Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Windows Vista "Content" protection and the cost for all computing

Modern astrophysics, if not most sciences, ultimately rely on modern advances in computing power and in the continued growth of cheap computing power (e.g. the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will obtain [and have to process] 30 terabytes of data each and every night [30 TB = 30 000 Gigabytes]). Anything that interferes with current trends in computer speed, cost, reliability or accuracy thus threatens to interfere with the global pace of scientific research.

Unfortunately it appears that the requirements that Microsoft is now asking of software and hardware makers in order to "protect" "premium content" in their new Vista operating system will negatively impact the entire computer industry and all those using computers (and whether or nor you use any of Microsoft's products).

Peter Gutmann, a computer security analyst in New Zealand, provides a particularly clear description of the requirements Microsoft is placing on computer hardware manufacturers for Vista-compatibility and their implications.

The important thing to note is that this will affect you even if you use a different operating system on your PC or server. Yes, even if you only buy Apple Macs! Your hardware will be more expensive, and the software to run on you new hardware more prone to bugs. Worse still, there will be the genuine dangers to human health (e.g. this cartoon) and general safety. Ironically, these changes, while made in the name of "security" ignore genuine issues the public would think important (such as protecting your bank records) and focus ultimately on controlling the way you view the "entertainment" provided by the US movie and TV industry.

It is a long article, but worth reading in its entirety.

Post a Comment