056,
        Well, I Super Searched for two keywords together, PerlApp and decompile. It also helps that I am addicted to PerlMonks logging in most every day with a good memory. I remembered tachyon as having helped others with similar problems. This supports the thought process that says it isn't important to have the answers if you know where to find them.

        Cheers - L~R

Re: Help recovering some source code from activestate perlapp 5.3.0
by jjn1056 (Novice) on Jan 19, 2006 at 14:27 UTC
    Thanks for the suggestions so far. Let me add some details. I appreciate that you might be careful to make suggestions to me since I could just be trying to steal someone else's code. I'm not sure how to prove that I am the author of the code, but I can provide details about what would be inside the code should someone know how to help me. I could blindly send the executable so someone with this knowledge if they could help me. I do have a real license for the tool and I did contact support but haven't heard back yet. Past activestate posts about this have not been answered, so I am not hopeful. Usually I have better backups, but I was working on this code on the road and didn't have access to my regular subversion database. Plus it was not a huge project, about 10 hours of time that I grabbed between flights. The disk that was stolen was my backup. I actually damaged my computer notebook and had to install a new hard drive AND had the bag with my backup stolen. Anyway I feel pretty stupid about it since usually I am great for carefully backing up stuff. Anyway, I am looking at this is PE Explorer a bit now that I understand how to use it better. Hopefully someone out there can give me the hint I need to save myself the effort of rewritting it.

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