Under CapDesk, applications are run with minimal authority, so that an application does not have access to a given file or directory until the user explicitly grants the application the right to access it.
CapDesk is a research system that aims to show that this does not reduce the usability of the system. On the contrary; CapDesk's user interface is quite conventional from the user's point of view. Standard GUI mechanisms such as opening a file or using a file chooser are the basis for granting access rights to applications.
The term is a pun on applet, combining the term with "cap" which is short for "capability".
Applets such as Java applets often have no non-trivial use, because they do not have—and more importantly, cannot be granted—useful authority, such as the ability to save a file to the user's filesystem. In contrast, caplets are more useful, because they can request and be granted authority in a fine-grained but secure way.
- A Security Analysis of the Combex DarpaBrowser Architecture, David Wagner and Dean Tribble, March 4, 2002
- E and CapDesk