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Blogger Objects To Accusations Surrounding Vista DRM 244

Posted by Zonk
from the two-sides-to-that-coin dept.
Technical Writing Geek writes "Self-described 'professional paranoid' Peter Gutmann of the University of Auckland has become the most widely quoted source of information on DRM and content protection in Windows Vista. The trouble is, according to ZDNet Blogger Ed Bott, Gutmann's work is riddled with factual errors, distortions, contradictions, and outright untruths. From the lengthy piece: 'As Gutmann would know if he actually understood how HD hardware works, Vista will indeed display HD content on this monitor over the D-Sub and component video outputs, which are capable of outputting 1080p and 1080i signals, respectively. In the future, a content provider might choose to constrict the output to these devices, but that decision would apply only to a specific piece of media, and it would have to be disclosed on the package, giving the buyer the opportunity to choose not to purchase it.'"
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Blogger Objects To Accusations Surrounding Vista DRM

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  • by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:11AM (#20649563) Journal
    is that it lacks credibility. He quotes other blogs and manuals of equipment - and is light on actual technical details. No one outside of the core development team at Microsoft can claim any competence on the DRM implementation - and again, no one can predict when MS can choose to suddely implement hitherto unknown features via Service Packs or Auto Updates.

    Considering that playing audio on Vista cripples the network and I/O badly, Guttman's assertions appear far more credible.
    • by mfh (56) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:24AM (#20649637) Journal
      ..."choose to suddely implement hitherto unknown features via Service Packs or Auto Updates."

      Especially unannounced / unapproved updates. Your machine may have been patched while you read this.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Idaho (12907)

        Especially unannounced / unapproved updates. Your machine may have been patched while you read this.


        I doubt it.

        Especially since all my machines run Ubuntu or Mac OS X.
    • Wrong.

      for instance, Guttman claims you can't play HD DRM'd content on a DVI port as fact. That is complete and utter rubbish, as seen on this example http://www.samsung.com/au/products/monitors/tft/tvmonitor/275t.asp?page=Features [samsung.com] - where it clearly states HDM is playable through a DVI connector.

      That's just one example. This ZDNet guy has actually tried out HD content on Vista and is objecting because of actual real experience to the contrary of what this Guttman guy only 'theorises'.

      A bug with audio + netw
      • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Informative)

        by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:35AM (#20649701) Homepage
        You can't play DRMed HD over a "vanilla" DVI port. This is a known fact. Unless the port supports HDCP (not part of the official DVI standard, and known for LOTS of interoperability problems - see Westinghouse TVs vs. PS3 for example), you're screwed.

        Also, the article summary attacks Guttman for claiming that HD can't be played over an analog port. Both are wrong here. DRMed HD can currently be played over an analog port because few discs enable the ICT (Image Constraint Token), but it's just a matter of time before the ICT starts getting flipped on and analog outputs start going to half resolution. I've heard rumors that some cable systems enable ICT for all cable content already.

        Note: When I say "DRMed HD" I am referring primarily to the most well-known sources of DRMed high def content, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Both have these limitations among others.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by plague3106 (71849)
          Also, the article summary attacks Guttman for claiming that HD can't be played over an analog port. Both are wrong here. DRMed HD can currently be played over an analog port because few discs enable the ICT (Image Constraint Token), but it's just a matter of time before the ICT starts getting flipped on and analog outputs start going to half resolution. I've heard rumors that some cable systems enable ICT for all cable content already.

          Um, how is this MS' fault though? By building a system to conform to spe
          • by QMO (836285)
            Right. Never blame the monopoly that has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to create their own new standards, ignoring in-place standards, which proprietary standards quickly become nearly universal regardless of technical merit.
        • by Lumpy (12016)
          BZZZZT Incorrect. I recently did it with a Sony Blue Ray player. the current cheapie has a bug in it that makes it easy to circumvent HDCP

          connecting BDP-300 player to dvi capture card resulted in no video. so we booted the player with component connected, then connected HDMI to a DVI converter, back to a DVI converter and to hdmi once again for the hdmi capture card.

          I then captured about 30 minutes of Casino royale to my mac editing station.

          What happens is that the BDP-300 has a small bug, if you connec
          • I would hardly consider exploiting a bug to be a good example. If it worked properly, then you wouldn't have been able to export the video.

      • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jkrise (535370) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:36AM (#20649707) Journal
        A bug with audio + network speeds (which, btw, Microsoft has admitted is a bug they're working on fixing) has nothing to do with spreading FUD as fact about Vista DRM tech.

        This is not an ordinary bug, as in wrong implmentation in code / hardware of a technically sound architecture. The network stack in Vista uses 40% CPU time for simple file transfers - up from 15% in XP and 9% in Linux. This proves that the design deision to rewrite the BSD-stack was a flawed approach, and not a BUG

        Secondly, it is not necessary to probe the audio hardware and software 30 times a second, as is done in Vista. That overload on system resources is again not a bug, it is DEFECTIVE BY DESIGN .

        Unless Microsoft can demonstrate superior performance with Vista on identical hardware, users will conclude that DRM is such a burden on resources, and avoid using Vista as long as they practically can. This isn't FUD, it's FACT.
        • Did I mention they're working on a fix? Ah, I did, but you didn't bold that bit.

          As for the audio-stack implementation, maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. I've never had Windows crack up multimedia under load, whereas I do regularly in Linux. But, if you will, I'll take that as just me.

          To the point at hand though, DVI adaptors work fine for HD protected content. Fact.
          • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:04AM (#20649857)

            Did I mention they're working on a fix? Ah, I did, but you didn't bold that bit.

            I find it highly unlikely that they can fix this. After all, if they could, why ship with the reduced performance in the first place - remember, the network performance reduction was put on place intentionally as a hack to get around other flaws. Also, let's not forget that they also worked on WinFS for years, and still failed to deliver. Finally, Microsoft has a reputation of saying anything to help drive sales; in other words, they could be lying.

            • Re:FTFA (Score:5, Funny)

              by clickety6 (141178) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:53AM (#20650317)
              in other words, they could be lying.

              I take strong exception to your statement that Microsoft could be lying and I think you should withdraw that remark immediately... or at least cross out the word "could".

              • by jkrise (535370)
                I take strong exception to your statement that Microsoft could be lying and I think you should withdraw that remark immediately... or at least cross out the word "could"...

                You mean: Microsoft could be speaking the truth, much like the crooks at Media Defender? Very unlikely, given the surreptious Updates that did not get noticed by anti-virus packages.

                I'd posted on this a few days back:
                http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=299847&cid=20634945 [slashdot.org]
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Digz (90264)
                Microsoft... be lying?!? But Talk Like a Pirate Day isn't til tomorrow!!! :)
            • by Goaway (82658)

              I find it highly unlikely that they can fix this. After all, if they could, why ship with the reduced performance in the first place
              Yeah, because nobody ever shipped half-finished code! All code ever shipped (by anybody but Micro$oft, of course) has always be optimal and entirely free of bugs and kludges!
              • by aaronl (43811)
                How many other people ship software that is barely half-done and filled with known bugs, many of which seem to be marked as either WILL-NOT-FIX or FEATURE-NOT-BUG? Of those people, how many of the products involved are an operating system? Now, of those, how many are shipping this garbage by forcing it to be installed on nearly ever new PC sold, and doing everything in their power to prevent anyone from getting a copy of the older/functional version?

                The answer is one: Microsoft.

                This wouldn't be such a hot
                • by Goaway (82658)
                  And how many of them have nine-letter names starting with "M"? Pretty damning, if you ask me!

                  No end user wants them to be in the system.
                  I think most end users want their video playback smooth.
            • They could be lying and they could not be. The fact is that you have no idea and you are simply talking out of your ass.
            • ...how comments like this get modded insightful. The only insight, aside from pure speculation, is about WinFS....which has what to do with network/audio problems?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by beuges (613130)
              http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/archive/2007/08/28/windows-vista-sound-causes-network-throughput-slowdowns.aspx [msdn.com]

              Straight from a senior developer at MS who worked mostly on the audio system in Vista.

              Summary version: they ARE fixing it, because it IS a bug and NOT an intentional hack.
            • by drsmithy (35869)

              I find it highly unlikely that they can fix this.

              Uh, why ? Based on the explanation of it from Mark Russinovich, fixing it should be fairly easy. A static limit that should be variable and a minor implementation bug that doesn't deal well with multiple interfaces.

              After all, if they could, why ship with the reduced performance in the first place [...]

              Because the impact zone is tiny. The vast majority of Vista users would never - will never - notice the problem. It well and truly falls into the "know

            • by dave420 (699308)
              They already said it was not on purpose, that it was an overcompensation to ensure the usability of Windows wasn't affected in any way. They're working on a fix.
        • by ednopantz (467288)
          Is there a way to filter out content that refers to "chairs" or "defective by design?" I find people who think that is insightful tend to be misinformed, sputtering with incoherent rage, or both.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by cronot (530669)

          [...] users will conclude that DRM is such a burden on resources, and avoid using Vista as long as they practically can. This isn't FUD, it's FACT.

          You give too much credit to users.

          No, users won't avoid using Vista because of performance or DRM issues, because Vista comes/will come preinstalled with their shiny new computer that, being faster than their old computer, will mask the relative lack of performance Vista has compared to XP. As for DRM, many will be pissed, sure, but they won't go through th

          • by jkrise (535370)
            No, users won't avoid using Vista because of performance or DRM issues, because Vista comes/will come preinstalled with their shiny new computer that, being faster than their old computer, will mask the relative lack of performance Vista has compared to XP.

            Oh! So that means the userbase of Windows Vista consists entirely of stupids? I would imagine that atleast 20% of all PC users have some knowledge about Operating Systems, hardware, standards etc. Quite a sizable no. in fact - and I cannot imagine they
            • by drsmithy (35869)

              Oh! So that means the userbase of Windows Vista consists entirely of stupids? I would imagine that atleast 20% of all PC users have some knowledge about Operating Systems, hardware, standards etc. Quite a sizable no. in fact - and I cannot imagine they will be easily brainwashed like you describe above.

              Being generous, I'd say your estimate here is at least an order of magnitude too high.

              Heck, even if you extended to the people who *think* they know about operating systems, but don't really - the kind of

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          This is not an ordinary bug, as in wrong implmentation in code / hardware of a technically sound architecture.

          In fact, that's *exactly* what it is. An implementation that produces less than ideal results in certain circumstances because of incorrect/bad assumptions.

          How is that *not* a textbook example of a bug ?

          The network stack in Vista uses 40% CPU time for simple file transfers - up from 15% in XP and 9% in Linux.

          What ?

          This proves that the design deision to rewrite the BSD-stack was a flawed app

    • by NekoXP (67564)
      I think I'm going to write a blog on this! It seems the cool thing to do.

      I'm taking suggestions on how much bullshit and FUD I should put in!!!
    • by LarsG (31008)
      The same criticism can be directed at Guttman too. I'd wish he would cut down on all the editorializing and MS-is-evil innuendo; he has valid points but those would be much more effective if he could just stick to the facts.
    • by ConceptJunkie (24823) * on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:35AM (#20650151) Homepage Journal
      The fact that the HD DRM issue is so complex people can't understand is, itself, an indictment that Windows (and anything pertaining to multimedia) has reached a point where it no longer serves the consumer, even if it actually works, which as we've seen, is often not the case.

      I can't imagine wanting to get into the whole HD thing, it seems rife with unforeseen pitfalls, misleading marketing, devices with built-in crippling that can be turned on at random by the vendor, arbitrary and capricious limitations and a general air of out-of-control bureaucracy with the consumer at the mercy of people who treat him like a criminal. (A lot like Vista now that I think of it.)

      I'll keep my 18-year-old 26" RCA TV and low-end Toshiba DVD player... it works just fine, thank you.

    • No one outside of the core development team at Microsoft can claim any competence on the DRM implementation - and again, no one can predict when MS can choose to suddely implement hitherto unknown features via Service Packs or Auto Updates.

      Ah, closed source strikes again!

      If this is the argument you wish to use, then any individual with a modicum of intellectual honesty cannot accept either paper, because, after all, both are just speculation.
  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:11AM (#20649565) Homepage
    The two writers disagree on the meaning of 'Vista will not display HD content on this monitor'. Ed Bott appears to contradict himself:

    Vista will indeed display HD content on this monitor over the D-Sub and component video outputs, which are capable of outputting 1080p and 1080i signals, respectively. In the future, a content provider might choose to constrict the output to these devices,
    In other words Vista will display HD images but only in un-DRM mode, and if you try to pay a movie that you have bought and paid for but which has the flag set for 'trusted output path' or whatever they call it, Vista will refuse to display it. Which is, I think, the point Peter Gutmann was trying to make.
    • I would point out (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Toreo asesino (951231) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:33AM (#20649685) Journal
      Wording aside, Samsung themselves state quite clearly HDCP support is available through DVI. There's your trusted path.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Barraketh (630764)
      I think this is an important distinction that has to be made, so I'm glad Ed Bott is making it. The provider is *choosing* to make his content only playable through an encrypted channel, and the consumer is again *choosing* to buy this content. Microsoft is merely providing the option to do so. Including the option of playing drm'd wma files in media player doesn't mean that your system suddenly won't play mp3s, and similarly this doesn't mean that Vista won't play regular h264 files over d-sub. Now, ma
      • There is no much choice. You cannot go to a shop and ask a DVD without encryption, and you cannot go to microsoft and ask a optimized version of vista were all this drm crap is removed. You pay MS for this DRM crap and extra checks in the drivers if you want to or not.

        This is not about your choice, this is about a MS choice. Gutman is explaining with a lot of text why he does not like it. And botte ed is picking on 4 points in his long text that could be explained different than the general point Gutman wan
        • There is no much choice. You cannot go to a shop and ask a DVD without encryption
          I can however go to non-DRM'd sources. The big media companies have decided to use DRM, many independents have chosen not to use it. The public now supports one (or both) of these business models causing one (or both) groups to thrive. Currently big media is thriving a lot more then the independents, as such DRM obviously isn't as big of an issue as many here at slashdot claim it is.
          • by Zironic (1112127)
            Could be because, you know, people care more about content then their moral principles since most people on slashdot can defeat the DRM with their eyes closed?
            • Would they care more if the media companies were producing the content using slaves? Of course they would. The simple fact of the matter is DRM is something acceptable to most people.
        • by clodney (778910)
          No can I download some GPL'ed software and incorporate it into my closed source app which I then sell to others.

          In both cases the creator of content puts restrictions on the use of that content.

          In all the cases I have the option of finding an alternative - a different OS, different movies, different source code.
    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:19AM (#20650009)
      In other words Vista will display HD images but only in un-DRM mode, and if you try to pay a movie that you have bought and paid for but which has the flag set for 'trusted output path' or whatever they call it, Vista will refuse to display it. Which is, I think, the point Peter Gutmann was trying to make.

      It's also worth noting that the only software players capable of playing BluRay and HD-DVD discs on PCs are the commercial products PowerDVD and WinDVD. Both of these players restrict output to something like 900x500 if the player detects that anything other than HDMI is being used. The discs themselves and the OS are not responsible for this decision. Both PowerDVD and WinDVD decided on their own to restrict output on HD-DVD and BluRay if HDMI is not in use. None of the movie studios have objected to this policy. So while the discs themselves and Windows Vista are not restricting HD content output, the only players available are restricting this output. None of the currently available HD-DVD and BluRay discs have turned on the flag on the disc that restricts output if HDMI is not in use, but that could change at any point in the future.
    • by OverflowingBitBucket (464177) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:23AM (#20650037) Homepage Journal
      In other words Vista will display HD images but only in un-DRM mode, and if you try to pay a movie that you have bought and paid for but which has the flag set for 'trusted output path' or whatever they call it, Vista will refuse to display it. Which is, I think, the point Peter Gutmann was trying to make.

      And the fact that Bott subsequently tries to dismiss the whole thing as a triviality, even in the face of the obvious future use of this misfeature, really does call his objectivity and credibility into question.
    • by drsmithy (35869)

      In other words Vista will display HD images but only in un-DRM mode, and if you try to pay a movie that you have bought and paid for but which has the flag set for 'trusted output path' or whatever they call it, Vista will refuse to display it.

      Indeed. Just like every other player on the market will refuse to play it (or degrade the output).

      Which is, I think, the point Peter Gutmann was trying to make.

      Gutmann is disingenuously blaming Vista for this problem, when it is in fact the content providers who

  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:13AM (#20649569)
    ...they tend to be wrong.

    I don't see how listing 4 errors would constitute as a debunking of a paper, much the less when after a cursory glance the last one is patently not debunked. The blog is trying to debunk Gutmann when he says that the DRM system is overcomplicated and might cause problems. The blogger basically says computers are fast enough to handle the DRM and equates Gutmann saying "polling every 30ms" with executing a single cpu instruction every 30ms and concludes it's not taxing at all.

    Of course the "play audio and don't expect your gigabit card to work fast" easily disproves his whole counterargument.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drsmithy (35869)

      Of course the "play audio and don't expect your gigabit card to work fast" easily disproves his whole counterargument.

      How so ? It has nothing to do with DRM.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ednopantz (467288)

        I'm going to go with "funny."

        • The man says that Bott's debunking 4 points of Gutmann's paper doesn't invalidate the paper.
        • Then says Bott is wrong on this 1 point so it debunks his whole paper.

        This has got to be some kind of meta-commentary on debunking. Either that or the commenter doesn't read what he writes. A third possibility, likely since this is Slashdot, is that when one needs to bash Microsoft, 2 + 2 = 5 if it needs to.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That makes ALL the difference I suppose. I guess as long as the box is supposed to say you're getting screwed, then it's OKAY to get screwed. I mean, if that's the only format available to your honest consumer, the Take-It-Up-The-Rear Edition Gold, now with new and improved Paying the Middleman Features, then it's just plain good business, right?


    ....Right??

    • Just as Linux is available to people who don't like Windows, so is non-DRM content available to people who don't like DRM. What people here at slashdot really want is the content that the copyright holder doesn't have the ability to determine how their content is distributed. Unfortunately for such people copyright law exists and it gives the copyright holder (holder, not owner. No-one owns copyright except as a whole, we simply surrender our rights (for way too long IMO) for a limited time to a particular
      • by Zironic (1112127)
        Actually most countries copyright laws give the consumers the right to do whatever they want with the content for personal use. DRM is violating that right.
        • by Erwos (553607)
          Sure, and there are some consumers who violate "fair use" by shoving it up on the net for everyone to download. Laying the entire situation down on the media companies is willful blindness.
        • No DRM doesn't violate that right. They can do whatever they want, assuming they can break the DRM. Now countries (such as ours) where they have fair use laws as well as make it illegal to break DRM are countries where the spirit of the law is in contradiction to itself. These matters should be rectified not by pirating or demanding everyone cease using DRM, but by getting rid of the bad law.
        • Want to provide evidence for that claim? I think you'll find examples very thin on the ground indeed.
        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Actually most countries copyright laws give the consumers the right to do whatever they want with the content for personal use. DRM is violating that right.

          No, "most countries copyright laws" allow for consumers to do things that would otherwise be breaking copyright law, for "personal use". Different situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's obvious that they can't immediately take away what you already have; otherwise they wouldn't be competitive with their own existing solutions. What's important is not what they block now. What's important is that they can auto update you later to take away whatever you have. Further, all of the media is being designed to block you out if you don't accept auto updates.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:16AM (#20649591)
    There are two sides to Microsoft. The business side and the technical side. The technical side is filled with people who want to build good things that are useful and enjoyable to use for many people (though it sometimes doesn't feel that way). The business side sells the technology to anyone and everyone, and makes promises that are too difficult to keep and in the process tarnishes Microsoft's reputation.

    So what happens when Microsoft starts supporting industry standards is that the technical side gets it as right as they can while the sales side is selling clients the moon. All of a sudden, clients get their wildest dreams answered. In reality, that's not happening. But since MS has got that bad reputation, they make an easy target for anyone with an axe to grind. Small variances from the truth can be made with impunity for these complainers, because everyone already assumes the worst from MS.

    By the type of comments I expect to see in this thread, most people have already made up their minds one way or another. Since this is Slashdot, they will obviously be negative towards Microsoft.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:27AM (#20649653)
      You have it just a little backwards. Most of the people here on Slashdot have had their fingers burned by Microsoft, at one time or another, and are generally far more technically ept than most. I know my fingertips are a little charred around the edges, so on those occasions when I bash Microsoft it's because I'm speaking for experience. Furthermore, I'm not particularly forgiving of defective-by-design software, no matter who the vendor. A lot of Slashdotters are like that, and the fact is, unfortunately, that Microsoft produces more DBD products than anyone else.

      If Microsoft has a bad rep, after all these years of second and third chances, it's because they've earned it.
      • by mwvdlee (775178)
        Thing is, their design comes from the marketing department. The technical implementation of the design is usually good. It is defective-by-design from a feature POV. Not getting into my own pet peeves here, but technically MS products aren't half bad compared to others (even open source).
        • by vadim_t (324782)
          And why should I care about MS' internal politics?

          I don't care whether it's the marketing department, the lawyers, the programmers or the janitor who are at fault for MS releasing crap.

          The fact is that they release crap far too often and that's the one thing I care about.
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        I know my fingertips are a little charred around the edges

        I wish I had mod points!

        It's not just "defective by design". It's proprietary software, vendor "lock in", and forced upgrade paths with the triannual or quadrannual "Microsoft" tax. Along with the general complacency that comes out of Redmond, not to mention denial when SERIOUS problems are pointed out.

        I've been thinking about leaving Windows for a while. I finally managed to get ubunt
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by GuyverDH (232921)
      - Tongue in cheek mode -

      Microsoft has used up it's and everyone else's share of "The benefit of the doubt", and that was before 1990.

      There's none left to be had, anywhere.
      Talk about being a monopoly. What are all the poor Senators and Representatives to do?
      - End Tongue in cheek mode -

      Okay, now that that's said, we can proceed.

      MS has pretty much used up it's share of sympathy from the masses.

      Windows Vista should never have been released. Ever.

      They should have chucked it up as a mistake, taken it apart and
  • The fact that a content author might chose not to make use of the DRM is irrelevant. The issue Gutmann complains about is that the whole design is complicated to allow for the possibility that they might use it.
  • If you don't want ANY signed drivers and you don't want ANY DRM then splitting hairs over the details of just how bad these features are is rather pointless.
  • ...beyond who's right, or whether either one is right. Vista already has had it's reputation sullied because of previously documented problems with multimedia... documented in blogs and by "traditional" journalism outlets.

    It has problems both with and without DRM.

    Either way, it's going to undermine Microsoft. With so few people willing to make the move from XP to Vista already, this won't help.

    Why the hell would Joe Consumer lay down the coin to have a "multimedia computer", only to find out he has to pay
  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @07:50AM (#20649791) Homepage Journal
    Rubbish: "...giving the buyer the opportunity to choose not to purchase it."

    This is no good when the manufacturers form a cartel and decide that all devices will be locked this way, or when the content industry forms and decides that content will only be available for devices locked this way.

    Then the free market can no longer express what the people want.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Then the free market can no longer express what the people want.

      What the people want is their media for free. The "market" is no longer about bringing the content to the people, it's about preventing people from easily getting to the content. "Free" market rules, supply and demand rules no longer apply. How can they when a "good" can be perfectly reproduced an infinite number of times by anyone with a CD/DVD burner?

      These problems will continue until the middlemen/
    • by nagora (177841)
      Then the free market can no longer express what the people want.

      The free market can not express anything for the same reason that the invisible hand of the market is invisible: it doesn't exist and can't in fact exist.

      TWW

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)
      Even if every device was locked down and every copy DRM'd and the analog hole closed and the whole thing worked and was secure and perfect and piracy was stomped out of existance and people couldn't even protest by choosing looser DRM over tighter, people could protest by not buying.

      There used to be a time when protesting means that you had to forsake something. I wonder when it changed to mean that you still want to get everything you want, with a side order of protest.
  • EULA for media? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by schwit1 (797399) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:08AM (#20649905)
    "In the future, a content provider might choose to constrict the output to these devices, but that decision would apply only to a specific piece of media, and it would have to be disclosed on the package, giving the buyer the opportunity to choose not to purchase it." Says who? Software doesn't have its EULA on the outside of the box, why would this stuff?
  • The draconian DRM debacle that is called Vista is sounding more and more like the who's-to-blame catch-22 we've all experienced in the past: Your high definition video won't play in HD mode. Microsoft-it's the hardware's fault, PC maker-it's the content provider's fault, Content Provider-it's Vista's fault. Anyone else want to dance?
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      The draconian DRM debacle that is called Vista is sounding more and more like the who's-to-blame catch-22 we've all experienced in the past: Your high definition video won't play in HD mode. Microsoft-it's the hardware's fault, PC maker-it's the content provider's fault, Content Provider-it's Vista's fault. Anyone else want to dance?

      Except, as has been pointed out, Vista isn't actually CAUSING the restriction on some playback, they're only supporting it if the content provider that invests the money in p
    • by Macthorpe (960048)

      Your high definition video won't play in HD mode

      Only if you bought DRMed video. You can always not do this. It's not the end of the world.

      Microsoft-it's the hardware's fault, PC maker-it's the content provider's fault, Content Provider-it's Vista's fault. Anyone else want to dance?

      You're the only one dancing, but only because you don't actually understand the situation at all. All parties are blaming the content providers, and the content providers are blaming it on "those damn pirates".

      The choice given to Microsoft here by the movie industry was thus: listen to us and implement our DRM system, or your users can't play our stuff at high quality. End of story. Surprisingly, seeing as even Micro

      • by Zironic (1112127)
        I think what Gutmann said is that if you play any DRM'd media all your other media gets degraded too because Vista does it all or nothing style.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196)
        Microsoft has the clout.

        The "OWN" the desktop. They could have told the studios what to go do with themselves.

        Microsoft added this DRM crap because they want to. They want to use this crap for their own agenda. They want to abuse the end users the same way.

        It's like Satan making a deal with Hades.
        • by Macthorpe (960048)

          The "OWN" the desktop. They could have told the studios what to go do with themselves.

          And then none of their users could have played the content. To the studio, the desktop is nothing. How many people buy DVDs to play them exclusively on their computer? VHS managed without PC-based solutions, so I'm sure that HD-DVD and Bluray (or at least one of the two) will survive if nobody could play that content on their PCs.

          Microsoft added this DRM crap because they want to. They want to use this crap for their own agenda. They want to abuse the end users the same way.

          This is hardly a rational argument. How is enabling users to play HD content an abuse? As I stated before, the option was 'allow it under their terms' or not at all.

          In the end, i

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Microsoft has the clout.

          No, they don't.

          The "OWN" the desktop.

          Irrelevant. Most people aren't consuming content from their desktop PCs - and they sure as hell aren't consuming HD content (the stuff that will actually be DRMed, eventually) from their desktop PCs.

          They could have told the studios what to go do with themselves.

          And ended up with a lame duck platform that couldn't play HD media. I bet that was a short meeting.

          Why is this so difficult for people to understand ? Media players are commodit

  • by segedunum (883035) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:50AM (#20650283)

    Vista will indeed display HD content on this monitor over the D-Sub and component video outputs, which are capable of outputting 1080p and 1080i signals, respectively. In the future, a content provider might choose to constrict the output to these devices, but that decision would apply only to a specific piece of media, and it would have to be disclosed on the package, giving the buyer the opportunity to choose not to purchase it.

    So that's a yes then. In the event that special content gets displayed on Vista there is a DRM subsystem all ready and waiting to restrict it.

    He's also debunking silly things like stupidly large monitors, and he fills an entire page with it:

    So, this is "stupidly large (for a computer monitor)"? Not if you're planning to install it in an airport or an office lobby

    Well no, but it is a daft size for the vast majority of people, as indicated when he wrote 'computer monitor'. You devoted a whole page to this?

    Regarding code signing:

    That sounds awful, doesn't it? If you own a hardware company you are completely at Microsoft's mercy, and if they decide not to approve your drivers, or just delay their approval, you'll starve to death. Too bad Gutmann is completely wrong. He is confusing digital signatures with the Windows Logo process administered by Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL).

    Again, he uses an incredible sleight of hand here. He doesn't deny that certificate signing is required, and talks about buying a certificate, which he notes are not controlled by Microsoft but are listed on Microsoft's site:

    Anyone can get a software publishing certificate from the independent certification companies listed here, none of which is owned or controlled by Microsoft. I found a suitable certificate for $229.

    Bottom line, ergo, you have to have a signed driver for use in the kernel one way or the other. He doesn't deny that at all, and it's an incredible piece of trying to tell us that the emperor is actually wearing clothes.

    This is completely, unequivocally wrong. I've tested multiple systems, using HDMI, DVI, and analog outputs for video and TOSLink and coax connections for digital audio. There's no problem playing back HD video and listening to the accompanying audio over this type of connection.

    Notice that he doesn't tell us what content he has tested here, nor does he deny that there is a DRM subsystem in Vista preventing playback on certain outputs given certain content.

    Arguably the most popular HD DVD player, Microsoft's Xbox 360 drive, which also works on a Windows PC, has only component connections, in fact.

    I don't know what kind of a rebuttal this is supposed to be, but you don't need HDMI for gaming as Microsoft has stated. However, Microsoft have not ruled out providing a HDMI pack which inevitably would include content protection for certain kinds of content. He doesn't deny this.

    Wow, polling the underlying hardware every 30 ms? What a taxing demand on a modern PC! That's more than 30 separate instructions that have to be processed every single second! That will impose a tremendous drag on performance, won't it? Oh. Wait. I just looked it up. An entry-level dual-core CPU running at 2.0 GHz or higher

    He doesn't deny anything here, but merely tells us that a modern PC can handle all this.

    Vista's playback architecture checks the integrity of the video subsystem as part of the process of sending each video frame to the display. If there's a problem with the video subsystem, you'll know about it right away and be able to troubleshoot it. There, that's not nearly as scary, is it?

    Depends on how you word it ;-). Why does Vista need to 'check the integrity of the vi

  • Ad hominem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Riba (21663) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @08:53AM (#20650311)
    So, rather than dismissing claims of Vistas dystopian DRM-landscape they just make ad hominem attacks on mr Gutmann and his work. Right. Now move along , nothing to see here, especially if you're using Vista. :-)
  • Exactly which law would require this disclosure? Because obviously voluntary disclosure isn't going to happen.
  • No. No. and No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Puls4r (724907) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @09:35AM (#20650799)
    Let's get something straight regarding consumers. They are stupid. You know it, I know it, hell, even they know it. Saying that it will be on the "media" and that consumers will have a choice to buy it is sycophantic at the least, and dishonest if you examine it closer.

    An excellent for-instance is the "secur-disc" technology that prevents copying. Go look at one of these boxes in Best-Buy. You will discover that "secur-disc" will prevent unauthorized copy of your copyrighted data to keep you safe! They don't mention that the average joe doesn't copyright or protect his DVD's. Nor do they mention that secur-disk invalidates the point of purchasing a dvd "Burner" - to copy DVD's, rip media, etc.

    The technology was not put there to protect the consumer. The technology was not put there to simply "sit" and not be used. It was put there because hardware and media companies are demanding it. What is the alternative if you want a DVD and the only versions that have been released have this technology on them? You have none, aside from simply not watching the movie.

    To go one step further, the average consumer doesn't read those labels, any more than the average consumer reads a Eula, or reads the FBI warning at the beginning of a DVD. You could claim that it is the consumers fault if they are not informed. I would beg to differ. In this day in age, everything from buying a Turkey sandwich at the local gas station to purchasing a game online has so many licensing agreements, privacy policy sign-offs, warnings, and other various "messages" that no one in public will ever look at them. We are so deluged with the warnings, messages, and reminders that we tune them out the same way we do commericals on TV - you simply have no choice.

    Finally, nine consumers out of 10 don't know HDMI from component to DVI. They expect to be able to purchase a TV system and get a great picture - or purchase a computer and watch their movie. They aren't going to understand that if that particular media has a particular label on it then they need a specific DVD-rom drive, cable, monitor/lcd, etc for the anti-copying quality degradation to be prevented.

    They need to do the smart thing. Ignore Vista. Stop buying movies and CD's. Stop going to the movies. Teach these people that they don't own you - it's the other way around.

  • You know, he has several points that are worthwhile. Unfortunately, they're nitpicky little things; all of the underlying issues that can happen when those bits get switched are still there.
    He's also right; 30 checks per second is terrifically insignificant. However, the code surrounding all this, to do that, is measurably more complex than it needs to be, and will undoubtedly have bugs.
    It all boils down to the simple fact that a system has been designed to meet artificially complex goals that really are wo
  • Funny (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bogie (31020) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:13AM (#20651563) Journal
    First off never trust someone who makes their living off of Microsoft products to give you an honest opinion about Microsoft. Ie Bott is without a doubt a shill for Microsoft. Got that? Good.

    Now with regards to what I thought was funny. It's funny that Microsoft had to drop WinFS and other technologies from Vista because they either ran out of time or couldn't get them to work. Yet they had no problem what so ever tightly integrating DRM into every single nook and cranny of Vista. It is sadly apparent that from day one Vista was designed to treat the user as a criminal and treat the Entertainment industry as the customer and overlord of your computer. That Mr. Bott is the reason for the shitstorm about Vista and its DRM. All of your talk about "not turned on yet" and "doesn't impact your computer much" is cold comfort after what we have discovered about about Vista and DRM. Don't you get that?
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Tuesday September 18, 2007 @10:19AM (#20651665)
    Just like how Tivo used to have a 30 second skip button. Then it was disabled, but don't worry you can always enter the "secret code" to make it work again. Until they removed that functionality as well.

    Just like how DVD producers *could* disable skip and menu buttons before letting you get to the disc menu, but don't worry, they won't do that except for things like copyright legal notices. Until some DVDs started forcing you to sit through all the previews on the disc, even if they're years out of date.

    Just like how income tax was a temporary measure to fund the war, don't worry, they'll never make it permanent. Until now when we have taxes withheld automatically and the only argument seems to be should that amount go up slightly or down slightly.

    Power to control is always argued in terms of slight increases for temporary times or only mild inconvenience, but eventually once it is in place and the sheep are used to it, it inevitably is used for that which we feared. I should point out I'm NOT trying to equate Vista DRM with government erosion of rights, those are rather different in scope and morality. However examples of restriction-creep abound, I merely pointed out 3 to illustrate my point.

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