Windows Vista DRM: Or, how to knobble the computer.

[Non-technical readers should read this as it will affect *YOU*. Skim over the technical details in the referenced article, it’s the conclusions and analysis which matter.]

Dispite finding this analysis of Microsoft’s new Vista operating system’s DRM via Slashdot I think it’s a very important read.

Of course, on /. there were many people saying that because it’s critical of Microsoft it’s obviously false and others who haven’t read the article to spout off with the opposite.

Anyway, the gist of the analysis is that basically Vista will hobble your computer with overhead due to internal system encryption, cause hardware to cost more, make writing hardware drivers mostly impossible and generally make your expensive hardware slow down. Then, if you play a protected MP3 file or play a HD-DVD or BlueRay disk lots of your hardware will either be turned off or the quality of the output artificially reduced. Oh, and if Microsoft or the film studios don’t like any of your hardware, drivers or hardware manufactuer, they can disable parts of your computer until you upgrade… unless the anti-piracy checks decide that your computer has changed too much and you have to re-register it.

This seems like Microsoft not shooting itself in the foot, more shooting itself in the head where business sales are concerned.. unless they can keep it quiet enough so that middle management don’t notice until it’s too late. Of course, for many large companies Microsoft have had enough problems persuading them to upgrade to Windows XP with many only just going through the transition. Windows Vista just isn’t on their radar yet.

Oh, and as pointed out in the article, Linux/UNIX/MacOS users aren’t going to get away from the pain due to the restrictions imposed by Microsoft on the hardware manufacturers. Forget manufacturers open sourcing or giving away techical specs for their new Windows Vista capable hardware. It’s quite possible that they won’t even give this information to the likes of Apple or Sun and will have to manufacture non-Windows versions of their hardware for them, as exorbitant prices, if they even bother.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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