CP Sighting: Vista security spec 'longest suicide note in history'

J.A. Terranson measl at mfn.org
Sun Dec 24 18:00:21 PST 2006


By Andrew Thomas: Sunday 24 December 2006, 16:43
VISTA'S CONTENT PROTECTION specification could very well constitute the
longest suicide note in history, claims a new and detailed report from the
University of Auckland in New Zealand.

"Peter Gutmann's report describes the pernicious DRM built into Vista and
required by MS for approval of hardware and drivers," said INQ reader Brad
Steffler, MD, who brought the report to our attention. "As a physician who
uses PCs for image review before I perform surgery, this situation is
intolerable. It is also intolerable for me as a medical school professor
as I will have to switch to a MAC or a Linux PC. These draconian dicta
just might kill the PC as we know it."

But this isn't just a typical anti-Microsoft rant. Gutmann's report runs
to 6,000 words and contains hardly any FSF-style juvenile invective.

"Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in
order to provide content protection for so-called "premium content",
typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this
protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance,
system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software
cost," says Gutmann on his homepage.

"These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry,
since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware
and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if it's not
used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or
on a Linux server). This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's
content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout
the computer industry."

He also claims that Vista's content protection will 'have to violate the
laws of physics if it is to work'.

I'm not going to comment on the details of the report and its implications
but merely suggest that you read it for yourselves and come to your own
conclusions. I'd also venture to suggest that Microsoft might want to
comment on Gutmann's work.

A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection


J.A. Terranson
sysadmin at mfn.org

"Surely the larger lesson learned from that day is that other men, all
over the world, took inspiration not from the heroism of the rescuers in
New York or the passengers flying over Pennsylvania, but from the 19
hijackers - the twisted brilliance of their scheme and their willingness
to sacrifice their lives to make a political and, as they saw it,
religious statement."

Richard Corliss/Time Magazine
11 Aug 2006

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