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Real Networks to Linux - DRM or Die

Zonk posted about 8 years ago | from the penguins-hate-ultimatums dept.

582

Baronvaile writes "ArsTechnica is running a story about RealNetworks VP Jeff Ayars at LinuxWorld Boston discussing the future of Linux for the consumer, if it does not support DRM." From the article: "Ayers has a few supporters in this issue from the Linux camp, as Novell, Linspire, and Red Hat spokespeople reportedly said they would be happy to add DRM to their distributions, but with some caveats. Novell, for example, is "currently in discussions with vendors who control proprietary formats" with the goal of supporting these formats in SuSE Linux. One can only surmise exactly which formats that would be, but recent rumblings from Redmond make it likely that Microsoft DRM solutions such as PlaysForSure could be among them."

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582 comments

GPL? (4, Interesting)

FlyByPC (841016) | about 8 years ago | (#15106083)

If they have to make the source available under the GPL, then it's child's play to unhook the DRM, yes?

Re:GPL? (2, Insightful)

Fordiman (689627) | about 8 years ago | (#15106096)

Generally. As long as the content's been paid for once, you can stream out the raw decoded content to ffmpeg or mencoder to produce non-DRM files that may be played as pleased.

Re:GPL? (4, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | about 8 years ago | (#15106112)

Not if its real DRM which has to be implemented in Hardware theoretically through use of the BIOS. The BIOS is where the DRM will reside.

But of course the "DRM crowd" is generally a security through obsecurity one and will probably not comprehend the fact that DRM has to be secure even when the code is completely open...Well the programmers might, but I doubt if the bean counters or management ever will.

Re:GPL? (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 8 years ago | (#15106315)

DRM guys have been growing up with regards to actual computer security though. Sure they're still making dumb mistakes, but sometimes they actually get it right. AFAIK the latest version of FairPlay has been out for awhile and nobody has managed to get a Hymn like program working again.

Or if they have, they're keeping quiet in the hopes that Apple will stop pooping in their pot. This is another likely scenario.

The worst part is that Hymn by itself was crummy for pirating since it left a big fat signature on the files that Apple could track back to your Credit Card. It was only really useful for people who wanted to play the music on their Linux machine. IIRC, iTunes won't even play the files that were decrypted that way, you have to use something like aacplay. Such a shame.

As always the biggest victims in these DRM schemes are the people who just want to do something a little unusual (but completely legal) that the media company didn't expect. It's just innovation stifling. The worst part is that for the media companies, innovation is often bad. They're in a precarious position already and one more disruptive technology could put them out to pasture for good.

Re:GPL? (3, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15106320)

How do you write GPL'ed DRM? At some point, the GPL'ed player will get its hands on pixel data to write it to the screen. Anyone could modify that part of the program to simply save the data.

It seems to me that the only way GPL'ed programs could cooperate with DRM is if they are not the parts that are doing the decryption, and instead some proprietary hardware or software is doing the final stages of playback, dealing with the raw data. This seems to be the idea behind "Trusted Computing".

Re:GPL? (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#15106394)

The BIOS is where the DRM will reside.

At first.

Ya know that they're talking about closing the audio "analog hole" by moving the D/A conversion, and thus the decryption, out to the speakers themselves?

Not that there aren't so many unchipped speakers out there in the world already that most of them are already gathering dust in closests, and not that you couldn't intercept the signal between the chip and the cone quite easily, but . . .

This is the way they're thinking. Chip everything.

I assume they know that it won't really work, because a dedicated geek will get the content unencrypted somehow anyway, but that it will knock out the casual copier.

Won't I'm not sure they grasp is that in the Internet world most people don't do their own copying and that it only takes one dedicated geek to crack the shit and spread it to the world.

KFG

Re:GPL? (3, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | about 8 years ago | (#15106215)

Why would they have to make anything available under the GPL? They would if they took existing GPL code and modified it or incorporated it into a new project, but as long as they - for example - build a new media player from the ground up, they don't have to do anything.

The issue gets a bit fuzzier if they'd want to add DRM support to the kernel itself, of course; but binary kernel modules are a contentious issue, anyway, and while most people seem to believe that they're a violation of the kernel's license, they have been tolerated so far. But I don't really see why you'd need kernel support here.

Re:GPL? (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | about 8 years ago | (#15106298)

If they have to make the source available under the GPL, then it's child's play to unhook the DRM, yes?
Especially if it's GPLv3. ;-)

Re:GPL? (1)

pyros (61399) | about 8 years ago | (#15106370)

If they have to make the source available under the GPL, then it's child's play to unhook the DRM, yes?

Gstreamer is LGPL for the express purpose of allowing closed source plguins for various media formats to be distributed legally. I believe Totem and rhythmbox with the gstreamer backend are the default video/audio players on all popular gnome distributions. Does SuSE default to gstreamer for the backend to amarok/kaffeine?

Linux to Real Networks... (5, Funny)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15106091)

Ditch DRM or die.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 8 years ago | (#15106127)

>Linux to Real Networks... Ditch DRM or die.

I'd simply remove "Ditch DRM or" from your request and add "already" at the end.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (4, Insightful)

AlexMax2742 (602517) | about 8 years ago | (#15106144)

Seriously. When was the last time Real has been the least bit relevant?

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (5, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15106182)

Exactly. I think my favourite quote from the article has to be from the FSF guy. I think he's trying to tell Real something...

The sooner we bury the foolish notion of putting each and every use of a computer under control of the media industry, the sooner we can start looking for real alternatives.

... although I think we already have plenty of Real alternatives, so Real can go play with their DRM in their own little corner. Bye, Real.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | about 8 years ago | (#15106155)

Ditch DRM or die.
Best comment today. Where all behind you, man. I say we fight, fight for our values, fight with honour, wheter death will come with it or not.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (3, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | about 8 years ago | (#15106191)

What they should have said is "DRM or bust".

If open source doesn't start supporting their DRM, they'll go bust.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (1)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15106238)

Yeah, exactly.

I'm sorry, Real. It sounds like you were threatening us, but we know you meant to beg.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (0, Flamebait)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 8 years ago | (#15106390)

Begging what? Linux community?

As far as I know, they are the only (stupid?) company to commercially support Linux platform and have a DRM capable program since they (stupidly) care about your OS.

One day, they remove "linux" from that drop down list, I wonder who loses. After 3-5 unstable builds, your Mplayer supports half of the formats they currently give away for free. No worries.

It becomes "microsoft". You know, the company which says "DIE" to other OSes they didn't ship themselves and still amazingly get supported more than Real networks.

Re:Linux to Real Networks... (1)

Asmor (775910) | about 8 years ago | (#15106369)

Seriously. Why is Real even around any more? I'm quite thankful to say that I haven't seen any real media being used at all probably in the last 3 years if not more. Everything is either WMV, QT or flash-based players (my personal favorite of the 3). I'm not saying RM is a bad thing (it's my preferred choice of format for epsiodes of South Park), just that I don't understand how the company's still in business.

Hahaha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106098)

Obviously real networks arent looking at this from a consumer point of view. Plus, drm would kill the whole opensource thing (at least real's implementation would).

good luck convincing linux users of that. it's going to be a tough sale.

Re:Hahaha! (5, Insightful)

eno2001 (527078) | about 8 years ago | (#15106262)

I agree. But I also realize that we are at a crossroads here. I predict that Linux users are going to find that access to popular content is going to get increasingly harder. Sadly many of us will probably have to buy appliances to access this stuff which will take away from the elegance of home made devices. I'm already in that boat with DirecTV. The only PCI card that can play subscription content for PVR use is VERY expensive. Much more than just buying a ready made box. So I've had to circumvent by using a video capture card and LIRC to change the channels. It works, but it's not as pretty as having a DirecTV card in my mPC. Hence the reason my homemade PVR lives in the basement and the DVI cable comes up through the wall into my LCD monitor.

The big problem with buying ready made devices is that you spend so much money in aggregate when you have multiple services. And of course, those devices rarely do what YOU want them to. This will be no different if some Linux distros decide to support DRM. The software will, obviously, not be open source. And it's likely that the software will not do what you want it to. This is going to be a nasty battle and I don't see how Linux can win. Since most people just go out and buy set top boxes, the won't even understand the DRM argument since it won't even be an issue to them. Joe and Jane average aren't typically interested in watching programming from outside of their region, so they'll never notice that their player can't play data from Europe (if they are USians) or vice-versa.

Which leads to the really big question. WHY are the media companies so intent on controlling things by region? What is the possible reason? There is tons of brilliant programming from outside the US that is not available to Americans simply because of artificial restrictions like region codes or sales blocks. For example, I attempted to order the entire Hitchhiker's Guide radio series including the latest "Tertiary, Quandry and Quintessential" phases boradcast on the BBC in 2004/2005. The order was processed, but then I recieved an e-mail from the BBC store informing me that I wasn't allowed to buy that content due to licensing restrictions. Why? Why would licensing be involved at all? Who profits from this (since all artificial restrictions have financial reasons behind them)? How does this put the consumer first? What it really does is point to the fact that these systems are broken and it's getting worse. But only a small segment of the population will be inconvenienced. "...at least, no one worth speaking of", to throw out an Adams quote.

The only way that Linux will gain access to this kind of media in the future will likely be through means that are considered to be "illegal" or "violate copyright laws" or some other language meant to demonize the people who expect more from their media than these corporations want them to. At that point it will be time to just say goodnight to these companies and find something else to do for entertainment. Sadly there are no viable options right now. Reading a book is nice, but it doesn't satisfy the urge for junk entertainment... And that is how the world becomes less pleasnt.

I HATE DRM!!! (0, Troll)

Bromskloss (750445) | about 8 years ago | (#15106099)

Sorry for being offtopic and troll and everything. I just had to say it.

I won't buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106161)

I am not going to pay money for software that tells me "no."

I will abandon SuSe and use a different, DRM-free distro instead, if this is what they start doing.

Re:I won't buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106244)

The point of DRM is not to tell you no, but to sound like a bad monty python skit.

DRM: I can't give you your content until you've paid.

You: I just paid!

DRM: No you didn't.

You: Yes, I did!

Consumer can always turn to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106109)

...another distro!

As long as I control it then it is fine (2, Interesting)

rtkluttz (244325) | about 8 years ago | (#15106119)

As long as I am the one in control of my own computer and what it does (or does not do) instead of a mega corporation, then DRM is fine and dandy.

Re:As long as I control it then it is fine (1)

Uzik2 (679490) | about 8 years ago | (#15106175)

Unfortunately that's exactly what drm does, takes control from you and gives it to someone else. Someone who does not care about you and is
willing to do whatever they like to separate you from your money.

Everyone to RealNetworks: just DIE already (2, Insightful)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | about 8 years ago | (#15106131)

Seriously, no one likes your product. You left a bad taste in our mouths with your nagware/adware supported POS software back in the day. Your format and codec suck, and there's really no point in your continued existence. FALL INTO A FIRE AND DIE.

Re:Everyone to RealNetworks: just DIE already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106169)

But you can get the world's best online digital music service, Rhapsody, free for 90 days! Try Rhapsody now!

Re:Everyone to RealNetworks: just DIE already (1)

babbling (952366) | about 8 years ago | (#15106218)

This whole situation is a bit like someone unarmed threatening someone with a gun. You don't just go up to a guy with a gun and say "hands up".

Real need to play catch-up. They don't have any guns. They *might* have 10 years ago... maybe.

Re:Everyone to RealNetworks: just DIE already (0)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 8 years ago | (#15106313)

Real Networks Helix opensource project is a huge success and they started an empire on mobile devices.

They also have 2.2 million monthly paying subscribers to their exclusive services. One of rare companies can sell multimedia service in this piracy hell.

What about you guys catch up? BTW, what was the arguments to make mplayer work under Linux? I mean to view Windows Media which Microsoft doesn't give a shit to your preferred OS?

Re:Everyone to RealNetworks: just DIE already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106350)

amen, i can't even remember the last time i saw anything Real*, at least on my pc, i won't let anyone install real player or the like. to me having video/audio content for real player or any proprietary player means that you are not interested in having people watch or listen to your content. i already have a audio/video player and i am not all interested in installing more.

Wrong way around (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 8 years ago | (#15106132)

Ask not for the future of Linux without DRM, but for the future of DRM without Linux (or other free OSes, for that matter).

If DRM becomes as oppressive as the big media players seem to want it to be, then it will drive people away from platforms requiring it and towards platforms that circumvent it. Moreover, there are enough such people that attempting to legislate such platforms out of existence is unlikely to meet with success, at least not for very long.

History furnishes few examples of big business successfully forcing the people to accept something not in their interests for extended periods. Once the public get wise to something, it will stop.

Re:Wrong way around (2, Interesting)

dwandy (907337) | about 8 years ago | (#15106186)

from TFA:
"The consequences of Linux not supporting DRM would be that fixed-purpose consumer electronics and Windows PCs would be the sole entertainment platforms available," Ayars said
I'm amused that he believes the only way to play media is in shackles. I, for one, actually started down the Win-to-Lin migration path *because* of things like DRM. I absolutely refuse to let someone else tell me how I am going to use my general purpose computer.
The coffee I bought at Starbucks this morning didn't come with usage restrictions, and neither will any media I consume or use.

Them's fightin words... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 8 years ago | (#15106204)

platforms that circumvent it

Poor word choice, sounds legally iffy to me.

How about we just say "supports non-DRM" formats, or some such?

Re:Them's fightin words... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 8 years ago | (#15106232)

You're damn right they are, and their choice was not an accident.

As I said, big business has rarely succeeded in holding the public hostage for very long, and the fastest way to debunk this sort of issue is to talk straight about it.

Re:Them's fightin words... (1)

'nother poster (700681) | about 8 years ago | (#15106294)

How about we just say, "Doesn't work with your DRM crap!", or "DRM Diabled". How about some stickers that say "Because it's MY computer you assholes!" Those work for me. :)

Re:Wrong way around (1)

wing03 (654457) | about 8 years ago | (#15106398)

History furnishes few examples of big business successfully forcing the people to accept something not in their interests for extended periods. Once the public get wise to something, it will stop.

Add Monsanto, BGH and Roundup Ready wheat vs. Ma and Pa farmer comes to mind... Monsanto as Plaintiff [wikipedia.org]

People can go weeks or months without mass media. But people can't go for more than a day or two without eating.

analogy (2, Interesting)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 8 years ago | (#15106134)

I guess it's like a visiting dignitary - if you want so-n-so to visit your country, you have to help provide him/her police protection. In The Future® if you want pop star so-n-so to appear on your computer in audio or video, you'll need DRM to protect the material from getting around without permission.

Re:analogy (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15106271)

I'm doing just fine without certain people and certain music.

If you don't want to come to MY house on MY terms, stay where you are!

Re:analogy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106396)

Greetings,

While many of the media companies would like you to think this way, it is in fact false.

DRM, which stands for digital rights management, has absolutely zero to do with piracy or even copyright protection, instead it has everything to do with giving up our rights to use our property as we wish. By allowing DRM, into our systems we abrogate our rights to use our systems as we choose and instead tell the media companies to decide for us what we are going to use our systems for. Don't believe me, look real closely at the whole TiVo thing.

DRM is nothing more than the big corporations attempt to add more power to the DMCA. If you haven't read through the whole DMCA, I strongly encourage you to, because what you will find is that under the DMCA, you don't actually own any technology device that you buy, this includes software, hardware, and media, instead you are simply renting it on a simgle payment.

And of course the whole reason the DMCA came about was because of piracy. Now, if you do decide to really read what I have recommended, then I will give you one more group of items to read here. First, you will want to read Courney Love's blog regarding the piracy, then followup with reading Baen Book's article on why they created their free library and the affect it has had on their company since then. When you read these you will learn some very very interesting things about what an abortion the DMCA is, what a crock the whole DRM issue is, and more importantly you would learn that there are much bigger criminals out there than Enron, Microsoft and the US Government. I'll give you a hint... They are the RIAA and MPAA.

I don't know about the rest of you... (2, Interesting)

spxero (782496) | about 8 years ago | (#15106135)

But I hope that it doesn't support DRM! With Vista going to DRM, I may be heading to Linux full-time.

On a side note, when was the last time anyone used RealPlayer? I just haven't found a practical use for it since around '99, but it still seems to get on other users machines.

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

dwandy (907337) | about 8 years ago | (#15106224)

The $%^!!*#%! Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC [www.cbc.ca] ) has archives of their shows in Real format...

Re:I don't know about the rest of you... (1)

aesiamun (862627) | about 8 years ago | (#15106268)

Lots of people use Real player...with their monthly Rhapsody subscriptions.

linux users to Real Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106137)

Go fuck yourself

Real Networks? Who? (3, Insightful)

Fordiman (689627) | about 8 years ago | (#15106140)

I'm sorry, but when was the last time this joker was relevant? 1996?

Re:Real Networks? Who? (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 8 years ago | (#15106229)

Yeah. Isn't Real Networks dead already?

On the other hand, lots of people pirate their software to run "radio stations."

Re:Real Networks? Who? (0)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 8 years ago | (#15106353)

When was the last time clueless real networks bashing earned you karma? It still works I think.

Get rid of karma whoring and check http://www.realnetworks.com/ [realnetworks.com] to have a clue what they talk about, why it matters and what they warn the Linux against.

Kernel Driver? (2, Insightful)

CPIMatt (206195) | about 8 years ago | (#15106143)

Wouldn't a DRM solution also include a closed source kernel driver? Even if you couldn't remove the DRM from the player, it still has to talk to the audio card. As far as I know all audio boards aren't encrypted, so you could modify the open source audio driver to capture the digital signal.

-Matt

Re:Kernel Driver? (1)

Homology (639438) | about 8 years ago | (#15106246)

Wouldn't a DRM solution also include a closed source kernel driver?

Yeah, but that is no problem for Linux: NDA and binary blobs are always welcome, indeed, the users demands it.

Re:Kernel Driver? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 years ago | (#15106282)

And of course, even if there came a new generation of sound cards with built-in encryption, as soon as it leaves the speaker in the form of sound waves, there's no DRM left. Just put a microphone there and record it. Or is there something like VEIL also planned for audio?

You are forgetting. (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 8 years ago | (#15106349)

They want to close the analog hole. Yes every analog to digital convert will have to have the ability to detect a water mark and then refuse to record the data! No I am not making it up that is what some groups want!
Yes it is sickening. I don't download music or video but I do want the option to use it on my PC in a fair manner!
I also want to have the option of buying AD chips that don't cost a bloody fortune and work.

News at 11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106148)

Content provider supports DRM! News at 11!

Because the world really needs Real? Hah! (1)

Cynical_Dude (548704) | about 8 years ago | (#15106149)

"DRM or die!"?

What is that? Famous last words?

Seems more like "support what your users want or die!" to me.

Re:Because the world really needs Real? Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106290)

yeah you are right there. I can't see demand from anybody for Real's POS software

with ABC offerning up these shows we see the start of the lever. Your PC either starts up with something that plays your 'desparate housewives' or it doesnt. all technical superiority issues are going to be non starters for the vast majority of people. Will they want to run two OSs? doubt it, they want it just to work.

die is the wrong word for them to use. maybe 'marginalise' would be better. It would certainly curtail the number of people converting from Windows.

or Die? (1)

pintpusher (854001) | about 8 years ago | (#15106151)

Is this guy proposing to kill linux? And how exactly would he do that? go find all those volunteers and break their knuckles? Come on. People don't want DRM. Some people want linux. You can't stop that.

RealNetworks? (1)

codell (714441) | about 8 years ago | (#15106167)

Anybody else of the opinion that RealNetworks isn't in a position to be giving advice to anyone? They totally squandered the brand recognition they once enjoyed, though IMHO that has more to do with poor marketing decisions than technological weaknesses.

No DRM for me. (2, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 8 years ago | (#15106170)

I won't use software that implements it, and I won't watch or listen to media that uses it. It is a direct attack on my freedom, and I don't take kindly to that at all.

If the Linux community had any backbone, he would've been booed off the stage after he finished speaking. If it's DRM or die, I'd rather the latter.

No compelling use for DRM (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 8 years ago | (#15106185)

As of today, I can buy CDs and DVDs that are DRM-free (or so nearly so that I don't care) for cheap, then shift them into the formats I find convenient. I haven't figured out yet what DRM would give me over and above that. Is it price? That certainly doesn't seem to be the case. Convenience? iTunes Music Store is nifty, but since I have to leave my house to go to work each day anyway, that's not a huge win.

So, tell me *AA, what benefit does your DRM supposedly have to me, your customer? What would make me decide that your crippleware is actually something I'd want? Go ahead: we're listening.

Re:No compelling use for DRM (1)

Skreems (598317) | about 8 years ago | (#15106306)

To be fair, /. users are not the target market he's talking about. There are a decent number of people out there who will just see "oh, my latest Schwarzenager DVD doesn't play on Linux? Well, I better not try to use it, then", and not understand that it's restrictive media policies that are the problem rather than Linux support. The question is how many of them will take it out on the media companies, and how many will take it out on alternative OSes.

Re:No compelling use for DRM (1)

jandrese (485) | about 8 years ago | (#15106378)

The advantage of ITMS is that unlike music stores, they're never out of stock. Sure they don't carry a lot of titles, but most of the time if I'm looking for something I can find it on there. Just try finding anything by Lords of Acid (not an obscure band) in the local Best Buy/B&N/etc... up here and you'll come up empty. Even actual music stores are very hit and miss in this area, and I have to drive 20-30 minutes to get to one.

ITMS means the end of searching every single store in town that sells CDs to find that one album that someone raved about, and getting it in only 30 minutes. You can of course order pretty much any CD still in print (and many that aren't in print) from various places online, but the fastest you'll get it is the next day, and more like 3-5 days if you don't want to pay through the nose for shipping.

Were it not for the obnoxious DRM, I'd never buy a CD again.

Linux to "Real Networks" - suck it (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106190)

n/t

DRM...why bother? (2, Informative)

Drachasor (723880) | about 8 years ago | (#15106193)

Seriously, is there any real research that actually shows DRM to improve sales, customer relations, the economy, or anything save corporate egos? Contrast this to the numerous studies you can find via a simple google search that show "piracy", if anything, increases overall sales; those who pirate more, buy more than they would otherwise. Also, take Stardock's recent example in the videogame industry. Galactic Civilizations II is a number one seller, and it has no DRM at all. You don't even need a CD in the computer to play the game. It seems that DRM is largely ineffective or, if effective, violates fair use and pisses people off. I don't know about the other people on slashdot, but basically everyone I know that has ever pirated understand they have to buy good products. Afterall, if you don't then you aren't likely to see similar products in the future, and people understand this. Sure, you get some freeloaders with piracy, but in my (admittedly anecdotal) experience they are rare and research seems to support this. So, is there any real point to DRM? It seems far more harmful than good; it risks making products of today innaccessible in the future; it angers customers; it makes it much harder to transfer your information from an old computer to a new; it usually gets circumvented by crackers sooner or later anyhow; and all implementations seem to give an almost scary amount of control to content providers/makers. It just looks like a bad way to go. I think (and hope) this whole forray into DRM is a temporary insanity.

Die? Unlikely (1)

debiansid (881350) | about 8 years ago | (#15106196)

Unlikely, there's always bittorrent, freenet, etc to float everything without the DRM. And thats not likely to go away that easily. Infact i would hazard to say that DRMing would push more users towards Linux.

DRM is E-fascisme (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106212)

Ayers said: "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers."
I am a consumer and I am _NOT_ demanding DRM.
DRM is E-fascisme.

The case against DRM (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | about 8 years ago | (#15106221)

While it's a near-certainty that a DRM-free movie or music download service with major studio backing would become very popular, very quickly, it's equally probable that the files would be wildly pirated as well. But then again, it's already easy enough to find any song or film you need fairly quickly, if you just know where to look. Therefore, it seems much less certain that unprotected content would cause much harm to the pocketbooks of RIAA and MPAA members.

And if the major Linux players go ahead and support DRM? Then other Linux distributors will come along with their DRM-less versions and scoop up market sahre, and users will see the movies and listen to the music they want to anyway using pirated versions of stuff. Let's not forget, what a coder creates, another coder can hack. No amount of DRM is going to keep enterprising coders from breaking it and freeing the content. The DRM camp is, as usual, kidding themselves.

And we've had unprotected media around us for years, like FM radio or good old cable TV, and all we need in order to make unauthorized copies of those broadcasts are cassette radios or VCRs. Just because content has gone digital shouldn't mean that we all are going to turn into the dirty, rotten pirates in need of heavy restraints that DRM proponents seem to assume that we are.

There will always be freely available content, if you know where to look. Let's not forget: many radio stations stream their audio already, and how hard is it to record that stream? A user will always be able to pick up the content they want given the effort, the RIAA and all its cronies be damned. It doesn't make us criminals, but consumers forced to extraordinary lenghts to get the things we want without having to be beholden big media over and over again.

Re:The case against DRM (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | about 8 years ago | (#15106388)

Let's not forget: many radio stations stream their audio already, and how hard is it to record that stream?

Very good point. Because with today's style of music, you don't even have to worry about the voiceover intros by the DJs. Simply extract the repeated music clip from the middle of the song and replace the beginning. Since all top 40 music these days rehash backbeats from the 70's and 80's, you can get a karaoke album from that decade for about a $1 to get that backbeat track if you needed to.

Re:The case against DRM (2, Insightful)

doconnor (134648) | about 8 years ago | (#15106392)

"And if the major Linux players go ahead and support DRM? Then other Linux distributors will come along with their DRM-less versions and scoop up market sahre, and users will see the movies and listen to the music they want to anyway using pirated versions of stuff. Let's not forget, what a coder creates, another coder can hack. No amount of DRM is going to keep enterprising coders from breaking it and freeing the content. The DRM camp is, as usual, kidding themselves."

A DRM-less version will have no advantage over a DRM version of Linux, or Windows for that matter. Having DRM doesn't prevent you from doing anything you could have done before. It just means that DRMed movies and music will be supported that won't be on a DRM-less OS. Both will continue to play non-DRM content, including content which has been cracked.

Just keeps getting worse (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 8 years ago | (#15106253)

I expect in the near future, after you buy a CD, you will need to connect to an internet site, and pay a fee, each and every time you want to listen to a song on that CD. No more play as often as you want after buying the CD. Fees will be higher if you have better equipment. Audible static will be added to make it harder to pirate. And if more than one persion *might* be listening, you will need to pay a higher fee (i.e. if you don't use headphones). You will also need to pay to be able to listen to the radio. "Free" music will not be playable on any new hardware. And it will all be done retroactivally.

Willingness to lie (5, Insightful)

caffeination (947825) | about 8 years ago | (#15106256)

This is one of the most blatant, bare faced lies I've ever seen.
"The consequences of Linux not supporting DRM would be that fixed-purpose consumer electronics and Windows PCs would be the sole entertainment platforms available," Ayers said. "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers."
Not only is the first sentence not the intuitive fact it's presented as, but the last one is just pure crap. We didn't bend over to have DVD protection inserted, and now Linux is a better platform for DVD than Windows. We have compatibility with everyone's favourite digital format: mp3. These are the only two things I can see mattering for several years.

Hilariously, their very greed is still the thing that holds them back. Each company jealously cautious about "licensing" its proprietary format, everyone in "talks", the whole PS3 fiasco...

I'm not even worrying about this any more. Hopefully they will continue to try to compete technologically with FOSS, because so far, it's worked out great.

Re:Willingness to lie (3, Insightful)

Serapth (643581) | about 8 years ago | (#15106355)

We didn't bend over to have DVD protection inserted, and now Linux is a better platform for DVD than Windows.

First off... you remember what Linux went through to get DVD playback to even work? You know, the whole process of reverse engineering and cracking the protection algorithm. Or the court case against the author, followed by the legal battle funded by the EFF? No, Linux didnt bend over getting DVD support, but they sure as hell didnt have an easy go at it.

As to being a better platform for DVDs, what??!!? Dvd.. insert... play movie. On modern hardware Linux and Windows basically render the same quality output, both have basically the same functional specs. What exactly makes linux the better ( or worse ) platform for DVDs here?

The arrival of Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and secure Cable/HDTV is nothing but bad news for linux. Many times the barrier may be as simple as the fee required to get your hardware deviced signed. Beyond that, the laws today make reverse engineering, even whiteroom a very difficult (legal) prospect. Keeping support for the newest media storage schemes and hardware is going to be a hell of alot harder for the linux crowd then it will be for Microsoft.

Problem here: No DRM? no codecs for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106261)

We will be unable to see some media stuff, because the only legal available codec will be DRM.

No drm mean we will suffer the lost of some media stuff. Anyway we will route this with reverse engineering, and media piracy :(.. .BUT WILL BE SAD!, not a killing problem, but some attrition.

Success, Linux, and DRM (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | about 8 years ago | (#15106265)

There is an old saying....

If you want success: grow
If you want spectacular success: grow and use leverage

My point is that I don't see any reason in the world why we shouldn't be trying to use Linux as leverage against people who are trying to impose DRM. Market forces are clearly pushing Linux in spite of them anyhow. What do people who controll content really have to offer us that we somehow can't manage without? The truth is that the future is not about extracting revenue from content, but instead extracting revenue from content related services.

IMHO, just as the plantation system tried to deal with the industrial revolution by fencing off the south and breaking off from the Union, the media system today is trying to deal with the information age by using DRM to fence off all content. Both are doomed stratigies, and the sooner we kill copyright and tools used to impose them, the sooner we will be doing ourselves and the information age a big favor.

but Linux is already dead (1)

Shakes268 (856460) | about 8 years ago | (#15106274)

Just a handful of penguin lovers out there - it hasn't made the in-roads everyone thought it would.

Apple is coming on strong and I think most people looking for an alternative to Windows will go Mac.

If you like looking at a command line all day and living in a cave, go Linux - it's the best "hobbyist" OS out there.

DRM in Linux - Why we need GPL v3 for Linux (1)

softcoder (252233) | about 8 years ago | (#15106284)

Looks like RMS is right (again) and Linus is wrong (again).
If companies like Red Hat are seriously considering encumbering their Linux Distro with Digital Restrictions Management, then this makes a very strong case to have Linux covered by GPL V3.

Re:DRM in Linux - Why we need GPL v3 for Linux (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 8 years ago | (#15106407)

Or simply to use another distribution.

Don't forget, unlike the Windows "market", the Linux market is a real, working market. That is, consumers have the choice, and therefore the power. You don't want Linux with DRM? Then get another one without DRM. If there's demand for such a Linux distro, there will be supply for it. And if there isn't demand for Linux with DRM, those distros will simply die (or drop DRM).

Not a good idea... (2, Insightful)

psyberjedi (650736) | about 8 years ago | (#15106285)

To make demands of a community that made its start "fighting the man."

These are the same people who continued to work on a fledgling OS in the early 90's because they believed in it, despite the Microsoft behemoth.

Through the cries of "Linux will never make it" to "Linux will never make it into real business server rooms" to the current "Linux will never make it onto the desktop."

This is a community of people who thrive on problem solving.

DRM is not a solution. It is a problem waiting to be solved.

Linux. Adapt and survive.

new linux convertee thanks to NO DRM (1)

tr0p (728557) | about 8 years ago | (#15106319)

I find the timing of this article to be highly relevent. I've been a windows user since I was a kid in the 1990's until a couple of weeks ago when ms announced a massive code re-write for vista. The most likely reason for the rewrite? Fixing holes in their DRM implementation. On that news, I installed linux. I failed miserably trying to install GENTOO, and ended up with UBUNTU, which I am very pleased with. I suspect DRM will be a major driver for growth in the linux userbase as long as they continue providing an alternative for people attempting to avoid DRM.

I hate to sound like RMS but... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 8 years ago | (#15106324)

The Linux vendors need to simply reject DRM. Not only does DRM not generally work against anyone interested in defeating it, but it leads to general abuse of the consumer.

The fact remains that most consumers are honest enough to buy what they use. Make it more simple to buy and use, and more of these consumers will buy and use more often. Make it less simple and more difficult to use and fewer consumers will want to buy and use it.

The whole idea of DRM, unfortunately, will have to be PROVEN as a failure before it can be washed from the minds of these people interested in implementing it. What really needs to be realized is that information is NOT property in the physical sense and they should stop trying to treat it that way.

If only there were an alternative to Real Player (1)

youngerpants (255314) | about 8 years ago | (#15106333)

We could call it, I don't know, Real Alternative....

Seriously though, I realise its not about the player here, but to echo many of the previous comments, and no doubt many of the comments to come, the Real codec hasn't been relevant for 5 years, I don't have it installed on any of my boxes because I never come across the opportunity to download media in that format

Well... (1)

ElGuapoGolf (600734) | about 8 years ago | (#15106343)

If they add DRM to linux, does that mean I can download episodes of BSG from an online store and play them?

If so, I'm all for it.

This is senseless. (1)

chicagozer (585086) | about 8 years ago | (#15106345)

Add all the DRM you want.

If you let me code and install my own output drivers, you will not prevent me from obtaining an unencumbered signal.

Continually surprised... (3, Insightful)

Zephyros (966835) | about 8 years ago | (#15106346)

In spite of the fact that I know I should know better, I find myself continually surprised by these execs just...not...getting it. The companies are hanging onto an obsolete business model. Consumers want our digital rights protected, not the company's.

My hope is that one day they screw up and lock things down so tightly and inconveniently that Joe 'Average' Sixpack sits up and takes notice. The Sony rootkit fiasco was a start. That's who we need to convince, because if we get the mass market aware of and against DRM, the companies will face a tougher challenge in restricting our rights.

Death Tremors Resulting In FUD (1)

bride_of_excession (943938) | about 8 years ago | (#15106362)

I mean really, who are these "Real" people in today's media? Clearly not who Mr. Ayars thinks, LOL.

...Jeff Ayars, said that Linux as a consumer platform would be dead unless DRM capabilities are built into the OS itself.


Earth to Jeff Ayars: Linux is not an OS or "consumer platform" but a kernel which powers many OS's ("consumer platforms") and is hugely popular among those who value personal liberty.

OTOH Real Networks is basically a parasitic media company of the Old Showbiz school, i.e. middleman adding zero value to content.

What's the benefit we'll miss without your Heretical DRM Blessing? Honestly, I haven't looked at any RealMedia in years, because your player and your format really bite. It is more hassle than it's worth to me, especially as content is now everywhere online.
And yes, I have tried it in OS X, XP, Debian, and FreeBSD. I'll give you this, RP is very portable and the bugginess is fabulouslly well represented on all platforms.

Oh and hey Jeff, Bill Gates called -- he wants his schtick back.

GPLv3 vs. DRM and Linux (1)

dougmc (70836) | about 8 years ago | (#15106368)

Well, the new GPL is supposed to make it so that GPLv3 software is not usable by companies that do DRM. Now Linus has made it quite clear that he won't put the kernel under GPLv3, and I doubt he's alone in that sentiment, but it seems likely that some of the packages included with most Linux distributions will move to GPLv3 (such as the ones that RMS has more direct control over) so if I understand the proposed GPLv3 correctly, that would mean that anybody who's putting out a Linux distribution with DRM would not be able to include (or even use) any packages covered by GPLv3 (unless they permit use under other licenses.)

I imagine that this was part of the plan behind the DRM restrictions of the new GPL from the very beginning. It should be interesting to see how it finally turns out.

In any event, while I don't really totally agree with the anti-DRM provisions in the proposed GPLv3 (don't get me wrong -- I hate DRM, but telling people that they can't use your software if they use DRM -- isn't that a sort of DRM right there, just done in legalize rather than software and hardware?), I do think that given the choice between 1) continuing to use existing software pakcages that migrate to GPLv3 and new packages that use GPLv3, or 2) giving up the ability to use anything that uses GPLv3 and so restricting ourselves to the older versions (that were GPLv2 licensed) so that we can include DRM into a Linux distribution so we can play Real media ... I think it's pretty obvious what the answer will be.

Linux to Real ... die. (No `ditch DRM or die', just `die'. You had your chance to be relevant, and you blew it, and all you're doing now is reminding us that you blew it.)

Granted, even without Real, I don't see DRM going away any time soon, but it's just not something that I think that Linux (or, more specifically, Linux distrubtions) absolutely has to support, and the GPLv3 will probably just make that decision (not to support it) a bit easier.

Real could release a version of it's player that has DRM support, but they're fully aware that the OS isn't going to do too much to keep their content safe from things that record directly from the screen and audio hardware (and I don't see this changing), and so I predict that Real will just decline to make an updated Linux version of their player and point to this as the reason. Of course, the real reason will be that they just don't think that Linux is worth worrying about, and they'll probably be right.

DRM will be the biggest mistake of the CI (5, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15106399)

The content industry sees DRM as its saviour from the pirates. In fact, it will be their doom. Let's take a look at what DRM will do, and to whom.

For this we'll be looking at four groups of people:

1. The joe average sixpack crowd, who buy some music, copy some more from his friends and generally think DRM is the new acronym for the thingie to plug into your car to make it faster. He's getting some music online, doesn't make heavy use of torrent and is still plugged into Kazaa, but complains he doesn't find much anymore.

2. The people who use suck the net dry, whether they need it or not. It's there, it's free, it's on my HD. They don't know jack about the inner workings of the DeCSS, don't know who broke it, but they use it to rip it, with the neat and foolproof tools provided.

3. The people who know what DRM means to their privacy and who fear, hate and fight it. Not necessarily in that order. Out of principle, not because they want to pirate what's available. But it's a privacy thing.

4. The people with The Clue to actually break DRM.

Group 1 will suddenly notice that their movies don't work anymore, or that they can't play the movie in the player they want. They bought a $3000+ HDTV set and they now got the same crappy rez because some part isn't to the DRM's liking, so they get the low-rez instead of the promised HD quality. They're understandably pissed, sink another 2k into the system to get better resolution and then find out that, again, some things will work while others don't, they suddenly can't borrow movies from their friends anymore. They do buy most of their movies, but they're PISSED because more often than not the DRM locks them out of their (bought) movies, following the creed of "better prohibit too much than allow too much".

Group 2 will notice that they can't play the ripped movies anymore. They won't do anything about it but google the web up and down 'til Group 4 provides them with the tools to rip again. They won't buy a single movie. They're not in for the movie, they're in for the "wanna have".

Group 3 will talk to Group 1 and blame whatever irks them on DRM. Until Group 1 starts listening to it and starts digging up information about DRM. And they get MORE pissed. Group 3 doesn't buy movies either. They're not in for the movies, they're in for the privacy issues.

And finally Group 4 will spend its time tinkering with the DRM, they'll burn a few of the DRM crates 'til they figure out how to break it, release it and then we are right where we are now.

With a few differences.

Group 2-4 don't change their behaviour at all. They didn't buy before, they won't buy after. Group 1, though, is not PISSED at the industry for making it all so "complicated" and they will think and ask twice before ever buying any new equipment. They will no longer be on the spearhead of adaption, they will wait 'til one of their clued friends tells them that it's ok to get one of those babies.

Who loses? Right. The content industry.
Who wins? Nobody.

Consumer to Real Networks: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15106400)

"Adapt or die."

I took me a few seconds to remember this forgettable Internet start-up (that should have burst along with the bubble). Yeah, I remember now, "Buffering...". That Real Networks. The one which gradually stuffed their flagship consumer product with so much garbage, that people ditched it out of frustration. The one that lost almost all its marketshare to players that can do WMV and Quicktime formats. You can always tell when a webpage was made before 1999, because it'll have content in .rm format.

Yup, I'm surprised I nearly forgot who these people were. Yeah, I remember their ram-in-down-your-throat DRM in the first release of RealOne Player. I have this one guy I work with who is quite the musician. So he goes and rips all *his own* tracks from CDs he's recorded and put's them on his PC to listen to as background music. He made the mistake of using realplayer. So we upgrade his computer, RealOne loses all its "licenses", and refuses to play the guy's own tracks.

No, Real Networks no longer has an credibility. While this pinhead is running around crying that he can't grow his business until 'x' happens, I'm buying content streams online, paying monthly fees, and getting what I want, DRM-free. Only a moron who knows nothing about economics would think a one-sided "trade" could be the foundation for a solid business model.
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