Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Aero To Be Unavailable To Pirates 630

An anonymous reader writes "Users thinking of pirating the next version of Windows may have a surprise in store: no Aero for you. The upcoming Microsoft OS will run a check to ensure the copy was legally purchased. If it comes up short, the shiniest part of the OS will not be available." From the article: "At first an optional program, the piracy check eventually became mandatory for many types of Windows XP downloads, but was not required to run any aspect of the operating system itself. Microsoft has identified reducing piracy as a key way for the company to grow its sales of Windows, which is already used on more than 90 percent of personal computers. But it's not just pirates who will be blocked from Windows' fanciest graphics. The Aero display also won't be available to those who buy Windows Vista Basic, the low-end consumer version of the operating system."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Aero To Be Unavailable To Pirates

Comments Filter:
  • by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:32AM (#15120341) Homepage Journal
    The first thing I do when I install XP is disable Luna and all the graphical tweaks except for show window contents while dragging. XP is nice and snappy and stable when you make it look like 95! uptime.0.jpg []
  • by dioscaido ( 541037 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:42AM (#15120427)
    While it's great to suspect some extortion/conspiracy theory, the signed driver requirement is in place so that it'll be much harder for Hacker McPhee to install that driver rootkit on your machine.

    For a legitimate hardware manufacturer it is not difficult at all to get their drivers signed through a certificate authority. This is not done through Microsoft (and is different from their certification programs).

    Here's the text from t/kmsigning.mspx []:

    To obtain a PIC, a publisher must first obtain a VeriSign Class 3 Commercial Software Publisher Certificate. Registration with Verisign results in establishing a credential that can be used to establish a Microsoft Windows Quality Online Services (Winqual) account. The publisher can then use that certificate to authenticate itself to Microsoft. If the certificate is valid, Microsoft issues a PIC.
    A publisher typically completes the authentication process once a year through the Winqual Web site. The process is completed over a channel that is protected by the secure sockets layer (SSL). Figure 1 illustrates the process of obtaining a PIC. For more information about Winqual, see "Resources" at the end of this paper.

    Figure 1. Obtaining a PIC
    Important: The process of obtaining a PIC is separate from the Windows Logo Program submission process. The PIC signing capability does not replace the WHQL program. Microsoft encourages publishers to use the WHQL programs such as the Logo and Driver Reliability Signing programs, whenever possible. The primary purpose of the PIC program is to introduce identity into the kernel-mode and driver ecosystem, in cases where participation in the WHQL program might not be suitable. The PIC signing capability does not require the publisher to pass certain Windows Logo Program testing requirements associated with WHQL.
  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:52AM (#15120501) Homepage Journal
    I find a little strong...

    the average XP user downloads cygwin, ming, lcc-win32 or others for development, OpenOffice for a suite, firefox/mozilla for browsing, etc...

    I cry utter bullshit on each element, and ask you to give a cite for a single one.
    1-average xp user downloads cygwin
    2-average xp user downloads lcc-win32
    3-average xp user downloads/uses open office
    4-average xp user uses firefox/mozilla

    2nd, the price of XPhome+office student&teacher edition is about 325$ retail.

    the AVERAGE XP user wants a free media player, and all the other XP goodies,
    and doesn't give a shit about superior alternatives for most of it... they want easy.

    now, your personal experience (and mine) is not the same- but it's also ABOVE average- FAR ABOVE average- than the average xp user.

    and- selling to the average man- IS what sells.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:53AM (#15120513)
    "2) How does Aero differ from numerous attempts at 3D desktops that are already out there? Why will users really miss it?"

    One of the BFD's about Aero is that apps can be rescaled etc. (Hence all the vector-based stuff going on with the video card.) The idea is that Vista will support 300DPI monitors. I read a story a couple of years ago about how Microsoft and ... oh I want to say it was Viewsonic but I could be wrong ... made a deal to develope a 5,000 pixel wide LCD monitor. The text and icons would still be drawn at a reasonable size, but they'd be a hell of a lot clearer. If these monitors turn into reality *and* they become wide-spread, then Aero will definitely be an important factor with Windows.

    As for Aero's other graphical nicities, well it's hard to say. Everybody here claims they don't want to waste the resources etc, but everybody gets all giggly and bouncy when there's new OSX or KDE screenshots.
  • by adolfojp ( 730818 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @09:57AM (#15120551)
    I would really like to see a free Windows OS "Core" kernal system...
    You can try ReactOS. I know that is not what you want, but it is as close as you can get today. []
  • by _xeno_ ( 155264 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:03AM (#15120605) Homepage Journal
    1) Is Aero relevant to Vista's inner workings, i.e. is it a real limitation to its functionality if missing? If yes, how severe a limitation?

    Aero is just a new graphics engine for Windows Vista. Removing it makes Windows fall back on the current graphics engine used in Windows XP. (Well, presumably a slightly newer version, but you get the idea.) A Linux analogy would be xgl (Aero) versus standard X.

    Essentially the only limitation is that you won't get transparent window title bars and the icons won't be as flashy. So it's hardly a limitation, unless you like your eyecandy. (And some people do.)

    2) How does Aero differ from numerous attempts at 3D desktops that are already out there? Why will users really miss it?

    It's not a 3D desktop, it's a plain 2D desktop that uses 3D acceleration to speed the GUI. Chances are that most people will actually find that using Aero will reduce CPU usage and (potentially) lessens memory usage for the graphics layer, since it offloads much of that work to the GPU.

    Essentially it uses the 3D graphics abilities of the graphics card to handle rendering 2D graphics. This is practically identical to the way OS X and xgl work - both use the 3D acceleration abilities of a graphics card to render 2D graphics.

    As for "will users really miss it" - that's a definite maybe. My dad just spent a good week or so getting xgl running on his desktop to generate Aero-style effects under KDE, so some people want the eye candy. But other people probably won't even notice it's missing. It depends on the user.

    3) What are the chances that Aero will stay off-limits to "pirates" for any extended period of time?

    Slim to nil. :)

  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:24AM (#15120801)
    One of the BFD's about Aero is that apps can be rescaled etc

    Ok, might as well post this here, even though I have seen tons of people not know anything about it...

    Aero is the 'glass' UI of Explorer and Window Frames, you also get a few functions that are also part of Explorer, like Flip 3D.

    However, the scaleable UI of applications and Windows Vista itself have NOTHING to do with AERO.

    The scaleable UI and the new graphics subsystem and API in Vista is based on WPF (Avalon) and this NEVER turns off, even if your Video card is VGA Only from 1990.

    So everyone please STOP assuming this has anything to do with the Vector composer, the new API replacing GDI+ or any other cool rumor people that know little about Vista want to dig out of the closet.

    Here, check out this great site calle, it even will explain this to you. Or people could go to and actually read this for themselves.

    (This post is for all the people in this thread, not just the one I am responding too. If you don't know enough about Vista's Graphics and think it is like OSX's, or think the Aero 'Theme' is Avalon or any other confusing thing, either don't worry about it cause you aren't ever planning on using Vista, or if you might or have customers that might, go check it out so you aren't making silly statements.)
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:31AM (#15120846)
    Aero is just a new graphics engine for Windows Vista. Removing it makes Windows fall back on the current graphics engine used in Windows XP.

    Ok, NO...

    AERO is the UI Effects of Window Borders and the 'glass' Theme, it is also a part of a few effect in Explorer like Flip3D.

    The Graphic Engine in Windows is WPF/Avalon, and it fully functions even if you have a VGA Card, and it HAS NOTHING to do with the AERO 'THEME'.

    Even with AERO turned off, applicaitons will still use the NEW API that replaces the GDI+ graphics subsystem in WindowsXP, and is NOT dependant on hardware, what so ever.

    If Microsoft disabled the whole new graphics API because of turning off Aero would break the entire OS, not just turn off the shinny window frames.

    Check out or or even freaking

    Even, there are some cool articles that explain this in detail and even go as far to explain the Vector Composer that sets the new Graphics subsystem of Vista apart from anything else.
  • by TheNetAvenger ( 624455 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:37AM (#15120888)
    1) Is Aero relevant to Vista's inner workings, i.e. is it a real limitation to its functionality if missing? If yes, how severe a limitation?

    No, and disregard the posts stating otherwise.

    Aero is simply this... The THEME, and because of the Vista capabilities the THEME adds 'glass' Frames to Windows, and also adds a few cute effects to explorer, like the Flip3D.

    As for any loss of functionality, there is none, even if you are running on a 1990 VGA Video card with AERO turned off or disabled. The whole new graphics subsystem in Vista is NOT dependant on hardware and it is NOT AERO.
  • by InThane ( 2300 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:47AM (#15120970) Homepage Journal
    (Note - read the whole thing before assuming I went off at the hip on this post. It's stream of consciousness, something I know is rare at /.)

    Or at least, I thought it wasn't going to until I read this list: ions.asp []

    The specific line to look at is "Windows Activation Services". If this is correct, Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is going to be about the most pirated version of Windows ever.

    The original story I'd heard back when the rumors of seven different versions popped up was that only the basic Business version wouldn't have product activation code built into it - and that it would be lacking hardware Direct3D and OpenGL support, as well as Aero Glass. Since your basic office workstation doesn't need 3d hardware acceleration, (No, CAD/CAM/Maya/whatever is NOT your basic office workstation) and pirates would be more likely to look down on that version as "crippleware" that would keep the amount of piracy down to a dull roar.

    From that chart, if it's accurate, it looks like ALL the business versions, as well as Ultimate, are lacking product activation, and since all business versions support Aero, they all have at least Direct3D implemented - no idea if Microsoft will continue to support OpenGL, however. :P

    Then I noticed the little line at the top about how this page was out of date, and there's an updated page. The URL is: ions_final.asp []

    I did a diff of the two pages... (Currently examining diff)

    Nothing too radical, except the licensing line is missing. Hmm. Make of that what you will. Google isn't turning up a whole heck of a lot. Now that I'm looking even further, it looks like "Windows Activation Services" has something to do with IIS 7.0, not product activation.

    Since I can't find anything on Google, and this is /., I'm going to stick my own opinion out there:

    All versions of XP except for volume-licensed versions of Business and Enterprise (which is only being released on a volume license deal) will have product activation. The number of corporate users who will actually buy the Ultimate Edition is a small enough fraction (and most likely, will wield enough political power - I.E. CEO types who think it's neat to have all the toys, and can make somebody else do all the gruntwork for them) that product activation isn't going to be a big deal for that version.

    So, if you want any of the home features, you're going to be stuck with product activation IMO.
  • by juancn ( 596002 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @10:48AM (#15120977) Homepage
    >While it's great to suspect some extortion/conspiracy theory, the signed driver
    >requirement is in place so that it'll be much harder for Hacker McPhee to install that
    >driver rootkit on your machine.

    Actually the real reason is to close the equivalent of the 'analog loophole' in software.

    The easiest way to bypass DRM, for let's say, copyrighted music, in a highly DRMed system, is to write 'fake' soundcard driver. The driver would capture the unencripted audio in digital form.

    You could even write a video card driver to capture video.
  • If the current beta versions of Vista are anything to go by, the signed driver requirment will not be strictly enforced. In the present builds there is an option in the bootloader (F8 during startup), where you can select "Enable Unsigned Drivers" or something like that.

    The implementation makes sense - it stops lusers from getting rootkitted by running a bad attachments, yet allows those who know what they are doing to bypass the checks.
  • What would motivate them to exclude customers like that?

    A specification called "Trusted Network Connect" has been published on the web site. Implementations of TNC collect "endpoint configuration information", allowing the owner of a network to deny a computer access to the network unless it meets the following requirements:

    1. it has a TPM that is turned on,
    2. it is running an operating system version that has been approved by the network owner and not modified, and
    3. it is running a dialer program that has been approved by the network owner and not modified.

    Dialer programs under TNC are charged with enforcing the integrity of the runtime environment on the computer being connected to the network. Now to answer your question, the integrity checks will often include the following features:

    • scanning for viruses, worms, spyware, and spam zombies;
    • verifying that the latest operating system patches and device drivers have been installed;
    • scanning for popular file sharing software and scanning for all-rights-reserved works in shared folders;
    • blocking access to resources deemed illegal by a government agency or by an entertainment industry trade association;
    • enforcing quality of service guidelines such as bandwidth caps and low priority for traffic other than web browsing and receiving e-mail;
    • blocking those incoming and outgoing ports dictated by the network owner;
    • blocking programs other than those approved by the network owner from accessing the Internet; and
    • other features that network owners would find useful.

    TNC may initially sound benign or even desirable when the network owner is an employer. But imagine when the network is that of a residential Internet service provider, and customers have to pay extra per month to get some of the QOS changed or to unblock specific ports. Once almost all computers still in operation have a working TPM (again, by 2015), both the local cable company and the local telephone company are likely to see TNC as a cash cow for their residential Internet access customers. TNC would let them advertise anti-malware, anti-spam, parental control, and helping in the fight against terrorism and child pornography. They're likely to deny you an IP address unless your machine is "trusted". Those 2 percent or fewer customers using a computer without a TPM would just be considered collateral damage who can just go back to dial-up.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @03:10PM (#15123506) Homepage
    "rather, you'll simply tell Windows the DPI of your monitor and it will be able to scale the entire system UI to fit - from icons to text to graphical elements in the GUI."

    Isn't this pretty much what X Windows and OSF/Motif and Display PostScript and so forth were doing in the early 1990s?

    Why on earth should that require any more graphics processing power than is available in the humblest modern CPU?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @04:55PM (#15124734)
    though I must say I don't understand why everyone here prefers to look at gray on gray all day

    Psst. Hey.

    Right click on the Desktop, click on Properties. Go to the Appearance tab, click Advanced, and select 3D Objects.

    You can change the color! Even you can change the color!
  • You forgot to mention that there successors like KDE are still doing it.

  • "and it really is something MS can be proud of if they pull it off"

    Why! Microsoft only has caught on. The only thing they can be proud if is there marketing department selling us stuff "cool and new" which the competition had for 10 years.

    Martin []

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll