DRM In Windows Vista

By Andrew Price, 2007-02-13 02:16:19 in General.

I haven't blogged yet about Windows Vista and its crazy you-don't-own-me,-I-own-you philosophy. Actually I've only used it on a friend's computer for about 10 minutes, and even then I wasn't impressed, usability-wise. But here is the man, the legend, Bruce Schneier, giving his take on Vista's DRM:

Microsoft put all those functionality-crippling features into Vista because it wants to own the entertainment industry. This isn't how Microsoft spins it, of course. It maintains that it has no choice, that it's Hollywood that is demanding DRM in Windows in order to allow "premium content"--meaning, new movies that are still earning revenue--onto your computer. If Microsoft didn't play along, it'd be relegated to second-class status as Hollywood pulled its support for the platform.

To me it's as clear as day - if you have Windows <= XP, only care about usability and "shininess" and you want to spend some money on an upgrade, get a Mac. If you really care about your freedom, have a tight budget, have hardware that no other OS supports, want to be part of an amazing development community, or want to influence the software that runs on your computer, install a Linux distribution.

I really don't see what Microsoft's Vista has to offer the current market that you can't get somewhere else, apart from the gaming lock-in:

  1. "Games companies only make games for Windows because it's popular"
  2. "I must buy Windows because games companies only make decent games for Windows"
  3. "Games companies only make games for Windows because it's popular"
  4. (ad infinitum)

And even still, the gaming argument is dubious under Vista, which supports few games that can't be run under XP at the moment.

The gaming argument of course is hindered by the graphics hardware manufacturers being secretive about their hardware specifications, so open operating systems such as Linux have inconsistent graphics hardware support and subsequently, little interest from gaming manufacturers. I see this state of affairs changing significantly in the near future.

So, take a moment to think about your role as a consumer. Are you a passive consumer or a powerful one?

Comments

Mitchel Tyrell writes:

So this means that I am going to be able to play HD movies on my MythTV box, right?

2007-02-13 04:37:22

Steve Hill writes:

"the gaming argument is dubious under Vista, which supports few games that can't be run under XP at the moment."

Sadly, I predict that the gaming industry will quickly migrate to new versions of DirectX and within a couple of years there will be huge swaths of games that only run under Vista. This is of course completely backwards, since using open APIs such as OpenGL, etc. would be in their interest by allowing them to easilly release games for multiple platforms and increase their customer base, but historically much of the games industry seems disinterested in non-Windows systems (maybe the growth of Apple will change this attitude).

And in answer to Mitchel Tyrell: "So this means that I am going to be able to play HD movies on my MythTV box, right?"

Yes, you can already, plenty of people use MythTV to record and play HD content.

The thing you can't currently do is play HD-DVD without getting the title key for that disc from somewhere. But then, do you really care about HD-DVD enough to bother using it yet? I have a lot of confidence that it won't be too long before Free software can play HD-DVDs with no trouble - DRM systems have historically not stood up well. DRM involves putting a lot of decryption hardware in the hands of an aweful lot of people who want to crack it, which is why it's a fundamentally flawed idea.

2007-02-13 09:46:05

Sits writes:

What does Vista offer? Out of the box support for running a non privileged user without endless hacks. That's reason enough to get (and use) it with a new machine in my book.

Its search ain't bad either. Much faster than the OSX's spotlight and have you seen shadow volumes and the perf counters you can get at now? Rather nifty...

2007-02-13 22:04:16