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  1. #1
    Joined
    Nov 2004
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    5,171

    microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut00...ista_cost.html



    In fact examples of this Windows content lock-in are already becoming apparent as people move to Vista and find that their legally-purchased content won't play any more under Vista (the example given in the link is particularly scary because the content actually includes a self-destruct after which it won't play any more, so not only do you need to re-purchase your content when you switch from XP to Vista, but you also need to re-purchase it periodically when it expires. In addition since the media rights can't be backed up, if you experience a disk crash you get another opportunity to re-purchase the content all over again. This is by design: as Jack Valenti, former head of the MPAA, put it, “If you buy a DVD you have a copy. If you want a backup copy you buy another one”). It's obvious why this type of business model makes the pain of pushing content protection onto consumers so worthwhile for Microsoft since it practically constitutes a license to print money.

    Microsoft have been saying for some years now that they'd really like the PC to go away, to turn into a kind of media platform and content-distribution center for consumers. This was a major theme of Bill Gates' world promotional tour for Vista in early 2007, and in particular something he went into in some detail at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Windows MCE has been the tail and of a long line of (unsuccessful) attempts to achieve this (the only reason why MCE seems to sell at all is because it's the cheapest version of Windows that vendors can pre-install on a PC). If “premium content” ever takes off, Microsoft wants to be the central controller of all content distribution and playback — only Windows can secure the content, therefore only Windows can distribute it. Even the term “premium content” is misleading: in a few years' time, most audio and video will be produced in some form of HD format, at which point “premium content” becomes normal, and so everything is subject to content protection.

    Paul Stimpson submitted an excellent analysis of this situation in which he points out that “Microsoft are being clever by releasing these protection 'features' now; The average user who goes to a computer store will get Vista but won't have either premium content or get 'premium ready' PC hardware; The ordinary person in the street can't afford a top-of-the-line machine and display. They will have a 'Vista capable' machine; Vista will look nice and not cause too much trouble or suffer from the protection overhead too much; They won't have any choice or know any different and it will be accepted. These people will dismiss any complaints they hear about these problems as a geek thing. They got their computer at the right price and it does everything they ask of it. They will only find out the truth in a few years when they buy their next computer and all machines are 'premium ready' (and fast enough to implement the protection) and every display has an HDMI connector. By that time XP will be well into its decline so there will be no going back. It's impossible to keep off the upgrade treadmill if you have Windows; Eventually you will either have to buy new hardware (with a new copy of Windows) or your out-of-support version of Windows will become such a target for malware that it will no longer be useable”.

    “In today's environment these content protection features are indeed a nonsense. I don't think, however that Microsoft are thinking about today's environment beyond keeping these features low-key for most users in order to avoid rejection. In their heads Microsoft see the 'connected home' where everyone has a network and displays around the house that integrate everything from TV to email, Internet, telephone, lighting and heating. In order to do these things on your TV you need a computer attached to it and Microsoft want that computer to run Windows”.

    So not only will Microsoft be able to lock out any competitors, but because they will then represent the only available distribution channel they'll be able to dictate terms back to the content providers whose needs they are nominally serving in the same way that Apple has already dictated terms back to the music industry: Play by Apple's rules, or we won't carry your content. And as the example above shows, they'll also be able to dictate terms to consumers in order to ensure a continual revenue flow. The result will be a technologically enforced monopoly that makes their current de-facto Windows monopoly seem like a velvet glove in comparison [Note K].

    The onerous nature of Vista's content protection also provides a perverse incentive to remove the protection measures from the content, since for many consumers that'll be the only way that they can enjoy their legally-acquired content without Vista's DRM getting in the way. This is already illustrated in the Quotes and Footnotes sections, where the people bypassing HD-DVD protection measures aren't hardcore video pirates but ordinary consumers who can't even play their own legitimately-acquired content. The sheer obnoxiousness of Vista's content protection may end up being the biggest incentive to piracy yet created. Even without overt “piracy” (meaning bypassing restrictions in order to play legally-purchased media), it makes very sound business sense for companies to produce media-player hardware that bypasses the problem, just as they have already with region-free play-anything DVD players. Perhaps Hollywood should heed the advice given in one of their most famous productions: “The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers”.

    A historical feature of organisations like Beria's NKVD (and by extension any kind of state enforcers in a totalitarian society) is that the lack of any fixed goals and limits on their behaviour, the kind that would be set by the laws of a democratic country, combined with the intense paranoia of the leadership, leads to a continual extension of the security apparatus and an ongoing escalation of repressiveness by the enforcers. The result is a driftnet approach to enforcement that ends up netting more innocent bystanders than anything else. The many examples given in the rest of this writeup are an indication that Windows is already well down this path.

    Overall, Vista's content-protection functionality seems like an astonishingly short-sighted piece of engineering, concentrating entirely on content protection with no consideration given to the enormous repercussions of the measures employed. It's something like the PC equivalent of the (hastily dropped) proposal mooted in Europe to put RFID tags into high-value banknotes as an anti-counterfeiting measure, which completely ignores the fact that the major users of this technology would be criminals who would use it to remotely identify the most lucrative robbery targets (in my Godzilla security tutorial I nominate this (hastily-dropped) idea as “possibly the most stupid use of RFID ever proposed”).

    To add insult to injury, consider what this enormous but ultimately wasted effort could have been put towards. Microsoft is saying that Vista will be the most secure version of Windows yet, but they've been saying that for every new Windows release since OS security became a selling point. I don't think anyone's under any illusions that Vista PCs won't be crawling with malware shortly after the bad guys get their hands on them (there were already Vista exploits up for sale before the OS even hit the shelves). But what if the Vista content-protection technology had instead been applied towards malware protection? Instead of a separate protection domain for video playback, we might have a separate protection domain for banking and credit card details. Instead of specialised anti-debugging technigues to stop users getting at even one frame of protected content, we could have those same techniques combatting malware hooking itself into the OS. The list goes on and on, with all of the effort being misapplied to DRM when it could have been used to combat malware instead. What a waste. What a waste.

    Where could all this stuff be heading in the future? For some years now Microsoft have been trying to introduce software-as-a-service (SaaS), where you don't pay one lump sum for an application any more but instead rent it in an ongoing series of payments. The reason for this is that they've pretty much run out of ideas for new revenue-generation features for their two flagship produces Windows and Office. If you take a typical user and dump them in front of a ten-year-old copy of Microsoft Word (Office'97) and then ask them to compare it with the latest edition (at least before Office 2007, when they radically changed the user interface) then the only obvious change is that the paperclip is gone. Sure, there's a pile of obscure little changes that 99.99% of the user base would never notice, but for the vast majority of users the functionality of Office that they actually make day-to-day use of hasn't changed in ten years.

    This isn't due to any inability of Microsoft to innovate, but because there's only so many things that you can do with (say) a word processor, and at some point you've made the last meaningful change and the only thing left to do is repeatedly tweak the eye candy and bump the version number every few years.

    Windows has the same problem. If you take an eight-year-old PC running Windows 98, put it next to a current PC running Windows XP (with the Fisher-Price colour scheme turned off), the typical user won't be able to tell you what's changed without a point-by-point comparison of system features from one machine to the other.

    This problem is by no means exclusive to Microsoft. Here's a quick exercise:
    Max Plank: "A new scientific truth does not
    triumph by convincing its opponents and making them
    see the light,
    but rather because its opponents eventually die"
    Arthur Shopenhauer: "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.
    First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is opposed. Third, it is regarded as self evident."
    Martin Niemöller:
    "When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;I was not a communist.
    When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;I wasn't a Jew.When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out."

  2. #2
    Joined
    Oct 2002
    Location
    wichita falls tx
    Age
    33
    Posts
    5,146

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    its just more of a reason to look towards alternatives like linux, which has come a long way.

    microsoft already has taken over most pc's sadly. the problem isn't necessarily microsoft themselves, but the whole idea of software licensing itself. software licensing has created a whole new game for companies to play. you don't actually own anything, y ou just pay for the right to use the software, with numerous restrictions.

    coming from a world where exchanges for products meant actual ownership of the item, this is a drastic change and its opening up whole new avenues for companies to screw over consumers. copyright and software licensing is getting out of hand.

    while i do agree companies should have some form of protection for their work, i dont' believe it should be to the extent that it is.

  3. #3
    Joined
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    5,171

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    Max Plank: "A new scientific truth does not
    triumph by convincing its opponents and making them
    see the light,
    but rather because its opponents eventually die"
    Arthur Shopenhauer: "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.
    First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is opposed. Third, it is regarded as self evident."
    Martin Niemöller:
    "When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;I was not a communist.
    When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;I wasn't a Jew.When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out."

  4. #4
    Joined
    Dec 2001
    Age
    71
    Posts
    64,553

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    It's just another indication of how much of a death grip M$ has on the ballz of the mass market.

    I use XP for ONLY one reason... ie, to run a tiny few programs that mean a lot to me. Otherwise, M$ can take a flying **** in a rolling donut.

  5. #5
    Joined
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    5,171

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    you know... i was thinking of running xp on a hard drive with no net access, and then running linux on hard drive with net access... after they stop releasing updates and malware supposedly takes over all xp machines. is that a real threat?
    Max Plank: "A new scientific truth does not
    triumph by convincing its opponents and making them
    see the light,
    but rather because its opponents eventually die"
    Arthur Shopenhauer: "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized.
    First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is opposed. Third, it is regarded as self evident."
    Martin Niemöller:
    "When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;I was not a communist.
    When they locked up the social democrats,I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.When they came for the trade unionists,I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;I wasn't a Jew.When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out."

  6. #6
    Joined
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Obamaland
    Age
    37
    Posts
    9,532

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    Quote Originally Posted by old82 View Post
    you know... i was thinking of running xp on a hard drive with no net access, and then running linux on hard drive with net access... after they stop releasing updates and malware supposedly takes over all xp machines. is that a real threat?
    You won't have to worry about that for a while, M$ will release critical updates for XP until the year 2012, or 2104, don't remember which. By then Linux will hopefully improve to the point where it's a point and click OS just like Windows so the Linux crowd will greatly expand.

    I recall paying for web browsers, so hopefully operating systems will follow suit.


    As another election draws near; the G.O.P. are yet again filled with a stupid confidence that the they will win the White House. What they don't realize about people like Trump, Carson, and Cruz is that their rhetoric only resonates within an echo chamber, but not the American people. They live in an illusion of falsehood and distorted truth and only seek information and opinions that confirm these beliefs and instantly reject anything that contradicts them because only their opinions matter. Their notion of freedom is freedom for themselves and those alike to them, but not the rest of the country which has changed.
    These are the reasons why the G.O.P is set to lose in 2016. And when that happens, rest assured that they will have myriad of conspiracy theories blaming everyone and everything from the liberal media, to Oprah, to welfare moms, and pretty much everyone but their own disgusting selves.



  7. #7
    Joined
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east coast
    Posts
    494

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    This all disgusts me and makes me really glad I've switced to *nix. I was about to put xp back on them family machine when I finally got flash working better (no crashes yet). I will be putting a vm xp on my media server to only to access abc.com and to access a move player that don't support *nix. I'll be continuing to petition *nix support.

    DRM= no thanks, I bought it, it's mine!

    My daughters ipod will never see itunes unless she buys and builds her own machine. I haven't figured out all of gtkpod but I'll be working on it more.

  8. #8
    Joined
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Arlee, MT
    Age
    50
    Posts
    261

    Re: microsoft wants to take over our pc's?

    you know... i was thinking of running xp on a hard drive with no net access, and then running linux on hard drive with net access... after they stop releasing updates and malware supposedly takes over all xp machines. is that a real threat?
    You might want to look a little further into it, see if anyone who wrote anything for that article can say that under real world circumstances, any of it is true. My own personal experience on my laptop with Vista is that premium content plays just fine. I'm not sure what others are doing wrong, but if they're pointing you in a direction other than Windows, chances are they're doing nothing wrong, and they're not having problems, but trying to get people to switch to an OS that isn't anywhere near ready for HOME users. Please note, I did say "home users," these are people who don't know what a command line is, and they have no reason to ever try to figure out what it is. Another thing meant by "home users," is that the second that person goes to best buy and gets a program, takes it home, and realizes it won't work on their Linux system, then tries to return it, that SHOULD BE class action lawsuit territory, they should be able to sue the manufacturer of their PC that claims to operate as a PC. Linux people like to tout their system as the best, it may be more secure, only because of lack of use, less than 1 half of one percent in actual real world usage, nobody programs any malware toward it, common sense, but the linux world doesn't count on common sense. If I'm going to rob a bank tomorrow, will I rob one that has 1000's of customers, or will I rob a small town bank with $38 total in their vault. Common sense says I'll pick the bigger bank and bigger score, but Linux sense says that even though they have nothing in their vaults, people don't rob them because they're better at security. We honestly have no clue whether they're better at security. Someone working on a Windows based crack/hack, could stand to make millions. Someone working on a *nix hack doesn't stand to make much, since the users are extremely limited in their actual use of a computer, and numbers of users. Even if I decided to rob that bank, would it make the news at all? Hmmm...9 people's credit card numbers stolen world wide thanks to Linux crack!!! What would the point be? If you do a hack on a Window's O.S. you get your name on the news, everyone in the world knows what you did. If you do it on a *nix system, the news doesn't care, and the companies or individuals who are affected won't say a thing, because of their embarrassment that they used an old system, and someone bothered to take the time to hack them.

    I have absolutely nothing at all against any *nix system, I just hate the Jim Jones, you gotta drink the kool-aid, attitude that most *nix users have. Windows does, and will, meet the needs of 95% of users, those of us who know a bit about computers are in the <1% territory, and that's the way it will stay. Vista is doing great as far as home consumers, I know many people using it on their new systems, I haven't heard a complaint yet. Companies aren't adopting it because they have something that works, and that's fine. Perhaps 6 years is too often to come out with a whole new OS, don't tell that to Apple or Linux, though, since their users can't wait to get a new OS. Does that mean they're looking for something better, or looking to get out of what they have? Is it that annoying that so many millions of people are happy with an OS that is over 5 years old? People hate MS because they want to hold on to what's worked for them for 5 years...Vista isn't a bad thing, people just like what they have, what they're familiar with, and what WORKS. Apple and Linux change things way too often, and they think that's a benefit.

    As far as all the DRM nighmares everyone claims with Vista, I haven't had a single problem, but I do legally own all my original DVD's and CD's, and all of my legal backup copies are mine, and I haven't run into a single problem running an original or a backup copy, but I guess that's just another bit of over-reaction, or maybe my Vista doesn't have all the restrictions of everyone else's???
    Last edited by montanatim; 04-16-2008 at 06:09 AM.

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