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DRM: How To Boil A Frog

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the too-bad-it's-a-decent-artist dept.

Music 484

symbolic writes "This article on the Register explains their experience with Creative's first attempt at supporting DRM, and also reviews a sneaky little technique for 'easing' DRM into peoples' lives via a free Costello preview CD. Two of the tracks are free from any DRM, but for the two that are DRM-enabled, you have to activate the right to listen to them (up to four times), by accessing a central server via the net. For those in the know, the doublespeak used to inform users of any actions they need to take to enable their DRM rights might be quite amusing. To wit: 'The content you are accessing requires an additional level of security. In order to play it, you will need to update your Digital Rights Management Installation.' Others, however, will think they're getting something, when they're actually having something taken away from them. It's a matter of time to see if consumers will flat-out reject this new 'enabling' technology, or let it seep into and infect their lives like the disease that it is."

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Post from the past (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315776)

Future sucks. Past rules!

For those in the know (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316057)

We know Costello sux0rs, so we don't care!!!

oats (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315870)

more specifically, gOATSe

g to the oatse
c to the izzex

hmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315890)

ok... tell me how to boil a frog, sounds like fun!

You mean like (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315897)

Bank fees?
Hell, lets just throw it all away!

Re:hmmmm (5, Interesting)

zrodney (253699) | about 12 years ago | (#4315931)

check out the article at

it actually shows the opposite of the frog boiling
myth. makes sense, really. if you put a frog
in boiling water, it will be severely injured
right away and probably won't be able to jump out.
Whereas a frog in cold water will get bored and
jump out before long. :)

from the article...

How did our expert interpret this triumph of science? "There are certain cases where gradual change is almost preferred," Hofman commented. "The change myth assumes a very narrow view of people. If frogs can do it, people definitely can."

I wonder if the same applies to people and DRM

Here's a mirror (0)

SlashdotMakesMeKool (610077) | about 12 years ago | (#4315893)

Suck on this [] , RIAA!!!!

They will step into it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315901)

Business rules the world. Consumers will embrace it, heck I even stream 700k windows media format films from and the cool thing is they even have an adult section. They use drm and I am perfectly happy paying $5 instead of $30 to see if a porn is bad or not.

Visit my fucking website! (-1, Offtopic)

Spazntwich (208070) | about 12 years ago | (#4315908)

Re:Visit my fucking website! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315928)

hmmmm, -1 eh? sounds like the moderators have a sense of humor for a change....

Re:Visit my fucking website! (-1, Offtopic)

Spazntwich (208070) | about 12 years ago | (#4315946)

Oops... forgot to check the 'post anonymously' box. There goes my karma. Boo hoo.

Re:Visit my fucking website! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316156)

I'd also like to say anyone who visits my site, sign up for a user account! We need user accounts to feed our voracious appetite for attention. Also, feel free to email me involving cross-linking with your site. We love cross-linking.

Or (5, Funny)

sulli (195030) | about 12 years ago | (#4315911)

Just wait until someone posts it up on Kazaa.

(Note to self: don't buy Creative. iPod works fine.)

Why Elvis? (5, Interesting)

CresentCityRon (2570) | about 12 years ago | (#4315918)

Elvis Costello in his prime was ANTI-establishment, ANTI-big biz and PRO-individual. You can see a lot of that from his interviews and comments.

Now he's just a tool. And it is funny as well since his music isn't as important as it once was. He could USE some of the exposure P2P offered. Now he'll be known by the masses as the first person who's CD stopped playing after four times. (At least in the UK.)

"You better do what you've been told. You better listen to your Radio" - EC.

Or, in this case (5, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | about 12 years ago | (#4315935)

the person whose CD didn't play at all, because everyone threw it out rather than go through all the hassle of playing the WMA files.

Re:Or, in this case (2, Interesting)

CresentCityRon (2570) | about 12 years ago | (#4316041)

"They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice
'cause they think that it's treason." - EC from "Radio Radio"

Re:Why Elvis? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316226)

This is what really is funny about this whole nonsense. And what I think dooms any of these strategies to failure.

For two generations at least the music industry has been selling rebellion. Throw off any restraint with regard to authority, parents, morality. They have been in a small way part of what has made North american society what it is.Rebellious, indifferent -- hostile towards authority.

Now they have to somehow try to live within the society they have created.

Very very funny.


Rights? (3, Insightful)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | about 12 years ago | (#4315927)

Now, if I remember correctly, we have the right to make backup copies of media, right?

Has this simple little fact gotten lost among all the complexities of the DRM stuff? So, tell me, where is the class-action lawsuit for consumers?
Damn, now I sound like a troll, oh well

Re:Rights? (1)

sevinkey (448480) | about 12 years ago | (#4315984)

The current implementation of DRM can supply you with the right to backup your licenses, but only if the license server you connected to tells you that's an okay thing to do.

The amount of rights the user actually has, such as being able to play the file in a non-microsoft player or some SDMI device, is up to the content owner.

Which of course means that most content owners will be encouraged by their respective artist's association to turn off these features... :)

Re:Rights? (4, Interesting)

Dredd13 (14750) | about 12 years ago | (#4316146)

Fact: you have a right to make backup copies for archival purposes (for yourself only, obviously)

Fact: nothing requires that it be POSSIBLE for you to do so

Executive Summary is that if you can break the DRM, you can make a backup copy.

Of course, there's conflicting laws (copyright doctrine for years has permitted backups, but breaking the DRM probably counts as a DMCA violation). Which one will take precedence in court, should someone try to beat you up for breaking their DRM to make a backup copy, is left as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Rights? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316154)

Take your ugly little font and go the fuck home. Fucker.

DRM will never stop the analog backup (1)

Chaltek (610920) | about 12 years ago | (#4315933)

I wonder how long it will take before some of our less DMCA compliant friends figure out a way around this newest effort to stop us evil music pirates.
There's no way to stop people from making copies by plugging a recorder into the output, why doesn't the industry understand and just adapt?

Re:DRM will never stop the analog backup (1)

DoomGerbil (78353) | about 12 years ago | (#4316010)

Uhh... read the linked article. What, exactly, do you think MS's Secure Audio Path does? The speakers recieve an encrypted audio stream, then decrypt and play it back. A recorder plugged into the output will obviously not be able to decrypt the content, so you'll just be recording static.

Re:DRM will never stop the analog backup (1)

Chaltek (610920) | about 12 years ago | (#4316064)

Pardon me, but if I can hear it, I can record it.
I'll grant that I may lose quality, and it may involve splicing and soldering instead of plugging, but it can be done and done well enough for our favorite compressed formats.

Re:Headphone Jack?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316214)

What about headphones?

If they encrypt the headphone jack, then I have to buy approved signal decrypting phones. What a load of crap that'll be.

But if they don't encrypt the headphone jack, then there's a clean line out to copy from. :)

Also, right now I pump my computer sound through my stereo. Do they mean to tell me that I won't be able to do that anymore?

This encrypted audio stream thing (or whatever the fuck they're calling it) is total bullshit. I will never, never, ever upgrade a single piece of audio hardware to support this.

Now will I ever (knowingly) buy one of those "music disks that looks like a standard CD.

a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315940)

Does anyone know the origin of the idea of posting a numbered list where the second to last item is a series of question marks and the last item is the word "profit" followed by an exclamation point?

Re:a question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315978)

Well i could be mistaken but i think that came around during the dotcom days when that was the business model:

1. Put up website.
2. ???
3. Profit!

3. PROFIT! (2, Informative)

Breakerofthings (321914) | about 12 years ago | (#4316006)

SouthPark, as far as I know ... remember the underwear-stealing gnomes?

Re:3. PROFIT! (1)

Chaltek (610920) | about 12 years ago | (#4316143)

Phase 1: Collect Underpants!
Phase 2: Oh... we haven't figured that out yet. (Or if you are the RIAA, piss off everyone who supports your industry)
Phase 3: PROFIT! (Or hopefully reform if we manage to secure our rights)


Teapot (0, Offtopic)

Avalerion (610959) | about 12 years ago | (#4315949)

I'm a little teapot. I also eat frogs.

Damn... (3, Funny)

infornogr (603568) | about 12 years ago | (#4315950)

Damn... I was expecting information on frog-boiling. Videos would've been cool.

Don't worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316117)

...this [] should make up for it.

Re:Damn... (0, Flamebait)

billbaggins (156118) | about 12 years ago | (#4316140)

Easy. Re-elect GWB. Secret White House documents indicate that he thinks he hasn't quite put enough of a dichotomy between himself and the previous administration, and so for a next step is planning to offer bonuses to corporations that increase their greenhouse gas emissions. By 2008, the Everglades should reach a nice toasty 212 F (100 C)...

It's a joke. Smile.

Warning: Your music may be insecure. (5, Funny)

raehl (609729) | about 12 years ago | (#4315952)

Microsoft recently announced their initiative to protect the content of their users' media through an initiative known as DRM, or Digital Rights Management. "It is absolutely essential that computer users adopt Digital Rights Management as quicly as possible," stated Microsoft spokesman Al Screwum. "Without this software, people's music and videos remain insecure." "It is only a matter of time before rogue black-hat hacker elements maliciously take advantage of this insecurity and replace parts of or even whole songs with other content," stated RIAA spokeswoman Annah Acker. "Imagine trying to listen to Brittney Spears and being forced to listen to Led Zepplin instead - all because someone exploited your unprotected music files!" "I hope this program is available soon," said Microsoft Windows user Nadja Clue. "Just yesterday I was trying to get the latest Christina Aquilera song off of KaZaa, but when I played it, all I got was static! Maybe DRM will stop the people who deleted the song I had to restart my computer 6 times to download!"

that's funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315967)

that's funny I actually buy cd's that contain static. The Noise genre is excellent /:)

Re:that's funny (1)

Grue (3391) | about 12 years ago | (#4316118)

mmmm... merzbow.

Joe Sixpack's response to Microsoft's initiative: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316177)

If I get to see a cute animated padlock icon next to my protected files, then I'm in.

Re:Warning: Your music may be insecure. (1)

Dalcius (587481) | about 12 years ago | (#4316193)

"It is only a matter of time before rogue black-hat hacker elements..."

You forgot to add "terrorist" to the list.

Copy protecting ok (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315959)

IMO it's perfectly all right to ship your product copy protected, encrypted, watermarked, scrambled, digested etc etc. But it should be equally legal to try and break said scheme.

Well.... (3, Insightful)

Mathonwy (160184) | about 12 years ago | (#4316049)

It WAS.... before a neat little piece of legislation passed a few years back, called the "Digital Millenium Copyright Act"...

Now not only is it illegal to try to find ways around it, (or "circumvent access control measures") but it's even illegal to TALK about a way to get around it that someone ELSE found. And heaven forbid you post a web link to their work....

Re:Copy protecting ok (1)

blank_coil (543644) | about 12 years ago | (#4316098)

I agree, but I don't think that would be practical. DRM only works when it's illegal to circumvent it. Otherwise, along with new DRM technologies would also come cracks and circumvention devices. I realize you can find this stuff even now, but if it were legal, people would just market players that circumvented DRM, and no one would use the DRM-laden players.

Re:Copy protecting ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316155)

I recommend cracking with this [] .

Where have I seen this before? (5, Insightful)

rworne (538610) | about 12 years ago | (#4315961)

Sneaking software onto unsuspecting users' PC's. Adding or removing functions. It seems that the DRM crowd has taken a page off of the crapware/spyware vendors and are encouraging people to install this stuff on their computers.

I guess it won't be too long before that mega-hit CD has a data track with an unreleased track that requires DRM in order to be played, enabling both the RIAA to get their control over hardware/software and MS to get Windows Media Player more entrenched.

I'd say who the losers are in this case, but we already know that by now.

DRM is the slavery of today qjkx (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315964)

And tomorrow both will be a thing of the past. Who's our Harriet Tubman?

Re:DRM is the slavery of today qjkx (5, Funny)

jcsehak (559709) | about 12 years ago | (#4316208)

You're so right. That's exactly how slavery got started. First, the white landowners would be like "Hey Bukka, would you mind getting be a beer, as long as you're up?" And of course, the black people were kind and good-hearted, so they'd be like "Sho' nuff!" But then whites got too used to the idea. Pretty soon, they wouldn't even ask, they'd go "I'm thirrrrsty, hint hint," and their black friends would go "Yeah, yeah, I'll get you a beer." Before long, they were allowed to whip them into submission and fuck their wives. So beware! If we don't nip this in the bud, soon your wife will be ripe with the bastard child of a Microsoft exec, and you'll be singing "No more, my Lord" as you program in his cubicle farms.

Or you could just not install the software, you knob.

Can M$ get in trouble? (4, Insightful)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | about 12 years ago | (#4315971)

If you do, then you'll (most likely) end up with the beta of Microsoft's latest DRM player (which youn can't easily get off XP), and you'll also have your settings changed so that your installation facilitates DRM, WMA format and pay per play. But don't worry, it didn't cost you anything.*

Doesn't this violate the Microsoft agreement? There has to be a way to take Windows Media Player off your computer. If I am correct, there should be a program to illimate the presence of Microsoft products (IE, and that sorts) from desktop/startup menu. The program should also illimate WMP from these areas as well. Does anyone know for sure if this breaks the Microsoft agreement?

UK Sunday Times newspaper unleashed a neat little trojan that'll upgrade you to Windows Media Player 9

I always thought trojans are bad. This is no exception. I wonder how long it will take McAfee and Norton to come out with a fix for this.

Re:Can M$ get in trouble? (2)

aronc (258501) | about 12 years ago | (#4316124)

Doesn't this violate the Microsoft agreement? There has to be a way to take Windows Media Player off your computer. If I am correct, there should be a program to illimate the presence of Microsoft products (IE, and that sorts) from desktop/startup menu. The program should also illimate WMP from these areas as well. Does anyone know for sure if this breaks the Microsoft agreement?

Nope.. note your own words there - "from the desktop/startup menu". All that crap is still on the computer and waiting to jump at the first beck and call. The obvious icons are just removed to give 3rd party software a "chance".

LitePC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316158)

Hopefully the folks at,(formerly, release their product for Win2k/WinXP.

Re:Can M$ get in trouble? (2)

bugnuts (94678) | about 12 years ago | (#4316213)

I always thought trojans are bad. This is no exception.

Trojans definitely have their uses!

You guys suck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4315973)

You guys are good at hacking into IIS servers but can't even hack something that's on you own computer. Pitiful.

Re:You guys suck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316102)

can't even hack something that's on you own computer

They will be able to do this once the clever people write the script,

Re:You guys suck! (1)

superpeach (110218) | about 12 years ago | (#4316144)

You mean like the riaa IIS server? I dont think that had anything to do with the server, see []

Re:You guys suck! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316212)

that's because the security of a microsoft OS and IIS is that of a wet paper bag... only idiots and utter morons use it for anything important... and thus 13-14 year olds with no CS degrees can easily deface and control it.

This is the fault of ruinning an inferior Operating system that is designed for people with an IQ that is lower than 80.

Microsoft products are for babies and little children... only those with developmental problems use them.

and to think creative was becoming a good company (2)

Squarewav (241189) | about 12 years ago | (#4315975)

creative was becoming one of the better hardware companies over the past few years, coming out with nice sounding soundcards that are well supported under windows, Linux and even beos(well when be was alive anyway- did you know beos had emu10k1 drivers well before linux), but this DRM crap goes to far, disabling the digital out so you its harder to create copies that sound like the original, I don't have a problem with DRM for the most part as long as it stays out of my way. but hardware that cripples itself when something uses DRM is just lame, I think I'm going to go out and get a new soundcard, anyone know of any good brands/chipsets that are well supported under Linux that sound good and costs under 70$

Re:and to think creative was becoming a good compa (3, Informative)

steveha (103154) | about 12 years ago | (#4316034)

MS was pushing this. Creative supports the "secure audio path" stuff, but they didn't invent it. If you don't accept the secure audio path files from Microsoft, then your SBLive will continue to work. When playing non-DRM files (such as MP3 files you encoded yourself) your SBLive will continue to work. Under Linux, your SBLive will continue to work.

I am not annoyed enough with Creative to get rid of my SBLives, and I'm surprised you are. I guess each of us has to decide where to draw the line.


Re:and to think creative was becoming a good compa (1)

The Vulture (248871) | about 12 years ago | (#4316074)

A bit offtopic here, but what pushed me to get rid of my Creative SBLive! card was the problems with the VIA chipsets. Replaced it with a nice Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card.

Of course, granted, I probably wouldn't listen to DRM files anyway (if I knew that they were such), but I used to have a 2.1 digital speaker set (now I have a 4.1 analog). So, if I was using that digital speaker set, and the Digital Out is being disabled, how am I supposed to listen to what is being played? (Yes, the speaker set I had also allowed for 2.1 analog as well, but that's beside the point).

Or were digital PC speakers just a fad that never lasted?

-- Joe

Re:and to think creative was becoming a good compa (2)

Squarewav (241189) | about 12 years ago | (#4316153)

maybe I'm just too much a hardware purist, I don't want crippled hardware even if I don't do anything that triggers it becoming crippled, supporting DRM is one thing if you like drm for some reason more power to you, but I feel sorry for anyone who has the audigy connected via the digital out, If DRM takes off game companies will eventually use it as another copy protection device, again something the audigy is good at that will cripple the hardware, if creative was so much afraid of the digital out being used as a copy device they shood not of put a digital out on it to begin with

Re:and to think creative was becoming a good compa (1)

idontneedanickname (570477) | about 12 years ago | (#4316173)

Of course there's the factor that Creative's drivers suck. I though I was cursed when every PC I have had, has had malfunctioning sound. It just never worked. But I realised I ALWAYS had creative cards. It's made me reinstall windoze several times already...

I'm contemplating selling my audigy on ebay and getting a Turtle Beach, Santa Cruz....

Re:and to think creative was becoming a good compa (1)

wandernotlost (444769) | about 12 years ago | (#4316194)

I am not annoyed enough with Creative to get rid of my SBLives, and I'm surprised you are. I guess each of us has to decide where to draw the line.

Ha! They're already warming you up, just like the frog in the pot.

Seriously, though. I'm playing devil's advogate, but this is exactly what was meant by the title of the article. For now you can play all your files, but what about when the DRM files become ubiquitous? If no one stands up now and tells companies like Creative -- with their strongest voice, their dollars -- that they won't tolerate this, then by the time people cry, "Foul!" on a meaningful level, it will be too late.

Re:and to think creative was becoming a good compa (1)

ImpTech (549794) | about 12 years ago | (#4316218)

I guess that depends on your definition of "better". For me, a company that sues its competition into oblivion rather than actually try to compete with them is not worthy of my business.

Yeah, offtopic, ok I know... I guess I'm still pissed that they crushed Aureal before the win2k and linux drivers were finished.

Buy-Bitch-Return (3, Interesting)

peterdaly (123554) | about 12 years ago | (#4315976)

For the ones with more initiative than myself, it may be time once again for the good 'ol buy...bitch...return, sequence of events. Be interesting to know if they honor returns. Too bad the CD is free.

Also, go to the review sites on the net and let this info be know about the Soundblaster Live. Amazon's a good place to start, I'm not up to date with all the current popular ones.


Re:Buy-Bitch-Return (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316004)

Or the Take-Throw-Out sequence. Repeat until all are gone.

Ehhh. I don't think this will work. (2)

AltGrendel (175092) | about 12 years ago | (#4316007)

Many stores don't do the "return" part, they only exchange it for the Same Thing. Meaning that if you by the latest Stones CD, you can only echange it for the (suprise) latest Stones CD.

Re:Ehhh. I don't think this will work. (2)

peterdaly (123554) | about 12 years ago | (#4316026)

My understanding is the CD is free. On the other hand, the sound card that supports this is not, and most stores accept hardware returns.


Re:Ehhh. I don't think this will work. (2)

Dimensio (311070) | about 12 years ago | (#4316032)

What happens when the defect is with the product itself rather than an individual instance of that product? A responsible store would accept the returns and send the entire shipment back as defective.

Not to worry... yet (2)

guttentag (313541) | about 12 years ago | (#4315982)

If they're using Costello to promote DRM, this won't become all that widespread. If they start using combination NSYNC/Britney Spears album, then we're in trouble. Because then the world will be saturated with DRM, noise pollution and the pitter patter of little Britneys banging out their first album against the crib.

Re:Not to worry... yet (1)

tktk (540564) | about 12 years ago | (#4316033)

People who knowingly listen to NSYNC/Britney should have their DRM rights taken away.

Re:Not to worry... yet (1)

servoled (174239) | about 12 years ago | (#4316036)

I for one welcome DRM on NSYNC/Britney Spears albumns. After the world has listened to them there alotted four times, then we can get that crap off of the radio and start playing somewhat decent music again. DRM, like most things, is best used in moderation.

Nice... (1)

beerman2k (521609) | about 12 years ago | (#4315988)

Now that's what I call object reporting!

Re:Nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316122)

Object-ive? Sorry, did I miss the change, is it now "Objective News for Nerds. Stuff that matters, or doesn't matter"

cd? (5, Insightful)

dizco (20340) | about 12 years ago | (#4315999)

So, i have to boot up a windows box and connect to the net to play this cd through my 20 dollar speakers and my 10 dollar sound card?

I can't put it in my cd player and listen to it through real speakers? I can't listen to it in my car?

Ok, well. I dunno what that is, but its not an audio cd, and I don't know how much it costs, but even if its free, its useless to me. Thanks, but no thanks.


Don't Do Anything (5, Insightful)

PaulQuinn (171592) | about 12 years ago | (#4316016)

Don't use DRM files
Don't hack DRM files
Don't pay for DRM files
Don't do anything with DRM files

As soon as it's known that DRM content doesn't make money it will tank faster than advertising CPMs.

Re:Don't Do Anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316083)

A few slashdot users not buying DRM stuff? How much money will that make them lose... $10? maybe $20?

Nah, do SOMETHING (1, Interesting)

plierhead (570797) | about 12 years ago | (#4316225)

You have to go further than just not paying for them.

You have to make sure it costs them.

Go in and buy the DRM media. Then take it back and say that it doesn't work on your player. Make sure you get the store manager. Ream his ass out good. Give him techno-babble when he asks what your player is.

Get your friends to do the same at other stores.

A bad experience with DRM.. why you should worry.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316028)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Time to do something good for humanity (5, Interesting)

bogie (31020) | about 12 years ago | (#4316030)

It's funny because as much as everyone complains, its pretty apparent that DRM and Palladium are coming to a computer near you.

Instead of reading how fucked were going to be, it would be nice if we concentrated on what current efforts are being made to fight for our rights. If Slashdot is going to be posting Y.A.S.O.D.R.M.(yet another story on drm). Maybe they could actually do something positive and once a week post about the ongoing efforts to combat it. You know like "this week X happened", and have it be a ongoing thing.

I'm not really sure what page to link to, but someone out there must be organized. It would be great if every Friday their was some sort of update we could all follow along with.

Now I know some of you are saying Slashdot is a "news service" and shouldn't get involved. But gimma a break Slashdot is hardly unbiased and there is obviously no "journalism code" being followed. Amost every submission is heavily biased.

I dunno /. do you want to be remembered for posting the news, or would you like to be remembered as something that actually made a difference?

Its just a suggestion, but if I had a website read by billions a visitors a day, I'd try to do some good. Are there other more worthy causes? Sure by far(AIDS,war,education etc), but this IS a tech news site and if there is even going to be opensource news to print about, things like DRM and Palladium need to be stopped now.

Re:Time to do something good for humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316182)

does slashdot print/post a new article against drm every friday prolly not, should they..? well does any news happen specifiiclay x times a week?

they do however cover stories like this which help by showing the tricks being used and they also do show articles about the fight against drm (remeber any of the court case articles ??) do they also have obvious links to organizations that are fighting agianst drm(eff and the rest) yes even tho often times the links ideas are posted in comments.
do you really want a slashdot editorial against drm. shoudl slashdot post every thought about drm ? i dont know about these but it seems like they cover quite abit about this especially considering they have A WHOLE SECTION SET ASIDE YOUR RIGHTS ONLINE ehich also covers drm!

I dont mean to be a a-hole but its not slashDRM

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316198)

Sure, DRM may seem like it's going to be a pain in the ass, but in the grand scheme of things it's not so bad. It's not like DRM is going to be around forever. Today, computers can break the encryption already. In 10 years we'll have 4,194,304 GHz CPU's. By then, computers will be powerful enough that they can break any enciphering schemes. They could probably even generate better music for you than music you could buy. What else are you going to do with that much power? Remeber this the next time you think we're having another "computer armageddon".

Re:Time to do something good for humanity (3, Informative)

discogravy (455376) | about 12 years ago | (#4316237)

I think you want something like [] -- it's not specifically about this, but there is a bit of "take-back-the-media" activism on there. Check 'em out.

Meanwhile, the press is completely unbiased... (2, Insightful)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | about 12 years ago | (#4316037)

It's a matter of time to see if consumers will flat-out reject this new 'enabling' technology, or let it seep into and infect their lives like the disease that it is.

OK, I am against DRM too, and will never buy a system with Palladium in it or any DRM-{en|dis}abled media player, but this is ridiculous. If you're going to call it news, please report with some degree of objectivity. The "from the...dept" line is the place for editorial comments. In this case, not only is the title rather suggestive (appropriate, too, but not impartial), but the author goes out and says DRM IS A DISEASE. While I agree, not everyone does, and you will find that your journalism becomes stronger and less controversial/offensive if you smash something subtly (or not at all) instead of openly, especially when the facts speak for themselves.

unique ID for each machine (1)

drewstyle (610956) | about 12 years ago | (#4316045)

I wonder if Microsoft will detect all of their software that I pirated when they send a unique ID. I guess I will never find out since I don't plan to use this new crap

In case it becomes slashdotted.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316055)

'Free' Costello CD seeds DRM, MS Media Player 9
By John Lettice [mailto]
Posted: 09/22/2002 at 10:55 EST

Hardware supporting Microsoft's Secure Audio Path DRM technology seems to have arrived, albeit somewhat bashfully, and as if that wasn't enough, today the UK Sunday Times newspaper unleashed a neat little trojan that'll upgrade you to Windows Media Player 9, complete with all those lovely facilities to protect 'your' music. If you're not careful, that is.

To remind you, Secure Audio Path is a Digital Rights Management technology designed to interpose its body between encrypted digital music and the output device, thus stopping DMCA-breaching criminals diverting the stream to an unauthorised application. In order to work [] it needs compliant, authenticated output devices, and by a miraculous coincidence we've just been tipped off about one of the first cuckoos to go public - Creative Labs.

Microsoft itself publishes a helpful list [] of players, marking those including Windows Media DRM, but bear in mind the list is dated May, so there should be quite a few more around by now. In addition, it's not particularly easy to track which PC sound cards and audio systems are compliant, so let's hear it for Creative, which has quietly announced a couple of them in the readme files of its Soundblaster Live update software.

These state:

"Microsoft's Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a technology which enables the copyright owner of an intellectual property (for example, a digital audio file), to control how the listener uses the file.

"To protect against unauthorised duplication, Sound Blaster Audigy [or Sound Blaster Live!, in the other readme] shuts down its digital output when encrypted files are played back through a Microsoft DRM supported audio player (for example, Creative PlayCenter)."

Creative will of course by no means be the only company whose products do this, and we wouldn't be at all surprised if many of them didn't feel the need to inform you of the feature on the packaging, in the manual, in the licensing agreement or even in a readme several folders deep in the software. But one can pick up the odd clue. Here, for example, [] is one of Microsoft's lists of audio chip manufacturers supporting WMA format. Note the reference to Corona (WMP 9) and, way down at the bottom: "Windows Media offers the industry's only integrated digital rights management solution."

The hardware could get kind of tricky to avoid, but the file format itself is currently less so. Which makes today's Sunday Times exercise rather interesting. As far as we know this is the second such exercise performed via a ST freebie. We didn't pick up on the first (Oasis, sorry people), but we've had a good look at this one.

It consists of preview tracks from Elvis Costello's When I was Cruel - Collector's Edition, due out on Monday. There are some audio tracks, which are unprotected, a couple of unprotected WMAs and a couple of protected ones, which you're only supposed to be allowed to play four times. Wearing our best face-mask and lab coat, we investigated.

Linux finds the file system on the CD alien, and declines to mount it. You can cancel the autoplay and browse the CD under XP, then copy a protected track to the hard disk and try to open it with Ashampoo, [] which is a nice little player which also supports .ogg files, and which we just recently discovered. It starts out thinking it's a WMA file, but then reports an unsupported file format.

OK, so what happens if you let the CD autoplay? You get the Sunday Times opening screen, then clicking continue takes you to a screen listing the tracks, what you can do with them, together with entries for "how it works" and "test your PC." The salient points of the first are that you need:

"-Windows Media Player 7.1 or later, configured to automatically acquire licenses.
-A internet connection is necessary to acquire a license for the protected tracks."

The test routine merely checks if you qualify and points you in the right direction if you don't. Opening the files with WMP, by the way, takes you in pretty much the same direction. You get the following message:

"The content you are accessing requires an additional level of security. In order to play it, you will need to update your Digital Rights Management Installation.

"When you click OK, Windows Media Player sends a unique identifier for your computer to a Microsoft service on the Internet. Click learn more to find out how the Microsoft service protects your licenses, files, and your privacy."

Unhappily, as Agnitum firewall [] was in the way we never did learn how Microsoft was protecting us. The page of recommended media players is however here. [] Note that the XP installation is running WMP 8, but that it still needs to have its DRM switched back on (which we presume would happen if we persisted) and to have the unique identifier issued. OK, try Windows 2000 with WMP 6 on it. On trying to play a file with this, you're advised that Media Player 7.1 or above is needed, and if you go ahead and click on upgrade, it takes you through to the Media Player 9 beta. At the bottom there's a link for all available versions, but even there you've got the beta listed first.

So, you've got a free preview of a couple of tracks, and you can listen to them each four times so long as you just follow the instructions. If you do, then you'll (most likely) end up with the beta of Microsoft's latest DRM player (which youn can't easily get off XP), and you'll also have your settings changed so that your installation facilitates DRM, WMA format and pay per play. But don't worry, it didn't cost you anything.*

* We were contacted by a reader a couple of weeks ago with a cautionary tale about players that protect your music. The reader was maybe a little careless, true, but it's easily done for people who never look in their settings, and who might not notice things getting switched on. Say you've recorded bought CDs using WMP, and you decide before upgrading to XP you'll do a clean install, so you back up your music files, vape the disk and then do the install. You did back up your licences as well, didn't you? Oh dear...

A tool which may exist? (3, Interesting)

grahamsz (150076) | about 12 years ago | (#4316082)

Does anyone know of a tool that can reliably test a CD to see if it meets any of the various *book standards published for CDs.

That way it'd be real easy to prove that it wasn't a CD-Audio disc and return it.

Re:A tool which may exist? (1)

Student_Tech (66719) | about 12 years ago | (#4316203)

Or if you're board sue either the retailer or the record company for false advertising, because if it doesn't meet the specs it obviously can not be called a CD and should not be sold as such.
Remember the article a few months ago about Philips building CD copiers designed to bypass all the copy protection stuff?

Re:A tool which may exist? (3, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 12 years ago | (#4316222)

stick it in a mac, if the mac melts, its not a standard audio cd

WMP8 and TotalRecorder (5, Interesting)

brain159 (113897) | about 12 years ago | (#4316087)

We get the relevant newspaper (the Sunday Times) in my household so out of boredom yesterday I grabbed said CD, and found the following:

The article is over-hyped (more than is usual for The Register) - it's not necessary to download WMP9beta to play the "limited" media files, it just offers you that as the default download if you're lacking WMP or are too far out-of-date.

On WinXP with the default version of WMP (8.1 or something like that), I had to go online and pick up a license file for each track (and fill in a form on a pop-up window for the first one, giving them a BS name and address). There was no super-clever Secure Audio Path stuff when playing back the files on WMP8 and it didn't seem to notice I was ripping the stream to disk with TotalRecorder [] for later mp3-encoding!

(to their credit, the audio files on the CD are 192kbit WMA which does sound pretty damn good, even after MP3ing)

Not gonna work (0)

Linus Thorwalds (610350) | about 12 years ago | (#4316099)

Didnt work in the 60s when they went after cassete recorders, didnt work in the 80s when they we attacking VHS. *AA alway feel threatend by some enablong technology.

Disable digital out? (2)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | about 12 years ago | (#4316108)

Ok but my other computer still has an analog in, and I have a nice little cable that will bridge the 2. Start recording on one, play on the other, problem solved. Sure it may not be the absolute best quality but it still allows me to excercise my right to make a backup copy of cds I own.

Crapola (0, Flamebait)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | about 12 years ago | (#4316128)

It's a matter of time to see if consumers will flat-out reject this new 'enabling' technology, or let it seep into and infect their lives like the disease that it is.

How does this shit get through the editors? timothy, welcome back to my block list (I had you on for several months and put you back hoping you'd gotten better).

write to Costello (2)

RestiffBard (110729) | about 12 years ago | (#4316138)

I'm just gonna write to Mr. Costello and explain that I am now unable to hear his music at all. I use linux and they don't play Costello on the radio all that much anymore.

Last time I heard Costell was during an interview on Fresh Air on NPR.

if the protection is reasonable, where's the prob? (3, Insightful)

Headrick (25371) | about 12 years ago | (#4316149)

Many pieces of software are already protected using a license manager or whatnot. Music, like software, is a mathematical piece of art. Like software, it should not be free. If all software was free, I would not be able to pursure my passion as a software developer and still support myself. The analogy is directly applicable to music (I am also an amateur musician). The point is that the DRM must not impede the user's experience. As long as they have the freedom they need to enjoy what they own, I'm all for it. It puzzles me when so many Linux zealots fight so hard for music to be free yet support things like the GPL that they probably don't understand the full ramifications of. Every wonder why BSD is more stable? When I write a song, I want to protect it and protect my rights to it. Why is the medium (audio) being treated with such disdaim when the artist trys to protect themselves. Eventually this will help indy artists as well. Please examine your viewpoint and make sure you're not being a hippocrite. If it takes me 40 hours to develop a piece of software, I expect to get paid. If it takes me 40 hours (probably more) to produce a single I expect to get paid. It is my artwork. Maybe creative doesn't have the right approach but don't discount the notion entirely.

One word on DRM and restricting use of multimedia (5, Insightful)

danc256 (533961) | about 12 years ago | (#4316169)

Divx A few more words... You can read a book written hundreds of years ago, and listen to a record pressed decades ago, because they used simple, open technologies. My single biggest grip about any sort of protection mechanism (aside from inconvenience to me) is that the technologies are so short-lived. If DRM does catch on, how long do you think companies are going to keep the activation mechanisms around? If they want to protect their investment by building mechanisms to prevent illegal copying, they better hang onto them to protect *my* investment so I can listen to my DRM-protected music 40 years from now.

If there is a Linux version, I'm OK (1)

kbielefe (606566) | about 12 years ago | (#4316176)

I think if they want to try and restrict some of their content, that's fine with me. As long as they restrict it equally. What's not fine with me is having to use Windows to access the content. It's like releasing a CD but allowing it to only play on one brand of CD player. Or broadcasting music over the radio but only allowing one brand of radio to receive the music. Why should a Windows user be allowed 4 plays when I am allowed no plays at all? Is this going to turn into another DeCSS?

Bah... (2)

teslatug (543527) | about 12 years ago | (#4316181)

I was anxiously waiting to read about that levitating frog hitting some power line and getting fried...

Marketing Spinsters... (5, Interesting)

S5o (102998) | about 12 years ago | (#4316191)

A few weeks ago, my dad, not a techie by any means, casually brought up the issue of Palladium. "Have you heard about Palladium?" he asked.
I was ready to go into "Yes, I agree, it's dumb-shit" mode, but the next thing he said shocked me:

"I read that it lets you send emails to people that they can't forward or copy. It's called Digital Rights Management."

I've since heard this exact same statement twice more from other, random people, among which, tech-oriented guys that should know better. Somehow, Microsoft marketing has somehow pushed DRM and Palladium as something that /gives/ you rights, and ironically, additional privacy.

Of course, I told him that how DRM really works, but on a larger scale, the huge "consumer backlash" I've been counting on to end all of these anti-consumer technologies just may be further off than anyone expected. It very well could end up as the next Macrovision: people will think "it's there because copying stuff is illegal, and only bad men want to copy stuff", even after they've bought their 2nd or 3rd copy of the same scratched CD.

The misinformation campaign is obviously deliberate, and real. And the worse part is, mindshare typically goes with the media, which just happens to be the rights-slayer this time.

I think not - remember OpenMG? (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 12 years ago | (#4316202)

How many people here bought a CLIE with MP3? Ok, so a few of you might have installed the OpenMG "jukebox" by mistake, but did anyone actually keep it, buy a white memory stick and actually tolerate the checkout thing? Rather than just drag mp3 files to the memory stick drive?

I bet most users will install DRM and listen to free tracks. But nobody will actually pay for restricted music or record their own collection in this way. Not when they can get a geek coworker to install MusicMatch and show them how to rip to MP3.

Anyway, I don't have anything against someone giving me a free preview or a stream-only Internet radio service. In both of these cases I don't assume I own any songs. If I like something though, I will only buy it if I can listen to it whereever I want. If they don't let me do it, I will just wiggle a voice recorder in front of my speakers and happily trade off lower quality for convinience.

How to boil a frog (really) (4, Insightful)

Zakabog (603757) | about 12 years ago | (#4316240)

The title of this story actually makes sense. To boil a frog you can't just throw a live frog into a hot pot of water (it'll jump out). What you do is put a frog in a cold pot of water and slowly turn up the heat, the frog never leaps out because the change is too slowly, then when the water's too hot the frog can't jump out because it's dead (PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BUT I READ ABOUT IT!)

Anyway what the story title is suggesting is that we're like the frogs, DRM is like hot water. To get us used to DRM (and eventually "killed" by it) they (yeah it's always them) have to introduce DRM slowly so you get used to it, then they add more DRM, then you get used to that, it's a cycle that ends only after it's too late and DRM is everywhere.

By the way, check google for "How to boil a frog" and you'll find where I got my information from (should be the first result.)

DivX? (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 12 years ago | (#4316241)

Didn't the original DivX players have a similar system? Buy a disc for a few $, and only be able to watch it so many times?

What happened to those players?

The only real snag here is the practically zero cost to the companies for duplicating and distributing the media if it stays purely internet based. And if broadband isn't becoming popular fast enough [] , then there isn't as much profit to be made in the short run.


FYI: WHQL, WDM audio drivers, and DRM. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4316243)

FYI: WHQL certification for WinXP audio drivers *requires* that DRM be supported by that audio driver. Also, all drivers downloaded from Windows Update are WHQL certified. Windows update is something that the public is used to. DRM support in kernel mode audio drivers is spreading as we speak. Windows update is seeing to that.

So not only Creative is involved here. They are merely herded along this path by MS via the leash of WHQL. Don't have DRM kernel mode components on your system? You sure about that? Do you have WHQL (signed) audio drivers for WinXP? Yes? Then DRM has infected your system. :-(

Just thought you might be interested.

This reminds me of Hard Drive legislation (2)

bugnuts (94678) | about 12 years ago | (#4316251)

Recently, some discussion with legislators have been pushing harddrive manufacturers to do something similar, in efforts to stem piracy. In march of this year, Senator Hollings introduced a bill that would require it. Lookup "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Act"

This is no different but not legislated, fortunately. It merely means I won't be buying a Creative card when I upgrade.

I strongly suggest you archive some of Creative's current drivers (without the protection enabled) if you plan on using this card in Windows in the future.
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