Monday, August 01, 2005

MacTel: when everyone says it's not about the digital rights management ... (OS X on Intel)

MacInTouch: timely news and tips about the Apple Macintosh

... then it's about the digital rights management:
Cory Doctorow writes a potentially huge issue with content control in Apple's upcoming systems: "People working with early versions of the forthcoming Intel-based MacOS X operating system have discovered that Apple's new kernel makes use of Intel's Trusted Computing hardware. If this 'feature' appears in a commercial, shipping version of Apple's OS, they'll lose me as a customer -- I've used Apple computers since 1979 and have a Mac tattooed on my right bicep, but this is a deal-breaker. [...]"
Somewhere in my posts on the MacTel conversion is a note of mine that I thought this was really about the DRM (though I think the stated explanation of energy efficiencey was important too). When almost every commentator on the MacTel conversion said "it's not about the DRM", I became ever more convinced that it was about the DRM.

Intel invested a lot of money in the hardware components of 'Palladium' and they've doubtless numerous related patents. Apple has made a deal with the devil, but there really wasn't much choice. DRM is coming -- like it or not.

This is about entertainment and the home video systems, and they need DRM. It's also about corporate security, hospital security, governmental security, eCommerce, authentication, controlling encryption, etc, etc. Everyone wants very powerful DRM -- except consumers, but they they don't have a clue about what's going on. (Question to ask: When you get married, do you get rights to view your spouse's videos? What about when you divorce?)

If you want to copy a movie in future, it will be by videotaping the projector output and recording the sound -- probably using black market or aging equipment. That will work until 2030, when experiencing VR entertainment will require splicing a DRM chip into the retinal nerves (your grandkids will think this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do).

Intel's DRM will work. My G5 iMac may be worth more in 3 years than it is now -- because it can't support Palladium. In ten years, of course, it may be illegal ... :-).

Update: more details on Slashdot. The commentary is largely rather dull however.

Update 5/12/07: Thus far the Intel/DRM connection hasn't shown up. Terrible thought - could I have been wrong?

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