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Real Networks to Linux - DRM or Die 582

Posted by Zonk
from the penguins-hate-ultimatums dept.
Baronvaile writes "ArsTechnica is running a story about RealNetworks VP Jeff Ayars at LinuxWorld Boston discussing the future of Linux for the consumer, if it does not support DRM." From the article: "Ayers has a few supporters in this issue from the Linux camp, as Novell, Linspire, and Red Hat spokespeople reportedly said they would be happy to add DRM to their distributions, but with some caveats. Novell, for example, is "currently in discussions with vendors who control proprietary formats" with the goal of supporting these formats in SuSE Linux. One can only surmise exactly which formats that would be, but recent rumblings from Redmond make it likely that Microsoft DRM solutions such as PlaysForSure could be among them."
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Real Networks to Linux - DRM or Die

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  • GPL? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:41AM (#15106083) Homepage
    If they have to make the source available under the GPL, then it's child's play to unhook the DRM, yes?
    • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fordiman (689627) *
      Generally. As long as the content's been paid for once, you can stream out the raw decoded content to ffmpeg or mencoder to produce non-DRM files that may be played as pleased.
    • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dnoyeb (547705) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:44AM (#15106112) Homepage Journal
      Not if its real DRM which has to be implemented in Hardware theoretically through use of the BIOS. The BIOS is where the DRM will reside.

      But of course the "DRM crowd" is generally a security through obsecurity one and will probably not comprehend the fact that DRM has to be secure even when the code is completely open...Well the programmers might, but I doubt if the bean counters or management ever will.
      • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:06PM (#15106315) Homepage Journal
        DRM guys have been growing up with regards to actual computer security though. Sure they're still making dumb mistakes, but sometimes they actually get it right. AFAIK the latest version of FairPlay has been out for awhile and nobody has managed to get a Hymn like program working again.

        Or if they have, they're keeping quiet in the hopes that Apple will stop pooping in their pot. This is another likely scenario.

        The worst part is that Hymn by itself was crummy for pirating since it left a big fat signature on the files that Apple could track back to your Credit Card. It was only really useful for people who wanted to play the music on their Linux machine. IIRC, iTunes won't even play the files that were decrypted that way, you have to use something like aacplay. Such a shame.

        As always the biggest victims in these DRM schemes are the people who just want to do something a little unusual (but completely legal) that the media company didn't expect. It's just innovation stifling. The worst part is that for the media companies, innovation is often bad. They're in a precarious position already and one more disruptive technology could put them out to pasture for good.
        • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Informative)

          by pyros (61399) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:15PM (#15106409) Journal
          The worst part is that Hymn by itself was crummy for pirating since it left a big fat signature on the files that Apple could track back to your Credit Card. It was only really useful for people who wanted to play the music on their Linux machine.

          I think that was intentional as proof that they weren't producing the tool for the express purpose of copyright infringement.

          IIRC, iTunes won't even play the files that were decrypted that way, you have to use something like aacplay. Such a shame.

          That's incorrect, every file my wife bought from iTMS still played in iTunes (multiple versions on Windows and Mac) after having the FairPlay stripped. I don't think I even have the encrypted files anymore. Neve bothered to authorise any extra computers either.

          • Re:GPL? (Score:4, Informative)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:04PM (#15107284) Journal
            That's incorrect, every file my wife bought from iTMS still played in iTunes

            No, the grandparent is correct. FairPlay originally left information in the meta-data that indicated that it was a formerly-protected file. An update to iTunes prevented it from playing these files. The next update to HYMN stopped leaving these tags in (making it better for piracy) and then iTunes would play them again. This was a while ago, so you may not have been using iTunes / HYMN back then (actually, I believe this was back when HYMN was called PlayFair).

      • Re:GPL? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by babbling (952366) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:07PM (#15106320)
        How do you write GPL'ed DRM? At some point, the GPL'ed player will get its hands on pixel data to write it to the screen. Anyone could modify that part of the program to simply save the data.

        It seems to me that the only way GPL'ed programs could cooperate with DRM is if they are not the parts that are doing the decryption, and instead some proprietary hardware or software is doing the final stages of playback, dealing with the raw data. This seems to be the idea behind "Trusted Computing".
        • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BrainInAJar (584756)
          Or a rewrite of an X server where the display device is "a file on the harddrive", and an alsa driver that outputs to "another file on the harddrive".

          Linux is pretty good at letting you do whatever you want with your computer, especially if you know a bit of C
          • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Informative)

            by polymath69 (94161)
            a rewrite of an X server where the display device is "a file on the harddrive"

            No need to rewrite; the Xvfb [xfree86.org] (virtual frame buffer) server has been part of X for a long time.

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

          by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:42PM (#15106616) Homepage
          Q: How do you write GPL'ed DRM? At some point, the GPL'ed player will get its hands on pixel data to write it to the screen. Anyone could modify that part of the program to simply save the data.

          A: Digital signatures. The TCPA chip checks the bootloader signature, which checks the OS signature, which checks the application signature. Since your modified application doesn't have a valid signature, it won't get access to the same data because the TCPA system won't give it the key. They can ship source as much as they like, you can modify it as much as you want, but it won't actually be useful anymore. That is why the GPLv3 draft has a section about DRM signing keys. Of course, to do this you need to remove all the ways the signed code can dump the data - if you can trick the original code to dump data you've succeeded.
          • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aquabat (724032)
            Excellent point: It's not the source that has to be signed, but rather the built binary.

            In this case, the source code is almost completely useless for building binaries. Even if you don't change the source, something as innocuous as changing the optimization level or version of your compiler will produce a useless binary.

            I didn't understand before what the big deal was with the DRM additions in GPLv3. I'm starting to get it now.

          • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by lgw (121541) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:15PM (#15106842) Journal
            With a Trusted Computing Platform it's all about who has the master key. If you have the master key, all this Trusted Computing stuff is actually pretty cool - it gives the you a lot of power over malware. If you don't have the master key - well, it really isn't your computer any more.

            For embedded electronics, say a DVD player or an iPod, I'd have no problems with not having the master key. If a device does what I want it to at a price I like, I can live without being able to tinker with it. But for a general purpose computer - Hell, no! But then, I'm willing to live without access to DRMed content if need be.
            • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by mrchaotica (681592) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @03:55PM (#15108252)
              If you have the master key, all this Trusted Computing stuff is actually pretty cool - it gives the you a lot of power over malware.
              If you have the master key, it's not called "Trusted Computing" anymore.

              The definition of "Trusted Computing" is that the Powers That Be have the ability to make your computer secure against you.
          • Re:GPL? (Score:4, Informative)

            by KiloByte (825081) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:49PM (#15107147)
            The thing is, GPLv3 just clarifies the incompatibility between DRM and GPL, to make it yet harder to twist the wording of the license. Even stock GPLv2 means you have to provide everything except for the compiler and/or system libraries.

            The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
            making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source
            code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
            associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to
            control compilation and installation of the executable.
            However, as a
            special exception, the source code distributed need not include
            anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary
            form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the
            operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component
            itself accompanies the executable.


            If your "source" doesn't produce a working binary, it is not the real source. Source in the meaning of GPLv2 must be complete, that is, it must include all parts needed to duplicate the executable you distribute, starting from nothing but what is distributed with the operating system and/or compiler.
            • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Informative)

              by roystgnr (4015)
              If your "source" doesn't produce a working binary, it is not the real source. Source in the meaning of GPLv2 must be complete, that is, it must include all parts needed to duplicate the executable you distribute, starting from nothing but what is distributed with the operating system and/or compiler.

              Cool. Could you send me your copy of Red Hat's private keys?

              I suspect the answer is no. Of course, I can recompile Red Hat software and sign it with my own private keys and it will run just fine; it just won't
              • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Informative)

                by MSG (12810)
                Cool. Could you send me your copy of Red Hat's private keys?

                Why do people keep repeating Linus' ridiculous argument? Red Hat's OS does not require that scripts or binaries are signed by them in order to run. You can copy a binary from another system to a RHEL box, and it will run. Likewise, you can import your own keys into rpm, so that the package managers will install them without warning.

                GPL3 doesn't require Red Hat to release the keys that they use to sign packages. It would, only if there were no w
        • Re:GPL? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Firehed (942385) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:02PM (#15106762) Homepage
          How do you write GPL'ed DRM?
          You can't within the United States legally. Revealing the source to a copy protection method is in violation of the DMCA, even if it's your own copy protection (you'd legally have to simply provided unrestricted content to the buyers), or so is my understanding; IANAL.

          This could *really* backfire for them though. With Dell and the like looking into Linux more seriously because XP licenses drive up the costs of bargin-basement systems astronomically, we could well see a much bigger percentage of users running Linux at home (provided, of course, that Dell invests some serious cash to make Linux more home-user friendly, particularly in the compatibility department). And no content provider is dumb enough to lock out the entire Dell userbase, not even Sony/BMG prior to realizing that the rootkit wasn't such a good idea after all.

          As to TC, that's how it'll probably be used although it's marketed as something to protect your system (the exact concept behind this somewhat escapes me, as it was such a poor cover for hardware-level bending over). Much like how crap is marketed as anti-piracy when it's obviously just a hardware lock-in.

      • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:14PM (#15106394)
        The BIOS is where the DRM will reside.

        At first.

        Ya know that they're talking about closing the audio "analog hole" by moving the D/A conversion, and thus the decryption, out to the speakers themselves?

        Not that there aren't so many unchipped speakers out there in the world already that most of them are already gathering dust in closests, and not that you couldn't intercept the signal between the chip and the cone quite easily, but . . .

        This is the way they're thinking. Chip everything.

        I assume they know that it won't really work, because a dedicated geek will get the content unencrypted somehow anyway, but that it will knock out the casual copier.

        Won't I'm not sure they grasp is that in the Internet world most people don't do their own copying and that it only takes one dedicated geek to crack the shit and spread it to the world.

        KFG
        • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by atokata (872432) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:54PM (#15106698)
          Now, I actually design loudspeakers, and I'm not sure how they could pull this off. Do they want to put the DAC, the amp, and all the requisite power supplies into the speaker cabinet? At its most basic nature, a speaker element is just a piece of paper (or something similar), a coil, and a magnet. Are they planning on using some kind of macrovision-esque noise between the DAC and the amp? Even if they did, I could *still* take the speaker cabinet apart and rewire the speaker outputs from the amp, and record it that way. It'd be a pain in the ass, but I've still got a tape deck, and plenty of free time.
          • Re:GPL? (Score:5, Funny)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:14PM (#15106840)
            Even if they did, I could *still* take the speaker cabinet apart and rewire the speaker outputs from the amp, and record it that way.

            No, you couldn't. They'll put a sticker on there saying "Do not open. No user-serviceable parts inside." That will make it impossible for you to open it.

            (Seriously, you have to wonder what these idiots are thinking.)
          • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Funny)

            by binarybum (468664)
            yeah speaker chips aren't going to solve this piracy epidemic. The chips will go in your cochlea. This will prevent all those freeloaders at parties from listening to music blasted through your loudspeakers, music they have not payed licensing for! And maybe the RIAA will finally achieve their goal of preventing hip twisting, booty shaking, and head bobbing of all those pathetic saps that are dancing without paying royalties. I know, it's grotesque, but thousands of youths are listening to and dancing t
    • Re:GPL? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by slavemowgli (585321) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:55AM (#15106215) Homepage
      Why would they have to make anything available under the GPL? They would if they took existing GPL code and modified it or incorporated it into a new project, but as long as they - for example - build a new media player from the ground up, they don't have to do anything.

      The issue gets a bit fuzzier if they'd want to add DRM support to the kernel itself, of course; but binary kernel modules are a contentious issue, anyway, and while most people seem to believe that they're a violation of the kernel's license, they have been tolerated so far. But I don't really see why you'd need kernel support here.
    • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by halivar (535827)
      No more so than it's child's play to decrypt SSH packets when given access to the OpenSSH source code, I would imagine.
      • Re:GPL? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dare nMc (468959)
        > No more so than it's child's play to decrypt SSH packets when given access to the OpenSSH source code, I would imagine.
        not sure if you entended to prove them GP right, or wrong.

        It is trivial to decrypt SSH packets, that is the reason for it's success. You need the key to do that, and once you got the data across, you are free to do whatever with the results with no way to know SSH was ever involved.

        So ya opensource DRM would work if the goal is to allow the consumer to make sure they got the files fro
  • by babbling (952366) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:42AM (#15106091)
    Ditch DRM or die.
  • by wangf00 (901609)
    seen waving his hand, saying, "you don't need to see the source code."
  • As long as I am the one in control of my own computer and what it does (or does not do) instead of a mega corporation, then DRM is fine and dandy.
  • Seriously, no one likes your product. You left a bad taste in our mouths with your nagware/adware supported POS software back in the day. Your format and codec suck, and there's really no point in your continued existence. FALL INTO A FIRE AND DIE.
  • Wrong way around (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:46AM (#15106132)

    Ask not for the future of Linux without DRM, but for the future of DRM without Linux (or other free OSes, for that matter).

    If DRM becomes as oppressive as the big media players seem to want it to be, then it will drive people away from platforms requiring it and towards platforms that circumvent it. Moreover, there are enough such people that attempting to legislate such platforms out of existence is unlikely to meet with success, at least not for very long.

    History furnishes few examples of big business successfully forcing the people to accept something not in their interests for extended periods. Once the public get wise to something, it will stop.

    • Re:Wrong way around (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dwandy (907337)
      from TFA:

      "The consequences of Linux not supporting DRM would be that fixed-purpose consumer electronics and Windows PCs would be the sole entertainment platforms available," Ayars said

      I'm amused that he believes the only way to play media is in shackles. I, for one, actually started down the Win-to-Lin migration path *because* of things like DRM. I absolutely refuse to let someone else tell me how I am going to use my general purpose computer.
      The coffee I bought at Starbucks this morning didn't come with

    • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @02:14PM (#15107361) Homepage Journal
      If DRM becomes as oppressive as the big media players seem to want it to be, then it will drive people away from platforms requiring it and towards platforms that circumvent it.

      Back in the late 80's and early 90's, I was involved in a case that got a lot less publicity, but is perhaps an instructive parallel.

      At that time, AT&T's Sys/V unix was a market leader, and most vendors sold it with a curious restriction: The low-end systems had a limit of two simultaneous logins. For a price (on the order of $100), you could get an "upgrade" that relaxed this restriction. All it did was overwrite one or two bytes in one of the system files somewhere, but it would cost you.

      There were the usual problems with the /bin/login program, however. The frustrating part was that when something didn't work, all you got was a cryptic message that didn't tell you what the problem was. So I wrote another login program that pretty much did what /bin/login did, but it had a -d option to specify a debug level, so you could get a detailed log of a login exchange, complete with lots of information about anything that failed.

      It didn't enforce the login limit, because I didn't know how to determine the limit. There were discussions of this on mailing lists and newsgroups, where some people mentioned that they used my login mostly because it didn't enforce the login limit.

      I publicly offered to implement the limit (as a command-line option ;-), if only someone at AT&T would tell me where to find it. I never heard from them, though we knew that a lot of AT&T techies were reading the lists. Our theory was that if they told us where the limit was, we could simply erase it.

      We certainly could, of course, but this was silly on its face. We didn't need to erase it; we had my login program, duh. There were a few questions as to whether my program was legal. But we decided that was also silly; it was just a program that opened a port, did a bit of I/O, and then exec'd another program. If that's illegal, it would shoot down lots of important commercial apps that used the serial ports to talk to lots of useful gadgetry. Requiring that a plugged-in gadget go through /bin/login's checks is nonsensical on its face.

      Anyway you don't see any such discussion any more. To my knowledge, there are no longer any unix-like systems that have such a limit. At least I haven't encountered one for the last 8 or 10 years. Not even OS X has a login limit. (Anyone know of a system that does?)

      These days, we're seeing the same fuss over DRM limits. These limits are just as arbitrary and artificial as AT&T's login limit was. The purpose is to prevent users from using their computers' capabilities without paying extra for an "upgrade" that amounts to overwriting a few bytes in some hidden config file. Such an upgrade must be possible, because if the DRM is enforced everywhere, everywhere includes recording studios and production facilities, and nobody can produce commercial recordings. So there has to be a way to allow DRM violations for "professional" customers who pay enough to get those few bytes changed.

      I'm betting that DRM will fall to the same quandary that killed off the AT&T login limit.

      Of course, if they give me specs for their DRM, I'll be happy to add it (as a command-line option ;-) to my software. To make it easy, they should post the code (in C, perl, tcl and python, please) where we can all download it and use it.

      Maybe we can add a +DRM option to the cp, scp and rsync commands. I wouldn't object to the inclusion of such an option.

  • analogy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ch-chuck (9622)
    I guess it's like a visiting dignitary - if you want so-n-so to visit your country, you have to help provide him/her police protection. In The Future® if you want pop star so-n-so to appear on your computer in audio or video, you'll need DRM to protect the material from getting around without permission.

    • Re:analogy (Score:3, Funny)

      by Opportunist (166417)
      I'm doing just fine without certain people and certain music.

      If you don't want to come to MY house on MY terms, stay where you are!
  • But I hope that it doesn't support DRM! With Vista going to DRM, I may be heading to Linux full-time.

    On a side note, when was the last time anyone used RealPlayer? I just haven't found a practical use for it since around '99, but it still seems to get on other users machines.
  • If it's a fight between Linux and Real, please GOD let Linux win!
  • by Fordiman (689627) * <fordiman@gmailGI ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:46AM (#15106140) Homepage Journal
    I'm sorry, but when was the last time this joker was relevant? 1996?
  • Kernel Driver? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CPIMatt (206195) *
    Wouldn't a DRM solution also include a closed source kernel driver? Even if you couldn't remove the DRM from the player, it still has to talk to the audio card. As far as I know all audio boards aren't encrypted, so you could modify the open source audio driver to capture the digital signal.

    -Matt
  • "DRM or die!"?

    What is that? Famous last words?

    Seems more like "support what your users want or die!" to me.

  • Is this guy proposing to kill linux? And how exactly would he do that? go find all those volunteers and break their knuckles? Come on. People don't want DRM. Some people want linux. You can't stop that.

  • No DRM for me. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Omnifarious (11933) *

    I won't use software that implements it, and I won't watch or listen to media that uses it. It is a direct attack on my freedom, and I don't take kindly to that at all.

    If the Linux community had any backbone, he would've been booed off the stage after he finished speaking. If it's DRM or die, I'd rather the latter.

    • Re:No DRM for me. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HoboMaster (639861) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:11PM (#15106371)
      So, you don't watch DVDs?
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:51AM (#15106185) Homepage Journal
    As of today, I can buy CDs and DVDs that are DRM-free (or so nearly so that I don't care) for cheap, then shift them into the formats I find convenient. I haven't figured out yet what DRM would give me over and above that. Is it price? That certainly doesn't seem to be the case. Convenience? iTunes Music Store is nifty, but since I have to leave my house to go to work each day anyway, that's not a huge win.

    So, tell me *AA, what benefit does your DRM supposedly have to me, your customer? What would make me decide that your crippleware is actually something I'd want? Go ahead: we're listening.

    • by doublem (118724) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:23PM (#15106469) Homepage Journal
      The media moguls want DRM, therefore, there will be DRM.

      You see, as a consumer, you';re just a blind, dumb automaton responding to media campaigns. Your "rights" don't matter unless money can be made off them.

      They don't care what's good for YOU, they just care what's good for them.

      It's all about cramming their preferred technology down your throat for their benefit,. Don't like it? Be prepared to be labeled a pirate or other "criminal" type.

      Remember Rule #1, demonize your opposition in the public opinion.
  • DRM...why bother? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Drachasor (723880)
    Seriously, is there any real research that actually shows DRM to improve sales, customer relations, the economy, or anything save corporate egos? Contrast this to the numerous studies you can find via a simple google search that show "piracy", if anything, increases overall sales; those who pirate more, buy more than they would otherwise. Also, take Stardock's recent example in the videogame industry. Galactic Civilizations II is a number one seller, and it has no DRM at all. You don't even need a CD in
  • DRM is E-fascisme (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:54AM (#15106212)
    Ayers said: "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers."
    I am a consumer and I am _NOT_ demanding DRM.
    DRM is E-fascisme.
  • The case against DRM (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@HORSEop ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:55AM (#15106221) Journal
    While it's a near-certainty that a DRM-free movie or music download service with major studio backing would become very popular, very quickly, it's equally probable that the files would be wildly pirated as well. But then again, it's already easy enough to find any song or film you need fairly quickly, if you just know where to look. Therefore, it seems much less certain that unprotected content would cause much harm to the pocketbooks of RIAA and MPAA members.

    And if the major Linux players go ahead and support DRM? Then other Linux distributors will come along with their DRM-less versions and scoop up market sahre, and users will see the movies and listen to the music they want to anyway using pirated versions of stuff. Let's not forget, what a coder creates, another coder can hack. No amount of DRM is going to keep enterprising coders from breaking it and freeing the content. The DRM camp is, as usual, kidding themselves.

    And we've had unprotected media around us for years, like FM radio or good old cable TV, and all we need in order to make unauthorized copies of those broadcasts are cassette radios or VCRs. Just because content has gone digital shouldn't mean that we all are going to turn into the dirty, rotten pirates in need of heavy restraints that DRM proponents seem to assume that we are.

    There will always be freely available content, if you know where to look. Let's not forget: many radio stations stream their audio already, and how hard is it to record that stream? A user will always be able to pick up the content they want given the effort, the RIAA and all its cronies be damned. It doesn't make us criminals, but consumers forced to extraordinary lenghts to get the things we want without having to be beholden big media over and over again.

    • "And if the major Linux players go ahead and support DRM? Then other Linux distributors will come along with their DRM-less versions and scoop up market sahre, and users will see the movies and listen to the music they want to anyway using pirated versions of stuff. Let's not forget, what a coder creates, another coder can hack. No amount of DRM is going to keep enterprising coders from breaking it and freeing the content. The DRM camp is, as usual, kidding themselves."

      A DRM-less version will have no advant
    • Sorry, Billosaur, I'm not picking on you in particular, but your post was the last one before I decided to say something about it.

      Whatever happened to the word "Patrons"? or "Customers"? Did anybody notice that?

      People are not consumers. Bacteria are consumers. Mindless consuming machines. The word itself is demeaning.

      I think it's high time that business started remembering the slogans: "The Customer is always right", and "Thank you for patronizing us". I think the shift to the demeaning and inhuman word, "
  • Willingness to lie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caffeination (947825) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:59AM (#15106256)
    This is one of the most blatant, bare faced lies I've ever seen.
    "The consequences of Linux not supporting DRM would be that fixed-purpose consumer electronics and Windows PCs would be the sole entertainment platforms available," Ayers said. "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers."
    Not only is the first sentence not the intuitive fact it's presented as, but the last one is just pure crap. We didn't bend over to have DVD protection inserted, and now Linux is a better platform for DVD than Windows. We have compatibility with everyone's favourite digital format: mp3. These are the only two things I can see mattering for several years.

    Hilariously, their very greed is still the thing that holds them back. Each company jealously cautious about "licensing" its proprietary format, everyone in "talks", the whole PS3 fiasco...

    I'm not even worrying about this any more. Hopefully they will continue to try to compete technologically with FOSS, because so far, it's worked out great.

    • by Serapth (643581) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:10PM (#15106355)
      We didn't bend over to have DVD protection inserted, and now Linux is a better platform for DVD than Windows.

      First off... you remember what Linux went through to get DVD playback to even work? You know, the whole process of reverse engineering and cracking the protection algorithm. Or the court case against the author, followed by the legal battle funded by the EFF? No, Linux didnt bend over getting DVD support, but they sure as hell didnt have an easy go at it.

      As to being a better platform for DVDs, what??!!? Dvd.. insert... play movie. On modern hardware Linux and Windows basically render the same quality output, both have basically the same functional specs. What exactly makes linux the better ( or worse ) platform for DVDs here?

      The arrival of Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and secure Cable/HDTV is nothing but bad news for linux. Many times the barrier may be as simple as the fee required to get your hardware deviced signed. Beyond that, the laws today make reverse engineering, even whiteroom a very difficult (legal) prospect. Keeping support for the newest media storage schemes and hardware is going to be a hell of alot harder for the linux crowd then it will be for Microsoft.
      • What exactly makes linux the better ( or worse ) platform for DVDs here?
        Region encoding.
      • by XanC (644172) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:32PM (#15106529)
        What exactly makes linux the better ( or worse ) platform for DVDs here?

        mplayer doesn't tell me "action not allowed" or that I must go through the menu. I put in the DVD and tell it to play Title 1. That's it.

        In Windows, (or on a "real" DVD player), it's watch a few ads, look at the FBI warning, wait for the damn animation to finish, push Play, wait for another damn animation....

      • by derF024 (36585) *
        As to being a better platform for DVDs, what??!!? Dvd.. insert... play movie. On modern hardware Linux and Windows basically render the same quality output, both have basically the same functional specs. What exactly makes linux the better ( or worse ) platform for DVDs here?

        I've come across Windows machines that would noticably drop frames, let the video fall out of sync with the audio, and pixelate due to some background process suddenly grabbing part of the CPU where similarly speced linux machines never
    • by m50d (797211)
      Not only is the first sentence not the intuitive fact it's presented as, but the last one is just pure crap. We didn't bend over to have DVD protection inserted, and now Linux is a better platform for DVD than Windows.

      This may hurt your philosophy, but we were lucky and they were stupid. They don't have to let it happen again. With appropriate hardware support (and it's there in the EFI spec, so the mac crowd have it already) there's no reason at all DRM can't be effective.

  • by argoff (142580) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:00PM (#15106265)
    There is an old saying....

    If you want success: grow
    If you want spectacular success: grow and use leverage

    My point is that I don't see any reason in the world why we shouldn't be trying to use Linux as leverage against people who are trying to impose DRM. Market forces are clearly pushing Linux in spite of them anyhow. What do people who controll content really have to offer us that we somehow can't manage without? The truth is that the future is not about extracting revenue from content, but instead extracting revenue from content related services.

    IMHO, just as the plantation system tried to deal with the industrial revolution by fencing off the south and breaking off from the Union, the media system today is trying to deal with the information age by using DRM to fence off all content. Both are doomed stratigies, and the sooner we kill copyright and tools used to impose them, the sooner we will be doing ourselves and the information age a big favor.
  • by Zephyros (966835) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:09PM (#15106346)

    In spite of the fact that I know I should know better, I find myself continually surprised by these execs just...not...getting it. The companies are hanging onto an obsolete business model. Consumers want our digital rights protected, not the company's.

    My hope is that one day they screw up and lock things down so tightly and inconveniently that Joe 'Average' Sixpack sits up and takes notice. The Sony rootkit fiasco was a start. That's who we need to convince, because if we get the mass market aware of and against DRM, the companies will face a tougher challenge in restricting our rights.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:14PM (#15106399)
    The content industry sees DRM as its saviour from the pirates. In fact, it will be their doom. Let's take a look at what DRM will do, and to whom.

    For this we'll be looking at four groups of people:

    1. The joe average sixpack crowd, who buy some music, copy some more from his friends and generally think DRM is the new acronym for the thingie to plug into your car to make it faster. He's getting some music online, doesn't make heavy use of torrent and is still plugged into Kazaa, but complains he doesn't find much anymore.

    2. The people who use suck the net dry, whether they need it or not. It's there, it's free, it's on my HD. They don't know jack about the inner workings of the DeCSS, don't know who broke it, but they use it to rip it, with the neat and foolproof tools provided.

    3. The people who know what DRM means to their privacy and who fear, hate and fight it. Not necessarily in that order. Out of principle, not because they want to pirate what's available. But it's a privacy thing.

    4. The people with The Clue to actually break DRM.

    Group 1 will suddenly notice that their movies don't work anymore, or that they can't play the movie in the player they want. They bought a $3000+ HDTV set and they now got the same crappy rez because some part isn't to the DRM's liking, so they get the low-rez instead of the promised HD quality. They're understandably pissed, sink another 2k into the system to get better resolution and then find out that, again, some things will work while others don't, they suddenly can't borrow movies from their friends anymore. They do buy most of their movies, but they're PISSED because more often than not the DRM locks them out of their (bought) movies, following the creed of "better prohibit too much than allow too much".

    Group 2 will notice that they can't play the ripped movies anymore. They won't do anything about it but google the web up and down 'til Group 4 provides them with the tools to rip again. They won't buy a single movie. They're not in for the movie, they're in for the "wanna have".

    Group 3 will talk to Group 1 and blame whatever irks them on DRM. Until Group 1 starts listening to it and starts digging up information about DRM. And they get MORE pissed. Group 3 doesn't buy movies either. They're not in for the movies, they're in for the privacy issues.

    And finally Group 4 will spend its time tinkering with the DRM, they'll burn a few of the DRM crates 'til they figure out how to break it, release it and then we are right where we are now.

    With a few differences.

    Group 2-4 don't change their behaviour at all. They didn't buy before, they won't buy after. Group 1, though, is not PISSED at the industry for making it all so "complicated" and they will think and ask twice before ever buying any new equipment. They will no longer be on the spearhead of adaption, they will wait 'til one of their clued friends tells them that it's ok to get one of those babies.

    Who loses? Right. The content industry.
    Who wins? Nobody.
  • by twitter (104583) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:15PM (#15106410) Homepage Journal
    This could not be more backward:

    Ayers said. "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers."

    People want music and movies not some greedy pig's Digital Restrictions Management. The absolute failure of "Plays for Sure" to gain any market share is because the DRM sucks. No one wants dissapearing music and convoluted subscription plans. You can, right now, get movies and music outside of such restrictions and that's where people are going to go.

    • Archive.org [archive.org] has more than 33,000 live concerts and 70,000 recordings.
    • Magnatune [magnatune.com] has all sorts of good music.
    • Star Wreck [starwreck.com] shows what kind of movie can be made with a good idea and a few junky old computers and a few hundred bucks.

    That's just the beginning.

    These are the new winners. Their work is excellent and they are the kind of people I want to spend my money on. Do you think for an instant that I'm going to corrupt my computer with crap that will lock them out? I'm not alone. People are already outraged by DRM'd CDs and the only people less trusted than Sony is Microsoft. When whole collections vanish they will really howl. The winners will sit pretty on their nice media and wonder what all the fuss is about. Their market share is going to go up and up.

    I'm keeping my set top box for the old losers but it's going away. You can get them for $40 at the walmart and they do a nice slide show if you feed them a CD of your jpegs. I'll give the MPAA four bucks here and there to watch their little movies. That's all it takes to not feel like I live in a cave. As more content becomes available elsewhere, I'll spend less of my time and money on that set top box. I've already dropped cable TV and don't miss it.

  • by pjkundert (597719) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:20PM (#15106450) Homepage
    ...Safe Candy Bars of America has announced that 7-11 is doomed to fail, unless it implements DCM (Digital Candy-bar Management).

    "After all, what candy-bar maker is going to ship candy bars to a 7-11, when any client can come in and just put one in his pocket? It's impossible to make money in such an environment. It's just... Un-American!"

    says Hugh Bluehose, CEO of Safe Candy Bars.

    "7-11 had better get their act together. We're working with our friends in Congress, who we've helped to really understand this whole industry, to ensure that Americans are protected from the scourge of illegal dealing in plastic-wrapped, un-protected candy bars. We're committed to putting companies based on criminal candy-bar infringement strategies out of business, and behind bars."

    Later, when chatting with Bat Fridwig, technical lead of Microsofts EatsForSure project, we were informed that:

    "There is just no market for un-protected candy-bars. It's not possible for any company to make money selling such unsafe candy-bars, long term. Why would anyone buy a candy bar, when they can just go swipe one? I mean, really..."

  • by Kilz (741999) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:33PM (#15106534)
    Why? You cant easily DRM Linux. Why , well imho its because Linux is community driven not profit driven. While some people make a profit off Linux it is not its end all be all. There is no central company to buy off to put DRM in. Communities design it to be free and open. Any project that decides to become DRM infested will lose community support. Without a community behind it the project is as good as dead. When one distro dies 4 more take its place. It isn't hard to do. Its easy to do with Linux, its called a fork! Using the last available code that wasn't DRM infected. But the biggest fear of the DRM crowd is that Linux is a DRM free alternative. mThey fear more people will find Linux is open, and easier than they thought. I know I did, no trusted computing OS for me! I see this as the biggest fear from people like Real. Will linux have DRM in the future? Maybe. It could be mandated by law, or some other dirty trick. But it all comes down to trust. Do I trust the Linux community or or closed sorce companies not to take away more than is abaslutly necessary? For me , its a no brainer.
  • Support Them All (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @12:51PM (#15106673) Homepage Journal
    Linux is open software. I want to be able to play DRM content, as well as non-DRM content. Why should my "more open" platform be more closed to some formats? Let proprietary systems, like Windows and RealNetworks' servers, suffer from less content because they support only DRM content. Support all the formats, make content creation cheap and easy without DRM, and let people choose what we want to produce and consume. The open, easy to share stuff will win. Along the way it might even bring low the high & mighty Hollywood brand franchises and the DRM-mongers who love them.
  • Nah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:00PM (#15106749)
    "The consequences of Linux not supporting DRM would be that fixed-purpose consumer electronics and Windows PCs would be the sole entertainment platforms available," Ayers said. "Linux would be further relegated to use in servers and business computers, since it would not be providing the multimedia technologies demanded by consumers."

    Nah, the rest of us non-Windows lusers will just use the pirated versions of content, since it'll be easier. Fuck the recording companies with a sharp, pointy, broken-glass-studded 12" long motorized 6666 rpm dildo. This will encourage *more* piracy, not less. And artists/bands will still make money by having concerts - if you like a band these days, you'll go to one of their concerts to get the full experience anyway. Free music will just give them more exposure - I downloaded music that I'd never even *heard* before from my college's network in the 90s, and I ended up liking quite a few of those bands, and going to their concerts or buying CDs. I think that the more piracy will also encourage artists to innovate or starve, since they won't be able to make money selling recordings of their music from 25 years ago.

    -b.

    • DRM isn't about stopping piracy. Piracy is nothing compared to the potential market of forcing the rest of the population that doesn't do pirating (about 85% right now, though that will decline as they push this) to have to pay extra just to play the music or watch the videos they already have. The content industry sees riches in everyone having to buy yet another copy for each different device, and even having to buy replacements for worn out copies (something they tried back when music was on 12 inch vi

  • by obender (546976) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:47PM (#15107128)
    (realplay.bin:609): Pango-CRITICAL **: _pango_engine_shape_shape: assertion `PANGO_IS_FONT (font)' failed

    Pango-ERROR **: file shape.c: line 75 (pango_shape): assertion failed: (glyphs->num_glyphs > 0)
    aborting...
    And that's all I have to say about RealPlayer. I'll stick to VideoLan, thank you very much.
  • by janolder (536297) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:17PM (#15108963) Homepage
    My wife got an iPod nano for her birthday. She is also in the habit of getting books on CD from the library. The library recently started handing out DRMed copies of said books on CD, so my wife thought it would be quite neat to get one of those books and put it on her iPod.

    Due to various problems with the library's web site it took her a few hours to download the books. Amusingly (for me), the library DRM turned out to be Microsoft's PlayForSure which doesn't play on iPod, for sure. I was able to witness firsthand what DRM does to Jane user: At first she was confused. Then she was annoyed. Then she asked me what was going on. Then she was furious.

    Moral of the story: My wife will NEVER accept DRM ever again. She'd rather pick up a good old book at the library than waste any money on **AA's broken products, be it music or video.

    I think the **AA industry overestimates its own importance. DRMed entertainment is not a necessity of life. Once time and space shiftable media such as CDs and DVDs disappear, we'll likely cease to consume any **AA media altogether. We've already cancelled our cable subscription due to the poor programming and amazingly annoying ads. There are better things to do.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:45AM (#15111717)
    DRM will only be relevent in the USA and only on new platforms - but the market for software such as this is global. It's companies like Realmedia that will have to adapt and not linux or the vast number of installed copies of older operating systems that don't have DRM.

    Other countries will not enforce some weird Hollywood protectionist legislation (which is really the core of DRM) unless it is forced upon them as part of a trade deal. The hardware with DRM will cost more to manufacture than that without - so it may just end up being a drag on US manufacturers who will be facing competition form cheaper imports without it. How much does Hollywood add to the revenue base for it to merit special protectionist laws that hurt larger portions of the economy - don't most large movies make a loss on paper to avoid tax?

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