The reality of DRM is that, absent having a TPM that enforces some sort of software integrity that reasonably ensures that the player is sending the video to a trusted display (TPM validating OS validating player software validating HDCP connection), you're going to be stuck with some security-by-obscurity closed source components, or "plugins". It's unfortunate but I can't honestly see a way around that without much larger changes (like trusted computing, but in a slightly less evil implementation hopefully). The "better alternative" to native apps then becomes allowing DRM to be done in the browser in the least intrusive manner possible -- that is, use as much of the browser's code as possible and have the plugin footprint be as small as possible. Today Flash and Silverlight are used not just for DRM but for the entire player application, ideally the player application could be mostly in HTML and using the browser's stack as much as possible, calling out to the DRM module only for either decryption or saying "Please composite this decrypted stream into that div".
It's so tempting to just sit in the corner and say "DRM is evil, we don't want to taint the web with it" but unfortunately, as is often the case in the real world, we don't get to make decisions in isolation of their consequences. DRM on the web is already a reality, largely using Flash or Silverlight (see e.g. Hulu, Netflix). However, both of these platforms face problems -- Silverlight in particular seems to have a rather uncertain future, Flash availability on tablets and mobile in general is largely non-existant. The poster asks us to "please use other applications when necessary" - is this really a good answer? That is going to lead to even less interoperability, and I would argue it hurts the web at a time when it's already fighting a serious battle against native apps that generally offer developers better control (of UI, no random GC pauses, actual threading models, etc). It's easy to say "DRM will harm the web", it's a bit harder to foresee what the eventualities of telling people "please go away and use native apps" are.
I expect this is likely not going to be a popular response, but in short please realize that this is not as simple as saying "DRM is bad". Yes, DRM sucks but I'd argue that in the long run, having a hobbled web platform losing out to native apps (see e.g. iOS) is going to suck more.
I respectfully disagree. I think the career experiences you gain after university can take you in many different directions, and with CS especially you have options in many different fields (far more opportunity to move around from CS to something else than from Aero to CS). Straight out of college, the Aero or MechE degree isn't going to get you a job as a software engineer at Google or Facebook. It may get you a job "programming" somewhere obscure, but you're going to be hard pressed to find a top-tier employer hiring a software engineer these days with a person who is a recent graduate and who didn't do CS. (I also believe there's a difference between computer science, software engineering, and programming, but that's probably a long enough rant for a different post.) The computer scientist could easily get a job at Northrop or Boeing working on embedded control systems for aeronautical / space systems. If they build the systems that model these components and work closely enough in the field, perhaps that bleeds over into an actual aero design job, but to be frank I'd say the chance of that happening is about the same as someone with an aero or MechE background landing a job as a software engineer at a top-tier company. However, the CS person has a much wider swath of potential employers and industries than the Aero person.