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Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the content-was-never-so-protected dept.

Microsoft 294

David Gerard writes "Security researcher Peter Gutmann has released A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection, a detailed explanation of just what the protected-content paths in Windows Vista mean to you the consumer: increased hardware cost and even less OS robustness. 'This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout the computer industry ... The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history.'"

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Analysis of the analysis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17339854)

Whine, whine, whine.

This just in, eye glass sales on the rise (1)

gmezero (4448) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341818)

With the launch of Vista, the optometrist market has taken a sudden lurch in profitability as users begin to experience "fuzzy" video on their 50" screens. They then schedule a visit to the eye doctor to see if they might be going blind, only to discover that is not their vision but their TV that no longer works.

When Microsoft was challenged about the problem, executives stated that "We regret that users feel they are having problems viewing the full quality of the content they have acquired, but as we feel this is only an issue for the pirated content and hacked hardware market, we do not see this as our problem. We are happy to work with honest users so that they can enjoy the full value of their Windows experience."

Excellent Analysis (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17339866)

Good job describing wild guesses as 'analysis' and getting Slashdot to bite.

Vista has an install base smaller than BeOS at the present time, so your N is likely too small to be meaningful in any way.

Yay for science!

Migrate to GNU/Linux, not Vista (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17339986)

Our company did last year, cities of Vienna and Munich did, French parliament did, it should work out very nicely for you too. Our former XP users love KDE.

No need to put yourself through pains when you can improve security, save money and achieve a good deal of vendor independence all at the same time. Why support the Microsoft monopoly by paying ridiculous prices for bug ridden software with DRM restrictions, when you can run Free software on the industry standard (and thus inexpensive) hardware?

Knowing everything I know now, I only regret that we did not migrate to GNU/Linux sooner.

Re:Migrate to not Vista (3, Insightful)

Utopia (149375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340106)

Content Protection is a explicit opt-in from content providers.
Its not mandated by the OS.

Migrating a different OS doen't give you access to the protected content.

Re:Migrate to not Vista (1, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340520)

Content Protection is a explicit opt-in from content providers. Its not mandated by the OS.

True, but the degradation discussed is a requirement for non-encrypted content streams. My understanding is that if you connect your new Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player via their analog outputs, or to a non-encrypted digital channel, the output is downgraded to a lower resolution (with respect to that of the encrypted digital channel).

Vista: Go where we allow you to go, be all we think you should be...

Re:Migrate to not Vista (4, Informative)

Utopia (149375) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340684)

Thats incorrect. Degradation is recommended by the HD standards only if the content provider has opted-in for content protection but the hardware used doesn't provide a complete protection path to the display.

So non-opted content will display with full fidelity regardless of whether a non-secured or secured mechanism is used to display the content.

Re:Migrate to not Vista (3, Interesting)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341062)

Degradation is recommended by the HD standards only if the content provider has opted-in for content protection...

Thanks for the clarification. What are the odds a content provider won't opt-in for protection? In any case, I can't really make any justification for Vista (or high-def DVD) at this point -- especially if this article is accurate.

My guess is that the tighter DRM proponents squeeze, the more things will slip through their fingers -- to paraphrase someone I heard somewhere, sometime ago...

Re:Migrate to not Vista (1)

mfrank (649656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341556)

Employees at his company, of the cities of Vienna and Munich, and of the French Parliament don't need to be viewing protected content at work.

Playing Idiot's Advocate (5, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340200)

But, but, but... what about the high cost of retraining everyone to use all these new weird applications that don't make as much sense as Windows applications!!!? What about the steep learning curve since Linux is just inherently harder to use!!!? What about the fact that when the user tries to hit some valid work related site that needs to access media like Powerpoint, Flash 9 and higher, Windows Media Video, and the like that they won't be able to or will have a reduced quality end-user experience compared to MS Windows??? I've seen the Xine plug-in for Firefox and it doesn't work right. Instead of embedding the content in the browser as it should it pops open a new window and only about 20% of the time does the content actually play!! What about the fact that unless you've got a few gurus on your staff, when there's a problem there's NO ONE to go to for support once the problem is out of your league? Forums? HAH! Yeah, you've got a down critical situation with your users and you're going to fart away valuable time on forums where you may or may not get an answer in a day? A week? A month? A year? Never? The only answer if to get Windows Vista because it was built for real work and not for geeks with no life. Got that?

[DISCLAIMER: The poster called 'eno2001' does not believe in what he stated above at all and is merely parodying the typical lies and misconceptions about GNU/Linux that come from the anti-Linux crowd. The poster called 'eno2001' expects many good responses to the false arguments presented above from the pro-Linux community. All anti-linux sentiments will be laughed at unless you're really good at what you do. The 'eno2001' has spoken.]

Re:Playing Idiot's Advocate (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341242)

Modding of the above down is why I have Extra 'Flamebait' Modifier +6 set in my preferences.

Re:Playing Idiot's Advocate (1)

whargoul (932206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341274)

You need to get over yourself. Linux isn't a religion or a way of life, it's just an operating system.

There's no such thing as an "anit-linux" crowd, unless you happen to be one of the big shots at Micro$oft. There's the "Linux crowd", then there's the "I'm doing just fine with what I have and don't have any reason to change" crowd. Why don't you try educating them instead of ridiculing them. It's fanatical-zealot attitudes exactly like this that keep me, and I'm sure plenty of others, from adopting linux.

Re:Playing Idiot's Advocate (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341428)

And you apparently have no sense of humor because you obviously took it all too seriously. Sure, I'm a Linux guy, but I don't fault people for using Windows. If they don't have the same needs that people like me do, there's nothing wrong with using Windows. I obviously don't have the same needs they do which is why I don't use Windows as well. But there's a whole lot of fun to be had poking at both sides of the argument and that's the point you missed. I think it is YOU who take the OS argument far too seriously since you're the one who is offended by such a post. If you didn't take these things so seriously the post should have cracked a smile on your face...

Re:Migrate to GNU/Linux, not Vista (3, Informative)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340704)

Why support the Microsoft monopoly by paying ridiculous prices for bug ridden software with DRM restrictions, when you can run Free software on the industry standard (and thus inexpensive) hardware?

Ah, but according to the article Microsoft is forcing vendors to manufacture more expensive "content protection" cards so the most popular cards will be made (more expensively) according to Microsoft's specs.

See the section on "Increased Hardware Costs".

[I]nstead of varying video card cost based on optional components, the chipset vendor now has to integrate everything into a one- size-fits-all premium-featured graphics chip, even if all the user wants is a budget card for their kids' PC.

So if you want to run that latest Radeon that all the gamers are using on Linux, you'll pay more and probably be hindered by all content protection junk it contains.

it doesn't matter! (4, Insightful)

bwy (726112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340034)

It really doesn't matter. Before long each new Dell and every other new computer will be shipping with Vista. It could be the worst operating system ever, and within a few years everyone will be using it. There is virtually no way for Vista to fail, given the circumstances.

Re:it doesn't matter! (5, Insightful)

kyliaar (192847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340442)

Not true.

We don't have to look too far into the past to see that not every Microsoft OS product has been a raging success. *cough* *cough* Windows ME

Happy Windows ME users were few and far between in my experience. Not having native USB support as well as having a host of stability issues that were hard to debug, etc. few people upgraded to it or quickly upgraded away from it when XP became wildly available.

I realize that the document linked to is written with what seems to be an almost inflammatory bias, it does sound that the Vista Content Protection is a move in the wrong direction for the content publishing industry and lawyers rather than the consumers.

Not even Microsoft is immune to the forces of the market. They do have dominance in a field where migrations away from a product are often expensive and time consuming but, at the very least, if they produce a crap product, people will not upgrade to it.

People making new purchases are much freer to choose from a competitor that may not have the same problems.

Re:it doesn't matter! (1)

mrbcs (737902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340596)

"Not even Microsoft is immune to the forces of the market. They do have dominance in a field where migrations away from a product are often expensive and time consuming but, at the very least, if they produce a crap product, people will not upgrade to it."

I agree, I'm still running win2k on an AMD 64 bit 3000+. Microsoft's biggest threat is their own previous versions. I have not yet seen any readon to upgrade to XP let alone Vista. I think this year should be pretty interesting. It looks like a lot of business are hesitant about rolling this thing out and the computer industry on a whole is in decline. (except for laptops). IMHO, most people that want a computer have one and unless there's a pressing need, I can't see lots of people jumping on the Vista bandwagon.

We can only hope for a disaster of Mistake Edition proportions!

Re:it doesn't matter! (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341876)

IMHO, most people that want a computer have one and unless there's a pressing need, I can't see lots of people jumping on the Vista bandwagon.
Well, computers get old. They get slow. The become obsolete. Then they get replaced. Also, many people are now starting to buy second and third computers and installing networks in their homes. I was at Best Buy this morning and two of their "Geek Squad" guys were loading tons of DLink network gear into their Geek Squad VW. Though I don't know for certain, I am guessing that they do quite a few network installations in private homes. Does anybody out there know if this is the case?

Re:it doesn't matter! (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340636)

Happy Windows ME users were few and far between in my experience.

True, but then (if I remember correctly), ME wasn't out there for very long either. Not that it was replaced with anything very qucily, but I think retailers still had the choice of having 98 loaded onto PCs and stayed with that.

And the few people I knew that actually got a machine with 98 installed pretty much immediately went back to 98. Remember that back then you didn't normally have a restore CD, you had the full install media for 98.

Re:it doesn't matter! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341420)

Before long each new Dell and every other new computer will be shipping with Vista.

Maybe.

Maybe not [apple.com] .

Re:it doesn't matter! (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341724)

But Microsoft depends on the corporate customers who actually pay a huge amount of money for hundreds or thousands of licences for the more expensive "pro" versions. The "consumers" who buy OEM Vista (which is heavily discounted for OEMs) hardly contribute any money to Microsoft, and a lot of people who use vanilla versions pirate their copies or get a copy from the office.

Mindshare != success.

This is hardly an analysis (3, Insightful)

Sexy Commando (612371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340092)

This so-called analysis was written by thinking of a conclusion first, then filling in the blanks. There are no citing of references to support his claims.
This is just simply a political blurb.

Re:This is hardly an analysis (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340408)

This so-called analysis was written by thinking of a conclusion first, then filling in the blanks. There are no citing of references to support his claims. This is just simply a political blurb.

I was thinking the same thing - TFA is nothing but a long winded rant against Micro$oft. Reading a 'cost analysis', I expect the discussion to center around... costs. Which were significant by their absence.

So called? It's a listing of DRM side effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17340572)

You didn't state a single thing you disagree with, not one. Your 'so called' critic didn't give one example of one thing you think is wrong.

Do the drivers require more processing power to drive the encryption? Well, yes they do.
What about drivers revoking some functionality?, well gee they do if it conflicts with one any right holders requirements.
Increased hardware costs? Lots.
Unnecessary CPU Resource Consumption, yep.
Unnecessary Device Resource Consumption, yep.
  and on and on.

He simply listed the negative attributes of the DRM and reminds you that these nasties have a cost.

Re:So called? It's a listing of DRM side effects (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341102)

I find the claim that listening to an audio CD will degrade your (non-protected) video output extremely fishy.

It sounds to me like a misreading of the spec. Likely the spec requires degrading the signal when any part of THAT signal is protected, i.e., you have to degrade the audio signal if you are listening to a CD while the computer reads some text but this doesn't affect the video.

The automatic echo cancellation seems even more fishy. In order to do auto echo cancellation one only needs access to the sound coming in from the microphone. I can't think of any time access to this information is likely to be restricted.

Many of these points are simply too extreme and need documentation.

Re:This is hardly an analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17340582)

This so-called analysis was written by thinking of a conclusion first, then filling in the blanks.

You don't have to stop and sniff every pile you pass to know that shit stinks.

Re:This is hardly an analysis (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341318)

Really? The guy is saying that the robust DRM implementation will make Vista computers more expensive and less stable. We already knew that. He goes on to give technical reasons. Is there anything in the TFA you disagree with, or are you just a Vista fan?

If anything, he does not go far enough. He fails to mention that we'll have to live with this overhead in price and performance for no reason at all, since most of us will be using computers to play non-premium content anyway. He also fails to mention that there will be non-premium versions of premium content available on WWW from day one. We can sum up all of this to realize that Vista is a piece of garbage of an OS, compared to even XP, let alone a free OS, as it was written from ground up to provide less functionality at a higher price in hardware.

This is absurd. (4, Insightful)

CDarklock (869868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340102)

Every time I see an analysis of what DRM means to the consumer, I see all this crap about how it's going to make things more expensive and lower quality. And that's true - SOME things will be more expensive and lower quality.

But these analyses never stop to consider HOW MUCH will be more expensive and lower quality, or exactly what changes we're discussing. What will be lower quality and more expensive is the DRM-protected content. And DRM sucks. People will complain. Vendors will eventually listen.

At the moment, we have a lot of content providers who refuse to provide any content without DRM because they can't imagine making a profit otherwise. DRM gets them to provide something instead of nothing. Historically, unprotected content outperforms protected content; because you spend nothing trying to stop people from stealing it, you recover more revenue than you were losing to theft anyway. If we just let providers choose, they will eventually make the right choice. We can't force them to make the right choice NOW, because they won't make it. They'll provide zero content.

That's the false dilemma. Everyone seems to think the choice is protected content or unprotected content, but it's not - it's protected content or NO content. Fighting the protected content is not going to get you what you want. You have to let the providers make their stupid DRM plans and try them, so they'll see for themselves that it's stupid.

Re:This is absurd. (5, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340686)

We can't force them to make the right choice NOW, because they won't make it. They'll provide zero content.

Not true. The content cabal claimed that without a broadcast flag, their government-mandated efforts to switch to digital broadcast HDTV would be tantamount to suicide, and they threatened to obstruct the production of content in HD until such a flag was passed. Here we are, three years after the FCC first tried to implement the broadcast flag by providential decree, and we have a bevy of digital broadcast high-definition programming with no broadcast flag.

The reason the content cabal will never provide "zero content" is because there's too much money to be made even without DRM. The only reason they want DRM is because it provides them with additional control over the content that they sell to us that goes beyond copyright and piracy prevention. It's the same reason they have things like User Operation Prohibited and Region Codes in the DVD spec. Neither of those forms of DRM have anything to do with preventing piracy. UOP is used to force-feed advertising (and the ubiquitously-ignored FBI warning) to the paying customer, and region codes are used to exploit worldwide market arbitrage.

They are fighting tooth and nail today to get DRM everywhere they can, because they know that once the technological dust settles and the standards that we'll be using for the next 20 years mature, if it doesn't have DRM in it, it never will in any meaningful sense.

Re:This is absurd. (2, Insightful)

CDarklock (869868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340952)

The digital broadcasts currently being made are just a duplication of the analog broadcasts. The difference between the two is zero. No additional content is provided.

Re:This is absurd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341170)

What's the additional content of a DVD over a VHS? Fuck. All. (if you say "extras" like trailers and adverts, you can eat shit and die). This is quite apart from the fact that digital TV in the UK *DOES* have additional content.

Basically, your entire post was one long streak of wank juice. The "content providers" want DRM because it controls legal distribution... not because it stops illegal distribution (because it won't).

In summary, you are an idiot. Thank you and goodnight.

Re:This is absurd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341800)

(and the ubiquitously-ignored FBI warning)

It's not ignored - I'm sure to include it on every DVD I copy. I want people to know I'm acting out of malice, not ignorance. :)

Re:This is absurd. (2, Interesting)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340850)

We can't force them to make the right choice NOW, because they won't make it. They'll provide zero content.

Totally fine with me. I'll give them zero money and find other forms of entertainment, like going to a local theater. This is capitalism, why should I beg anyone to sell me stuff that intentionally self-destructs?

Media conglomerate thinking is absurd. (4, Insightful)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341048)

That's the false dilemma. Everyone seems to think the choice is protected content or unprotected content, but it's not - it's protected content or NO content. Fighting the protected content is not going to get you what you want. You have to let the providers make their stupid DRM plans and try them, so they'll see for themselves that it's stupid.
For me, it's unprotected content or NO content. My media purchases are now less than ten percent of what they were a decade ago, specifically for this reason. (Yeah, I'm still 10% a hypocrite.) Copyright is being used to wreak a lot of havoc, and I'm not going to pay those who are doing it.

Re:Media conglomerate thinking is absurd. (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341412)

I didn't buy ANY DVD's until there was a way to crack it. I knew all along that I wanted to have a media server PC that could store and manage my videos like I could with music. Along those lines, I won't buy any HD-DVD technology until there is a viable way for me to crack it (and HDCP.) The higher resolution, while nice, is not worth the restrictions. I will not buy a "license to watch on authorized devices only under our restrictive terms / technology with no viable backup options or media conversion capability." The Vista DRM / limitations on HD content are unacceptable to me, and I won't utilize any OS that restricts my ability to enjoy my collection of purchased entertainment in any way I see fit.

Some people don't care about all this, and that's fine too. They are free to waste their money in any way they want.

If only... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341834)

I sort of wish a consumer interests group would make like the Mozilla guys and place a big, preferably whole-page, ad in a major newspaper to debunk this stuff once and for all. Pointing out to consumers, in clear and simple langauge, the real limitations the coming generation of DRM technology will impose on their everyday activities, and pointing out to business leaders the immense risks incurred by basing your IT infrastructure on systems that another business can turn off on a whim, should be enough to sink Vista before it even gets off the ground.

Hell, if Apple had any sense, they'd see the huge market opportunity here: get into bed with the big name sound and video manufacturers, and then undercut Vista with an indisputable ad run about how Vista deliberately degrades your content but on MacOS it looks so much sharper, and so on. Make a selling point of not having DRM, backed by listing "fair uses" in law that Microsoft is deliberately undermining. Get a couple of soundbites from the CEOs of nVidia and AMD/ATI about how they want to support the best possible products for users, and today that means non-Microsoft. What are Microsoft going to do, revoke every nVidia and ATI driver as being unauthorised? Gimme a break.

Seriously, the content providers have to have channels, and Microsoft has to have the big hardware vendors universally behind it for this to work. If the public turns around and tells them to screw themselves on degraded quality, they aren't going to stop supplying stuff, they're just going to stop supplying degraded quality stuff no-one will pay for. It's not in anyone's interests for Microsoft to control the dominant PC-based media distribution channel alone, and if someone starts standing up and saying (quite truthfully, I suspect) that all this heavyweight copy-protection is counter-productive and they can help content suppliers to make more money by not screwing the users, well... As my father once told me, it's hard to beat an honest man in an argument.

Re:This is absurd. (2, Insightful)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341118)

I'd rather have my freedom than their content.

Plus do we really need more than normal CD or TV quality? A choice between that and freedom versus high-def and no freedom is easy.

As for new content, if the content providers stop producing, so what, we've got enough content now. And if they stop producing, they stop profiting and go bankrupt so they won't do that.

This is absurd-Tests. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341342)

"I'd rather have my freedom than their content."

Apparently the people at piratebay want content AND freedom. It would be interesting to see what tune they'd play if they had no content and lots of freedom, or no freedom and DRMed content. Shame that "test" will never come about. The results would rate an insightful, even here.

Re:This is absurd. (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341178)

If we just let providers choose, they will eventually make the right choice. We can't force them to make the right choice NOW, because they won't make it. They'll provide zero content.
I know places where I can legally buy non-DRM music [emusic.com] and books [fictionwise.com] . (A magazine [baens-universe.com] should also be mentioned.) I don't know one for movies at the moment, unless you count YouTube and other completely indepent films distributed online. (Of which there are a few, some of very high quality.)

The big cartels provide zero content. But there is a fair amount of content avalible with no DRM. It just doesn't have the big names behind it.

Re:This is absurd. (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341250)

"Historically, unprotected content outperforms protected content; because you spend nothing trying to stop people from stealing it, you recover more revenue than you were losing to theft anyway."

I don't necessarily agree with this.
"Historically", people didn't have the ability to "share" (i.e. make copies of) material with millions of strangers nearly instantaneously. That's quite different from the old days where someone would buy an album and make a handful of cassettes for his friends/family.

And I also recall that in the 80's, piracy essentially killed off the Atari ST. Atari ST software had the highest piracy rate in history at the time, and it killed the industry as devs simply stopped making software for the platform (and Atari ST had a major presense in Europe before piracy choked it off).

Rampant, easy piracy also helped kill the Dreamcast. You didn't need modchips, software hacks, and/or firmware flashes to pirate Dreamcast games. If Sega had spent just a small amount on protection such that you couldn't pirate out of the box (the protection doesn't have to be fullproof, just enough to present a barrier to would-be casual pirates), they and the game developers would have been much better off. The money saved by having zero protection did NOT recoup the losses due to the resultant rampant piracy, as your theory would suggest.

I agree that DRM sucks. But so does rampant piracy. Too many around here condemn DRM while giving piracy a pass. Piracy is the true root of the problem, not the efforts to curtail it.

I agree with the gist of the rest of your point; the article is FUD. Vista has protected media data paths, but publishers don't have to use them. They can release non-DRM'ed content and Vista will play them just fine.

Also, DRM support is *required* to play protected HD-DVDs and BluRay discs. So Mac OS X Leopard will have protected data path DRM support as well (Apple is a member of BDA (BluRay Disc Association)), so this is not a Vista-specific thing anyway.

Re:This is absurd. (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341630)

I see all this crap about how it's going to make things more expensive and lower quality. And that's true - SOME things will be more expensive and lower quality... What will be lower quality and more expensive is the DRM-protected content.

Did you even bother to Read The Fine Article?

Apparently not.

-

Wombats (1)

fittekuk (1033554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340112)

One can only pray that a swarm of wombats come together and destroys all the copies of Visa that have been produced.

very interesting analysis .. (1, Insightful)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340152)

Very interesting analysis. I thought Vista was supposed to make money. According to this Vista is going to bring 100,000 new jobs [informationweek.com] to the US.

Re:very interesting analysis .. (1)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340916)

According to this Vista is going to bring 100,000 new jobs to the US.

The question here is, of course, which one of these will be true:

1) Vista will unlock new potential markets for companies, allowing them to hire new programmers to add features to existing products or create new ones.

2) Vista will increase the barrier of entry for programs, meaning 100,000 new jobs will be created just to be able to support it, even in the absence of new features.

As someone who every so often has to see Windows when he visits home to fix things, I hope for the former. That would imply that Vista was done nicely, and I don't have to bend-over-backwards fixing my family's computers.

Meanwhile, I'll continue on with my Mac laptop, Linux servers, and continue to live without Windows. I don't think I'm missing much.

Re:very interesting analysis .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341490)

The number of new jobs created is a terrible way to boast about a product.

Consider that there was only one car that needed to be tuned up by a mechanic every month. It'd be good, for mechanics. But all the other industries that rely on motor vehicles to transport goods would be negatively impacted (as well as the end consumer).

Re:very interesting analysis .. (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341610)

Yes. I hear Best Buy's Geek Squad is hiring to deal with the influx of confused and angry customer.

Counterpoint (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340158)

The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history.

If hysterical stuff like this is the best the anti-Microsoft forces can come up with (and this guy isn't the first one, just the latest in a long line of hysterical essays), it's pretty clear that Microsoft ain't that bad as a company, despite what some people want to believe. Maybe, just maybe, if you have to resort to that kind of rhetoric, maybe your position isn't that strong?

Disclaimer: I don't hate Microsoft. I am, however, frequently annoyed by their mediocrity, and unbelievably frustrated that someone doesn't have the balls to start a company dedicated to making an absolutely, positively 100%-compatible Windows clone based on a Unix-like operating system.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340250)

I don't think it is legally possible to make a 100% windows clone....nevermind that those with the skills to do it would not want to.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340366)

I don't think it is legally possible to make a 100% windows clone....nevermind that those with the skills to do it would not want to.

Of course it is. Lest you forget, that's exactly what the Wine project [winehq.com] is, not to mention "mini clones" like the (name escapes me) product that allows MS Office to run on Linux. I'm just frustrated that no one throws a ton of money at the idea and does it "for real". Like it or not, Windows is the defacto industry standard desktop-application API.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341172)

Microsoft doesn't feel threatened by Wine since it doesn't run, or runs poorly, many must-have Windows programs.

One can't use Wine as a substitute for Windows. If you needed Windows, you still need Windows and Microsoft still gets paid.

I think you nailed it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340892)

And what I think it comes down to particularly with Vista is that people are worried that is actually is going to turn out to be a really good OS. I haven't used it all that extensively but I have been doing application compatibility testing on it at work and so far it looks good. Revolutionary? No, but a worthwhile improvement. That seems to have a lot of people running scared.

Re:I think you nailed it (2, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341060)

I dont think anyone is really afraid of that. All evidence suggests its just w2k/XP all again. Those wore also supposed to be the holy grail of computing but showed to be just minor improvements in some areas and degradation in others. I love DRM because it will drive people towards free systems. Afraid isnt the right word, rather a smug smile. The FSF etc should just ignore DRM and let Windows Vista users smack into the wall in a couple of years time. In the meen time extensive work should be done in improving OSS instead. Why spend any time trying to educate Windows users about DRM? They will find out soon enough, just tell them Linux is without theese restrictions instead.

Re:I think you nailed it (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341554)

And just how will Vista's DRM "drive people towards free systems", by which you mean Linux? Vista's DRM support is required to play protected HD-DVDs and BR discs, but Linux won't be able to play those discs at all. As for non-DRMed content, Vista will play those just as well as any other system. So what advantage does Linux bring to the table regarding DRM? The inability to play DRMed content? *That's* going to "drive people to free systems"? Your theory makes no sense at all.

Re:I think you nailed it (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341780)

Vista's DRM support is required to play protected HD-DVDs and BR discs, but Linux won't be able to play those discs at all.

1) What makes you think very many people will even care about this? What is the current uptake of BR and HD-DVD? Not very good, from what I can see. This is because of two problems: a) No one wants to buy into a system that may very well be the next Betamax. As long as both standards exist and are incompatible with each other, both will fail. b) HD-DVD and BR don't offer anything significant over regular DVD. Most people don't feel the resolution of standard DVD is lacking, and aren't interested in paying a premium for a higher-resolution format.

2) What makes you think hackers won't be able to break the content protection in these systems and allow playback (without any restrictions) on Linux, just like DVD Jon did with regular DVD? It won't be immediate, but it probably will happen eventually. Maybe around the time people start caring about these higher-resolution formats. When this happens, it will drive people to free systems.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340912)

Disclaimer: I don't hate Microsoft. I am, however, frequently annoyed by their mediocrity, and unbelievably frustrated that someone doesn't have the balls to start a company dedicated to making an absolutely, positively 100%-compatible Windows clone based on a Unix-like operating system.

The problem is that to such a company would have to actually work on the Hard Bits; configuration, installation, maintenance, application and service interoperability...

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341088)

The problem is that to such a company would have to actually work on the Hard Bits; configuration, installation, maintenance, application and service interoperability...

Hence the need for balls and a deep wallet. It's incredible that VCs can throw around hundreds of millions of dollars on WebVan, but can't fund a company to take on Microsoft directly. The upside potential is monstrously huge, and Microsoft is incredibly vulnerable. What keeps Microsoft in business is their application base. How many copies could this Company X sell with a tagline, "Absolutely, positively, 100% compatible -- only better. Give up nothing, except mediocrity."

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341384)

Nobody is going to invest in such an effort because as soon as the results show promise of making significant money or threatening Microsoft's market share, Microsoft will hit them with a broadside of patent lawsuits. Microsoft undoubtedly has thousands of patents covering modern versions of the Windows APIs. Just the relatively obsolete VFAT patent alone, which they've already enforced, would sink the "100% compatibility" goal.

Microsoft doesn't currently bother with Wine because it is a financially insignificant product, and going after it right now would generate too much ill will to make the effort worthwhile. That balance would change in an instant if someone actually started making money on a viable Windows clone.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341532)

Microsoft will hit them with a broadside of patent lawsuits.

Possibly true, and the effort will certainly need a war chest for the lawyers. However, Microsoft is vulnerable. If there's no way to get around a patent, they'll HAVE to license their patents in reasonable terms, or they'll be hit with an easy to prove antitrust suit. It's pretty clearly in the interests of the consumer to allow a competitor in the market.

I'm not saying it would be easy, but clearly that's what the world needs.

Re:Counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341774)

Of course, that sort of overlooks the possibility that providing the level of app compatibility that MS provides while delivering a stable, performant OS might not be as non-trivial as everybody in here seems to think. What makes you think that a start-up could do a better job than MS?

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341320)

First off, if it was a Windows clone they'd be sued out of existence for copyright and patent infringement.
2nd, Try taking a black box that you put water in one side and gold comes out the other and replicating it. The problem being that you can't open the box, and try as you might, you can't make out all of the inner workings by looking through the holes on the box. To make matters worse, 2 gnomes live inside and change how the machine works periodically.

Go ahead, please make that 100%-compatible black box clone based on a Unix-like operating system.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341586)

Try taking a black box that you put water in one side and gold comes out the other and replicating it.

It's not a black box. It's a very transparent box, with a small corner that's black. So what if certain Microsoft apps might not run at first? I'm perfectly fine with starting with an operating system that was compatible with every third party app, and only certain Microsoft apps. The biggie is reproducing the driver model so that all third party hardware works.

Re:Counterpoint (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341460)

I am, however, frequently annoyed by their mediocrity, and unbelievably frustrated that someone doesn't have the balls to start a company dedicated to making an absolutely, positively 100%-compatible Windows clone based on a Unix-like operating system.

Technically if you own an Intel Mac you can get Windows compatibility with Unix-like operating system with OS running Parallels.

Get your Microsoft Eyeballs now folks (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340238)

Because pretty soon, you won't be able to watch any premium content without them.

So? (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340294)

Since when do "for profit" software companies care about cost to the consumer unless they can use it to sell more copies? Since MS is already going to sell billions of copies of Vista, what difference does it make to them?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341538)

How does something that has not been modded get modded over rated. Sounds like a moderator cop out to me!

well duh (3, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340304)

The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history
Hmmm, let's run through that cost analysis again. It took a lot longer to develop Vista and now nobody's going to buy it because of the restrictions. *gets outs his calculator* yup, that leaves em pretty far in the red. But thank God they don't have to worry about losing money from pirates for at least a few weeks until people find ways around everything.

Higher Requirements for New Media (0, Troll)

SupermanX (1042838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340428)

The article makes the claim that there are higher requirements for new media. They then state that if we do not meet these requirements, that we are stuck with low quality content... Why is this a problem? To play blue ray you have to have a blue ray player. To play DRM protected media you have to have authorized drivers. Yes DRM sucks, but who honestly thinks that it is unreasonable to require new hardware and new drivers for new technology. Don't have a HD card? cant play HD movies. Vista isn't the evil (or even bad choice) here. The problem is that the newest (and supposedly best) media is coming with DRM requirements. If Vista doesn't support those requirements, then it cant access the media. Giving it the ability to meet a specification isn't bad... it is good. You may not like the specification, but you have the option to use it or not. If Vista didn't support it, you wouldn't have that option at all. So, again, where is the problem here?

Re:Higher Requirements for New Media (5, Informative)

caldaan (583572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340608)

I think the point was more on the lines of, if you want to play blu-ray discs all you need to do is buy a blu-ray player.

But in reality that $2000 LCD monitor you have isn't going to help because it can't tell the video card that its a protected device, well you need to go buy a new monitor.

Wait that $500 video card can't detect trusted monitors, better go buy a new card that can.

Oh yeah, and that all digital surround sound system, well it isn't going to work at all so you need to go buy an analog one.

Re:Higher Requirements for New Media (2, Insightful)

SupermanX (1042838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340672)

Your statements are correct... but you have also failed to mention that if you dont have Vista... NONE of this is an option. The requirements are NOT set by the OS. They are set by the makers of the Blu-Ray disk. Sure if you can get a non-DRM blue ray disc, then none of this matters. However, the fact that Vista ALLOWS you to make this choice (good or bad) is a BENEFIT.

Re:Higher Requirements for New Media (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341434)

Everyone understands they need new hardware for new technologies. The whole argument is that once you purchase that hardware, you can't use it the way you want because you don't own it. It's usability is determined by:

Having secure drivers (Try updating drivers on a machine with no internet connectivity)
Having hardware that purposefully degrades quality when played in an insecure fashion.

The secureness of one of those items is not determined by security professionals, it is determined by content providers. Their decisions will be based on how much money they think they can make from you.

Re:Higher Requirements for New Media (1)

SupermanX (1042838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341734)

Vista has nothing to do with whether you can use the hardware as you like. The requirement is set on the MEDIA not the OS. So Vista only allows you to use your hardware... the limitations are on the media, which is NOT the focus of this article.

Re:Higher Requirements for New Media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17341650)

Why was this marked as a Troll? I thought he made some good points.

I'm sure it does not matter (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340470)

Every touted improvement in Vista exists to make Microsoft's life and the life of their media and hardware partners better and more enriched. It is not, I repeat, not for your benefit or enjoyment. Recently MS stated this would be last 'turn of the crank' for an OS like this. I agree. This is because the only logical step next would be to lease you the OS and the hardware, only, and bar you from doing anything on your own with it. Since that's not bound to fly, yet (let's see how they react to Google) then the alternative is to lock you into their content, at least.

Re:I'm sure it does not matter (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340746)

Every touted improvement in Vista exists to make Microsoft's life and the life of their media and hardware partners better and more enriched ... not for your benefit or enjoyment

The idea that no new features in Vista are there to make the end-user's life easier is trivially false. It is wrong. Look at The wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] - Speech recognition, Mail, Search, Calendar, Backup and Restore etc. etc. all seem to have nothing to do with DRM and everything to do with benefiting users (or selling more copies of vista, if you want to see it that way).

Problems are problems and bad ideas are bad ideas, but trying to relate everything to a particular problem is the hallmark of mental illness.

Re:I'm sure it does not matter (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341514)

I have all of those features today. There is zero need to reinvent the wheel. It used to be that MS would scour the marketplace to find companies that had interesting features to add to Windows then they would buy the company. Now MS simply reinvents what's already there, usually no better than anyone else and calls it new and improved. It's just lock in, because as I said, I already have all those features today. Buying a new PC with a new OS to give what I already have in fact is trivial. And in reality, we will all find that instead of simply bolting on applications, all these replicated features embedded in the OS will get in the way of themselves and create what we all understand is more fragile, inflexible system, not less.

Re:I'm sure it does not matter (1)

kyliaar (192847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340880)

If this is true (which I don't believe it really is) than none of us much to worry. No organization that feels it no longer has to provide what its consumer wants but decides it can enforce upon its usership what it dictates is not long for this world.

Even governments crumble when they forget this. If you want to argue this, point out a government that is still extant and has been so for more than a couple of hundred years and is still around. If you want to complain about Bush and our government, I would agree and say you have some valid points but this only really started being the case in the last century, starting in the 20s or so and has been getting progressively worse. Unless things are improved in our government soon, it too unfortunately will bite the dust.

Re:I'm sure it does not matter (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341570)

An interesting political polemic, but patently false as far as the real world of consumer products is concerned. Otherwise we in the US would have GOOD cell phone service and GOOD cell phones, not OLD CRAPPY services and products on par with Japan or Europe circa 1995. Otherwise we would in the US have a medical delivery system that didn't cost 20% of the GDP and manage to kill 250,000 people a year through accidents and mistakes. See all the Libertarians in the world always miss the fact that it is not they who are in charge, it's the companies they worship.

Yes, I read TFA (3, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340624)

I think what Microsoft is doing right now is analogous to the old practice of offering a product at a higher cost initially just so you can then negotiate down to the price you really want.

You might claim it is apples and oranges. I think it's not. They design the product with more restrictive DRM knowing the consumer will not want ANY DRM. Then they 'listen' to the consumer by removing some, but not all of it. Thus arriving at a middle ground, but really closer to their originally planned position. This serves to possibly give them what they want while simultaneously making them look good in the eyes of the consumer.

Of course, most intelligent consumers decry ... well why finish the sentence. "Most intelligent consumers" probably accounts for a very small percentage of the total consumer base.

TLF

Re:Yes, I read TFA (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341494)

That might make sense if Microsoft was the one pulling the strings for the inclusion of DRM in Windows.
Microsoft is just stuck between a rock and a hard place with content providers, or more specifically the RIAA and MPAA.

Does anyone still use windows? (-1, Troll)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340626)

I am being serious. I don't know anyone who hasn't switched to either linux or to using a mac.

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

feld (980784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340756)

I wish I was lucky as you. Seems like everyone I know that has a computer, but isn't technically savvy in any way, has Windows. Oh wait, that's how that works......

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340832)

Yes the big argument for staying with windows is having a system you can either produce documents or code for that works with "everybody else's" computer. I guess it's easier if your lab or company is very small.

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341006)

"I am being serious."

No, you're not.

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341064)

I have 8 co-workers and not one of them uses windows. It just isn't relevant. Why would you think that I'm not being serious?

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341506)

I say that because a sample size of 8 is not representative of computer users as a whole. ~90% of computers worldwide (and in the US) run Windows. So for you to ask whether anyone still uses Windows (especially based on your sample size of 8) is unserious.

Windows is not relevant for you. For which I congratulate you. I have used Mac's at home since OS 8 and I now work with mostly Mac's at my job. But we certainly have lots of Windows machines. In all of my previous jobs it was pretty much all Windows. It is still the standard OS for most businesses and consumers. So, I apologize for being a bit flip in my first response. But I can assure you, people still use Windows.

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341844)

The funny thing is that I really wanted to use windows. Their development tools are good but I cannot use them because they just don't support the languages we use which are fortran, perl and shell scripting.

Re:Does anyone still use windows? (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341148)

oh, my mom uses windows. I guess she's in the target slashdot audience.

Peter Gutmann (4, Informative)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340742)

In case anyone doesn't already know him by reputation, Peter Gutmann [wikipedia.org] isn't just some random blogger with a grudge against Microsoft.

Yes, he tends to be a bit outspoken at times. He's also a veteran contributor to the security field and tends to know exactly what he's talking about. So before dismissing what he has to say, you owe it to yourself to check his reasoning.

Sharks circling (3, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340748)

In the article, he a section on the potential hazard of Vista disabling video resolution in medical imaging applications. Leaving aside any issues of playing CD's in a work computer, I can see one outcome of this. The first time a blown diagnosis can be blamed on this, the malpractice lawyers will be heading after Microsoft. It's something they've got to be salivating over: The ultimate deep pockets! (cue theme from Jaws)

Should have created a new hardware product class (2, Insightful)

hirschma (187820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340754)

Simply put, MS could have made their life a LOT easier if they had put in support for a new product class - the Media Accelerator.

Imagine a card that had a couple of SATA interfaces, a video pass through input, and an audio pass through input. The card would have its own OS/firmware, and it'd be easy to control from an external software API.

Unprotected input would flow into it, but only it could generate video/audio for protected media. It'd automatically substitute its own video/audio for protected stuff.

This way, if you didn't care about "protected media", your computer and OS wouldn't be encumbered. If you did, you'd pop a couple of hundred for the Media Accelerator, and go from there.

Of course, this would have benefited the rest of the non-MS industry, too. Guess it is a bad idea.

jh

More like Lock-Out than like Lock-In (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340792)

So, from what this and other articles say MS Vista is designed to
  • Lock out pirates
  • Lock out competition
  • Lock out any improved features unless 'comsumers' pay more for added feature levels or extra/compliant hardware (beyond buying the OS already)
  • Lock out hardware and software vendors that don't play ball (read as: pay $$, do what MS says)
  • Lock out adaptability (virtulization = bad)
  • Lock in purchasers

Yep I think I think this is a true Microsoft "innivation", nothing has been as so well enginiered for user experience and consumer acceptrance since the u-buy it then pay to watch it DVD and the self-destruct DVd.

High Costs != bad (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340814)

High Cost without correspondingly high benefit = bad.

Lets take a feature that has a high cost but high benefit: networking.

Imagine a standalone Vista computer, maybe a non-networked game, a standalone information kiosk, or a standalone home workstation that doesn't have LAN or Internet access. Assume nobody ever sticks in an infected CD or other piece of media.

You can strip out:
network stack
firewall and other "essential" network-safe software
network-only applications

If all users are trusted, you can strip out the concept of users altogether and have everyone run as a default user with full administrative rights.

The resulting system would be much smaller in memory and somewhat smaller on disk. It would also be easier to manage, as the only real management would be application addition and removal, data backups, and some customization and personalization.

Does this sound like Windows 3.1 without networking installed? I think that worked nicely on an 80486 machine with 2MB RAM and tens of MB of disk space. A vista equivalent running the eye candy and a cool FPS game would probably need 1-2GHz (0.5-1.0 without the game), a good video card, 256MB RAM + however much RAM the game needed, and 0.5-1.0GB of disk space + space for the game.

I must be cornfused. (1)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340870)

If we're not ever allowed to view the high quality media in it's full glory because all outputs have to be degraded or disabled, what's the point of distributing high quality media in the first place?

I just don't get it.

Re:I must be cornfused. (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341574)

If we're not ever allowed to view the high quality media in it's full glory because all outputs have to be degraded or disabled, what's the point of distributing high quality media in the first place?

The entertainment industry does want you to have high quality media, but here's the catch. They really want you to watch it only on a television through a standalone player because they can build copy protection into those players. They know that the old rule is "If a PC can play it, it can be copied", so they want to marginalize PC playback to make this an impractical alternative to buying a standalone player and watching it on a TV. Mickeysoft could be a little less enthusiastic about gleefully giving us a worse user experience with high def playback, but it's all about the money. They believe there is more money to be made by screwing over the customer than by standing up for the customer.

Re:I must be cornfused. (2, Informative)

BillX (307153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341790)

The content has to be degraded UNLESS the rendering device (e.g. your HD projector) correctly answers an HDCP cryptographic challenge and agrees to play by the system/content's rules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Bandwidth_Digita l_Content_Protection [wikipedia.org]

One of the onerous 'features' I'm surprised the author just barely touches on is the Revocation List. Say you buy yourself that top-shelf Samshiba (fictional electronics company) HD plasma screen. Later, a disgruntled employee leaks Samshiba's master keys, or a weakness is found in their chipset's HDCP implementation. Samshiba is now added to the certificate revocation list. Any disc manufactured includes the most recent CRL, so playing any disc released after that date will permanently brick your display according to the standard (or at least cripple it to low-def, even if you then pop in an older movie that "used to work fine before"). Since the additions to the CRL have now permanently propagated to your player (also according to the standard), it will also brick any other Samshiba display you attach to it (no matter if you're playing an old movie).

Wrong. (2, Insightful)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17340890)

Content protection in Vista will not hurt Microsoft or their sales. Two reasons for this. Consumers are not educated enough to understand digital restrictions management. They will interpret it as “just how it works” and deal with it one way or another. Claiming these impedences to copying will damage Vista is similar to claiming that content scrambling of movies will damage the DVD market. The second reason comes from established expectations. People appear used to dealing with technology not working how they want it to or think it should. Crashing computers and malware are just part of life. Pretty soon, the inability to copy files will become subject to the same perception. That is, not being able to copy media will be seen as a technical limitation or just another failing on the part of the industry. People will buy it all the same because the water is being brough to a boil slowly and we all seem to have such ridiculously short-term memories.

Re:Wrong. (2, Insightful)

kyliaar (192847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341424)

I can see your first argument.

What personal experiences do you have that lead you to your second?

Consumers have expectations when they buy technology. When these expectations are not met, they usually are more than passive about dealing with the fact that what they spent their hard earned money doesn't do what they thought it should.

This is especially true when it comes to new things. If they run into some vague technical challenge where they can not use some function or another, it will either be brought up to be resolved or not, depending on how much the consumer REALLY needs it and how much that feature is of the total use of the item. Cost of the item will also play a factor.

If you have ever worked in a tech support or IT department, you will know that consumers do have a demand that things work properly. It is true that computers are still at a level of complexity that no un-technical user will find himself totally free of plaguing issues or things they wish they knew how to do better. Most technical users could find things about their own computer that they would change at any given time but are deemed small enough to be relegated to the back burner.

Consumers also listen to each other about their experiences with products. They also pay attention to reviews written for consumers. A product's reputation for quality, reliability and performance are all key factors that users weigh when consuming, especially something that has the price tag of a new computer.

Whether or not DRM plays a big role in Vista's performance as a product remains to be seen.

You make it almost sound like technical consumers are blind moles digging in the dirt for tubers and will eat any one they come across with no throught to any digestive problems that may result from this. This just simply is not the case.

Mancur Olson again (4, Interesting)

Budenny (888916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341640)

A classic, absolutely classic instance of the thesis which Olson demonstrated in lots of case studies.

All special interest groups will find it in their interests to impose on society costs hundreds, thousands, millions of times greater than the benefits they receive.

In the present case, Big Content, to protect its rents, is imposing measures which will end up costing the US and the West enormously more than any benefits to Big Content.

But they don't care, of course, because even if we are all worse off, they are a little better off.

And so, you discover if you examine economic history, that revolutionary convulsions every 50 years or so benefit economic performance, by abolishing encrusted priveliges of various groups. And this is why 19c France in constant turmoil outgrew 19c stable Britain. And why the post civil war South did so well in the 20c... And why Germany grew so fast in the fifties.

And why the US is falling into paralysis today....

Dont need rocket science to guess that its so (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17341770)

Think - up to this date os'es were mainly the basic framework to run programs on them. Even in that state, phletora of exploits, hacks, a million ways to hamper or exploit usage of a computer have surfaced in the last 15 years.

Now they are putting strong elements integral to os that are able to block, modify, permit or limit usage of some elements of os, software, 3rd party software, and even hardware. They are this way decreasing the workload of hackers/exploiters - now they just need to find a way to exploit the mechanism already present there.

Its no guessing that this will make using computers with vista both a pain in the ass, but also a security risk.
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