Applying PFX Certificates for Signing Internal .NET Applications

Motivation

We have a number of tools we distribute internally that we want to ensure are signed (particularly ClickOnce applications).

The goals were:

  1. Anyone on the team could build the tools (including ClickOnce tools) and publish them.
  2. No one on the team has to go through manual steps: they ought to be able to sync and build.
  3. No dialog popups during the build (such as passwords).
  4. No trust issues when using the tools–Certificates are trusted.

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Diamond of Death

I have spent the past numerous years working on a game engine that avoided the Diamond of Death. This is a phenomena that occurs in languages that support multiple inheritance.

I decided to take a look at how Microsoft Visual C++ implements the solution using virtual inheritance. This is expressed by using “class B : public virtual A”.

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Arithmetic Coding

I have updated my github project with support for arithmetic coding.  It uses the algorithm provided by Malte Clasen and Eric Bodden.  It is an integer based encoder (32 bit unsigned).

I have made some changes to the original implementation to separate the statistical models more fully from the coder.  This allows substituting models on a per symbol basis.

An example of this behavior is provided in the ArithmeticStream class (paralleling the compression classes in System.IO.Compression).  This class uses two models: a zero order model and a new symbol model.  The former is only initialized with two symbols (stream terminator and new character).  The latter is initialized with all characters.

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Dynamic Huffman

Summary

The adaptive Huffman algorithm as described by Vitter had three constraints that were compelling to relax.

The first is the size of the table.  The size of the table was constrained based on initial knowledge of the set being compressed—typically constrained to 256 for a single byte alphabet size.

The NotYetTransmitted sequence never adjusted its weight based on its own frequency so clusters of new characters would not benefit from reduced sizes of this sequence.

Once new characters become rare, it makes sense to reduce the NotYetTransmitted weight and therefore demote it farther down the Huffman tree.

Source

The source for these changes can be found on GitHub. The implementation is C#. C/C++ implementations will be added in the future.
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