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My advice to anyone is generally don't allow ActiveX controls to be installed from anywhere except for really big sites like Microsoft. It's just too difficult to judge how safe or unsafe control happens to be.
How is this different from Java? Well, Java has an entirely different security model which does not make assumption that user has been educated about specific Java applet. Java sets specific rules to what an applet can and cannot do, and generally these rules do an excellent job of preventing damage to a system (there have been bugs but no where near as many as with ActiveX).
On top of security concerns, ActiveX only works in Internet Explorer. Yes, I know there is a plug in for Netscape but it's slow and not very usable. Besides, most Netscape users don't have it installed. If you are designing a web site, please consider this very carefully. If you include ActiveX controls you are losing as many as 50 percent of your visitors. Perhaps more, depending upon your market. Is any functionality that you might gain worth that cost?
Of course, if you are creating an Intranet (a web local to a company) then by all means use all of ActiveX controls that you want. In this case, you have far more control over user environment that you have on web.
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