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Microsoft

Palladium Changes Name 350

Posted by michael
from the see-also-carnivore dept.
thelinuxking writes "According to this CNET article, Microsoft has changed the code name of its highly controversial 'trusted' computing platform from 'Palladium' to 'next-generation secure computing base.' Microsoft claims that the name is being changed to reflect the fact that Microsoft is 'embracing this technology in terms of folding it into Windows for the next decade.' Also, an unnamed small firm has claims to the trademark of 'Palladium'. Microsoft denies that they changed the name due to the criticism 'Palladium' has recieved, and released the source code to the core part of the software to show that the software is secure and does what they claim." Notice the PR diversionary tactic: it's being criticized because it does what they claim, not because it doesn't. :)
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Palladium Changes Name

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  • Hello? (Score:4, Funny)

    by dpete4552 (310481) <.slashdot. .at. .tuxcontact.com.> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:13PM (#5158038) Homepage
    Why is it that a $300 billion some company isn't able to hire someone who check the with the trademark office to see if any of the crap they are using is already trade marked?
    • Re:Hello? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AKnightCowboy (608632) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:26PM (#5158137)
      Why is it that a $300 billion some company isn't able to hire someone who check the with the trademark office to see if any of the crap they are using is already trade marked?


      Maybe this $300 billion company figured they could strong-arm the trademark owner out of the name like they strong-arm everyone else in the industry?

      • Re:Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by susano_otter (123650)
        Maybe this $300 billion company figured they could strong-arm the trademark owner out of the name like they strong-arm everyone else in the industry?

        Or maybe the other company figured they could make some easy money in an out-of-court-settlement by preemptively filing a trademark on a name they knew Microsoft was using but hadn't trademarked yet. It could happen. [geek.com]

        Won't they feel silly when they discover that "Palladium" was just a code name, and MS never had any intention of trademarking it as a brand name anyway!

    • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:29PM (#5158153)
      Becasue if you've ever been involved in large-scale IT projects from the early days, you tend to find engineers use their own pet names for them. One sticks, get's used as a codename while the project is in development stages. This usually gets released in initial publicity documents.

      On the other hand, given that Exchange 2003 is code-named Titanium, I'd wager that someone's been looking at the periodic table.

      I doubt Palladium was ever going to be used as a release name, something boring like MS MyVault...
    • Re:Hello? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ty (15982)

      Because in the past they've just muscled any trademarks they wanted from their respective owners.

      Ask the the people from SyNet, which was run out of business from fighting a trademark dispute with MS over their trademark on "Internet Explorer" in the mid 90s.

    • Re:Hello? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:57PM (#5158303) Homepage
      Why is it that a $300 billion some company isn't able to hire someone who check the with the trademark office to see if any of the crap they are using is already trade marked?

      It was a code name, they were not using it in trade.

      An international trademark search costs millions so companies use code names while they do trademark searches.

      Palladium was simply one of a list of metals that they had used for secure O/S projects.

      Microsoft was never going to market under the name Palladium any more than it would use Yukon or Longhorn.

      • Re:Hello? (Score:2, Funny)

        by KoolDude (614134)

        Palladium was simply one of a list of metals that they had used for secure O/S projects.

        What ? Palladium for Open Source Projects ? MS should get *real metal* swords to fight open source... palladium's too light ;)

        Wow Wow.. wait... lemme explain.. tht was... just... a.. joke...ZOOOOM.... [ducks and runs away]
    • Naaaah....'course not!

      I mean, next-generation secure computing base, doesn't the new name just roll of you're tong like butter?
  • by jdkane (588293) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:14PM (#5158044)
    They can run, but they can't hide from /.
  • by iiioxx (610652) <iiioxx@gmail.com> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:14PM (#5158047)
    Palladium Books [palladiumbooks.com], maker of fine pen-and-paper role-playing games.
    • I knew it! BillG is a dee-bee! He's secretly working as an agent of Xiticex, and intends to bring down the Coalition and NGR with help from...

      Oh, er, there I go cross referencing fantasy and reality again. I am not an NGR Borg... I am NOT an NGR Borg...
  • Palladium (Score:4, Funny)

    by Big Mark (575945) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:15PM (#5158053)
    Maybe they changed it because no-one had a clue what palladium actually is...

    Joe Sixpack - "Muuur, pall-ad-ium? What's that?"
    Joe Fourpack - "I think it's food. I eat it."
    Bill Gates - "No! That's an xbox 2, with trust built in so you can't watch VCDs, DivX, or listen to mp3s on it!"
    Joe Fourpack - "Tastes like chicken."

    -Mark
    • They changed the name because people who care about such things do know what Palladium is. MS is likely betting that Joe Sixpack is less likely to be interested in finding out the threats "next-generation secure computing base" poses to his privacy and ability to use technology. Whereas "Palladium" is something much easier to pay attention to. Seems like the semantic equivalent of security through obscurity.

      In other news, does anyone else think it interesting that they are releasing the source code to part of Palladium? Cnet was a little thin on details about that though.

  • Good news! (Score:3, Funny)

    by netsharc (195805) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:16PM (#5158059)
    Good news everybody! We have free videos and MP3s! "Secure" computing base? Why are they sabotaging themselves, now this thing has the word "security" attached to it, and you know how MS's track record with security is!
  • by zonix (592337) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:16PM (#5158060) Homepage Journal
    next-generation secure computing base

    Try saying that fast ten times in a row?

    z
  • by prichardson (603676) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:18PM (#5158077) Journal
    Watch this,

    Now Microsoft will change Windows XP to Windows NGICI (Next Generation Insecure Computing Interface) thats pronouced ni-ji-se
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:21PM (#5158098)
    " Microsoft claims that the name is being changed to reflect the fact that Microsoft is 'embracing this technology in terms of folding it into Windows for the next decade.'"

    Why does my stomach get a queezy feeling when I read this??

    Hey, I got karma to burn...
  • by yivi (236776)
    Because all our next-generation secure computing base are belongs to them.
  • by long_john_stewart_mi (549153) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:22PM (#5158113)
    In other news, Ikea has changed its name to Good Luck Putting This Stuff Together.

    (inspired by Harland Williams)
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:23PM (#5158119)
    All your next-generation secure computing base are belong to key signer.
  • by QEDog (610238) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:23PM (#5158125)
    If you cannot convince them, confuse them!
  • So, any guess as to what price the current owners of the Palladium trademark have put on transferring it to Microsoft??

    If it were mine, I think I'd be looking for a cool $1Bn...

  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Eric Damron (553630) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:27PM (#5158138)
    My Palladium sucks T-shirt is now worthless and I don't think a "next-generation secure computing base sucks" T-shirt will cut it.

    • Re:Great... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is a certain kind of logic to all that. Call it Palladium, wait til everyone gets irate and associates the word Palladium with something they hate then change the name. And if you can change it to a name that's utterly unmemorable all the better. Then roll it out.
  • good (Score:5, Funny)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:27PM (#5158142)
    at least it's catchy
    • by melquiades (314628) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:01PM (#5158330) Homepage
      Until now, we've had a nice and concise name for lampooning this thing, as in this lovely sig I spotted the other day:
      Palladium: Just where the HELL do you think you're doing today?
      But this new name just doesn't have the same ring to it. How do you make up a catchy slogan -- any slogan -- containing the inconceivably awkward phrase "next-generation secure computing base"?!

      The resistance needs catchy terminology, even if the Evil Empire doesn't.

      I suggest, as a start, that "next-generation" is superfluous:
      Microsoft secure computing base: Just where the HELL do you think you're doing today?
      Perhaps even the word "base" is as well, as long as the "Microsoft" is still in there:
      Microsoft secure computing: Just where the HELL do you think you're doing today?
      This presents the problem, however, that people may confuse the already-meaningful phrase "secure computing" with digital rights mangling.

      One safe route, perhaps, is to insist on calling it "DRM", even as that phrase takes on an increasingly negative connotation and Microsoft attempts to disown it.
      • How do you make up a catchy slogan -- any slogan -- containing the inconceivably awkward phrase "next-generation secure computing base"?!

        This is absolutely the point. As anyone who follows the abortion issue knows (ex-- is it "Pro-Life" or "Anti-Choice?"), much of controlling a public debate is about winning the "terminology" war. How better to obfuscate a debate by blurring the way the topic is labeled and discussed? Is anyone in the general public really going to read an article which refers to Microsoft's dull-sounding "next-generation secure computing base"? Who wants to be "anti-security" anyway?

        Notice that "NGSCB" is unpronouncable and hard to wrap your head around. Where as people can rally around a fight against something called "Palladium" there is no easy "brain-handle" in NGSCB to grab onto. They've chosen a bland nothing-name.

        The Federal government had a similar problem with "Carnivore" which just sounds ominous. So what did they do? They changed the name [metrostate.com] to something bland-- DCS1000...something that sounds boring and innocuous, like the model of a breadmaker.

        I'm sure the Department of Justice's Total Information Awareness [epic.org] will be renamed shortly to some anagram with no vowels like the "next-generation secure nation base 2003LJFBF". When you see they've changed the name, remember you saw it here first.

        Incidentally, Time has a good article [time.com] about how the White House is trying the same kind of thing by reterming thinning of trees as "management-caused changes in vegetation". While they can't do an all-out assault on the environment...

        "They are rejecting the full-frontal-assault approach that gets a lot of media attention in favor of death by a thousand strokes of the pen," contends Stoermer. The Republicans are also learning how to spin environmental issues in their direction. In a confidential document distributed to G.O.P. Governors and members of Congress just before last November's elections, Republican pollster Frank Luntz advised party members to refer to themselves as "conservationists." The document said, "The first (and most important) step to neutralizing the [Republican environmental] problem and eventually bringing people around to your point of view on environmental issues is to convince them of your 'sincerity' and 'concern.'"

        It's all about baby-steps and controlling the debate through language. As far as I'm concerned, whatever Microsoft now calls PALLADIUM, we and the press should not let them get away with it.

        W
  • where's the source? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slugo3 (31204) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:29PM (#5158151)
    "Microsoft denies that they changed the name due to the criticism 'Palladium' has recieved, and released the source code to the core part of the software to show that the software is secure and does what they claim."

    Released the source to who? I don't remember seeing this anywhere and a little googling comes up with nothing. Seems like you would want to post it to slashdot since open source users are the ones most concerned about the ramifications of pallad... Err next generation secure computing base.
  • by manyoso (260664) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:30PM (#5158159) Homepage
    Honestly, people ... Next-Generation-Secure-Computing-Base is not DRM. This is only a tool that will allow computer users more security over important documents. Just because Pallad...Next-Generation-Computing...can be used to build DRM does not mean that it should be lumped in with it. Save the knee jerk reactions for IBM and TCPA.
    • by sean23007 (143364) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:56PM (#5158297) Homepage Journal
      Isn't that exactly what everyone said about IBM and TCPA? "It isn't DRM. It only gives you more security over your documents, and just because DRM can be built on it doesn't mean that it should be criticized with DRM. That's for Palladium..." I've heard all this before.
    • Nice one! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Wesley Felter (138342)
      Yesterday you were saying Palladium and TCPA are basically the same thing, and bashing them both. With these skills, your karma will go far.
    • NO! (Score:3, Interesting)

      I don't want a key locked to my machine, because it becomes useless if I switch machines, if the old one breaks, or I simply want something better.

      Why is it so hard to understand that what is wrong with private keys is that I don't have complete control over them? If it's my private key, it's mine, not something hardware generated that I can't keep or delete or copy at my whim. When it goes out of my control, it's somebody else's, not mine, and I don't want it!
    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @07:08PM (#5158902) Journal
      No palladium is DRM. Here is an example. [microsoft.com]

      The pics on the site particularly shows a document being access and permission from an agent is needed to view it. Now what is the diffinition of DRM ?

      Could TCPA be used for drm? The answer is yes and no but that is what its not designed. There are no apps I am aware of that use it. Its just a soldiered on encryption chip. Its also an industry standard and highly documented.

      Could palladium be used for drm? The answer is a certain yes. How do I know? Look at Bill Gates comments, the discussion of the next generations of Windows, and the link I gave above. Palladium was designed as a proprietary drm solution from the ground up to turn a pc into a cable box to applease hollywood and cut down on piracy. You have the next generation of Windows that has everything to the filesystem encrypted and even all the peripherals are encrypted. Everything is setup as a trust relationship? You have to ask yourself why is a whole trust relationship needed for simple encryption?

      TCPA is an open standard while palladium is secret and in combo with the DMCA illegal for anyone but Microsoft to use! In palladium every component has an encryption chip and the nexus chip on the motherboard only views the keys from the application agents and other the peripherals. Bill Gates called these agents using the nexus chips "bouncers" back in 2000 when discussing some of microsofts research with secure computing. Bouncers?? He also mentioned during the 1990's that he wanted china to becomed hooked on Microsoft products so during the next decade he could find a way to "make them pay".

      So lets summarize here:
      1.)Instead of a master encryption chip, the master in palladium (nexus)deals with trust relationships between all the different keys in the peripherals. To make sure nothing is tampered with. It also only partially decrypts the data. All the other peripherals like the hard drive and video decrypt the rest. Yes even the video card is encrypted to prevent you from recording movies!

      2.)Bill Gates calls the software agents that communicate with the nexus "bouncers".

      3.) Microsofts own pics show documents being "trusted" to view on a pc.

      4.)Micosoft mentioned that NTFS will go away and be replaced with an encrypted filesystem so palladium can take advantage of it. Yes palladium ready hard drives are already on the market! My guess is even the hard drive will be palladium ready to make sure the user can't read it.

      Folks if this is not drm then I do not know what is. Hell, coding for your digital cable box might be easier then coding for your palladium machine. That is unless you use Microsoft tools only. This does assume that it can not be turned off. TCPA can but since palladium is only vaporware right now I can not say.

      Please TCPA please take over before palladium. Macs are expensive and I do not want to switch. However if Windows only works with palladium then I guess its time to start the voodoo Steve Jobs worship. If you read my other comments you will notice I am pro TCPA. I just do not trust Microsoft. Microsoft wants apple out of the multimedia market for years and directX really did hurt them but they are still there. Infact directx was made according to an insider soley to hurt apple. Hollywood, content makers, and the porn industry, backing palladium might just kill it out of its core market and seal its fate.

      The big consorturium of TCPA likes Linux and has no intention to find anyway possible to kill competition. I am sure they will be more lenient in regards to signers and gatekeepers.

  • ...or maybe she could just borrow a few thunderbolts from Zeus.
  • I've heard many things being said about Palladium, but have paid almost no attention whatsoever to them as of yet... mainly because this is still vapour-ware, and whatever is being said right now is most probably zealotism, or trendism (both of which I hate).

    it's being criticized because it *does* what they claim...

    So what is it that Palladium does that TCP doesn't do that's so bad for you? I've heard of Palladium doing curtain memory (which at least seems like a Good Thing(tm), but definitely is not a Bad Thing (tm) -- in the worst case a Useless Thing(tm) ), I have also heard that Palladium is *not* DRM.

    So what's it to you? why are you complaining? Enlighten me, oh gods of OSS.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    They just changed the name so that it would be harder to remember and search for. They could have made up a new term to refer to their new DRM, or got the rights to the name, but they have opted to use the vague "next-generation secure computing base" instead.

    You can easily find stuff about Palladium [google.com]. But searching for next-generation secure computing base [google.com] turned up a lot of people using these keywords, and with quotes as of yet has turned up nothing [google.com].
  • future is good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jdkane (588293) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:40PM (#5158209)
    "Looking ahead, we are working on a new hardware/software architecture for the Windows PC platform (initially code-named 'Palladium'), which will significantly enhance the integrity, privacy and data security of computer systems by eliminating many 'weak links,'" Gates wrote in the memo.

    However Linux doesn't seem to require an integrated hardware/software Palladium or similar technology. MS is trying to stay in the $. I'm sure over the next Decade Linux can get an interface as integrated and user-friendly as Windows and Macs (look at OsX on FreeBSD). Then what will you choose as a computing platform? .. An integrated Windows/hardware/software secure system that you pay through the teeth for, or a less restrictive but equally friendly, cost-effect Linux desktop system? ... especially if you are deploying hundreds or thousands in a corporation. The future can be bright. MS might just force themselves into harder competition by this secure computing strategy. Here's hoping, because it's always nice to have more than one on the playing field.

    • Re:future is good (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Billly Gates (198444)
      But how will you run Linux? The oems will tailor to %97 of the market. They need to be Windows NG^&*^ certified" in order to sell Windows! To be certified means being palladium complaint! They have to use palladium or they go out of bussiness. Only a monopoly can pull a scam like this off and force OEM's to do this.

      Also corporate customers love Palladium because they can timebomb all their documents and secure important data and bring down support costs but eliminating virii. Enron for example would love something like this.

      Macs( only linux platform left) will be avoided since they can no longer read email or word docs, or produce "protected" images for the companies "protected" websites.

      This will also squeeze unix out of the server room since everything will be an encrypted .net nightmare. All the clients will need to have a trustworthy server to run their trustworthy apps. It doesn't matter if Linux is better. If it can't run on standard hardware then its useless as the cd its been cut on.

      Remember that it was the corporate world that wanted a one standard monopoly. They chose Microsoft. In 10 years the doj will be all over Microsofts throat for allowing this to happen. They and the judge f*cked up bigtime and we will see the result of the ruling with this.

  • by glMatrixMode (631669) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:42PM (#5158223)
    Yes : Palladium was a 'good' name. It encouraged people to talk about it. It was a Name against which people could league them together. Now it's another dull acronym nobody is willing to talk about ...
    perhaps even to think about...

    believe me, this is the most 'clever' idea from microsoft since June. by the way, this technique is getting pretty common in the area. There were already the dmca, tcpa, sssca, cbtdpa....

    I urge people here to find it a catchy nickname before it is too late (it will be to late when the hype about palladium will be over, which means soon). "Big Brother" is maybe not original enough... and also not enough specific (there are other related issues in america, like the tia and the tips).
  • "Next-generation secure computing base", hmm, that's a little long, we should just abbreviate it to "DRM".

    The fact that it was something that got a lot of attention and gave rise to a lot of misunderstanding

    Yes, to be sure, people do not understand why Microsoft is telling them it's supposed to make their Windows security less buggy, when it's obviously much better suited to restricting what you can do with your own computer.
  • by DarthWiggle (537589) <sckiwi@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:48PM (#5158256) Journal
    I believe this move pretty much defines "obfuscation." It's easy to oppose, single out, and criticize "Palladium." It's a lot harder to oppose, single out, and criticize "secure network of corporate jargon and words that are put in to make the name longer initiative lemur".

    (If you're tempted to mod this "redundant", think about giving me some mercy points for using a nickel word like "obfuscation.") :)
  • by Graspee_Leemoor (302316) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:49PM (#5158266) Homepage Journal
    Secure Computing Base
    The Next Generation

    Cyberspace- the final frontier.

    These are the voyages of the monopoly: Microsoft.

    Its continuing mission- to seek out new life and new civilizations... ...and sell them Windows and Office.

    graspee

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:53PM (#5158284) Homepage
    I keep hearing that TCPA is NOT the death of Free software. But how can that be?

    Here's how I understand Palladium. It is implemented beginning at the hardware level. The hardware refuses to execute a boot sector that has not been digitally signed. Therefore, only "trusted" boot loaders will work.

    From here, the trust is handed to the software, and the trust keeps expanding as more software is loaded. Some future version of Windows, let's call it Windows Secure User eXtensions, or for short, just Windows SUX, would be designed to cooperate with this trust model. The boot sector for WinSUX would be digally signed. So the hardware would load and execute the boot sector.

    The boot sector loads an OS kernel from disk, the WinSUX kernel. Now the boot sector will not execute the kernel unless it is digally signed. So once the boot sector checks the signature, it passes control to the loaded kernel. The trust keeps expanding. Once the kernel is in control it can run only digitally signed device drivers, thus ensuring security of the hardware, and that only trusted hardware is used. WinSUX can also only run trusted applications, such as Windows Media Player, thus ensuring DRM. Untrusted applications could be run within a sandbox by WinSUX - with certain API's and raw access to the hardware being off limits. Thus only trusted DVD players, media players, etc. will run. There will be no CD audio rippers, because they, being unsigned and untrusted, won't have access to rip the raw bits from an audio CD.

    Just as WinXP requires registration to use, WinSUX can do likewise. But with WinXP there are already numerous hacks to defeat the registration mechanism in WinXP. Not so with WinSUX. If you tamper with the code, you invalidate the digital signature, and the boot loader won't run the OS. Or if you didn't tamper with the kernel, then whatever trusted DLL or application you had to tamper with won't get run by the kernel because it's digital signature will now be invalid.

    Being able to trust that WinSUX is trusted also allows Microsoft to ensure things that they cannot ensure today. They really could make WinSUX expire after two years and refuse to run. You could not patch WinSUX in order to continue running the OS you paid for.

    So it seems like WinSUX does give security to Microsoft and to Hollywood, but not to the user. There still could be remote root exploits in WinSUX, thus allowing hackers to compromise running systems, steal credit card numbers, deface web pages, plant remote monitoring software, launch remote attacks, etc.

    So far my analysis has not mentioned open source. Some would say, "If you don't like Palladium, then don't run WinSUX." But this ignores the fact that Palladium begins at the hardware. In order to run any bootloader, it must be signed.

    There is no way that Microsoft is going to sign a bootloader like, say, LILO, the boot loader for Linux, unless it is trusted. Now LILO is open source, and Microsoft could say they will sign a "trusted" version of LILO. That is, if LILO is patched so that it will only execute a digally signed Kernel. So, LILO is patched, it is open source, Microsoft inspects the source, compiles it, and signs it. Now you can use the LILO boot loader and only execute signed Kernels. But all we've done is move the problem. Now I can only run signed Kernels. Maybe major distribution kernels such as SuSE, Red Hat, etc could have signed kernels. But what about Joe User who wants to compile his own kernel? What about developers who compile thirty kernels a day?

    Of course, I'm sure Microsoft will find ways to make their own internal kernel developers lives easier. In fact, this becomes one way in which Microsoft can make external OS developers lives more difficult, and give their own developers an advantage.

    The fact remains that the only way you're going to get a Kernel signed is if it is trusted. This means inspecting the source to make sure it doesn't have any naughty bits, and promises not to ever execute any other naughty bits. Signing kernels also becomes a new revenue stream for Microsoft.

    But some would say: "But Palladium is optional, if you don't like it, just don't use it." Do you really expect me to believe that it will be optional? If it is optional, then all of its benefits completely disappear.

    If Palladium were optional, then the following scenario would be possible. Put LILO into boot sector of hard drive. Boot up a specially crafted loader which loads the WinSUX kernel, patches it to bypass its security, and then start execution of the compromised WinSUX operating system. Once a compromised WinSUX can be executed, then all security bets are off. I could compromise its ability to run only signed device drivers. I could compromise its ability NOT to run an MP3 ripper. Compromise its registration mechanism, thus allowing pirated copies of WinSUX. Compromise its ability to quit running when it has reached the expiration date. It would even be possible to compromise WinSUX to allow the reading of material which Microsoft might consider "subversive", such as what you are reading right now.

    Does anyone really believe Microsoft would go to so much trouble to ensure security only to turn around and make it optional? Optional means that the entire security of WinSUX and other future versions of Windows could be defeated. (Of course this is true on any non-Palladium hardware, such as a hardware emulation like Virtual PC.)

    Let's continue with the analysis of getting open source programs to be "trusted". Maybe Microsoft runs a service where they will inspect another OS kernel to make sure it is trusted, and then they will sign it, so that the trusted LILO will run it. A trusted Linux kernel would have to be trusted not to execute any naughty code. Linux is trusted as long as it does two things: (1) only executes signed LKM's (Linux Kernel Modules), and (2) keeps certain API's off limits to untrusted user space programs. (You'll note that this is just how I previously described WinSUX.)

    A Visual Basic programmer could write his own toy programs. But he could never write code that did anything naughty, such as play DVD's. Or he could do so only through secure COM components. System level programming would now become something that only a special "guild" could do. Ditto for device drivers.

    Would Microsoft relax these restrictions? If I could run arbitrary LKM's, then all bets are off. I just write a Linux Kernel Module that holds interrupts, wipes memory clean, loads WinSUX, patches it, and then starts the compromised WinSUX running on the hardware. The LILO-Linux-LKM just becomes a means to an end of running compromised patched WinSUX code.

    So in short, Palladium cannot be optional. If it were optional, then why bother at all? It guarantees nothing to the user. It only makes guarantees to Microsoft and to Hollywood. By making it optional, then these guarantees disappear.

    If Palladium is not optional, then who holds the keys to sign programs? If just anyone can get any arbitrary program signed to run on the hardware, then the entire point of Palladium disappears. (I just need to get a special loader-patcher signed to compromise WinSUX. Or get some other program signed that will run my loader-patcher on the raw hardware.) If only trusted Open Source operating systems can run, then this effectively destroys open source. But Microsoft gets to play the PR game of saying that Open Source is welcome to participate in Palladium.

    How can they pull this off? Just require all hardware to implement Palladium in order for it to run WinSUX. Most users will happily buy a computer with WinSUX preloaded. So the public will not understand that by allowing Palladium hardware to become widespread that they have just cemented Microsoft's control over what software that you can run on your computer.
    • Here's how I understand Palladium. It is implemented beginning at the hardware level. The hardware refuses to execute a boot sector that has not been digitally signed. Therefore, only "trusted" boot loaders will work.

      I don't think this is fully correct. I believe it will boot unsigned code, but this fact will be noted by the hardware, and when you try to run your favorite copy-protected game it will query the hardware and find this out - and not run (chances are the code will be encrypted using a key embedded in the hardware, so you won't be able to get it to run by patching it either - it will only be decrypted if the hardware trusts the OS you're running - and such an OS would probably block your debugger from intercepting the key).

      Anyone who wants to run linux probably won't have trouble using a palladium-equiped machine. However, they won't be able to view some content online, or use software designed with next-gen copy protection. To somebody who is into pure open-source, this is a non-issue - they don't run proprietary software anyway. To somebody who wants the best of open source and proprietary software, it will be a problem. (Ie - forget running lindows - it may run some software, but it probably won't run anything copy-protected.)

      If you're content to run linux and openoffice and zangband, then I wouldn't worry too much about the various trusted platforms they're talking about. But if you want to run the latest propreitary video game, you'll be stuck running windows, or perhaps a particular signed distribution of linux (where you could probably compile all the user-space programs you want, but you couldn't touch anything that runs in kernel-space).
    • But it is optional. Just disable the security (hardware manufacturers have promised that you CAN disable it), and then run an unsigned kernel. You won't be able to run a secure OS, secure apps, or secure media, but you can run anything you want.


      Which is why OSS isn't going to be affected at all by this, but piracy will, so this is a Good Thing for those of us who sell software or content for a living.


      • But it is optional. Just disable the security (hardware manufacturers have promised that you CAN disable it), and then run an unsigned kernel.

        Or sign your own kernel when you install it. This already works, rampant paranoia aside. The Linux drivers are already available [ibm.com] from IBM.

      • Some of you developers don't actually realise that piracy helps you. A lot. There are many programs that wouldn't have got off the ground if they'd never been pirated. People that did pay for the software wouldn't have heard about it. People who cracked it to try it out for a while, and ended up paying for it because they liked it, wouldnt have done so. And so you people would be poorer. Honestly, some of you developers are just as pathetic as the RIAA. "Save our profits!"
    • by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:54PM (#5158576) Homepage
      I keep hearing that TCPA is NOT the death of Free software. But how can that be?

      TCPA is not Palladium. Here's [ibm.com] a link to some whitepapers on TCPA (posted to /. yesterday).

      Here's how I understand Palladium. It is implemented beginning at the hardware level. The hardware refuses to execute a boot sector that has not been digitally signed. Therefore, only "trusted" boot loaders will work.

      TCPA is more like pgp than like ssl, i.e. there are no "root certificates". The chip contains a key, and can store signatures. So, when you install a system, you sign it, and install the signature in the chip. The boot loader only has to be trusted by you.

      Palladium is irrelevent because it's not going to be part of Linux (or BSD). If you install MS's OS and give them your trust, you have no one but yourself to blame.

      There is no way that Microsoft is going to sign a bootloader like, say, LILO

      Signatures from MS are irrelevent. What matters is that the signature stored on the chip matches the boot sector. MS doesn't have to sign it; you do. Of course, this might prevent you from dual-booting Linux and MS, since MS might make their system refuse to install unless you put their signature into the chip, but I have an easy solution to that. I just install Linux, and don't run anything from MS. :)
      • TCPA is more like pgp than like ssl, i.e. there are no "root certificates". The chip contains a key, and can store signatures. So, when you install a system, you sign it, and install the signature in the chip. The boot loader only has to be trusted by you.

        Not quite, you should have read the documents you linked to more carefully. What TCPA does is that it hashes the boot sector, and stores that hash. It can then provide that hash, signed if need be, later. And that the TCPA chip only contains the keys you generate is in fact not true: it contains a pair of hardwired keys called the "endorsement" keys that are set by the vendor. What the DRM applications will require is the boot sector hash of "trusted" operating system, signed by an "endorsement key" from a vendor that it trusts. It can then be sure you are running an OS that will not let you control your machine.

        To repeat myself, here is a paste from something I posted yesterday [slashdot.org]:

        The trick is that you cannot modify the OS software, because each layer of it that is loaded verifies the next, down to the boot loader, which the TCPA chip takes the hash of. So a modified OS means a modified boot loader, and the DRM service will ask for the current boot loader hash signed by the TCPA chips "endorsement key" (which is set by the vendor.) If the hash is not one recognized as a "trusted" OS (ie, one on which the user can't have root) then no go. Nor can you open files you downloaded previously, exactly because the TCPA chip won't decrypt stuff if the boot loader hash is different (boot viruses my ass).

        Of course, this might prevent you from dual-booting Linux and MS, since MS might make their system refuse to install unless you put their signature into the chip, but I have an easy solution to that. I just install Linux, and don't run anything from MS. :)

        You are right that we will probably be able to simply ignore this by running Linux for the forseeable future - but we will not be able to ignore it if user hostile clients become the norm. I figure we can all live without whatever annoying overpriced services the record companies are thinking up, but what happens when M$ has the bright idea of making a "trusted" version of IE that respects a "do not display source" tag in the HTTP reply? All it would take is the simple addition of a field containing the signed boot loader hash to the HTTP request to prove that the data is going to a "trusted" browser and not "untrusted" mozilla which should be locked out (until it implements the same "feature".)

        Yes, it is a good thing that those of us who understand that user hostile applications are pestilence can simply choose to turn them off - but we also need to be vocal in our opposition, because a LOT of people are being LIED TO regarding the purpose and function of these technologies in order to lead them down a path they may not have chosen had they been told the truth.
    • why do you think microsoft could become a trusted signer. Why should microsoft be the only one that can sign bootloaders and kernels?

      Why not let sourceforge.net become a trusted signer, that can sing kernels, api's and software? You didn't follow the chain in the other direction.

      but maybe I simply missed the point. /* ducks and smells burning karma due to pro-pall^H^H^H^H pro-'embracing this technology in terms of folding it into Windows for the next decade.' speech.
    • If the industry made a system board that could boot nothing but windows or "trusted" boot sectors, the outrage would be very very loud. I don't think any system board manufacturer wants to take that risk, especially with lots of corporations now using Linux and BSD in the server room and on the desktop.
    • The hardware refuses to execute a boot sector that has not been digitally signed.

      Many people have posted to explain that you are all wrong about this. The bigger question is, where did you get your misinformation? Was it perhaps from the TCPA/Palladium FAQ [cam.ac.uk]? That FAQ is full of misinformation! You can't trust a word in it.

      Someone yesterday posted that TCPA had good uses. They were accused of spreading FUD! And yet people post all kinds of totally incorrect information about Palladium and TCPA and nobody objects. People don't seem to mind when they are lied to, as long as the people doing the lying are on the same side. But lies which promote your goals are just as bad as lies which oppose them! In the long run, lying hurts you because eventually the truth will come out.

      More and more, people are learning the truth behind Palladium (excuse me, the Windows next generation secure computing platform - boy, that just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?) and TCPA. It's not great news, but it's not nearly as bad as some of the doomsayers were claiming. Let us rededicate ourselves to dealing with reality, to getting the full facts about these technologies and not believing every net.rumor that someone is mongering.

  • by pod (1103) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:54PM (#5158290) Homepage
    Next-generation secure computing base? As opposed to the previous generations of secure computing bases?
  • by kraksmoka (561333) <<grant> <at> <grantstern.com>> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:56PM (#5158298) Homepage Journal
    well, m$ started out with one goal, to beat IBM. unfortunately, they have gone one better, they have become IBM.

    how much vaporware do they have floating around?

    doesn't it seem that they have more expertise in changing their product names, than actually making useful software?

    is it just me, or has the marketing dept. been on a rampage for three years now?

    they have grown to the point where the left hand doesn't want to know what the right is doing (we know /yank what it's doing).

    i think its just a matter of time before the m$ bubble bursts at this rate. they are losing sight of reality at a rapid pace these days.

    well, at least by the time they release Windows .Net Smart Server Phone 2006 featuring a Hailladium Security chip, the last of the Code Red, Klez and SQL bugs will be worked out. . .

  • by Alethes (533985) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @04:58PM (#5158309)
    Microsoft claims that the name is being changed to reflect the fact that Microsoft is 'embracing this technology in terms of folding it into Windows for the next decade.'

    I find it simultaneously amusing and annoying that Microsoft will still be in business for the next decade, thus having that much more time to make our IT lives a living hell with even more codenamed software to trample over privacy rights and innovation in the name of protecting privacy rights and innovation.
  • What they're trying to do is making articles incredibly long about it, so that people will finally say, "Fuck It!" and not write any stories aboutDRM.

    Microsoft Secure Medium Which Interfaces with Hardware and Makes Sure That Those Warezing Bastards Don't Pilfer MicroSoft Office and Visual Studio Or Else Bill Gates Is Not Going To Be Able To Afford His Borg Implants Anytime Soon And That Will Be a Real Bummer Because We Are Afraid of Those Linux Zealots is the newest attempt at securing the Microsoft Advantage.

    After about 10 paragraphs of that, people decide to go, "I can't take it and instead write about LongHorn's database file system.

    Good Strategy.

  • by miu (626917) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:03PM (#5158335) Homepage Journal
    From recent experience I can tell you that a project called "next-generation something or other" is doomed.

    Now if they had changed the name to something like "Athena: super-dimensional fortress of security" then victory in the market would be assured.

  • Wait a minute ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperDuG (134989) <beNO@SPAMeclec.tk> on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:04PM (#5158343) Homepage Journal
    So they're going to market this version of windows as more secure than they're previous products. I would almost be offended that a company would admit they've been screwing me over for years, but now they think they've fix their security problem.

    You know what I think? I think the net has suffered enough DDOS attacks, Worm Spreads, and Virii for the last 10 years because of OS's from MS the this next "Secure" release should be free to anyone who was made unsecure before from MS.

    So I want to mail them a copy of Windows 98 and I want this new "Secure" version for free because I already paid for an operating system which was supposed to be more "stable and secure" and now what? This should be free to everyone who had to suffer data loss from the fault of MS.

    Or I guess I could get an upgrade to a secure OS for free ... www.openbsd.org ...

  • If Bill wants a more descriptive name for Palladium, may I suggest calling it:

    We're Going To Shaft Every Idiot Stupid Enough To Buy This Crap And Let Us Control Them
  • names (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rumagent (86695) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:19PM (#5158412)
    "next-generation secure computing base" or, as it is known in-house, "Bend Over(tm)"

    Rumagent
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @05:19PM (#5158416)
    Calling it ' next-generation secure computing base' is a great way of hiding Palladium as a feature on the box of the next Windows. Say I was going to retail to pick up MS Windows' next version. On the box there is either listed in the features which would look more appeasing to consumers?

    1) 'next-generation secure computing base'
    2) Palladium

    From the article "To address the criticism, the company has decided to release the source code of the core part of the software, known as the nub or nexus, so that others can verify it is secure and is doing only what the company has claimed."

    Question: What about .NET ?
  • ...but other than saving the riaa, what is "next generation secure computing" going to fix security-wise? am i correct to assume that this scenario can take place?
    NGSCserver: incoming request! are you a NGSC computer?
    NGSCcomuter: why, yes. as a matter of fact, i am!
    NGSCserver: great! what can i do for you now that i know you are a trusted platform?
    NGSCcomputer: i would like to exploit one of your bugs, causing you to blow your brains out and bring you to a screeching halt.
    NGSCserver: okay! youre the boss!
    ::crash::
    • Yes! EXACTLY this scenerio can take place. MicroSoft is relying on all the morons who don't know how computers work to think that this piece of hardware is going to enhance their "security" and stop all the proglems we have today. Everybody should be told that it will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!! It will have absolutely zero effect.

      But it enforces stuff at the hardware level! they will claim. I will make a counter-claim: I believe Windows as it is does not have any bug that will allow a non-Administrator to turn into an Administrator. It could very well be *perfect* and you could publish papers showing how utterly impossible it is for a user program to compromise a machine running Windows. And it really is as impossible to do as if there was hardware enforcing this. However this has absolultely no effect on all the bugs that cause exploits, as those bugs lie in programs running *as* Administrator (or root for Unix).

      What it does is enhance *MicroSoft's* "security". It does nothing for bugs except "sign" them and say they are "trusted".

  • the 'Incredibly Rich Flogger!' Now let's see how long this fools my credit card company.

    I'm not fooled by MS's "name change."
  • "Notice the PR diversionary tactic: it's being criticized because it does what they claim, not because it doesn't. :)"

    It is being criticized by people who care about freedom... but the people who pose a more serious barrier are European and other governments.

    The PR is focussed at the SERIOUS objections... not what you or I might find uncomfortable or politically objectionable.
  • To all those of you who have published pages with a realistic/pessmisitic view of the Palladium security platform: Update those page's META-tags NOW include any or all of the new terminology created by the Microsoft Marketing Department (r). Or else those search-engines will fail miserably to find anything relevant when those company executives tries to find information about the-next-great-thing from Microsoft which has been told to be oh-so-secure.
  • Somewhere, in a dark and smoky Redmond meeting room, an internal Microsoft slogan is born...

    All your next-generation secure computing base are belong to us
  • The DRM previously known as Palladium.
  • Foot icon? (Score:3, Funny)

    by TheTomcat (53158) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @06:14PM (#5158649) Homepage
    Microsoft has changed the code name of its highly controversial 'trusted' computing platform from 'Palladium' to 'next-generation secure computing base.'

    Someone mis-filed this under "Microsoft".. is the "It's Funny.. Laugh.." category broken?

    S
  • Perhaps Microsoft wanted to disassociate itself from the notion that their OS had something to do with the old cold fusion [physicsweb.org] controversy.

    Nah.

  • Satan, the Prince of Darkness, has changed his name to "Stan, the Democratically Elected Official Overseeing Things That Really Fall Into A Grey Area... Seriously, It's Not Evil."

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