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Re: Microsoft's plans to kill open source: TCPA

[ I've pruned the giant list of innappropriate and off-topic CCs ]

On Sat, Nov 02, 2002 at 11:57:51PM +0100, Hauke Goos-Habermann wrote:
> Microsoft plans to kill all OpenSource software on hardware level. This
> technology is called TCPA.

FUD! FUD FUD FUD FUD!!!  This is completely all wrong.  Recently a talk
was given at MIT by one of the designers of Microsoft Palladium (their
trusted computing initiative) at MIT.  I was at the talk, which received
lots of coverage on sites like slashdot and arstechnica.

Palladium and TCPA will *NOT* kill open source.  I am going to repeat
that, because some people are too thick-headed to understand.  Palladium
and TCPA will *NOT* kill open source!!!

One of the absolutely fundamental restrictions on Palladium is that
*all* software that runs on non-Palladium system *must* run on Palladium
systems.  Remember that backward-compatibility is the only reason MS has
been able to sustain their monopoly.  You can still run software written
for the IBM XT on your WinXP boxes.  Microsoft cannot throw that
backward compatibity away, and they know this.

Hardware support for Palladium will be user-configurable via a BIOS
setting.  It can be completely disabled.

The only negative thing I see comming out of TCPA is that content
producers (Hollywood, etc) will release copies of their
movies/music/whatever for download in a format that can only be accessed
on TCPA systems.  This is the major threat.  Personally, I would not be
bothered by this.  However, some people might.  For this, I think the
only way to prevent this is to get lots of people to either refuse to
use Palladium or run systems that don't support it.  If the content
producers can say "well, we'll happily give up the potential customers
on Linux, MacOS, UNIX, whatever if we can get all the Windows Palladium
users".  They'll only be able to do this if the population of
non-Palladium-using people is small.

There are other negatives to palladium that I certainly dislike, but I
think the above is what's going to be most noticable by users initially.
Palladium is really more about protecting the "rights" of copyright
holders.  You'll be able to run whatever software you want on it.  In
fact, aside from potential patent issues, I didn't hear anything at the
talk that would prevent anyone from writing an open source
implementation of the Palladium Nexus (which is the DRM pseudo-OS that
runs aside the normal OS kernel).


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