Windows Future

23:50 Tue 24 Apr 2007. Updated: 00:52 25 Apr 2007
[, ]

It’s not new, but I’ve been reading over Peter Gutmann’s A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection. This mightsound dry and of interest only to geeks, but it’s pretty important for the future of computing in general. In certain respects is another story about Microsoft trying to take over the world.

Essentially, they’re building in all kinds of fairly insane (and expensive, in a variety of senses) “protection” routines so that Vista doesn’t leak “premium content” (i.e. high-definition movies) in any way. The aim is to make the content providers (i.e. Hollywood studios) feel “safe” about putting their next-generation content onto PCs (where “safe” means they think they’ll be able to sell copies of the same stuff over and over again with no fear of consumers being able to copy the current or older formats).

Microsoft wants to be the OS running on the hub of the home of the future, essentially, and they want the content to fuel that. If they lock down Vista as much as they’re trying to, they should be able to get the content from the providers.

Incidentally, “locked down” doesn’t mean “secure from malware”, unless that malware is trying to copy “premium content”. If it’s not, Vista isn’t going to go out of its way to help you protect whatever it is you want to protect on your machine. It’s a lot more concerned about “protecting” the content from the user.

If it works, Microsoft will have an even tighter monopoly than they do now, with the smaller players (like the free software OSes) unable to legally play the “premium content” and so effectively locked out of the consumer market. They will fight to hold onto that monopoly.

Gutmann’s article is definitely worth at least skimming, to get an idea of what’s actually going on with Vista. But the short version is: don’t buy Vista, don’t let anyone you know buy Vista, and don’t let your company get suckered into an “upgrade” to Vista.

Leave a Reply