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Longhorn to Require Monitor-Based DRM 1266

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-everywhere-it's-everywhere dept.
Mr_Silver writes "Engadget has an interesting article regarding a new feature in Longhorn entitled PVP-OPM (Protected Video Path - Output Protection Management) which detects the capabilities of the display devices you are using and manages how (and if at all) content is sent to it. In short, this means that if Longhorn detects that your monitor is not "secure" enough, then your premium video content won't play on it until you buy one that is. Who gets to decide? The content providers of course." From the article: "So what will happen when you try to play premium content on your incompatible monitor? If you're "lucky", the content will go through a resolution constrictor. The purpose of this constrictor is to down-sample high-resolution content to below a certain number of pixels. The newly down-sampled content is then blown back up to match the resolution of your monitor. This is much like when you shrink a JPEG and then zoom into it. Much of the clarity is lost. The result is a picture far fuzzier than it need be."
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Longhorn to Require Monitor-Based DRM

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  • Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

    by panxerox (575545) * on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:25AM (#13073336)
    As we live in a capitalistic society this of course means the end of Microsoft as an os providor as people generally don't want to buy crap (tm). I mean who would "want" to buy this?! I hope Linux is ready for the desktop (at least for Joe SP) when this rolls out because this is THE chance for linux to explode into the market.
    • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:27AM (#13073369)
      people generally don't want to buy crap (tm). I mean who would "want" to buy this?!

      Anyone who doesn't care, which is going to be a lot of people. They'll buy a new PC, which will merely happen to come with this kind of restrictive DRM. But it'll come with an appropriate monitor too, so they'll never notice.
      • Re:Outstanding (Score:4, Interesting)

        by popa (590190) * on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:39AM (#13073537) Homepage
        My only question on this is, what happens to the old windows users? Let's say that there's some content that I want to view online using Win98/2000. What happens to me then? Am I FORCED to upgrade? I know being 'forced' and 'having to' upgrade are different things. Having to upgrade is when software technology has surpassed your current level. Being forces is when someone provides content within the public domain and you have to buy something else just to make it work.
      • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:41AM (#13073580) Homepage Journal
        On the up side, it might reduce the amount of picture email forwards.
      • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

        by infochuck (468115) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:44AM (#13073619)
        Anyone who doesn't care...

        Or anyone who doesn't know - ie, pretty much all non-geeks. You think MS is going to plainly and clearly announce this 'feature' on the box (yeah, yeah, who gets Windows in a box)?
      • What's next ... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fewnorms (630720)
        ... a mouse which can't click on certain links due to 'drm' constrictions, where the OS determines the user is not allowed to use the supplied anti-MS, anti-profit making link?
      • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sgant (178166) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:09AM (#13073938) Homepage Journal
        I don' buy that...I'm thinking a lot of people WILL care.

        For instance...right now the average Joe would be more apt to buy a Windows base machine because this is the one that "runs the stuff he wants" like games and other stuff. I've talked to many people to see if they would switch to OSX or Linux and the first things out of their mouths are "but does will it run _____". Once they understand that DRM will constrict everything they do like "hey man, that machine you got if you get a movie and you don't have the right monitor, the movie will look like shit...you have to buy a pre-approved monitor yo which costs more yo" (I threw in the "yo's"...average Joe's use that today).

        I don't see this flying well with consumers at all. Because it may come with the appropriate monitor for that manufacturer, it's the CONTENT people that get to decide what is an appropriate monitor. "Oh, we have a partnership with Sony and you have an NEC monitor...sorry, downsampling for you!"
        • by jfengel (409917) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:27AM (#13074133) Homepage Journal
          That's precisely the question, and we'll just have to see.

          Generally, when one asks "Will it run ____?" the blank is filled in with some commercial piece of software, usually a game or a productivity app. And the answer will always be yes: Photoshop, MS Office, Half Life 83, etc. will all run beautifully on this. Probably even the old versions will, since they're not video players. The same will apply to all of the most common media players; in fact, Windows Media Player will run right there.

          The most obvious question from the slightly more insightful user is, "Will it play my existing DVDs?", and that's the biggest question mark. If the answer turns out to be "No", if somebody upgrades their laptop and discovers the next time that they board an airplane that they have to read the in-flight magazine rather than watch Tomb Raider 9 3/4, then you're going to see some serious, serious backlash.

          I'm going to assume that MS knows that, and so existing DVD formats will probably play exactly as they do now (which does have various protections anyway, though they're easily bypassed.)

          Instead, I expect that this will apply primarily to new content (or rather, newly-coded content). For that, question would be "But will it run NFF (New Fangled Format)?" and the answer is "Yes". The flip side, "Will NFF run on my existing box" will be "No", but I think that user backlash on that is smaller than you might expect. They could take it as an opportunity to switch to Linux/OS X/PDP 11, but as long as they're buying a new computer, they could buy one with Longhorn, which will run NFF along with all of their old programs.

          The user is kept on the upgrade treadmill because at each step the logical choice will be "forward" rather than "right" or "left". That's partly because they expect that a side-step will just put them on a different treadmill, which is a whole different debate.

          So I don't expect this to cause a mass defection from Windows, at least not by itself. Other factors (cheaper Macs, improved Linux, the stunning revival of the Timex Sinclair) will make it hard to tease out whether I'm right or wrong, so maybe all this is moot, but, well, it's Slashdot and I get to shoot my mouth off anyway.
      • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:11AM (#13073961) Journal
        Until they plug their video capable iPod into it.

        All the good stuff they pull out of longhorn, then they keep crap like this? Screw them. The day it stops making my life easier to have a Windows machine lying around is the last day I'll ever use it.
      • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nick_davison (217681) on Friday July 15, 2005 @01:27PM (#13075504)
        Anyone who doesn't care, which is going to be a lot of people. They'll buy a new PC, which will merely happen to come with this kind of restrictive DRM. But it'll come with an appropriate monitor too, so they'll never notice.

        Everyone buys CDs. Only Pirates (and possibly Ninjas) copy CDs for the illegal purpose of distribution. So Microsoft introduced DRM to Media Player. After all, only a few geeks would notice the limitations and the vast majority would never notice as they simply ripped CDs to their PC and were happy with it.

        Only so many people refused to use Media Player, refused to convert to WMA, refused to thus buy WMA supported portable media players, that Microsoft had to rethink and rethink fast.

        Now Media Player comes with a config option to turn off DRM if it doesn't suit you. And Microsoft lost the war (or at least five years of it) to MP3, WinAmp, iTunes and iPods.

        The truth is that the average Joe does care. Most probably don't really care that much about being able to put files up on Kazaa - but they do care about being able to rip their DVD to the PC then copy that file to their laptop and from there to their portable video player. They want to simply enjoy their content, maybe copy off to their TiVo or take a copy on the road - nothing special - and systems that prevent that will frustrate them.

        My guess is that we'll see history repeat itself. The hardcore crowd will hate it but they're such a minority that it doesn't matter. The real issue will be the mainstream. That 10% who use Firefox, the ones who'll move over to MP3 instead of WMA in order to simply do what they legally want. They won't be the majority but they don't have to be. All it takes is a healthy enough minority and Microsoft's monopoly is threatened. To Microsoft's way of thinking, unless they can squeeze every other competitor out, they can't build their next round on top of this round's assumptions. And so, quietly, Microsoft will capitulate just like they did on Media Player - and add an option to disable this ridiculousness in order to get their monopoly back.

        It's a balancing act. Microsoft want their monopoly. To do that, they need the content produced in their format. To encourage that, they have to pander to the content producers. The problem is when most content producers are home users ripping their DVDs. At that point no one uses their player and so, whether corporate producers love the DRM or not, they're not going to waste money on a format no one views. Thus pandering to the producers matters somewhat but not exclusively.
    • Re:Outstanding (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SocialEngineer (673690) <{invertedpanda} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:29AM (#13073386) Homepage

      The problem is, people won't KNOW what it is. They may see "DRM security features" or something like that, and think it is something that actually benefits them.

      I know people who think MS products are the bees knees, just because of tech buzzwords and jargon. They'll buy Longhorn and wonder why it sucks - just like Windows XP, ME, 98..

      • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

        by koi88 (640490) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:39AM (#13073546)

        They may see "DRM security features"
        I can see the sales people in computer stores tell their customers that these security features make surfing the web and everything safe.
        I know it will happen.
      • Re:Outstanding (Score:4, Insightful)

        by paranode (671698) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:43AM (#13073608)
        It's not a Microsoft product, it's an industry standard which is essentially the new wave of Macrovision.
      • What this means is (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:44AM (#13073624) Homepage
        The problem is, people won't KNOW what it is

        What this means is, WE HAVE TO TELL THEM.

        People aren't going to refrain from buying Longhorn. People in a year or so literally won't have a choice; if you want a new computer you'll be buying Longhorn. However, we can make an impact on the secure monitors. It wouldn't be that hard to convince people (friends, family, neighbors, etc) that the new secure monitors and video cards are to blame (which they are, because if the secure monitors aren't picked up then the feature won't be used by content providers). Explain the feature enough that they'd understand it-- perhaps explain that the movie companies and microsoft want to stop you from doing certain things with your computer, and they can only do it if people buy these monitors-- them that and try to get them to pick some other brand.

        Longhorn is unstoppable. Microsoft can and will do literally anything it wants. However a consumer backlash against the feature itself is possible as long as the hardware is targetted. Unfortunately I fear the American consumer is so weak right now no one will bother to try.
    • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:38AM (#13073530) Homepage
      Do you honestly think it will be possible to purchase and watch content on a linux machine? Do you think the movie industry is going to give you something playable on your un-DRMed box? You might pirate it.

      Of course, we all know that making bits not copyable is like making water not wet. But I think you underestimate the MPAA's lobbying capabilities. I fully expect it to be illegal to posses or discuss wet water any day now.
    • Re:Outstanding (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gvc (167165) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:42AM (#13073592)
      "people generally don't want to buy crap (tm)"

      The world, and Americans in particular, seems addicted to corporation-controlled entertainment, be it music, video, or sports. There are alternatives, but I think you're overly optimistic to think that the public will overcome its addiction simply in reaction to this particular authoritarian measure.

    • Not outstanding (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fzz (153115) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:57AM (#13073784)
      I mean who would "want" to buy this?! I hope Linux is ready for the desktop (at least for Joe SP) when this rolls out because this is THE chance for linux to explode into the market.

      Unfortunately the choice the public will see is likely to be between:

      • Buy Longhorn, and be able to view this premium video content.
      • Run Linux/MacOS/BSD and not be able to view this content.
      Sure, it may be possible for someone to crack the encrypted path, and distribute unrestricted versions online. But you can't exactly advertise that in your marketing campaign, whereas Microsoft can advertise this premium content as only being available on Longhorn.

      I think this can only hurt other OSes.

    • Re:Outstanding (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrEldarion (114072)
      See, the funny thing here is that you think the general public actually cares, or even knows enough to care.

    • Re:Outstanding (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rpdillon (715137) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:48AM (#13074392) Homepage
      Microsoft has been peddling crap for years and it hasn't really made people switch, by and large.

      This is Yet Another Form of DRM, which in general is a Bad Thing, IMHO. I always hated CD keys for any software that could be used offline (like and OS, or most non-MMO games). When Windows XP went to not only requiring a key, but also requiring an online activation, as well as not letting me change my hardware too much without checking in, that sealed the deal. I only use Linux on all my machines now.

      But as to your point: if you'd told people in 1991 that their OS wouldn't let them install without a secret key, and without going online to verify their system, they would've said market forces would prevent such a crappy product from being a success. If you'd told them that it would analyze your hardware, and only let you upgrade a certain number of times or in a certain way before it forced you to check back in with the company who wrote it, they would've called you insane. But here we are, and people are buying it like there is no tomorrow.

      So, as much as I'd like to think the consumers will rise up and say "No more! I want to decide when I upgrade my hardware, I want to decide if I have to contact Microsoft, and I want to decide where, when and how I enjoy media I pay for!", there is no indication that it will ever happen.

      Of course, I feel the same about iTunes and Apple. Every around here lauds Apple's success at making DRM "work", but I stand by, thinking "It only works if you use an iPod, and if you run Windows or OS X, and only if you want Apple to dictate which devices can play your music." Sure, there is Crossover Office that pseudo-supports iTunes under Linux, and there is JHymn, so you can crack all the DRM on every file you download, but c'mon - why support a product that goes out of its way NOT to support you?

      And really, it is kind of sad, because it doesn't do anything to stop pirates (all the songs on iTunes are available on peer to peer networks already, so what are we trying to prevent?), and just hinders me from having a Linux client, playing the songs on my JetAudio X5 or my Neuros, or streaming them to my MythTV box in the living room so we can listen to the music during dinner.

      I'm not a huge Star Wars 1-3 fan, but I saw all of them in the theaters. The best line in all 3 was Padme's line in the Senate Hall:

      "So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause..."

      And so it is.
  • *sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keesh (202812) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:26AM (#13073347) Homepage
    As ever, this won't stop anyone serious about circumventing DRM, and will only fuck over the innocent. Do they never learn?
    • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PepeGSay (847429) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:28AM (#13073382)
      Well... the lock on your front door isn't to keep determined criminals out. It is there to keep the average Joe from just walking in on a whim and stealing your stuff. This is the same philosophy as a lot of security mechanisms, and I don't think DRM is much different.
      • Re:*sigh* (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Hungry Student (799493) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:36AM (#13073495)
        But the "average Joe" wouldn't walk in and steal your stuff.

        Keeping an honest person honest is like keeping a tall person tall. The DRM may as well not be on there in the first place. The "honest" folk will do with their content what they would anyway, just as the DRM would allow them to (i.e. not distribute it on a large scale) , and the determined users will crack the DRM and do whatever they want with the content.

        This stuff is so basic, why invest time and money in an inherently flawed system when they could *gasp* be pushing the frontiers of technology and inventing some truly useful stuff for us users.
        • Re:*sigh* (Score:3, Interesting)

          by clausiam (609879)
          But the "average Joe" wouldn't walk in and steal your stuff. Keeping an honest person honest is like keeping a tall person tall.

          But the world isn't black and white like that with honest people and thieves and nothing in between.

          Especially with electronic material such as software and content where "stealing" doesn't "feel" so wrong as pocketing something in a store (I mean it's just bits right).

          If Adobe allowed you to download a full non-expiring version of PhotoShop and just put a notice on there "

      • Re:*sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jonner (189691) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:42AM (#13073585)
        No, DRM is more like a padlock on a homeowner's breaker box or water heater, requiring the average, unskilled person to pay an employee of the manufacturer of the device to enable him to get electricity or hot water from his own property.
      • Re:*sigh* (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rick.C (626083)
        ... the lock on your front door ... is there to keep the average Joe from just walking in on a whim and stealing your stuff.

        And DRM is different in that it attempts to prevent all "average Joes" from just having a look at your stuff (and taking a picture) without actually needing to steal it. Where DRM falls down is that the "determined criminals" will get the picture of the stuff and give copies to all the average Joes, maybe for free, maybe just really cheap.

        So, for DRM to be effective, it must be able

  • by Glog (303500) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:26AM (#13073352)
    Microsoft is considering the acquisition of an ASCII art company.
  • YESSSS (Score:5, Funny)

    by KDan (90353) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:26AM (#13073357) Homepage
    This is just the feature I've been waiting for. I wouldn't dream of buying a monitor without this priceless capability.

    Daniel
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:27AM (#13073362)
    My Computer -> Computer

    My Documents -> Documents

    My Monitor -> Our Monitor!

    Seriously, who didn't see this coming?
  • extreme case of DRM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PureCreditor (300490) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:27AM (#13073368)
    isn't this a case of indirect industrial price-fixing? by forcing you to buy a DRM-enabled monitor, they can easily collude and charge a, say, 20% premium, over a standard LCD.

    Another reason why Tiger and Leopard makes Longhorn look long-in-the-tooth ^^
  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Penguin Programmer (241752) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:27AM (#13073374) Homepage
    A Longhorn feature that everyone hopes is vaporware!
  • by mythosaz (572040) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:28AM (#13073376)
    The problem is not things that *CAN* operate with a wide variety of DRM option. The abilty to support DRM isn't a problem at all.

    The solution, as always, is simple. Vote with your wallet for either (a) DRM solutions that make sense, or (b) for solutions that don't take advantage of the richly enabled DRM fabic available to content producers.

    If I produce content, I should be able to decide what's done with it (for a reasonable time, anyway). If I want it to be one-peek-per-customer, that's my right, it's my content.

    You...just shouldn't be stupid as to buy it :)
    • by Potatomasher (798018) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:46AM (#13073647)
      "If I want it to be one-peek-per-customer, that's my right, it's my content."
      Let me be the first to disagree with this comment. "Content", whether it be audio, video, art or whatever is a consumer product just like any other. Just because it is digital, does not allow the producer to decide how their product is used. DRM is setting a VERY dangerous precedent. Digital media is sort of unchartered waters for everyone at the moment. So its easy to fall in the trap, and accept these new restrictions as "normal". But what happens when similar principles start spreading to other industries ?
      Imagine this...

      Want to buy the new Harry Potter book ? Sure ! By buying the book however, you are implicitely agreeing to this EULA, which states that you cannot discuss the contents of this book (plot, characters, ending) with anyone else. After all, the author of the book would not want you to ruin the experience for everyone else. Its only fair !

      Want to buy this new GM car ? Sure. But GM is now forcing you to only buy GM branded gaz, oil, tires, etc. Oh and forget about after-market parts. It is now illegal to replace any parts of your car with non-GM sanctionned parts. After all GM made the car, they should have a right to decide how the car is used afterwards, no ?

      The new "digital media" era has no right to change the basic producer/consumer relationship which have been established in the last hundreds of years.

      Oh and you can try using your "if you dont' like it dont' buy it line". But when huge conglomerates (think sony, bmg, microsoft, etc) control both the content and HOW the content is delivered (or are in a position to influence companies), consumers don't really have a choice and lose out in the end. Do you really think that linux will ever become widespread if you can't play music and watch movies on it without breaking the law ?!

      I think we should all stop being so naive...
      • by WaterBreath (812358) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:28AM (#13074145)
        "Content", whether it be audio, video, art or whatever is a consumer product just like any other.

        Obviously you're entitled to your opinion. But let's just be clear that this is not the approach taken by US (or most other nations, AFAIK) copyright law. The entire concept of copyright was based on the idea that content is "different". A book is a product, a CD is a product, a painting is a product. But story, the music, the image, respectively, are not products. They are information. Information can be reproduced with trivial effort. But transcribing a usable, re-usable, distributable copy of the information was, until the advent of the VCR, prohibitively difficult/tedious. Possible, yes, but tedious. What this meant was that few people actually attempted to do such, to circumvent the creator's right of sole reproduction and distribution (AKA copyright). But when they did, there was a legal channel by which the creator could protect his right. "Unfair" forms of reproduction are what copyright was designed to protect. How can an artist make a living from his work if he has to compete with someone else to sell it who doesn't need to spend any time practicing, composing, or performing, and instead can sit and crank out copies all day long.

        The digital age brought about the triviality of reproduction and distribution of information. Which means that virtually anyone can now do so with virtually no effort, or even technical knowledge. You don't need to buy heavy equipment or expensive ad space in order to copy and distribute. But that doesn't change the fact that each instance of this is a violation of the creator's sole right to reproduction and distribution. Each instance is an infringement of the copyright.

        But that shouldn't be the final word. One must keep in mind the spirit of the law. Was it ever intended to prevent people from obtaining a copy and making use of that copy as many times as they want, in whatever ways they want, short of copying it for further distribution? Arguably, no. I would argue that any attempt to claim that a consumer should pay for each and every use, or even just multiple copies for different presentation devices, is unabashed money-grubbing. It is equivalent, in my mind, to an artist claiming grounds to sue you for reading his book aloud to your children-- or even just to yourself-- in the privacy of your home. Or an author claiming grounds to sue you for playing his song, on your piano, alone, again in the privacy of your home..... Unless you've paid for the license to do so.

        I don't think there's a valid argument that this is the type of profiteering that copyright was meant to protect. So the next question is, should we redesign copyright law to serve this purely commercial/economic purpose, as the **AA's seem to want? Or do we lobby to get back to the spirit of the law, and renew the principles of fair use?

        It should be obvious by this point where I stand, at least.
      • by ecklesweb (713901) on Friday July 15, 2005 @12:45PM (#13075041)
        You might find it interesting to know that there are already physical -- that's right, as in not digital or content -- consumer products that attach this kind of IP bullshit. I'm a weekend woodworker when I'm not hacking, and one popular tool for make dovetail joints is the Stots TemplateMaster dovetail jig. (here's a good definition [technologystudent.com] if you don't know what a dovetail joint is) You can think of this tool as a "meta jig" - it allows you to create dovetail joint jigs of many varieties, length, etc. You then use the jigs you create to make dovetail joints.

        When you open the box, there's a neat little notice in there; they're kind enough to post it on the web - http://www.stots.com/agree.htm [stots.com]. It's even a shrink-wrap agreement:

        "Removing the seal from the product indicates your agreement to be bound by the terms of the agreement."

        Here's where they tell you that you didn't really "buy" the tool, you just bought the right to use it for a while:

        "This is a license, not a sales agreement, between you, the end user, and Stots Corporation ("Stots"). Stots grants to you a non-exclusive, non-transferable (except as provided below) license to use the Make-It-RightTM Template Master TM ("Product") attached to the agreement seal and also to the manufacturing process ("Process") described in the accompanying documentation in accord with the terms set forth in this License Agreement."

        Some of the assinine conditions:

        Want to use it in your basement AND in your garage? Tough. OR - want to lend it to a friend? Tough.

        "You may: a. use the Product (or any of the working templates produced using the Product or Process) in only one shop by the original purchaser only."

        Want to lend, not the original tool, but a jig made using the tool with the wood you bought, to a friend? Tough.

        "You may not: a. allow individuals that did not purchase the original Product use the Product or any templates produced using the Product or Process described"

        Don't like stickers on your tools? Think you might use the box for another purpose and scribble over the original grahics on the box? Tough.

        "You may not... d. remove any proprietary notices, labels, or marks on the Product, documentation, and containers"

        Say you try using it for a week and decide it's not the tool for you. Think you could just put it up for sale on eBay? Get real. Remember...

        "Stots grants to you a non-exclusive, non-transferable (except as provided below) license" (for what it's worth, the provision below says that you can transfer your rights with Stot's written permission and subject to the transferee's acceptance of the same terms and conditions you agreed to [by opening the box]).
  • by rben (542324) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:28AM (#13073383) Homepage

    Another brilliant bit of marketing!

  • AWESOME! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jerf (17166) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:29AM (#13073389) Journal
    Wow, I wasn't thinking of buying LongHorn. I mean, all those features they tore out was really kind of a bummer.

    But dayamn, I have to have that feature!

    Nice to see Microsoft finally give me a positive reason to buy LongHorn. Now I can't wait for LongHorn!

    Can Microsoft innovate or what?
  • Simple solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hrieke (126185) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:31AM (#13073414) Homepage
    Don't buy the content that requires this.
    Create your own content and sell it to others that with no restrictions.
  • by CygnusXII (324675) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:32AM (#13073422)
    This is just wonderfull. Just think instead of finishing most of the features, that were to be included in the newest Windows family member, they (MS) decided to integrate DRM, in lie of the file system, and all the other features that were pushed out, or for inclusion much later in the products dev cycle. Well, I know I am not going to partake of the latest offering from Redmond now. I wonder how much Macrovision is getting to cross license this sceme?
  • by gunner800 (142959) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:32AM (#13073434) Homepage
    I doubt they have monitors or video cards that can detect, say, a simple splitter or repeater. It's the sort of thing a third-year EE student can build (fourth year for digital signals).

    It will stop some casual piracy, you know, the kind companies and congressmen say they don't care about. Mostly it will get Microsoft a piece of the monitor market without the need to develop useful features or compete on price.
    • by Chairboy (88841) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:46AM (#13073649) Homepage
      I think you're assuming that the signal between the computer and the monitor will be analog. For this to work, it would likely be an encrypted digital stream that would take more then even a fourth year EE to decode.

      The keyword is encrypted. It's not just a matter of 'figuring out the protocols', it's also necessary to defeat encryption that is specifically designed to stop folks who are trying to do what you describe.

      Is it impossible? No. But it's a lot more complicated then just downloading the protocol, taking a scope to the wires, and hacking together an interface.
    • I doubt they have monitors or video cards that can detect, say, a simple splitter or repeater. It's the sort of thing a third-year EE student can build (fourth year for digital signals).

      A simple splitter or repeater won't get you anywhere if the signal is encrypted, as I guess it's supposed to be, at least the signal transmitted via the monitor cable. You have to stick your probes where the signal is not encrypted, and the real question is: how hard can they make it and at what cost per unit?

      Video encr

  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Lynxpro (657990) <lynxpro@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:32AM (#13073437)
    So, let me get this straight. If I so chose to upgrade to Longhorn, I'd have to buy a whole new videocard and monitor to actually view the OS and any other programs tailor written for it? I am not aware of any videocards that currently offer DVI ports that actually also have HDCP standard (although I could definitely be wrong). Does this mean we'll all have to upgrade to videocards with HDMI ports built in?

    I think this is pure idiocy. And people thought Apple moving to Intel based processors because of built-in DRM was a step over the edge...

    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Amoeba (55277) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:00AM (#13073826)
      So, let me get this straight. If I so chose to upgrade to Longhorn, I'd have to buy a whole new videocard and monitor to actually view the OS and any other programs tailor written for it?

      Actually, no. Only if you want to use the Secure Computing platform built in to Longhorn. This "feature" is part of Microsoft's Next-Generation Secure Computing Base. Essentially they are putting into place a framework that will provide a secure channel from keyboard to OS to monitor that runs in a protected bubble from the non-secure OS/apps/hardware. Longhorn will use a protected kernel "shell" in which DRM-enabled applications can run without interference (or being touched by) applications or non-DRM-enabled hardware running in the non-secure OS portion.

      The videocard tech they are talking about here is ostensibly to prevent things like screen-scraping or intercepting video output. The goal is to provide a secure portion of OS that is inviolate from bootup and has secured pathways for data to travel. Think of it as Uber-root or a chroot'd OS partition that include hardware.

      Using this secure channel is optional. You are not forced to use it. You can run all the aps you want, you can run it on your old hardware. However, the NGSCB is there should you need... and provided you have the hardware that supports it.

      Now, certainly this feature has the *IIA's drooling. The theory is sound but the actual use and implementation can be (and probably will be) abused.

  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:32AM (#13073441)
    Why don't they just cut to the chase and produce DRM-enabled eyeglasses for us to wear? They just turn opaque if we are viewing content we are not licensed to see. Package these with earplugs that keep out illegal MP3 sounds and the mouth-cork that prevents us from repeating privileged information. I, for one, welcome our "Tommy's Holiday Camp" overlords. It will give us time to hone our pinball skills.

    "we're not gonna take it. da da da da da-da da. we're not gonna take it da da da da da-da da"

    • Less DRM, more 80's music: [lyricsondemand.com]

      Oh We're Not Gonna Take It
      no, We Ain't Gonna Take It
      oh We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore

      we've Got The Right To Choose And
      there Ain't No Way We'll Lose It
      this Is Our Life, This Is Our Song
      we'll Fight The Powers That Be Just
      don't Pick Our Destiny 'cause
      you Don't Know Us, You Don't Belong

      oh We're Not Gonna Take It
      no, We Ain't Gonna Take It
      oh We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore

  • by Maul (83993) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:34AM (#13073464) Journal
    So, of the major features that were originally supposed to be the selling point in Longhorn...

    WinFS pretty much seems indefinately stalled.

    Avalon seems to be delayed until after release.

    The new shell will not be available until the Server release.

    But the crippling DRM feature that requires me to have an MPAA approved monitor to get "premium" video quality is right on schedule.
    • by blackmonday (607916) on Friday July 15, 2005 @12:00PM (#13074525) Homepage
      Seriously, for the first time ever I'm thinking that Microsoft is fucked. Compare Windows 2000 -> Windows XP. What did you get? Not a whole lot. Now it looks like Windows XP -> Longhorn isn't going to get you a whole lot either, except for more restrictions, more DRM, more lockdown. What the hell have Microsoft been doing with their (m)(b)illions of R&D money?

      Windows 2000 is plenty good for anyone these days. It's a shame, that 5 years later there's no compelling reason to upgrade.

  • Hard to believe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:34AM (#13073466)
    The vast majority of the time, discussion of DRM on /. falls into the "nobody really cares except for the /. nerds". But this... I know everyone here hates Microsoft, but it's hard to believe they won't end up backing down on this. This is the sort of thing Joe Consumer will raise holy h*ll about, the first time it happens.

    I know it's not "just Microsoft", but really - Microsoft can't afford to have the bad press this will generate.
  • by Hexydes (705837) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:35AM (#13073470)
    The more Microsoft makes "solutions" that cater to the computer industry, at the expense of limiting end-users' choices and flexibility, the closer they are to losing the base that provides their income.

    Bad news for Microsoft, good news for other operating systems [skyos.org].

  • DRMed to death (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:35AM (#13073479) Homepage
    IMHO, this is another example of the industry shooting itself in the foot, only moreso than they previously have.

    It's one thing when joe-consumer downloads a song from the Microsoft music store, and can't copy it to his iPod. It's one thing when joe-consumer buys a DVD, and has a hard time making a VHS copy because his kids keep scratching the crap out her DVDs. Both of these things the average consumer accepts will not work, because consumers are used to different technologies not playing nicely together. They don't know about DRM, but they do know that they could never get those photos aunt Kathy sent to print on their printer, and figure this is more of the same.

    If Morgan Freeman has his way, though, and movies are delivered to our homes by internet, consumers will be calling tech support in droves; "I can't watch my movie? What's wrong?" And those consumers will not be happy when they're told the 19" LCD monitor they bought two years ago needs to be replaced. Consumers DO expect to be able to watch a movie they download.

    I think, ultimately, this is a nail in the coffin of the unborn movies-by-internet industry, which is a shame.
  • Audio DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jason718 (634659) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:36AM (#13073496)
    How long until we see something similar with audio? "Users without an appropriately DRM-equipped soundcard will hear down-sampled audio played back through the Windows PC Speaker driver"
    • Re:Audio DRM (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr_Silver (213637)
      How long until we see something similar with audio? "Users without an appropriately DRM-equipped soundcard will hear down-sampled audio played back through the Windows PC Speaker driver"

      From this page [microsoft.com], Protected User Mode Audio (PUMA) will do exactly that as it (and I quote) "provides a safer environment for audio playback, as well as checking that the enabled outputs are consistent with what the content allows".

      In addition, Protected Audio Path (PAP) is "a future initiative under investigation for ho

  • by jpsowin (325530) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:36AM (#13073500) Homepage
    The beauty of capitalism is that bad ideas usually die. The consumers dictate whether they will accept this by purchasing or not purchasing it.

    Unfortunately, there is such a thing as marketers who create markets where there is none and desire where there should be none. If MS markets this correctly, people will want to give up their freedom.
  • by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:37AM (#13073509)

    From the article:
    To be fair - it's not just Microsoft. The next generation of digital content will, by and large, be protected to the display. Recently Toshiba released their HD-DVD specifications and have dictated HDMI/HDCP as a display requirement for playing back high-definition content. Most expect Blu-ray to have similar restrictions.
    You don't think Apple is going to do this too? What will happen with Linux though? With Linux making inroads into set top boxes there will be some solution for Linux, though I don't think it will make its way to the desktop (legally).
  • Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Solr_Flare (844465) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:37AM (#13073516)
    When DRM requires the purchase of new hardware just for things to work like they used to, then thats when it is going to turn off even the clueless consumer who normally wouldn't care. When it starts biting into people's wallets they always stand up and take notice.

    In my case, if my monitor is not "secure" enough, finding a replacement might not be so easy. My monitor is an older CRT that presents a very high quality picture. I use this because I dislike the ghosting and viewing angle issues that, while much improved from how they used to be, are still present in LCD monitors.

    The problem is that it is hard to find a decently priced, truly good CRT anymore because most of the industry is switching over to flat panel production. They literally don't make them like they used to anymore.

    I'm guessing that this technology is just geared towards people using video outs to TVs and Tivo like devices, but I really don't like the idea of being potentially forced to buy a new monitor just for an operating system. That is pretty rediculous.
  • by olympus_coder (471587) * on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:42AM (#13073596) Homepage
    I think the point is that making sure the monitor is "trusted" means you don't simply have a video caputure device plugged in.

    Of course, you might have your "trusted" monitor plugged in and simply sniff the signal (via a little box between the monitor and the computer that only "listens" to the outgoing analog signals).

    This is not a "real" solution, but yet another clue barrier... So now, if you want to build a VGA video capture device, you need to make it just a pass through that passivly observers and does not participlate as if it was a monitor... Simple.
  • Oblig. (Score:3, Funny)

    by mav[LAG] (31387) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:48AM (#13073674)
    Not much to see here, please move along.
  • Whats the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Viceice (462967) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:51AM (#13073708)
    This WHOLE thing is moot. We all know that DRM does't work and people go out of their way to avoid DRM content.

    For instance, they made ATRAC as a secure format for digital music, we all still use mp3. They made .wmv to secure online video, we use XviD. They region encoded DVDs, China starts pumping out millions upon millions of region free DVD players.

    So who wants to bet that this DRM will die still born along with the rest of the attempts to restrict media?
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:53AM (#13073743) Homepage Journal
    To paraphrase Martin Niemöller's famous quote: First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak outbecause I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak outbecause I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak outbecause I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    First they DRM'd the software and I did not speak out because I used non-DRM'd software.
    Then they came DRM'd the OS and I did not speak out because I stuck to non-DRM'd OS.
    Then they DRM'd the firmware and I did not speak out because I used non-DRM'd firmware.
    Then they DRM'd the hardware and there was no where to run my non-DRM'd firmware, OS and software.

    --Me

  • Eh? Monitor based? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Momoru (837801) on Friday July 15, 2005 @10:59AM (#13073807) Homepage Journal
    Wouldn't this just be done at video card or motherboard level or more likely software level? I'm assuming it will still have a standard output to any generic monitor, the average person wouldn't upgrade to a new monitor for a new OS.

    Actually from the microsoft white paper:
    >PVP-UAB provides the last internal link in the Longhorn content protection chain, to ensure that the premium video content reliably makes it from the Longhorn Protected Environment to being rendered on the card without a copy of the content being stolen.

    So it's not a monitor thing, and the article writer appears to be a dumbass.
  • Awesome ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FauxPasIII (75900) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:03AM (#13073853)
    What the planet really needs is more people throwing CRTs into the garbage. Way to go, Microsoft,
    for making it happen!

    If only we could charge them for the environmental damage they're going to cause. =/
  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:08AM (#13073931) Journal
    First of all, it means they've failed to put their CrapWare(tm) in the computer's firmware. Less cruft in my motherboard is a Good Thing. Not that it would have killed Linux, anyway -- the Open Source community is pretty good at working around things like that. But still.

    Second of all, this means that in order to access their movie content and so on, you'll have to have one of the "special" monitors, but the system will only work through Windows -- it's primarily a software solution which looks for the monitor feature, and fucks up the imagery if it doesn't find it. So, again, Linux remains unaffected.

    Third, if we Linux guys decided to buy something like a future game console or set-top box (we wouldn't run a Windows computer per se, of course, because we're already wonderfully served by our Linux boxen) it would probably have this built-in, and we'd be able to do what we wanted with it.

    I'd say it's not a bad idea overall.
  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Friday July 15, 2005 @11:10AM (#13073950) Homepage
    http://www.spatz-tech.de/spatz/dvi_magic.htm [spatz-tech.de]

    Magic de-HDCPed DVI. Completely illegal in the USA thanks to the DMCA, but the rest of the world can enjoy our content at full resolution.
  • by Quicksilver (41094) on Friday July 15, 2005 @03:34PM (#13076858) Journal
    People almost all of you are part of the problem. Not just non-geeks. Why do go around calling people consumers?? You've already been brainwashed. You're citizens or people!

    Who the hell cares if you can't see some dumbass movie or the listen to the latest manufactured pop star's video???

    I'm gonna be labelled a troll for sure, but hell this mentality burns my butt. The problem isn't DRM the problem is that you all believe you *need* to see the lame things being offered up.

    Come on. You got better things to *do* than just be a content "consumer". And for those that don't they deserve all the DRM and rights violations that are happening. Look at where you've been lead to think. If you don't think the content is worth the price they are asking for it then clearly the answer isn't to fight DRM.... the answer is just don't buy it.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday July 15, 2005 @04:03PM (#13077157)
    That's what this is all about.
    If Longhorn is a bloated mess and comes with utter sillyness such as "monitor DRM" that requires you to buy a new monitor (remember the MS keyboard? Keyboard manufacturers were crawling up MS' ass to be able to build and sell them) then the hardware vendors will hail Longhorn as the best OS ever. And be happy to sell you the great hardware you need to honor this OS.
    That's what this is all about.
    I hope they screw this one up.

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