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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  1. identicon
    Coyote, 27 Dec 2006 @ 12:20am

    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.

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