Not really O.T. because freeware will go away too if this happens.


J

John Corliss

This is pretty much what I and others have been saying about what MS
(sorry all you Bill Gates lovers, but it's true) has in mind for the
future of software.

From this site and thanks to "Joe":

http://www.jsware.net/jsware/viinfo.html#unjav

the following (also check out the main page at
http://www.jsware.net/jsware/boss.html):
______________________________________
The Future Web - Redefining Computers

Usurping the PC
Computers could be thought of as complex tools. As a tool, a PC
can be used for publishing, design, recordkeeping, playing music,
working with graphic media, etc. Efforts currently afoot aim at
changing that view to the more commercially palatable "computer as
consumption appliance" - a passive outlet that provides services. The
market for computer hardware and software cannot grow indefinitely,
but the market for services and entertainment media can. By recasting
PCs as consumption appliances a whole new market is born, but this
recasting requires a redefinition and perhaps even a rebuilding of
computers. New uses need to be built in and old uses need to be
disabled. In other words, the plan seems to be the conversion of PCs
into passive receivers like TV set-top boxes. This plan requires a
machine that can identify who you are, control and record your usage
of files and software, and charge you for that usage. The challenge is
to convince people (or force them) to stop using the computer
functionality they now have access to, such as installing their choice
of software and freely accessing the Internet.

The web services non-event - redefining the machine
One approach to the redefinition of computers has been the idea of
"web services". A constant trickle of media articles and press
releases gush about the potentially exciting future of web services:
web-based software that obviates the need to buy and install software
on your own computer; and various yet-to-be-defined web-based retail
services. Yet despite the longstanding fervor for web services, the
idea doesn't stand up to scrutiny when applied to a stand-alone computer.

For example, why would you use web-based software? Does it make
sense to pay for every use of a web-based word processor when you
could just install one inexpensively? And how would the web-based
version work? It obviously wouldn't make any sense for each of your
keystrokes to be sent across the Internet to a web-based word
processor, typing a "k" and then waiting for the return communication
that tells your computer to show a "k" on the monitor screen. So the
word processor program would actually have to be installed locally
even though it might appear to be running remotely. The web-based part
would apparently be when the program sends a message across the
Internet to bill you for using your word processor.

As for web-based services, the ideas presented so far have been
unconvincing. They include such strange proposals as online
appointment books and the Starbucks idea for a website where people
who like to be "on the go" can order coffee from their web-enabled
cellphone, then pick it up without waiting in line.

The main purpose of the push toward web services (for home/office
PC users) seems to be its function as propaganda for the consumption
appliance view of computers. That is, the web services model redefines
a PC as a mere interface for accessing digitally-delivered commercial
products.

Software licenses - redefining the software
Another approach to the redefinition of PCs has been through
software licensing. Software licenses have been gradually changing.
Where once licenses described the legal use of a software tool,
increasingly they claim the right to make changes to your system, to
open up remote communication, and even claim that the software cannot
be moved from the machine it's installed on. This is the "Theirware"
described above. It's a subtle, systematic redefinition whereby your
computer is gradually transformed, by legal definition, into an
appliance with embedded software that is not under your control.

Rebuilding hardware
As for rebuilding computers, Microsoft is working on "Palladium",
a restricted-use operating system, and Intel has announced plans for a
new processor that incorporates a "digital certificate" (a built-in ID
and authorization system). AMD, also, plans to support Palladium-type
operating systems with it's new Opteron processor. A few years ago
Intel backed away from putting ID codes in processors and AMD declined
to do it. Now they're both on the bandwagon.

Microsoft conceived Palladium as a hardware-based method to put
usage restrictions on all digital media. The resulting PC might be
compared to a game box or cable TV control box, in the sense that it
would allow only limited operations on the part of the user. With
restrictions built in at the hardware level there would be no way to
bypass file restrictions and Microsoft could sit at the toll gate,
collecting a fee for nearly any digital activity. Whether you want to
download music or edit your own files - Palladium could oversee all of
that. The plan for Palladium is well expressed in the derivation of
the name: Palladium was, according to Webster's dictionary, "the
legendary statue in Troy [of Pallas Athena] on the preservation of
which the safety of the city was supposed to depend."

Microsoft announced the Palladium plan with great fanfare, only to
find that both the public and the "content providers" (music and movie
companies) were worried about how much control Microsoft might
eventually exert with its Palladium operating system. In short order
Palladium was renamed with the notably meaningless and forgettable
phrase: "Next Generation Secure Computing Base". Even the acronym,
NGSCB, is difficult to remember. Perhaps a more appropriate phrase
would be "The-End-Run-Formerly-Known-As-Palladium" (TERFKAP).

As explained in Wired magazine (July, 2003. page 124):
"...Microsoft's so-called Next Generation Secure Computing Base
[Palladium], to be included in the new version of Windows, due to come
to market in 2005. The NGSCB will give content providers the ability
to easily keep computers from altering, printing, or forwarding
digital media."

Microsoft's Palladium system, combined with cooperation from
hardware makers, could yield a machine that is capable of restricting
usage of software and copying of files. The built-in security and ID
code of such a system might also allow for secure commercial
transactions over the Internet (or over some kind of closed commercial
network), with the processor itself confirming your identity to the
online vendor. So this would be a machine that would enable charging
for software usage and could also function as a delivery system for
pay-per-view, pay-per-listen, pay-per-read, etc.

By incorporating software into hardware components, the makers of
computers, CD players, game boxes, etc. have begun using copyright law
to make the bizarre claim that the owner of a given electrical
appliance has no right to modify that appliance mechanically. Thus the
control of computer functionality becomes complete.

In related developments, the entertainment manufacturing industry
(mainly recording companies and movie studios) is pushing for
restricted-function hardware. These companies are worried about the
problem of illegal copying and distribution of music recordings and
movies. Their valid legal concern, however, has also provided an
opportunity to make a grab for control over the functioning of such
machines as computers, VCRs, CD/DVD players, etc.

This proposed restriction of functionality is generally known as
DRM (Digital Restriction Management. Also referred to as Digital
Rights Management). The DRM idea started out as a software-based
system of encryption and licensing to limit the usage of copyrighted
files. This would allow all copyrighted material to be rented rather
than sold. For example, you might buy a music CD that plays 5 times or
plays for 2 weeks. You might buy a book that can be read for 10 days
or a newspaper that can be read for 1 hour....all in electronic form.
Windows Media Player, RealNetworks' RealPlayer and Adobe's "e-book"
reader already use software-based DRM.

Increasingly, the emphasis of DRM has been changing toward a
demand that hardware companies be legally required to limit the
functionality of their products. Such crippled hardware would likely
function as an outlet for commercial media offerings and be capable of
little else. You might be free to use non-DRM media on a DRM-crippled
machine, but that won't be of much use if access is cut off. If your
computer is built like a cable TV control box, with no input options,
no free Internet access, and a license that says you can't fiddle with
it mechanically then...well...it's not your computer.

Ramifications
One obvious implication of these changes is that a consumption
appliance PC is unlikely to have unfettered access to the Internet.
It's also unlikely to allow the installation or removal of software.
What's happening here is an attempted commercial usurping of a wide
range of technology.

Beyond that, when these changes are taken together a picture
emerges of software, computers and media all blending into one
wide-ranging retail business - the controller of virtually all
information and entertainment media. The long-term implications of
these changes are profound. The possibility exists that cultural media
could exist without any enduring physical form. Imagine books, music,
video, newspapers and academic writings all existing only as
electronic files, potentially with time-limited usage. One could no
longer own a copy of a time-limited book or work of music because no
permanent copies would exist. Laws concerning usage of copyrighted
material would be rendered irrelevant. Virtually all transmission and
usage of media would involve a commercial transaction. Cultural media,
and even history, would then be in the hands of the media outlets.

For example: Imagine that a company buys the rights to a popular
song, say, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind". The company then
distributes a recording of the song in the form of a 3-day-play file,
perhaps adding a short advertisement to the file that plays before the
song. Over time perhaps other versions are released, in which the
advertisement portion of the file is longer and the song itself has
been re-recorded in a shorter "lite" version. Eventually, "Candle in
the Wind" would bear no resemblance to the original recording, except
in name. Yet it WOULD BE the original for all practical purposes:
Since no recording of "Candle in the Wind" could be heard that was
more than 3 days old, no other version would exist. Now extend that
example to newspapers, books and other media....much of history
itself, in a very real, experiential sense, would be only 3 days old. Hmm.

In the short term, what about people who want to use computers as
they're currently used? Perhaps that's where Linux will come in. If
all the automakers become taxi services, so to speak, then others will
have to provide the cars for people who still want to drive. (That's
assuming, of course, that there are hardware companies still willing
and able to produce components uncorrupted by the "safety and security
improvements" of DRM and the "Trusted Computing Platform".)
______________________________________________
 
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R

Richard Steven Hack

This is pretty much what I and others have been saying about what MS
(sorry all you Bill Gates lovers, but it's true) has in mind for the
future of software.

Too true, unfortunately. Now's the time to decide whether you want
corporate control of the world - or Linux. Your only option right now
(well, okay, there's FreeBSD, too!)
The challenge is
to convince people (or force them) to stop using the computer
functionality they now have access to, such as installing their choice
of software and freely accessing the Internet.

I think unfortunately the sort of people who hate Linux because it's
not totally "point-and-click" will welcome this sort of thing.
For example, why would you use web-based software? Does it make
sense to pay for every use of a web-based word processor when you
could just install one inexpensively?

It does if you're selling the Web service and you want people to
"pay-per-play". This whole concept is nothing more than Gates'
attempt to get rich all over again.
And how would the web-based version work?
<snip>

This part might be incorrect. The Web services people are expecting
enough bandwidth improvements (remember, this concept started during
the dot-com boom when the telcos were laying fiber everywhere - until
they discovered they couldn't sell it to anyone because the dot-comers
were bankrupt) to support this sort of thing. Now it may be a few
years before the 10-100Mbps to the home/business desktop is a reality
but eventually it will happen. Performance may not be that much of an
issue then - even if it is inefficient.
That is, the web services model redefines
a PC as a mere interface for accessing digitally-delivered commercial
products.

Right - Gates in total control of computing AND entertainment
everywhere - at his price.
It's a subtle, systematic redefinition whereby your
computer is gradually transformed, by legal definition, into an
appliance with embedded software that is not under your control.

Yup. Same thing - touch nothing until you pay Gates.
As explained in Wired magazine (July, 2003. page 124):
"...Microsoft's so-called Next Generation Secure Computing Base
[Palladium], to be included in the new version of Windows, due to come
to market in 2005.

Linux can support DRM that's under the control of the user. Gates is
gonna find a lot of people switching to Linux when Longhorn comes in,
heh, heh. Unfortunately a "lot" of people won't equal the majority, I
suspect, who don't understand the ramifications of all this.
pay-per-view, pay-per-listen, pay-per-read, etc.
Pay-per-existence.

Their valid legal concern

This is where he screws up. Intellectual property is an oxymoron. As
long as people believe it is legitimate, they're fighting DRM with
both hands tied behind their backs.
In the short term, what about people who want to use computers as
they're currently used? Perhaps that's where Linux will come in.

You betcha.
that there are hardware companies still willing and able to produce components

Some people suspect the Chinese do not want machines run by Gates and
Bush. We may all be buying Chinese machines whose Chinese DRM only
cares about Chinese software and not ours.
 
B

Ben Cooper

John said:
This is pretty much what I and others have been saying about what MS
(sorry all you Bill Gates lovers, but it's true) has in mind for the
future of software.

[snip]

No, this really is OT.
 
B

Bob Adkins

I wish you wouldn't try to personalize such a straightforward thing John.
One does not have to love anyone to use their products. If Gates were truly
a criminal, he would be in jail. He is no more a criminal than you and me,
and he has no horns or hooves. He employs 500,000 people worldwide, and they
appreciate their jobs.

Yes, MS has been working on subscription-based software for a long time.
WindowsXP was a feeling out process to test the waters and get folks used to
activating software online. Well, MS got their hand bitten. They had to ease
up on the rigid WPA requirements because folks really got mad.

The genie is out of the bottle. Only a few very unsophisticated people and
perhaps businesses could be suckered into buying hardware that only works
with Web subscription software. Remember IBM Microchannel? Users rejected it
even back in those days because they wanted "standard and cheap". They
stayed away in droves, and bought ISA.

I'm not worried. Computer people will never fall for the MS power play.

Bob
 
V

Vic Dura

The genie is out of the bottle. Only a few very unsophisticated people and
perhaps businesses could be suckered into buying hardware that only works
with Web subscription software. Remember IBM Microchannel? Users rejected it
even back in those days because they wanted "standard and cheap". They
stayed away in droves, and bought ISA.

Very good points Bob.
 
J

John Corliss

Ben said:
John said:
This is pretty much what I and others have been saying about what MS
(sorry all you Bill Gates lovers, but it's true) has in mind for the
future of software.

[snip]

No, this really is OT.

If they change hardware so that you can't run anything but approved
software, freeware will fade away. But if you think the future of
computing has nothing to do with freeware, then fine.
 
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J

John Corliss

Bob said:
I wish you wouldn't try to personalize such a straightforward thing John.
One does not have to love anyone to use their products. If Gates were truly
a criminal, he would be in jail. He is no more a criminal than you and me,

Well, IMO the only reason the boy's not in jail is because he's a
billionaire.
and he has no horns or hooves. He employs 500,000 people worldwide, and they
appreciate their jobs.

I know this and agree. However, his agressive agenda works entirely
against the best interests of computing in general and exists only to
maximize the bottom line. What's going to happen, is that the world is
going to get sick and tired of having to cave in to MS's demands and
will go with an alternative, regardless of how well it works. Being a
U.S. citizen, I don't want to see Microsoft close it's doors, but if
they don't wise up and start showing some respect for the end user,
that's what's going to happen.
Yes, MS has been working on subscription-based software for a long time.
WindowsXP was a feeling out process to test the waters and get folks used to
activating software online. Well, MS got their hand bitten. They had to ease
up on the rigid WPA requirements because folks really got mad.

All they did (as usual) was to rename the initiative and slow down
their approach (temporarily, I'm sure.) Also, remember that they
aren't alone in this attack on computing. Intel and others are
involved as well.
The genie is out of the bottle. Only a few very unsophisticated people and
perhaps businesses could be suckered into buying hardware that only works
with Web subscription software. Remember IBM Microchannel? Users rejected it
even back in those days because they wanted "standard and cheap". They
stayed away in droves, and bought ISA.

Right. But what Microsoft is doing is to make it's sofware..... but I
don't want to discuss payware so I'll drop that.
I'm not worried. Computer people will never fall for the MS power play.

Man, I sure hope not. The reason I posted that article here was
because the people in this group are among the most computer savvy and
as a result, among the most influential in their own private spheres.
I want to see programs like Mozilla, OpenOffice.org, Linux, etc.
thrive and compete, not die off like Netscape.
 
F

Flaccid

John said:
If they change hardware so that you can't run anything but approved
software, freeware will fade away.

Not true -- the Xbox was designed to run only approved/signed apps,
but there's a multitude of unapproved/unsigned apps that can be run
on it (with a chip, granted). Same will apply to future PCs, so
don't sweat it.
 
F

Flaccid

John said:
Since no recording of "Candle in the Wind" could be heard that was
more than 3 days old, no other version would exist.

Not true -- an "original" version could be archived for posterity by
the copyright holder.
 
J

JimSP

This is pretty much what I and others have been saying about what MS
(sorry all you Bill Gates lovers, but it's true) has in mind for the
future of software.

From this site and thanks to "Joe":

http://www.jsware.net/jsware/viinfo.html#unjav

the following (also check out the main page at
http://www.jsware.net/jsware/boss.html):
______________________________________
The Future Web - Redefining Computers

Usurping the PC

<snip>

For those who missed it:

phrase: "Next Generation Secure Computing Base". Even the acronym,
NGSCB, is difficult to remember. Perhaps a more appropriate phrase
would be "The-End-Run-Formerly-Known-As-Palladium" (TERFKAP).
<snip>

TERFKAP sounds like TURF CAP.


But it'll never fly, they're just wasting their and our time.

Nobody will *ever* manage to outlaw all hardware and software except for
their proprietary whitelist and control system.

The false effort only gives the alternatives breathing room to develop.

Cyberspace, remember?
 
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J

John Corliss

Flaccid said:
John Corliss wrote:




Not true -- the Xbox was designed to run only approved/signed apps,
but there's a multitude of unapproved/unsigned apps that can be run
on it (with a chip, granted). Same will apply to future PCs, so
don't sweat it.

Good point and that's the hope that's being held out. There will
definitely be a market for PCs and software that are non-compliant
with the trusted computing platform.
 
B

Bob Adkins

Good point and that's the hope that's being held out. There will
definitely be a market for PCs and software that are non-compliant
with the trusted computing platform.

The Web holds like-minded people together. When the evil PC took over the
market, the smaller system users banded together and kept their favorite
platform alive. You can still get Commodore, Amiga, and early Apple stuff.
There are a jillion high-powered PC's out there now. Software is mature.
Death will come slowly to the current type of PC.


Bob
 
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R

Richard Steven Hack

Good point and that's the hope that's being held out. There will
definitely be a market for PCs and software that are non-compliant
with the trusted computing platform.

One reason I'm less concerned with DRM stuff these days than I was
before is because IBM and HP are making billions of dollars off Linux
- they aren't going to let it be DRM'd out of existence (unless they
figure they can replace those billions with extorted DRM'd software -
I guess the jury is still out on that - certainly Carly Fiorina made
some bad mouthings recently about that.)
 

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