Vista: The OS That Does Less, Costs More, And Can't Protect Squat

from the pay-more-get-less dept

Security holes aren’t the only problems facing Windows Vista — security researcher Peter Gutmann has penned an article (via Against Monopoly) analyzing how Microsoft has decided to integrate a number of cumbersome DRM solutions which collectively degrade the performance and capability of the new OS. According to Gutmann, the Vista Content Protection specification could “very well constitute the longest suicide note in history” — just to integrate a technology Bill Gates himself admits is rife with dysfunction. To lock down HD content, Vista limits the number of connectivity options for customers, in some cases actually degrading image quality — incurring additional licensing costs that drives up the price of the OS for consumers. Gutmann suggests these decisions will have some collateral damage as well; the hoops hardware vendors now need to navigate could mean a rise in graphics card cost with a subsequent decrease in performance. The only reason Microsoft would risk so badly annoying consumers and hardware vendors is if they’re harboring dreams of locking down the distribution channel a la iTunes in order to corner the market on home distribution of high-definition content. Of course if history is any guide, the DRM efforts will ultimately fail anyway, meaning the extra effort simply contributes to a more expensive, less efficient and less useful operating system for the user.

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Comments on “Vista: The OS That Does Less, Costs More, And Can't Protect Squat”

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Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Re: Re:


“your either windows or your not”
I’m not windows. I’m a person.

“no one gives a shit anyway”
BZZZT! Wrong! I give a shit, and I’m not “nobody”.

From where I’m standing (and I admit, I could be wrong) it appears that Windows XP is the epitome of Microsoft Windows design (sad, isn’t it?) and that it’s all downhill from here. On the other hand, Microsoft just might pull it’s head out of it’s . . . sand and give people a functional OS instead of the crippled P.O.S. that Vista has turned into.

/opinionated rant

Mr.Obvious says:

Vista sucks

All we heard for over a year was how awesome Vista was gonna be and how many new and exciting and more secure things would be available.I have run Vista RTM 64 and I will admit it is faster than XP but to me it falls way short on the hype.I am gonna just keep XP on one partition and Linux on the other.Because Vista is worthless to me.

bob says:


The title has absolutely nothing to do with the article. First of all, what does the article have to do with “protecting squat?” It talks about DRM, not about security holes or the cost. What does the term “does less” mean? Your article mentions absolutely nothing about that. Tell me one thing that Vista can’t do that XP can? No? hmmm…

Oh, and cutting down connectivity options is in no way shape or form related to image quality, I don’t know where you heard that but double check your sources (what sources?).

And how the heck do you relate the price of an OS to a rise in price of video cards? Anything MS will do to control the distribution of HD content will be acheived through software.

Your conclusion makes no sense. Vista is capable of doing more things than playing DRM protected music, so claiming that if DRM fails Vista will also is completely void.

People will not upgrade to Vista simply to play music, when did that idea get put into your head?

Lern 2 journalizm.

Just another dumbf*ck says:

Re: wow

Hey, why don’t you try checking something every once in a while? Ever click on links? no? hmm….

Oh, and reading articles not linked to from the site can help with some stuff too. I don’t know where you got the idea that you know everything right off the bat.

And how the heck do become so stupid as to not realize the relation from software to hardware? I don’t know where you heard that but double check your thought processes. (What thoughts?)

Your conclusion makes no since. You are not capable of doing anything more than being a dumbass. Try clicking something next time. If you’re lucky, it’ll destroy your computer.

Any how did you get the idea he got the idea poeple will upgrade to Vista simply to play music?

lern 2 commint.

Cyryl says:

Re: I'll give you TWO you idiot

1.) Run HALF of the software library I have in a STABLE manner.

2.) Install current-day hardware WITHOUT issues.

Wait… There is a THIRD thing that Vista CAN NOT FUCKING DO that WinXP CAN.

Operate without annoying the LIVING SHIT out of me with security messages every time I go to wipe my fucking ass. (How about those PRIVILEGES, eh? FUCK YOU.)


And ANY of you people out there who claim to know so much as how to turn the fucking machine on…KNOW IT.

That article was more than relevant. If you were READING it AND paying attention (yes…AT THE SAME TIME…) then you would have seen that all of these things lead to other things which LEADS TO AN OVERALL, USELESS OPERATING SYSTEM that NO ONE IS GOING TO WANT TO USE.

DRM does take up a significant amount of memory for instance. I mean SERIOUSLY… Windows Media Player doesn’t chew up ENOUGH system resources as it is!?!? NOW they have to add even MORE DRM bullshit?

WTF is wrong with you?

Pay attention to the article before running your fucking mouth.

MAN I’m sick of morons.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re: I'll give you TWO you idiot

Mr, Cyryl:

Your comment should have said “Drawing on my mastery of the english language, I’ll say nothing.”

I think, perhaps, you feel too strongly about your OS, whichever you choose to run. I don’t care what you run, you shouldn’t care what I run. Certainly not to the fact that we recieve the gem you dropped in our laps above. You’d think if I buy Vista the terrorists win or I’ll break my mother’s back.

Calling people names, especially if it’s ‘noob’, makes you seem around the age of 7. If you have an opinion and you want people to take your seriously, try real words, using proper capitalization, and respect. Also, your potty-mouth, young sir, is not required. Also, I’d suggest you avoid using tons of punctuation, adding ?’s and !’s doesn’t make me read it harder (nor does typing in caps, so ya know).

All in all, I think you need to breathe a bit deeper, as the extra oxygen to the brain will do you plenty of good– both from the calming effect and the increased brain activity.

I, for one, can’t wait to try out Visita– just because I want to see it. I don’t see how this makes me a sheep, since my copy is free, but I’ll be a sheep with a new OS, at least. XP was buggy, at first– they fixed it and for my uses I have no problems. I expect no different from Vista. If I don’t like it, I’ll remove it, I suppose.

Happy New Year, folks.

kweeket says:

Re: wow

1) Degrading image/sound quality.

If you RTFA, it explains how Vista only allows protected content to be sent over interfaces with build-in content protection. Therefore, if you’re using a high-end S/PDIF digital output, or a high-end video setup fed from component video (neither of which currently provide content protection), the instant any premium content appears on your system, Vista will disable those devices.

To quote directly:
So if you’re using an expensive new LCD display fed from a high-
quality DVI signal on your video card and there’s protected content present,
the picture you’re going to see will be, as the spec puts it, “slightly
fuzzy”, a bit like a 10-year-old CRT monitor that you picked up for $2 at a yard sale.”

2) Raising the price of video cards.

The article gives two separate reasons why hardware prices might rise because of Vista. One deals with the fact that video card manufacturers will have to custom-design a card in every price range, instead of using a common base. Right now, a low-cost video card is pretty much just a high-cost card with components omitted. However, under Vista’s content-protection requirements, no unnecessary accessible signal links are allowed on the board. That means each card has to be completely custom-designed. I hope I don’t have to spell out why that will probably raise the price of video cards in every class.

The second reason hardware prices might rise is (as the article says), “Protecting all of this precious premium content requires a lot of additional
technology”, meaning licensing, meaning money.

I don’t want my OS to helpfully disable my sound/video card. I don’t want my OS to tell me that I can’t use a driver because Microsoft revoked its signature (and for older hardware that is no longer being actively maintained, that means hardware=dead). From my perspective Vista has less value than XP.

Peter says:

All of the above

Re esurfco’s shut up. Okay, not the most literate, but I’m sorry to say I get his point. I am battling with the concept of migrating everything to microsoft/windows. Thats dumping the ps2, ipod and all non-MS stuff and getting an xbox360, zune and the like. Now I’m (honestly) no fool, and I know that there are issues, but I honestly believe it will all work better together. I mean, who’s ever put a ford v6 in a vw camper van? Right. Bad example. . But you get my point.

Which is a bit off base for this thread, but like I say, I think I know what he means.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: All of the above

That’s actually a very good point. Most people who use iPods or Macs generally use all apple software/hardware… it just works well together. People who use windows use it for iPods, Zunes, Zen palyers, Sandisk players, anything you can think of. I’m not saying these arn’t used on Macs, but it’s not as common.

Of course Miscrosoft isn’t going to dedicate lots of time/money to support a product that they don’t manufacture (such as the iPod).

Jess says:

Who cares?

wha? It doesn’t matter whether you’re pro or anti microsoft. The thing of the matter is we’ve gone through this dance before. XP when it first came out was considered a pos and not fit to run on any cpu. Now we are going through the same thing with Vista. Given time the security holes will be plugged and new ones will be found. Mac and Linux developers are starting to run into the same issue. As cyber crime becomes more organized it is going to expand into different areas and attacks will be catered to the type of people who use those systems. Nothing is perfect. The fact that linux and mac os are not exploited more often than windows doesn’t mean that the security flaws aren’t there. It just means that they haven’t been found yet. In three years Vista will be the standard. Just like XP is today. Just because it doesn’t run on your cpu today doesn’t mean it won’t run on the ones that are just coming out. So who will care about the fact that it has flaws today? It should be the next three years you’re worried about.

Jackal says:

perfect fall time for windows

Windows Vista, in my opinion is microsoft’s response to Apple/Mac. It is a sad option for businesses, it is hardware-resource dependant and it is difficult for workers to use. I work in technical support, if I have to move to vista I will but I am working my hardest to get any office servers updated to Unix vs. Windows.

In the long run it will be the cheaper and better option.

I think Vista shows lack of creativity on the part of microsoft in the sense that it is poorly written for the business world and (again in my opinion, XP is a far better, and more useful OS in the workplace) I think Vista is the first WINDOWS GAMER’S EDITION. Please don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with die-hard gamers; however, Microsoft probably sells 70%+ of it’s operating systems to companies and small businesses. I continue to lose faith in Microsoft as a company and I also continue to work on new, better and more insightful OSes like Linux, FreeBSD and the like.

I believe the next few years are crucial to microsoft, and unfortunately for them, I believe this is when the open-source market meets microsoft.

My considerations include and FireFox. Not to mention the fact that computers are needing less and less in the way of software and more and more in the way of bandwidth.

I am interested to hear what people think of this issue. I believe it is a tough road ahead for Microsoft, not nessicarily Devestating but definately has the potental to be to our good friend Gates.

Coyote says:

Gutmann's take.

Peter Gutmann’s credentials do check out. He’s a respected crypto guy (and he has some interesting things to say about replacing a standard like SSL with proprietary crap.)

Anyway, even if his rep is solid, his assumptions are not. No one has seen Vista restrict anything yet, because nothing has been implemented. Even the whole CableCARD thing remains to be seen, although it does look to be a real fiasco. The point of having an HTPC is to NOT be a closed system.

Some of his assumptions are just plain WRONG. Why would listening to protected audio cause images to be downrezzed? It wouldn’t. Besides, if those dedicated medical imaging workstations are so critical, no one should be playing their own DRM-protected audio on them. None of them are going to run Vista (or possibly even XP) for a quite a while anyway.

Anonnymous says:

Guys have you read what you have written? Its 2006, not 1906. Your speaking to each other like your arguing about religion, abusing others for views that are not the same as your own. At the end of the day, its each to your own.

Take a breath. Wheter your Pro Mac, M$ or Unix you all have vulnerabilities, pitfalls and strengths.

Happy new Year!

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

Vista is a must

i can pretty much summarize my thoughts rather quickly…

DirectX 10 will be on Vista only.
Well then, that seals the deal, if you want next-gen gaming, it’s Vista or go get a console. Since I’m not a console fan, it’s Vista and next-gen video card (i can wait a generation, got a 7800GTX).

Personally, I could care less about any DRM talk, because as we all know, DRM is useless, there are always ways around any copy-protection, and there is nothing released that cannot be cracked. So I have no worries about DRM, any DRM Microsoft might try to use wouldn’t even be an issue, since no DRM works.

Shaun says:

Re: Vista is a must

Actually I believe that directX 10 will be a big target for the WINE comunity so hopefully it will be up and running by the time that the majority of games are exclusivly directX 10 only. I even read an interview that sujested that the comunity would concider porting their implementation of directX 10 to XP if that’s what was asked for.

Wouldn’t it b funny if to play windows games on a windows platform you had to use something designed to make them run on *nix platforms? I just hope they have it working in time for halo 3 pc edition!

Raptor85 (profile) says:

Re: Vista is a must

“DirectX 10 will be on Vista only.
Well then, that seals the deal, if you want next-gen gaming, it’s Vista or go get a console. Since I’m not a console fan, it’s Vista and next-gen video card (i can wait a generation, got a 7800GTX).”

What about opengl2.0? granted only maybe a 1/3 of the new high end games will support it (as is with opengl 1.5 right now) but generally those are the best ones 🙂 (like ut2k4) Besides, it’s only a matter of time before transgaming gets 10 workin under cedega

Louis says:

bob the MS Troll

wow by bob on Dec 26th, 2006 @ 9:38pm

The title has absolutely nothing to do with the article. First of all, what does the article have to do with “protecting squat?” It talks about DRM, not about security holes or the cost. What does the term “does less” mean? Your article mentions absolutely nothing about that. Tell me one thing that Vista can’t do that XP can? No? hmmm…

Oh, and cutting down connectivity options is in no way shape or form related to image quality, I don’t know where you heard that but double check your sources (what sources?).

And how the heck do you relate the price of an OS to a rise in price of video cards? Anything MS will do to control the distribution of HD content will be acheived through software.

Your conclusion makes no sense. Vista is capable of doing more things than playing DRM protected music, so claiming that if DRM fails Vista will also is completely void.

People will not upgrade to Vista simply to play music, when did that idea get put into your head?

Lern 2 journalizm.

Here, let me help you…

Vista does less:
because of the DRM protection it incorporates at kernel level and

unless you fork out the $600 for the Ultimate version, you won’t be getting more than what is already available in other OS’s (the DX10 functionality). See below.

Vista costs more:
because the only version worth buying is the most expensive version that has the functionality you need so you can use your brandnew DX10 vid card with that DX10 game you so want to play.

Vista can´t protect squat:
because its a piece of shit written by a corporation to suck the cash out of your pockets through your eyeballs. Refer to the linked article in the NY Times in the main article. Symantec also pointed out quite a few security holes during the beta testing phase of Vista.

Learn 2 read MS Troll.

BTW: Once more we can see the result of companies kowtowing to the drumbeat of the MS machine, if the next generation games and cards were based on OpenGL instead of DirectX you wouldn´t have to go out and fork out $600 just so you can buy your kid a new game.

If we truly wish to see the gaming market stay a free market we must support and buy only games based on an independent standard such as OpenGL.

You want speed? Compile Gentoo on your machine. You want pretty desktop? Get the new KDE. In my book it kicks Vista´s ass in speed and pretty graphics any day.

Relax guys says:

A response to all

Yeah, it is true, there is no direct, single or clear thesis statement, but this article was written with a rather historical reference to previous ones and if your a regular, you would have picked it up. But true, it is a poorly written and not well formed article. It’s as if Mike hired some immigrants or something to do the writing.

Some people asked “how does this affect image quality?” Once again, with a poorly written article, it is understandable to think it was just an MS attack, but the reference was towards video playback, if you did not pay for it, or bla bla bla, the os automatically degrades the video quality.

The security aspects were in reference to the security experts remarks, and actually I believe there will also or already is related DRM issues as well. Just remember Sony’s mistake. (stupid huh)

It does less, well because of the further segregation of the OS’s, it does have less features for the price. Ie.. You can Windows XP Pro w/IIS and other functionality maybe around 120 dollars these days with a computer.

tom gulch says:

for the non-microsoft employees responding

“Microsoft has decided to integrate a number of cumbersome DRM solutions which collectively degrade the performance and capability of the new OS” by incorporating this into the kernel.
DRM will cause all of windows vista take a performance hit.DRM will also check to see that all software is legal or it might disable the OS (read Tom Halfhill’s article in maximum PC. Outside of the microsoft employees responding to this article, to encourage, endorse or tolerate this level of software and hardware interference by DRM is just plainly stupid and shortsighted.

Pixel Rider (user link) says:

Who read the WHOLE article?

I don’t think too many of you actually read the entire article.

The rants above about missing sources were debunked about 7/8 of the way down the page.

This article was actually fairly well written considering it was pieced together from an email conversation (as sited in the same area as the few PUBLIC sources for this article.) I had an idea of the DRM scheme in vista, but I hadn’t thought about how truly cumbersome it was until I read this article.

The poor soul who penned the headline here is actually the one to blame for the article not including what may have been expected. The first paragraph or two lays out exactly what to expect from the article (and its a LONG article).

techczech says:

People are sheep.
They are going to run the OS that ships with the box.
They don’t give a rat’s ass about security.
If a new gizmo doesn’t install with the enclosed CD then it gets returned the next day. (Try buying a wireless NIC, locally, with *nix drivers)

Marketing trumps all.

** Psychic Prediction **

Micro$oft will continue to dominate the OS market for the next century.

*nix ranters will continue living in their parents basement doing little but writing code and masturbating about defeating the evil empire…

Sad isn’t it?

Howie says:


Like most software, companies rush “enhancements” to market and let us beta test it. Windows has always been a royal pain to work with but we had few options. I had windows thrown at me in the 80’s when all I wanted to do was access my mainframe systems. At the time, what did I need a PC for? Notepad and a calculator. Now a PC is a necessity and most companies rely on Microsoft products. Not because they are necessarily the best choice of OS but because more companies use windows than any other OS, at least in my industry.

I currently have to use WIN 2000 PRO. They will not use XP here. What will happen as 2000 falls out of favor? Dunno. We may end up with XP or we may end up with Vista.

Maybe by the time that happens, and all the service packs, fixes, patches, etc, etc, etc are rolled out, Vista will be a viable OS for business use.

I have no plans to upgrade for personal use.

Everything I’ve read about Vista seems to state that the security enhancements alone make this a worthwhile upgrade. My issue is the need to buy a new PC to support the hardware requirements.

My current desktop and laptops would not run Vista well if at all.

It took me forever to go from WIN95 to WIN2000.
I’m sure I’ll be hanging on 2000 as long as it works for me.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Nothing to see here folks...

This is just like Windows XP all over again. Lots of hype and rah-rah-yay-yay, followed by disappointment and stuff that does not work as advertised.

This is why I never jumped on the XP bandwagon. I run Windows 2000 (the best thing that MS ever did, IMO), Win 98 at and Linux at home.

I refused to buy into XP because of WPA, DRM, WGA and other TLAs, and Vista promises to be more of the same.

Move along…

Conrad Winchester says:


I am so happy I dropped windows completely this year. I used windows for years and it was only when a co-worker showed me how useful macs can be that I thought I’d give one a go.

Since I moved to OS X I have been ‘doing things’ with my computer (being able to automate actions with automator and applecript is what I have always thought a computer should be like). My Mac a useful tool with which I am able to work better and faster. I look forward to Leopard with great anticipation.

From my point of view it seems the MS are missing this aspect of cmputing completely. There is no concept of a machine that can do things for me. Windows is just an OS that costs way too much and does nothing for me until I add a load of extra (expensive) software. Vista just seems to be the ultimate expression of this uselessness.

Me says:

Hasta la Vista, Microsoft!

In the classic words of Arnie in Terminator II: “Hasta la Vista” Microsoft. I have been a die-hard supporter of MS products over the years, but you have cut me off with Vista, its various controls and mechanisms reigns in the rights of individuals, their computer property. If hardware components’ use are limited by software, you are touching upon the rights of indivisuals. Their is various examples available, just google.

Intellectual property is one thing, do not put wheel clamps on my car in my own garage.

Me says:

Lets get started

DRM makes me sad.. i just hope that the processes are not too entrenched in the vista code…the best step now is to find out how it works and disable the mofo…its unfortunate that microsoft has done this, but thats buisness.. right now evryone needs to get to work on fixing the drm code. Step two would be building a universal drivers platform on top of the fixed code.
I know programers will rewire the system to fit the power user, its only a matter of time. Eventually all will be right in the world. Keep in mind that normal programers built the system and younger brighter programming can fix it!
As for now i will be purchasing a copy and waiting for the changes to come

Not even an adult says:

Poor Show

As a native English speaker, I’m appalled with the utilisation of language within the responses made to the aforementioned article.
With respect to the fact that all posts have been made with reference to Windows Vista, I assume that this is a site for adults, however, the absolute childishness demonstrated suggests otherwise. I must add this is not true for all posts and I commend those who make an effort to present fully planned and valid arguments.
Those who lack the ability to integrate with society, and to communicate, I feel, should be taken for psychiatric assessment and a decision made whether or not it is safe for said persons to be in public.
Enough with my views on language, I feel my point has been established, shameful as it is that I have to;
In response to the main article, and replies made, I have to say that not all Unix/Linux users, live at home, or masturbate over the demise of Microsoft for that matter, but represents perhaps a more socially conscious and possibly well informed minority of society who have utilised the freedom to choose what they desire.
It is a shame that the majority of consumers will use whatever operating system may be shipped with a new computer, however, as is often proved within modern western culture, ignorance is not only bliss, yet an attribute to be incredibly proud of.
The new Vista OS appears to me to be a bit of a rush to capitalize upon the fact that this pride in absolute ignorance exists within the majority of consumers. This may not be true for businesses, yet a large share of profit from selling Microsoft platforms is generated by OEM distributions.
The fact of the matter is that the average user does not care, nor dares to be inquisitive about the underlying components of Operating Systems; All that truly matters in the spirit of ignorance is that it looks “cool”, and as with any purchase of a new technology, the privilege of boasting to equally ignorant cohorts that one has indeed become the proud owner of something new – therefore better than anyone else. Did no one pick up on this fact when it was announced that there would be an “Ultimate” Edition.
What could possibly be more boast-worthy then letting others know you have the ultimate computer.
Its a shame, but along with marketing comes market research; You’d be a fool to think that Microsoft are just shipping for bucks, or that many care for enhanced features; It is all to do with the target market. We live in the age of image. Do people buy 4x4s to venture off road,? No, the majority don’t. They are bought for the purpose of blacking out the rear windows, hiding the kids, becoming “Mr. Single and Sexy” once more, and to show friends who has the higher horse-power.
There is a minority of the market who may genuinely care for and understand Vista, or XP, or maybe even Linux, Solaris FreeBSD or Mac; Maybe businesses’ and gamers, Its just a shame that there’s a minority within a minority which appears to be incapable of reaching any sort of valid conclusions, or holding a discussion, on the level generally associated with adults.

Just as an addition, I am a 17 year old Physics student in the UK, and this is my level of grammar and maturity. Maybe some of the people involved in posting comments may want to think about this, if indeed they understand, and think about maybe learning something from what I have said, and what some of the other more intellectual people have written.

Rickusjapus says:

I rue the day I bought Vista!

I have struggled with Vista about two months now. It gives new meaning to user unfriendly. Why should I consult the “Community” to find out why Windows Mail had an unknown error and couldn’t delete an ordinary email?

Outlook Express didn’t have this problem — ever; why does the “improved” version have such an imbecilic problem.

Webcam, with new Vista compatible drive, doesn’t work. Two hours working on the problem is too long.

Next machine will be a Mac.

Obey says:

HOLY SHIT wah wah wah! Hulk on Blu Ray! We were all wrong about Vista being an bloated, insecure, resource hogging, over priced piece of proprietary dogshit after all. Now are you talking about Green Hulk or Hulkster Hulk? It doesn’t matter because I admire both of them. I would totally buy three versions of Vista and one version of XP just to watch either of those fellas tear their shirts off.

You wanna hang out later?

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