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Draconian DRM Revealed In Windows 7 1127

Posted by kdawson
from the just-who-did-you-think-owns-your-machine dept.
TechForensics writes "A few days' testing of Windows 7 has already disclosed some draconian DRM, some of it unrelated to media files. A legitimate copy of Photoshop CS4 stopped functioning after we clobbered a nagging registration screen by replacing a DLL with a hacked version. With regard to media files, the days of capturing an audio program on your PC seem to be over (if the program originated on that PC). The inputs of your sound card are severely degraded in software if the card is also playing an audio program (tested here with Grooveshark). This may be the tip of the iceberg. Being in bed with the RIAA is bad enough, but locking your own files away from you is a tactic so outrageous it may kill the OS for many persons. Many users will not want to experiment with a second sound card or computer just to record from online sources, or boot up under a Linux that supports ntfs-3g just to control their files." Read on for more details of this user's findings.

Re — Photoshop: That Photoshop stopped functioning after we messed with one of its nag DLLs was not so much a surprise, but what was a surprise: Noting that Win7 allows programs like Photoshop to insert themselves stealthily into your firewall exception list. Further, that the OS allows large software vendors to penetrate your machine. Even further, that that permission is responsible for disabling of a program based on a modified DLL. And then finding that the OS even after reboot has locked you out of your own Local Settings folder; has denied you permission to move or delete the modified DLL; and refuses to allow the replacement of the Local Settings folder after it is unlocked with Unlocker to move it to the Desktop for examination (where it also denies you entry to your own folder). Setting permissions to 'allow everyone' was disabled!

Re — media: Under XP you could select 'Stereo Mix' or similar under audio recording inputs and nicely capture any program then playing. No longer.
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Draconian DRM Revealed In Windows 7

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  • Dear Microsoft, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:21PM (#26881205)

    Even we can't defend you any more. If it happens in our computers, we're going to record it.

    Fuck you.

    Love,
    All of us.

  • Just say no (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:24PM (#26881245)

    Linux has gotten "good enough" on PC hardware that I just don't see any reason to even play the game anymore with Microsoft. Time to get off the ride. All of the "windows only" apps that I use seem to work under wine. The rest all have some open equivalent (firefox/thunderbird/openoffice/etc).

    *shrug*

  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:26PM (#26881271)

    maybe this will get more people to switch to linux or at the very least get more people to download the latest Ubuntu 9.x live cd (the one that supports natively supports ntfs).

  • Will people care? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by javacowboy (222023) on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:35PM (#26881359)

    That's the question. There are two kinds of DRM:

    1) The kind that people do care about, like the Sony Rootkit or Spore's DRM. That's the kind they take notice and take exception to.

    2) The kind that people accept and don't really notice, like iTunes DRM.

    Microsoft is banking that their new DRM will be 2), as long as they don't do anything overt, like disable users' MP3 collections.

    Still, with Linux getting easier to use to the point where regular people are willing to try it, this DRM could be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of Windows users.

  • Virtual machine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by goombah99 (560566) on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:41PM (#26881437)

    Given the firewall issue and the sound card degradation it seems like windows 7 is begging to be run inside a Linux virtual machine so it can't get so cozy with the hardware.

    Of course I have reason to believe they are already two steps ahed of me on that. When I run windows XP pro inside virtual box (host is Mac) then when I plug in my windows media device in the USB, windows media player only sees it as a USB disk not as a windows media device.

    So i suspect that windows only sees those DRM devices if it can have direct hardware access. Presumably this is to prevent someone from making a software windows media device emulator.

  • by HFShadow (530449) on Monday February 16, 2009 @09:53PM (#26881603)
    Look at his last post.... a single unreplied to posting from nanog about the internet going down. No linking to the actual relevant thread on nanog. Unfortunately, people probably will believe this. This is why we have fanboys.
  • Re:Yes, and no. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by poopdeville (841677) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:01PM (#26881713)

    Typically, by setting file permissions so that anyone can read from the library hierarchies, but are unable to write to them without sufficient privileges. Other schemes are possible. For example, OS X does a bit more for some classes of files, in that it requires new versions of these kinds of files to be cryptographically signed and registered in the system. The user has complete control here, through the terminal at least. I think the KeyChain allows access to this kind of stuff too. Very few OS X users need to mess around with this, but launchd potentially works on any Unix.

  • by Sc4Freak (1479423) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:03PM (#26881735)

    I suspect that the user upgraded to Win7 beta from XP - because ever since Vista there has been no "Local Settings" folder. In Vista, the old "Local Settings" folder which existed in XP was relocated to AppData\Local.

    In the location of the old Local Settings folder is an NTFS junction, which merely redirects to the new AppData\Local location. Windows Explorer doesn't handle these junctions correctly and instead of redirecting you, will erroneously give you an "Access Denied" message.

    Also, programs have always been able to insert themselves as exceptions into the Windows Firewall. Many applications which require internet access and which are blocked by the firewall will ask you if they can create a firewall exception for themselves. So programs have always been allowed to insert exceptions into the firewall - it's not a requirement that the program has to ask you first.

    If a program is already running on your computer then it means the firewall is no longer responsible for stopping that application in any way - the firewall only protects against outside threats.

    It's also far more likely that your modifications to the DLL broke something, which would explain why CS4 no longer worked. Why jump to the inane conclusion that Microsoft/Adobe are plotting against us all in some wild conspiracy?

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:06PM (#26881771)
    Honestly. As a corporation, they act like their head was cut off a few years ago, but the body just keeps doing the same old things out of reflex, and refuses to fall over.

    I am reminded of that newer TV show about the DEA, called "DEA".

    I absolutely refuse to watch it. The DEA is fighting a war it LOST over 30 years ago, but that fact hasn't reached its brain yet. So it keeps stumbling around, doing the same old things the same old ways for the same old reasons, acting like it can cure societal ills through force.

    They are both pathetic.
  • My "fix" is to revoke the copyright for any programs that have DRM.

    No DRMed program will ever enter the public domain in any real sense (in that it could be modified/built upon/etc.)

  • by Artraze (600366) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:21PM (#26881955)

    Of course; having an amendment that says "DRM is bad" would be pretty silly.

    The idea would be to neutralize the government's ability to back up DRM and similar tech (like Trusted Computing). DRM would be a noting but a waste of money and a fun challenge if not for the DMCA. Similarly, no one's going to waste their time and money on TC hardware unless they are forced to.

    So I'd envision it more like:
    "Congress shall pass no law limiting the rights of persons to manipulate, operate, or otherwise utilize as they see fit any of their possessions or effects, nor the sale or trade of tools to be used for such purposes."

    There ya go, "The Hacker's Amendment". And it leaves plenty of room for interpretation, just like the rest of the Constitution...

  • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:23PM (#26881983)

    DRM in the US is not a transaction between two private parties. Instead, it is the *government* offering to step in and put legal force behind one party's interference with another's right to use their own property.

    Once again, it's not property: it's information.

  • Re:FUD? False alarm? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:23PM (#26882003) Homepage

    Agreed. For all we know, the problems this guy is having with his sound card are due to a driver bug or incompatibility rather than an intentional crippling of the audio, while the problems he's having with Photoshop and the problems with his Local Settings folder are due to introducing foreign code that messes up Windows in ways that Microsoft could not have anticipated.

    Besides... why would the current version of Photoshop be coded against undocumented features in still unreleased Windows 7?

    I am Willing to abandon Windows over draconian DRM, but I want evidence of that before I'll lambast Microsoft for it.

  • by setagllib (753300) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:26PM (#26882035)

    Funny enough piracy is just an excuse to implement DRM. Making people buy media >N times for N devices instantly dwarfs any profits lost to pirates. The pirates will still buy the media 0 times for N devices, and honest law-abiding consumers will pay >N times to subsidise the pirates. It benefits everyone except the honest consumer.

    The trend is towards more piracy, not less, so ultimately there will be 1 person paying for 2-3 billion copies and everyone else gets it free. Of course long before then DRM will be gone and people will return to paying for things zero or one times.

  • Unsourced FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:37PM (#26882145)

    A guy gets on here and makes a bunch of unsourced statements about MS and everyone laps them up like mother's milk.

    It's funny how the most recent scuttlebutt has been about how Windows 7 is really just Vista SP3 and is no different from Vista and boy isn't it amazing how MS just keeps putting out Vista with a different name.

    Yet apparently, this OS that is just another version of Vista is so radically different that it changes the very nature of hardware access.

    Fully aware that the Nazi's will mod this down into invisibility, but had to post it anyway, for pete's sake people, get a life.

  • Re:Yes, and no. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Z34107 (925136) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:43PM (#26882203)

    It seems that the problem was that Windows was cooperating with the app vendor to lock out such hacking attempts.

    No, it doesn't. It seems that the "hacked" DLL is broken. Or, at incompatible with how Photoshop is expecting to link with it. Or doesn't exactly mimic the expected entry points. Or doesn't initialize the same global variables correctly. Or is referenced differently by the Windows 7 kernel. Or did work through some black magic but is now broken through a new security model. Etc.

    DLLs are "dynamic link libraries." They're .lib files that live in memory and can be used by multiple programs simultaneously. Using them is relying on Windows to compile your program for you; change them at your peril. This is a Windows 95-era problem.

    But, more evidence that this article is unresearched garbage.

    And then finding that the OS even after reboot has locked you out of your own Local Settings folder ...

    Here's what actually happened. Open a command prompt under Windows 7 (doesn't even have to be an administrator command prompt) and navigate to your user profile. (C:\users\username). Type in dir a:l. Those of you following along at home will notice that Local Settings is a reparse point - the "real" location where all of these files reside is at AppData\Local. (They're similar to *nix hard links.)

    Vista (and evidently Windows 7) use reparse points to make sure legacy (or poorly-coded) programs don't break. Install a 32-bit program on 64-bit Windows and it will magically end up in Program Files (x86) instead of Program Files.

    There are security permissions associated with these. No 32-bit process will ever make it's way to the 64-bit Program Files folder even if Administrator with a capital-A Himself launched that process with his UAC-emblazoned blessing. The same thing is true for that Local Settings reparse point.

    So, why did his foray into Local Settings fail? Explorer.exe is supposed to know about AppData\Local and is barred from the legacy backdoor. Why couldn't he set privileges or take ownership or use his crappy Unlocker program? You can't take ownership/set privileges/whatever on a reparse point; that has to be done on the folder it links to. All of those actions would have succeeded (or have been unnecessary) on AppData\Local.

    Interestingly enough, the command prompt can use the Local Settings reparse point. Navigate to c:\users\username . The command cd Local Settings will succeed (even on a non-administrator command prompt.) The command mkdir loltest will succeed and show up in a directory listing. But double-clicking on the Local Settings "folder" in the Explorer shell will fail. But, the loltest folder will show up in AppData\Local even though it supposedly created inside Local Settings. I wonder why the command prompt use the Local Settings reparse point, but the shell can't.

    As for degraded record quality while playing back? I called it "crappy audio drivers" when Vista was first released. Lo, Creative fixed it, however slowly. Have faith, or turn down the sample rate in the control panel.

  • Re:reverse the order (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ukyoCE (106879) on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:48PM (#26882267) Journal

    You forgot to mention that there's only one company selling bikes, because they own all the roads and won't allow any other company's bikes on their roads.

    Then they're convicted as a monopoly by government courts, but the government doesn't bother to actually stop any of this unfair behavior or make any effort to bring competition back to the marketplace.

    So your only choice if you don't want to walk is to buy a broken bike from the only bike vendor there is, and then bitch about it.

    Oh, or there's those other bikes with square wheels that you can only ride in the creek...

  • Re:windows, meh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Monday February 16, 2009 @10:54PM (#26882331) Homepage Journal

    But at home I want a GUI thank you very much. I also want it to just work. I work on computer systems during the day... when I want to use my machine at night I don't want to 'work' on it.

    I'm not sure what exactly is wrong with KDE 3, but according to your previous statement:

    I just installed Fedora Core 10 on a spare box with a bc4306 wireless card, and after screwing around for a few hours hooked up an RJ45 to the back because it was just too much a pain in the ass to get wireless to work on it. I would have tried Ubuntu but its support for SATA RAID sucks.

    What does an every day GUI have to do with one-time installation?

    I'm currently using Fedora 9 (with KDE 4.0 - highly unstable :-() for development because XEmacs works fine and that's what I need the most (besides a command line to run ssh, make patches, etc.).

    It's difficult to see what kind of point you're making, since I find the Microsoft Windows UI to be the most unintuitive environment I've ever encountered.

    People ignore programs that are hard to use and use programs that are easy or easier to use.

    Or maybe they use whatever they were allowed to buy. Non-US countries seem to have no problem with allowing computer shops to sell computers without Microsoft Windows.

    Most of the market uses MS. Get the hint?

    Most of the (US) market never had a choice. Get the hint? This is NOT a free market at work and your arguments make no sense.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:04PM (#26882421) Homepage

    We know DRM exists and what it does. What is interesting to me is how few technology people know what it is. One of my older brothers makes his living supporting Microsoft apps and runs his whole home on various Microsoft technologies and when I mentioned to him about DRM, he asked me what that was and he thought I was crazy when I told him.

    All of this stuff being written into the operating system sounds like a HUGE and CRAZY conspiracy theory... and yet we know it exists and whose interests it serves. How many other crackpot ideas get written off because they sound too far fetched to be believed? It isn't in Microsoft's interests to include what is there, so whose interests are they serving and why? We'll never know the answer to that. We only know that pure Open Source will never be able to hide those things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:06PM (#26882433)
    gaming just milk kids to support the development of raw power for USEFUL stuff, talk about CAD or desktop publishing and companies with a finger in their ass because the inventory of tax software just runs on Windows.
  • Proof? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:09PM (#26882453)

    I wish I had stopped to consider this earlier, but why are we taking this at face value? The post contains no proof of his claims.

    "Its on the internet; it must be true!" really shouldn't fly, even if it is Microsoft we're talking about.

  • PEBKAC and more. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:16PM (#26882511)

    He just needs to find a better crack but seriously /. is posting a story about a dude using a crack on a "ligament" purchase of software which is BS on its own but anyways the dll hack to bypass the nag works I've been using a version of it for over a month this is a Classical PEBKAC.

    If anything based on things I've found on my own this is most likely Microsoft's more aggressive Data Execution Prevention that is in Windows 7. It breaks a lot of the no-cd cracks people use cause they're badly done and trigger the DEP in Windows 7 one just needs to find a better one.

  • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:25PM (#26882587) Homepage Journal

    True Apple Story -

    I bought my wife an iPhone. First Apple product I've purchased in a LONG time. Makes for a lovely phone -- but we can't access the "Apple Store" and also can't put media onto the device. We use Solaris and Linux.

    I get iTunes running under Wine, and sign up for the Apple Store. This allows my wife to buy from the Apple Store. Yeah!

    Now, my wife wants a case for the device. She purchases a case; all seems good for a couple of days. But... the phone begins to behave "oddly". It turns the screen off, but leaves calls connected, and other (more minor) ailments.

    We book an appointment to the Apple "Genius Bar". We are told we MUST attach the iPhone to a computer at least once; that the problem is the "old software". Ok, we explain that we have no computer capable. Answer: well, then use someone elses.. "Will you do it?". Answer: no.

    My wife works as a librarian -- she has a circulation desk computer with Windows XP. Downloads and installs iTunes, plugs in the iPhone, and is asked "Do you want to sync automatically or manually?". That's really it! She chose "manual", because she didn't want to put all of her personal photos on that computer. Bad mistake... "Are you sure you want to upgrade?" "Yes" --- and BOOM! All the data is GONE. Just... vaporized... She calls Apple Support "Oh, yes, that would happen; there is nothing that can be done".

    Miserable, miserable, miserable... Complete data destruction without even a "are you sure" dialog. And it's all iTunes fault. Why do we use it? DRM. The Apple iPhone databases CANNOT be updated without anything else. We have a perfectly servicable application (Amarok) that we use for playback, but it no longer works to load music. Gotta use that iTunes shitware. Even a self-booting DOS or Linux disk for updating, *or* a failsafe firmware updater...

    And, as a final added insult -- the Genius Bar was wrong. The problem was that the iPhone 3G requires specific cases, and the case being used was wrong (it was an iPhone case). Go figure. I'm still buying a "Mac Mini" as an accessory to the iPhone, but still -- this is what DRM does. Locks out people who could possibly do a better job of it.

  • by KlomDark (6370) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:42PM (#26882709) Homepage Journal

    I think Windows is officially in the fading phase of its existence: Adobe has FINALLY (After first announcing it way back in 2003) released a 64 bit Flash player - and it's for Linux, not Windows. I think that's the first time I've ever seen a major release of anything coming out on Linux first.

    Now we can go on and on about the suckitude of Flash and it's overuse, but I still think this Linux-only release is a great turning point for Windows and Linux. Especially now that word about worse DRM is in place on Windows 7. The latest flop of a dying fish.

  • Re:Just say no (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:48PM (#26882763)

    I'd like to know too. I've used Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE, ArchLinux, Mint, Ubuntu, Slackware, and Gentoo on various systems and it's STILL grating on me. At the moment I have Mint installed on my Linux machine. It's nearly identical in specs to my Windows machine, and actually faster than my Mac. On my Windows or Mac machines, under Firefox, if I click a browser tab the switch to this tab is INSTANT. Under Linux, after the tab highlights theres a 0.25 to 0.50 second delay before the contents pane opens with the information. If I hit refresh on a tab in Windows/Mac, then instantly click on another open tab, then it INSTANTLY jumps over while the other tab loads in the background. On Linux, it'll sit there churning for 0.5 to sometimes even 2 or 3 seconds before flipping to the other tab. If I click a link that opens a new window, it pops right up in Windows/Mac. On Linux, the window will often pop up at full size but the widgets will only be rendered across half of it for a few seconds until it expands out to fill the window and the page loads.

    Outside of Firefox, the same types of of things happen on all sorts of applications. Delays, rendering quirks etc. If I try to play a video then while at first glance it looks ok, carefully looking at it will show screen tearing on fast motion that simply doesn't crop up on my Windows or Mac system. The fonts are also pretty ugly but luckily you can download the MS fonts and use those instead.

    Now, I've used Linux since 1998. Dual-booting back then, and since 2002 I've always had a seperate Linux desktop. It's always had these types of quirks, regardless of distro or the hardware I was running it on. I WANT to like Linux. I really WANT to use it as my everyday OS, and really, the apps are there for a home user, but the "feel" of the system is completely off. As a DESKTOP OS, Linux just feels slow and clunky. A lot of that is likely X11 and GTK and/or QT, but at this point it doesn't really matter where the problem is (except to people trying to fix it) - the simple truth is that there IS a problem, and it's one that's preventing me from really using the system. The server side of things on the command line hums along great for background processing, but that doesn't do much for my desktop use.

    Truthfully, I think a lot would be gained if a new graphics rendering system were created with a separate rootless X11 server running atop it for legacy compatibility.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday February 16, 2009 @11:57PM (#26882841)

    It especially doesn't make sense as MS's yearly net profits exceed the entire gross revenues of either the recording or movie industries.

    I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who's noticed that. I have long found it perplexing that the music and movie industries get to call the shots for the vastly larger software industry when it comes to legislation. I can only assume that the software industry must have some incredibly shitty lobbyists. It's not like it doesn't cost Microsoft money to pay developers to engineer their operating system to RIAA/MPAA specifications. If there aren't some large checks being written to MS to get this done, then Steve Ballmer is an even bigger meathead than I thought -- and do not underestimate how big of a meathead I think he is already.

    It's more than the money, too. Our civilization would trundle along just fine if music and movie production ground to a total halt, but we have long since passed the point where we could operate without software, even Microsoft's buggy, insecure software.

    Oh well, it's no skin off my nose. Ever since it became possible to run CS3 under WINE, the only reason I haven't switched completely to Linux is that I just haven't had the time to shift everything around. Time to get cracking, I guess.

  • Re:Yes, and no. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jimmy_B (129296) <slashdotNO@SPAMjimrandomh.org> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:12AM (#26883283) Homepage

    I wonder why the command prompt use the Local Settings reparse point, but the shell can't.

    Because commands typed in the command prompt are interpreted the same way as batch files, and many companies have old batch files which assume that Local Settings is a normal directory and manipulate its contents. The Explorer file manager can treat Local Settings differently than directories because it is used interactively, rather than by scripts.

  • Re:Yes, and no. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dark_requiem (806308) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:40AM (#26883399)
    Quick bit of research and I can probably tell you exactly why the dll wouldn't work. It was probably amtlib.dll, which is involved in activation, and either he's running 64 bit Photoshop, and he used the 32 bit hacked dll, or vice versa.

    That wasn't worth posting, and definitely isn't front page material. Screens, links, more than two paragraphs, any evidence or information at all? Clearly just an "Oh, shiny!" headline to catch the eye, but no substance.
  • Re:No it wouldn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:49AM (#26883433)

    True, but some big IT shops are going to have a serious issue with software that can override security features. Unless microsoft provides an 'enterprise' way to make SURE the policy IT sets is actually set, many customers will find some other way.

  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker&gnu,org> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @01:53AM (#26883447) Homepage

    We only know that pure Open Source will never be able to hide those things.

    See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underhanded_C_Contest [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Virtual machine (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Allador (537449) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:03AM (#26883471)

    I don't use PS so I can't comment on that but in XP Pro every program that wanted firewall access got a nice popup saying "This program wants a firewall exception" and you had the choices of "Unblock/Keep Blocking/Ask Me Later" so I don't see where the problem is with XP.

    I think you're missing the poster's point.

    He chose to run the PS installer with an admin account, and the installer made programmatic changes to the firewall config.

    Thats it. The problem is that the poster thinks this is some sort of grand conspiracy, rather than just Adobe refining/changing their installer from the XP days.

  • by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:51AM (#26883927) Journal

    Actually, the problem there is that you assume MS does it to please the RIAA. In fact, it does it just to pwn their distribution channels. Sorta like the robber baron building two towers and a chain across a major river and putting up his own taxes: it's not as much for the benefit of the merchants sailing along the river, as for the baron's own benefit.

    What MS is trying to do is make its own codecs the de-facto standard, and as impossible to move to another standard (e.g., to get that file recorded back as MP3) as physically possible. That the same DRM also makes the pill easier to swallow for the RIAA is just the icing on the cake. But in reality it's more like the KY Jelly on the shaft they're about to get.

    Once MS owns the codec, it pretty much owns the distribution channel. It can launch its own Zune 2, car radios, etc, it can sell the music too, and/or tax anyone else who does with the royalties.

    They're not the only ones who do. That's also why Sony made a big loss on the PS3 just to push its Blu-Ray format, or why it came up with the proprietary UMD, or why it stuck with its crap 48kbps music codecs even long after it started calling its portable crap "MP3 players." (You could transfer MP3s to them only via its own proprietary application, which actually converted them to the crap Sony codec, at a brutal loss of quality.) And you can probably find a couple more examples along the same lines.

    But at any rate, it's not about pleasing the RIAA, it's about pwning another market. It's monopoly business as usual. Just incidentally that market happens to be the RIAA's distribution channel. Sweetening the pill a bit for them is good because you don't want them to say "we're not releasing anything in your format", but do note that MS would want DRM anyway there. They don't want you to get that DRM'ed music and then convert it to MP3 and play it on an iPod instead of a Zune.

  • Re:No it wouldn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by donaldm (919619) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:11AM (#26884031)

    The only thing they will respond to is a mass boycott. And considering this is Windows, which is pretty much locked into most large scale networks as it is, not to mention end users' homes, good luck.

    It seems to have worked with Vista.

    If Microsoft's largest customers (IT departments) reject this version of windows over it's anti-piracy measures just like they rejected last version of windows over it's performance issues, you'll get your wish.

    Mass boycott of Vista? That may have worked for the people who wanted to upgrade and decided that it was not worth it when XP was "good enough", however for many people Vista was not an option when purchasing a new PC. As far as the corporate was concerned many businesses had contracts in place and had already payed for their Vista upgrade whether they liked it or not. Unfortunately I don't see the adoption of MS Windows 7 being any different.

    The only way this will change is when Government sectors insist of having Linux on their desktops and except for a few countries this is not happening very quickly.

  • by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... nOSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:16AM (#26884053) Homepage Journal

    The weird thing is, Vista and above actually correctly implement symbolic links (not junctions, which are broken as you describe, or shortcuts, which can't be used as part of a path, or hardlinks, which are also available but can't point to folders or across volumes - real, honest symlinks). I'm not at all sure why "Documents and Settings" -> "Users", or "My Documents" -> "Documents", or any of the other places where overly complex or unclear folder names were replaced use junctions and not symlinks for their legacy names. Maybe they wanted to presever backward-compatibility with previous versions of NTFS (which didn't support symlinks) in the basic install, but it still looks ugly.

  • Re:No it wouldn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Michael Hunt (585391) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:58AM (#26884187) Homepage

    It's not the DRM that'd piss me off (none of my users are paid to care about audio, period) but the dodginess with Adobe (and presumably others). What nobody seems to have noted yet is that in order for Windows 7 to pick up that you've warezed your CS4, one of two things needs to be occuring:

      - Windows 7 ships with a secret blacklist of known warez MD5s/SHA1s. Make it a rolling hash a-la rsync for maximal anti-warezing.

    or, worse again

      - Microsoft have a secret API (not a huge surprise here) that they've shared with a few 'trusted' software OEMs such as Adobe. CS4 and friends register the MD5s (or whatever) of their more likely warez vectors, and an expanded version of WFP (in a 'protected' process a-la PVP-OPM in vista) makes sure you don't fuck with those files.

    If this is even half true, then Microsoft just quit the game. For keeps.

  • Re:No it wouldn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:15AM (#26884517)

    "As far as the corporate was concerned many businesses had contracts in place and had already payed for their Vista upgrade whether they liked it or not"

    yes, they did. But then the IT guy re-imaged it to XP, in all likelihood. I work for a large corp and vista has a presence here only for testing. My dad is an exec at another and (despite not being technical) seems to have picked up a foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of vista, to the extent that he still uses his 5 year old pc in preference to a brand new laptop because it hasn't got "that vista crap" on it.

    You and I both know that microsoft reports a lot of vista sales that didn't last a week. And for once I'm not even talking about linux...

  • by aurispector (530273) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:24AM (#26885281)

    I think he's basically right, too. MS is desperate to get in bed with the content providers so it can better compete with Apple, etc., in the mobile & media player market. Since the whole DRM paradigm is broken it probably won't work unless they figure an effective way to force Win 7 down everyone's throats. I think ultimately they'll just stop supporting xp, since after playing with win7 for a month I still don't see a compelling reason to "upgrade" from xp.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:52AM (#26885591)
    With many newer cars, you are arguably not in total control of the vehicle.

    Witness the new, higher end vehicles that can automatically keep you in your lane, or automatically apply the brakes when it thinks that you are not braking hard enough. Look at all the advanced traction/stability control/yaw control programs coming out that essentially drive the car for you instead of your own skills keeping the car from spinning out. Look at GM's OnStar system that can report in real time information on the vehicle's status, speed, passenger count, and can even eavesdrop on you with the car's microphone.

    Did you know that your car most likely has the ability to tattletell on you? I own several vehicles, and in a few of them, the Engine Control Unit keeps track of tons of information - how much time I spend in each gear, how much time I spend at any given rev (and from that, how fast I have been), the five fastest speeds I've been up to (and what time those speeds were attained), how hot the engine has gotten, how many standing start launches I have done, and so on. This is all collected to aid in troubleshooting when there's an issue - but it has been used to deny warranty coverage if your driving patterns are "abusive." This type of detailed tracking of a car's behavior is pretty common in many kinds of cars.

    So, no - I would not say that people are in control of their (newer) car.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @09:33AM (#26886085)

    I figured I'd give Win 7 a chance and see if they had improved anything since I tried out Vista a while back for my gaming machine. At first it seemed pretty nice, everything seemed to work pretty well.

    Then, I ran into the same audio problems I ran into with Vista (video works fine this time however, even SLI. in Vista it would blank out randomly.)

    I noticed under a moderate load, the sound would start crackling and sounding like it was disintegrating until it just stopped completely. So, I updated to Creative's new drivers after I read MS had redesigned the audio stack in Windows. That seemed to fix the problem, so I installed Cubase, Office, etc., and started doing my normal audio recording/mixing stuff. It worked fine for about two days, then it started doing the same thing again.

    Then, at the same time, my legit copy of office 2003 started giving me the "Office is not installed for the current user" problem, to which the solution was to take ownership of the c:\ProgramData folder recursively, which was a *major* hassle. I would check the "apply permissions to subdirs, etc" option and it would not really apply to subdirectories, I had to change permissions to each one individually and delete the OPA11.dat file. That seemed to fix the problem with Office for a few days, but then the problem came up again. I had to delete that file again. A few times of that, and I just started using OpenOffice.

    Game performance when you close every other running process down is not really any better or worse than XP, but it sucks playing games when your sound is crappy or nonexistent. Not to mention when the sound quality degrades altogether, the game freezes. (any game) I had that same problem with Vista. I had taken a drink of the DX10 kool-aid to see what the hype was about a while back (I was somewhat disappointed. It really wasn't worth the hassle.) In the end, I went back to XP 64 for gaming and Linux for audio production and that seems to be what I'll end up doing yet again. (Cubase LPT protection drivers do not work under Win7.) It's really a shame cause I'd love to be able to use the audigy platinum 5.25" bay device for audio patching, instead of having to run a bunch of wires into the back of my computer. If anyone has suggestions for how to get those front ports working in Linux using Jack, I'm all ears since I think jack + ardour is a damn fine open audio combination.

    These issues could just be because my sound card is a couple years old, but since it works fine under XP and Linux, I don't really see the need to upgrade it just to use Win7 or Vista.

  • by Cjstone (1144829) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:48AM (#26887289) Homepage
    People that do their own mixing are a very small percentage of total computer users. If it means getting a larger slice of the digital media pie, I'm sure Microsoft would gladly give up that market.

    Besides, if big-name movies and music were only available through Microsoft's media distribution software, which is only available on Windows Seven, most people would have at least one Windows Seven computer. Even the people that do their own mixing; they'd probably have an audio workstation running Linux (because Mac OS seems to be cramming DRM in as well,) and a media-center running Windows.

    And before people start arguing that it would be hard for Microsoft to compete with iTunes: Remember that the record labels want Apple to increase the DRM restrictions. I'm sure they'd jump ship fast if another company offered a product with the same capabilities and market penetration (a player that comes pre-installed on Windows computers would meet this part,) and more of the DRM that they want so badly.
  • by u-235-sentinel (594077) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:47AM (#26888535) Homepage Journal

    Mark my words, what we are seeing here is the tiniest tip of the turd iceberg that is Win7, AKA Vista the second edition. It will go down in flames as folks find out it is a big pile of stink just like Vista. That is why just yesterday I had a customer literally throw money at me saying "make this %^&^&$ POS Vista go away!

    Shortly after Vista came out I gave it a spin and decided I didn't like what I was seeing or hearing from my friends/family who also were checking it out. Neighbors down the street would frequently ask me for 'advice' on solving Vista problems. Got to the point where I bought that T-Shirt from "Think Geek" which says "No I won't fix your computer".

    I was building a new computer for myself and decided to switch to Ubuntu. I'm running 8.04 currently and haven't gone back. Heck, even my Windows games run perfectly under Ubuntu with WINE. HL2/TF2/CSS, Oblivion, UT2004 and so on.

    My kids are sick and tired of Windows issue and have demanded I switch their computers over as well.

    Microsoft is doing me a favor with Windows 7. Keep up the good work boys.

    BTW, the neighbors asking for help, I've burned a copy of Ubuntu 8.04 for each and every one of them. If they want help then here ya go. I'm finished with Microsoft.

  • by Runefox (905204) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:40PM (#26889551) Homepage

    This is an anecdote from a user. Nowhere is there an article or anything like that - Just an anecdote.

    Vista incorporates the same thing in a lot of cases. Remember the whole "network performance drops to 10% when playing an MP3" bit? Doesn't make it any nicer, but a lot of the things they're talking about here are already "features" in Vista. Still, things like audio loopback support can be enabled at the driver level, like with my Auzentech X-Fi Prelude's drivers for Vista, and if you use ASIO (which bypasses the kernel wherever possible) or something other than DSound, you'll probably retain your audio quality. So for people who actually need that sort of thing, they're already using the workaround (ASIO is very popular for professional use since its goal is to minimize latency in audio playback/recording, with the added effect of skipping any software/kernel processing, thus giving the cleanest signal). It's very possible, too, that the audio drivers being used were coded incorrectly, especially in the case of onboard audio. Downsampling and upsampling in software (especially in "realtime") is a nightmare for audio quality (ask any Soundblaster Live! user), and those beta drivers could have had a stopgap implementation of it.

    And as for the Photoshop bit, that's probably more to do with Photoshop, as I doubt Windows 7 has a vast database of checksums for each and every program's files. And if it does, then wow. I'd like to point out that "Local Settings" doesn't exist in Vista OR Windows 7 (it's there for compatibility purposes, and will prevent the user from doing anything to it), and it's actually located in the Appdata\Local folder of your user folder.

    Basically, what I'm saying is that these guys are just idiots (or maybe that should just read "this guy is an idiot"). Without any solid evidence that these things are actually Windows 7's fault, I'm having a hard time swallowing it, and I'm surprised (well, not really) at how many have jumped on the opportunity to spread the "love".

    Whee, FUD!

  • Re:No it wouldn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:34PM (#26896355) Homepage

    A simple example of Vista DRM. I tested it with CD/DVD burning software (all default install from Dell), it ran with a HDisk monitoring software, monitoring all content on 'my' hdisk drive. Not wanting to run a service which sucked up cycles or monitored my HDisk drive against me rather than for me (my hardware, my software, my electricity and my time), I disabled it, Vista immediately went into reduced functionality mode, disabled the control panel, parts of windows explorer and internet explorer (I wasn't actually using IE, I just tested it to see what is does in reduced functionality mode and which parts of the windows GUI which are actually part of IE, were now broken) and broke the internet connection, all with zero warning and no notification. So Vista, DRM'ed up the wazoo and hiding it. Several hours (slow install, updates and patches etc) latter Vista was gone and XP was on there to play games, 20 minutes after that Ubuntu was on there, for work and of course to control, repair and backup bits of XP as necessary.

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:48PM (#26898033)
    TMFA is a masterful slashdot troll and a pretty flithy piece of FUD on the side.

    So my question is who do I see about getting 10 minutes of my life back?

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