Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
OS X Operating Systems Businesses Intel Apple

Mac OS X Intel Kernel Uses DRM 1399

An anonymous reader submits "Several people have discovered that the new Intel kernel Apple has included with the Developer Kit DVD uses TCPA/TPM DRM. More specifically, it includes "a TCPA/Palladium implementation that uses a Infineon 1.1 chip which will prevent certain parts of the OS from working unless authorized."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mac OS X Intel Kernel Uses DRM

Comments Filter:
  • by Geekenstein ( 199041 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:09AM (#13211493)
    I hate those bastards! I knew they were going to try and sneak this crap past us! They were plo...oh wait, did you say Apple?

    Wow! Spectacular use of technology Steve! You're my hero!
    • by gordgekko ( 574109 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:10AM (#13211502) Homepage
      The DRM makes the OS runs snappier!
    • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Baricom ( 763970 )
      My whole plan was to switch away from Microsoft to Apple due to the (relatively) benign copy protection in OS X and other products.

      I may have to rethink that strategy now.

      (And no, don't say Linux - I don't have enough time to learn it well enough to use it as a desktop machine on a daily basis.)
      • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by KillShill ( 877105 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:18AM (#13211537)
        nah don't worry about switching. all commercial vendors of os's will use drm. so strap yourself in, enjoy your new found freedom; the freedom to know you can't do anything about it.

        there just won't be a public backlash this time. it'll creep in slowly.

        how to make amphibians edible through the use of high temperature h2o.

        the GNU philopsophy will save us all... if it weren't for the fact that they are a bunch of pinko terrorists.

        not that i'm saying we should give up by any means except that i just don't see this going away like the BS "test the waters" cpu serial # scandal a few years ago.

        so many companies have invested heavily in digital -end user handcuffs that it's very improbable that they will give up easily. and the media certainly won't be telling the public anything negative, that much you can count on.

        i would like to donate to the eff, except i don't want to be put on a list of terrorists. the only way to even have a remote chance of beating this nonsense (criminal and unethical behavior) is to educate the public at a greater rate than the "mainstream media" can "educate" them.
        • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @06:10AM (#13212482)
          Interesting aside - last night my flatmate wandered in while I was talking to another geek friend about the TCA, Windows DRM^H^H^HVista and related matters.

          This guy is no techie (christ, he asked me to help him hook his monitor up last week), but he listened in and asked us to explain exactly what Trusted Computing was. We sketched out the very basics - media files dialling home before play, your rights/viewing-licence agreement changing after purchase at the whims of the content producer, other theoretically possible restrictions that DRM allows for, files refusing to play on non-trusted platforms and your PC dynamically downsampling future DVDs if it detects your monitor isn't Trusted.

          At the end of the five-minute conversation (again, attempting to inform rather than frighten) the guy was more pissed off than I've ever seen him - practically kicking furniture and swearing he'd never buy a bit of TCA-compliant electronics. Ever.

          As I said, while this guy isn't stupid, he's not even remotely technical. And when he appreciated the actual, real-life restrictions Trusted Computing would place on him he was angry.

          There is hope for these people, if they can be educated before the fight is over.
          • Objectivity (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @11:57AM (#13214478) Homepage Journal
            How did you explain their side of the argument?

            Let's assume (perhaps falsely) that the RIAA/MPAA aren't literally Satan's spawn. They have a good reason for wanting DRM: they spend a lot of money to make music/movies. They'd like to get paid for that, and the current environment makes it easy for people to get the full benefit of their work without paying for it.

            You know all this, so I'm not going to explain any further, but the question is, did you explain this to your friend? It's easy to get people angry when you explain only one side of the story. And if you want to use him as an example you have to be extra-careful to present their side as persuasively as possible, because you're obviously coming to this with a bias.

            Look, I agree that the DRM they want to use is too restrictive. But the absolutely-no-DRM environment is also not completely fair to them. So the attitude of simply getting angry at them for proposing an alternative is just wrong. The proper attitude is closer to, "Gee, neither situation is tenable, let's figure out what's genuinely fair."
            • Re:Objectivity (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Civil_Disobedient ( 261825 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:45PM (#13215550)
              They'd like to get paid for that, and the current environment makes it easy for people to get the full benefit of their work without paying for it.

              Ah, but the problem is, that's not his fucking problem. What is his problem is having to wait a few hours to listen to the latest music because his internet connection is temporarily down. Or not being able to listen to it in his car without an "authorized" piece of hardware.

              There are a hundred ways DRM could be the cause of future customer aggrivation. And in their mind, all these problems with piracy are not their problem, because they were good little consumers and coughed up their hard-earned dough.

              Something I learned early on in business: it can take millions of dollars to get a new customer, but a single stupid mistake to lose them forever.
              • Re:Objectivity (Score:3, Insightful)

                by jfengel ( 409917 )
                Another thing you should have learned in business is that your business partner's problem is also your problem. The **AAs are your partners: you buy things for them. Claiming that their problems are theirs alone is self-defeating, because it leads precisely where you're suggesting: they'll stick the most restrictive DRM they can on it, and suddenly their problem becomes your problem.

                So rather than just getting angry and saying, "Hey, you're trying to take away my fair use rights, I demand everything that'
      • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Buran ( 150348 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:22AM (#13211560)
        Erm, I don't think this is quite what you think. Apple already doesn't treat customers like scum the way Microsoft does (which I appreciate; I'm honest, but I don't like the assumption that I am not). I think this is just Apple's already-known plans to prevent the OS from not running on anything they haven't sold as a Mac. In other words, you have to buy a computer from Apple to run their OS. Which makes sense -- Apple is a hardware company primarily and makes its money mostly from the computer sales.
        • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by xenocide2 ( 231786 )
          On the other hand, Apple treats developers somewhere between equally bad as MS and worse. Think of all the nifty features in OSX, and most of them started life as third party products that Apple decided to reimplement and give away with the next version of OSX. At least Microsoft has the benevolence of buying somebody out for their new features.

          The only real reason Apple doesn't have to treat its customers like thieves is that you already paid them through your own asshole for the hardware. I'm not sure wha
          • by ( 463190 ) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:38AM (#13211890) Homepage
            The only real reason Apple doesn't have to treat its customers like thieves is that you already paid them through your own asshole for the hardware.

            That bit in your contract about the "per anum" fee may have been a typo.

            I'm an Apple user, and I've always paid through the nose...
          • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Thomas Miconi ( 85282 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @05:20AM (#13212339)
            Think of all the nifty features in OSX, and most of them started life as third party products that Apple decided to reimplement and give away with the next version of OSX

            Yeah, Heaven forbid that innovative software could actually be reimplemented by third parties and offered for free to consumers. I mean, next thing you know they might actually make a whole OS by taking ideas here and there and start offering it for free ! Imagine the havoc on poor little OS developers worldwide !

            Good thing that our modern democracies have invented software patents, so we can prevent such a catastrophe from ever happening....


            Thomas -

          • Not always... they bought iTunes for instance.

            I think you have to accept that in some cases, the product they are imitating wasn't done all that well, or their prefered implementation is that much closer to the OS, or may be affected by long term strategy (think Intel switch), that it may have seemed an easier alternative to just implement from scratch.
        • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @08:49AM (#13213065) Homepage Journal
          To play movies full-screen in Windows Media Player out of the box: ALT-ENTER

          To play movies full-screen in QuickTime Player out of the box: CMD-F (and pay $30) (and pay $30 for the next version) (and $30 more for the version after that)

          Yeah, Apple's a saint among corporations.
      • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:25AM (#13211569)
        (And no, don't say Linux - I don't have enough time to learn it well enough to use it as a desktop machine on a daily basis.)

        Isn't that the best way to learn? Using it on a daily basis.

        I won't say Linux because, despite the vast improvements the last years, it takes some patience.

        But if you'd rather take it as they (MS, Apple) hand it to you by all means. Just don't complain that there aren't alternatives... As the old saying - the cost of freedom isn't free.
      • if you're coming from M$ Windows. As a matter of fact, I'd say it's not a whole lot easier (if at all) to use than the default "desktop" install of Redhat or Suse Linux. The only advantage you'd have over Linux is the ability to walk into a store and buy shrinkwrapped software and even that's not entirely easy for Mac owners since a lot of stores don't carry Mac titles either.
      • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Drakino ( 10965 ) <d_slashdot.miniinfo@net> on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:14AM (#13211787) Journal
        Ugg. How many times does it have to be said?


        There. Apple has said many times they don't plan on using a BIOS in the shipping products, and have hinted at EFI. But the first developer machines have a BIOS, so everyone ignores Apple and assumes it will have a BIOS. Apple has a huge investment in driving forward with 64bit with all the marketing they have done, and yet everyone expects PowerMacs with the same Pentium chips in the developer machines that aren't 64 bit.

        Nowthis DRM thing comes up. Will Apple do similar in shipping hardware? It's hard to say. But right now, noone here can say yes or no for sure (unless your sitting at Apple's HQ working on the new products right now). I myself wouldn't be suprised if they do indeed put some kind of protection on, as the Mac OS has always had some kind of odd hardware requirement that prevents it from easially just running on a clone PowerPC box.

        Just settle down and wait until real products ship. Because if you have OS X 10.4.1 for Intel, you either have the hardware to run it on due to your developer program, or you pirated the ISO image off some torrent site and have it illegially.

        Yeah, sure, OS X will probably be runnable on a non Apple box some day. But guess what, it's likely to be a hacked up solution that kinda sorta works, and leaves you wasting time that could have been spent earning money to just buy a $500 Mac Mini. For me, my Apple hardware is a big reason I moved to OS X. Running OS X on my Dell just wouldn't be the same.
        • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:49AM (#13211933)

          Ugg. How many times does it have to be said?


          There's a word for people like you: a useful idiot.

          Sure, Apple has coded up this DRM implementation for fun and has no intention of using it. Apple and Jobs has sold you out... get over it. They jumped to Intel to get this Trusted Computing stuff and now they are using it.

          You can put your hands over your ears and sing lalalalalala, but it won't change anything. The message that has to go out from here is simple and the same one that should go out to any software/hardware company that involves itself with this anti-customer bullshit: Don't buy Apple. If their sales drop because of this action, then perhaps they'll listen... but if idiots like you continue to defend their actions with ever more ludicrous excuses that won't happen.

          • Hands in the ears? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by poptones ( 653660 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @07:39AM (#13212766) Journal
            Damn, talk about irony! The entire "free software" community has had its fists buried so deeply in its ears over this issue for years now it is doubtful we can make a meaningful recovery of the ground that has been lost.

            You try to pretend TCPA and DRM can be killed at birth and you are wrong. You try tto pretend DRM cannot be made to work and you are wrong. The same technology that protects HOLLYWOODS data can protect YOUR dat and MY data. DRM will allow computing to move into a new paradigm where conversations can be reasonably assured of being completely ephemeral OR where "data" can be moved from point A to point B with the relative security and geographic displacement of a physical object. But people lie and copy and cheat and forge and so to do this requires a *trusted platform* - a system you and I can both agree has been verified for honesty by a disinterested third party to our exchange.

            If you don't want to buy DRM media then don't buy it. But insisting someone is trying to "take your rights away" because they are asserting *their* rights is, at best, disengenuous.

            The open source community at large needs to take off the tinfoil hats and start doing some real development on these platforms. Like it or not DRM is coming and if you sit out the party no one is going to listen to you complain that everyone else already got all the cake and ice cream.
        • Re:Damn Microsoft! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @07:57AM (#13212839) Homepage
          Ugg. How many times does it have to be said?


          This is about the kernel, not the hardware.

          Really, if we take this attitude, we're forced to conclude that NOTHING about the developer platform can be counted upon to be in the commercial product. That's completely absurd. No, not everything will be in the commercial product, but it's not like they deliberately build the developer platform to be completely different from what they eventually release to the public.

          Common sense tells us that if there's DRM support in the OS X on Intel kernel, there's at the very least a chance that it'll be in the shipping product.

          If we're going to make noise over it, we damn well ought to do it as soon as we have first inkling of it, not when it's already too late. You don't wait until your neck is in a noose to hire a lawyer.
  • Who's more evil? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:09AM (#13211499) Homepage Journal
    So who became more evil Apple or Microsoft?
  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:09AM (#13211500)
    I had thought that it was widely known that OS X won't run on anything not sold by Apple as a Mac.
    • You just wrote possibly the most insightful post this story will see. thank you so much.
    • by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <> on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:30AM (#13211598) Homepage
      Mod parent up.

      All the rest of you that are in a tizzy, slow down and think about it for just a second. How did you think they were going to prevent OS X from running on non-Apple Macs? Magic? Voodoo? Asking nicely?

      Besides, it gives the 3r33t h4xx0rs something to fiddle with and crack. They'd be bored otherwise. :P
      • How did you think they were going to prevent OS X from running on non-Apple Macs? Magic? Voodoo? Asking nicely?

        By not writing drivers for 99% of the hardware out there?

        Apple doesn't have to do a thing to prevent people from running OS X on non-Apple Macs. They don't have to - it'll be extremely inconvenient to do so already, because drivers don't magically appear out of nowhere just because the chip is manufactured by Intel.

    • by ( 463190 ) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:01AM (#13211721) Homepage

      What is not so widely known is that it is ILLEGAL [] (in the USA) to:

      a) BUY a PC
      b) BUY a copy of OSX
      c) Make "b" run on "a".

      You heard me - against the law to do it in the privacy of your own home, like sodomy in Texas.

      And don't think for a second that Apple is above invoking this stupid law [] (not the sodomy one)
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:12AM (#13211513) Homepage
    The first person to crack this DRM implementation will win a free story about it on Slashdot!
    • Its been done! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Beautyon ( 214567 )
      From the .nfo:

      Release: Apple MacOS X Tiger *x86* *PROPER*
      Type: OS
      Format: ISO
      Archives: 47x50mb
      Date: 08/2005
      System requirements: Intel Pentium 4 w/HT/1GB RAM/10GB+ HD

      R E L E A S E N O T E S
      Thanks to the guys at phe*NIX who released a non-working copy. Too bad we at XiSO had the OSX x86 DVD for a few weeks now, working hard on disabling the Infineon/Trusted Computing module which is present onboard of the "developer" Apple-Intel boxes. As some of you have heard, Rosetta, Apple's binary translation software use
  • Zealotry (Score:5, Funny)

    by NitsujTPU ( 19263 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:13AM (#13211519)
    More specifically, it includes "a TCPA/Palladium implementation that uses a Infineon 1.1 chip which will prevent certain parts of the OS from working unless authorized."

    Oh no, my two sources of zealotry are colliding. Eeek! It can't be evil if Apple does it, right... but DRM is always evil, right? /. I need you! Tell me what to think!
  • Mach Overide (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:13AM (#13211522)
    Alter OSX code at runtime. [] It only works on PPC at present, however.

  • by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:13AM (#13211524)
    I don't get it - Apple's hardware has always been close system as you can get from PC type computer. So of course they can be 'accidentaly' early addopters of Palladium. Don't like it? Choose another vendor.
  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:22AM (#13211557)
    Apparently Apple's DRM kernel extension only gets involved when Rosetta is executing code. In other words, if you're running native code, there's no checking. But apparently some critical parts of the kernel are still being executed by Rosetta. And reimplementing the `AppleTPMACPI.kext' in a completely harmless manner (such that it always returns a "Yes go ahead" signal) is an option. As is replacing it at runtime via mach_override.

    These boxes aren't even for sale yet. I'm sure that it'll be cracked before that even happens.
  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:35AM (#13211620)
    Seriously, what did anyone expect?

    Apple does not want OS X installed on every generic PC out there. If Mac sales die tomorrow, Apple and OS X go with it. And no, they wouldn't open all the source after the liquidation and you would be stuck with Linux and Windows on the desktop. With both options being crap (for differing reasons).

    I would absolutely love for OS X to be sold for any machine with an Intel or AMD chip inside, but it's just not going to happen because Apple is not positioned to do so and survive.

    Fortunately, Apple has never even hinted at taking a route other than having OS X run on their machines and their machines only. Any disappointment should be tempered with the knowledge that they have had their cards on the table on this for some time. I don't think there was any question of another outcome.

    Apple is not screwing anyone over, they are just continuing what they have done for the past 21 years (even the brief period of Mac clones only involved the OS running on approved hardware).

    Perhaps things will change sometime down the road with Apple making further inroads into consumer electronics and successfully diversifying their business. I wouldn't hold my breath, though. The seamless integration between hardware and software is at the very core of the Mac experience.

    It's unfortunate that OS X is going to stay on one set of hardware, but it is just the way it has to be for the time being.
  • Not in the kernel (Score:5, Informative)

    by annodomini ( 544503 ) <> on Monday August 01, 2005 @01:44AM (#13211656) Homepage
    The headline states "Mac OS X Intel Kernel Uses DRM". According to TFA, it's Rosetta (the PPC emulator, which isn't written by Apple) that uses DRM, not the kernel of the OS itself: We've discovered that the Rosetta kernel uses TCPA/TPM DRM. Some parts of the GUI like ATSServer are still not native to x86 - meaning that Rosetta is required by the GUI, which in turn requires TPM. In fact, we already know that the kernel doesn't use DRM and can run on any Intel box you want, because it's open source and can be downloaded here []. It's the GUI that Apple wants to be locking in to their hardware, not the kernel. I suspect that they probably will make something other than Rosetta check the TCPA chip, but that's not what is going on right now.
    • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:01AM (#13211718)

      If you analyzed the mach_kernel binary file on the Developer Kits, you would see that the kernel is vastly different than the Darwin 8.2 that Apple released as open source. For one thing, it automatically calls the oah750 daemon (better known as Rosetta) every time that it finds a non-universal PPC executable.

      Before the kernel uses Rosetta to execute the PPC application (i.e. ATSServer in the case of starting a GUI), it calls the TPM kernel extension and checks the private keys in the TCPA chip. This is the only thing, as far as is apparent, that prevents Mac OS X from flawlessly running on a non-Apple system.

  • Oh do stop panicing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by threaded ( 89367 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:03AM (#13211726) Homepage
    Oh do stop panicing, this will be cracked, and easily, if it has not already been done.

    I am beginning to think companies put these copy protection things in the hardware for a variety of reasons:

    1) They get free advertising with the protests.
    2) They get free advertising when it is cracked.
    3) They get free advertising when they chase the crackers.
    4) They get free advertising when they chase the cracks' distributors.

    And maybe it gives the content providers a warm fuzzy feeling.
  • Awww. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) * on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:04AM (#13211740)
    Everyone here has been waiting for OSX-x86 ISOs to hit torrent sites so they can run OSX on their whitebox PCs. As has been seen many times before, not every ADC member holds up their end of the bargain with regard to their NDA. Knowing this full well it was rather obvious Apple would have to take some sort of action to keep their OS from being widely pirated within days of the first dev kits being delivered.

    There's a lot of hand waving here about companies removing people's rights and slippery slope arguments along the lines of "if they do X they will eventually do Y for reason Z". This entirely ignores the fact that Tiger-x86 is probably the hottest thing to hit torrent sites in a long time. It was bad enough when developer releases of Tiger for PowerPC were making the rounds and people were making stupid assessments of the system months before release. The development kits and pre-release copies of OSX are meant to be in Mac developer hands, not Joe Dork down the street on his PC.

    It is not a particular right to run OSX on anything but a Mac, the OSX EULA that you have to agree to in order to install the system specifically states that. Apple locking OSX onto Macs means they can continue to sell the machines with a straight face. No one would bother to buy a Mac if they could just grab a copy of Tiger and slap it on their PC at home. Apple would have little incentive to continue Mac development if there were no Macs being sold.
  • How is the TPM used? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @02:16AM (#13211793)
    I know a great deal about TPMs, I have a computer with a TPM. They are very common. Many high end laptops and desktops have TPMs. Here [] is an up to date list of systems that have TPMs. They include manufacturers such as HP, IBM, Acer, NEC, Dell, Gateway, Toshiba, Fujitsu, and Samsung. You've probably heard of some of them. It's easy to get a computer with a TPM. Probably in a few years it will be hard to get a computer without one.

    What does a TPM do? Essentially it is just a crypto chip. It can hold keys, and sign and encrypt data with them. It's completely passive. It never takes control of your system or does anything invasive. It doesn't even monitor the bus or snoop on data flows. It merely hashes, signs and encrypts data, on request from the CPU.

    How is it used for DRM? It can't be done today. They way it would be used, sometimes in the future, is to ship the chip with a unique key pre-installed in it, and with a certificate from the manufacturer on that key. Then the BIOS and OS get enhanced to do a "trusted boot" in which every software component gets its hash reported to the TPM. This allows the TPM to send out a crypto-signed "attestation" about the software configuration on the computer. It is signed by the built-in key, and that key is known to be a legitimate TPM key by virtue of the certificate that was created at manufacture time.

    This lets a remote server verify that you're running a genuine version of Media Player or iTunes and not some hacked thing that will strip the DRM and put it out on the net. Your system can report its software configuration and that attestation can't be forged, because you don't control a TPM key that has a cert on it from a TPM manufacturer.

    It's a complicated system, and no part of it exists today. Manufacturers don't ship TPMs with pre-installed keys, and they don't issue certificates. Nobody wants to touch that stuff with a ten foot poll. I know, I've tried to get a computer with a certified TPM for research purposes, but they're just not available.

    How would Apple use a TPM to keep the OS from running on non-Apple PCs? This is the $64 question, but I haven't seen much information about it. If they just look for the presence of a TPM, that won't help much - see above for all the computers out there that have TPMs.

    My guess is that it is more likely that the mechanism Apple will use or is using to keep from running on non-Apple hardware is not the TPM. They will probably use a custom chip. The TPM is extremely standard, the Trusted Computing Group has hundreds of pages documenting it. It would be crazy to twist that standard.

    Rather, I'm guessing that Apple uses the TPM for crypto purposes, possibly with an eye towards eventual DRM if and when the necessary massive infrastructure ever gets built. Due to its unique position as designer of both the computer and the software, Apple might even be in a unique position with regard to rolling out some form of TPM based DRM, just as they were among the first to create a commercially successful DRM system in iTunes. My speculation is that Apple is not using the TPM to stop hackers porting its software, they're using the TPM because it's useful. It just happens that the hackers don't have many systems with TPMs.

    If so, then, it is merely accidental that the use of the TPM is a road block for experimenters determined to run the Apple software on non Apple PCs. It's possible that if they looked at the list [] they would find some computers lying around that had TPMs in them, and if they tried on those computers, the TPM software would work fine. Maybe the OS would then run in its current form. It sounds like it's worth a try, anyway.
    • How is it used for DRM? It can't be done today. They way it would be used, sometimes in the future, is to ship the chip with a unique key pre-installed in it, and with a certificate from the manufacturer on that key. Then the BIOS and OS get enhanced to do a "trusted boot" ...

      The BIOS part is the one I am slightly worried about. As soon as mainboards come with a BIOS that insists on booting only an "attested" OS, Open Source users will have a problem. Something to look out for when buying hardware in the fu
    • by UnapprovedThought ( 814205 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @08:37AM (#13213003) Journal

      In your case, you are not running the full monty yet (a TCPA-compliant Longshorn), which is why it seems so harmless. I'm not as optimistic as you are about what's coming down the pike. To me, Trusted Computing is like having an M-1 tank on your doorstep. Sure, it's going to be fairly harmless if there are no keys to open it, but the keys will come someday, and you won't be allowed to hold them.

      You claim:

      It can hold keys, and sign and encrypt data with them. It's completely passive. It never takes control of your system...

      Sorry, there's a little bit more to it, unfortunately. From the TCG's own FAQ,

      ... security processes ... are protected through the secure TCG subsystem.

      Access to data and secrets in a platform could be denied if the boot sequence is not as expected...

      Features include ... attestation of machine configuration when booted...

      It sounds simple enough, but there is a whole realm of implications that will someday come home to roost.

      (Beware when reading the TCG's own FAQ, by the way, as they adopt a deceiving "don't blame us, we're not the ones pulling the trigger" position. So, they gloss over some of the juicy possibilities a BIOS writer or an application writer will likely exploit from the technical specs.)

      To begin with, the first application that boots up, typically the BIOS (probably UEFI but any other choice really), if written to do so can refuse to allow any application to start which isn't signed by one of the keys securely stored in the TPM. The BIOS will check the TPM for a matching key for the OS, and if it matches, will allow it to start. Conversely, if the key doesn't match (for example, a bootleg OS), the BIOS can just stop right there. Keep in mind, this is the BIOS handling this, not the TPM, but, unlike even the M-1 tank, there is no way to tamper with the TPM to change the keys.

      Now, once a trusted OS is able to start, it can decide pretty much autocratically what other applications can start, once again using the keys locked down by the TPM to check if they are legit or not. So, programmatically, the TPM doesn't make the decision to lock you out of using non-vendor applications, but it's just as well as if it did, because the OS writer can easily use the TPM's secure, untamperable storage to enforce it. (Note that the motherboard supplier can cooperate with the OS writer to initialize the TPM with the appropriate keys right out of the factory (if they wanted to). It's irrelevant if there are no keys in there right now. The tank is still there, pointing at your door, waiting for its keys to arrive.)

      Other applications, if they are also signed by the TPM, may be granted the privilege (by the OS) to start and, specifically, to lock down data, such as video, in order to provide DRM functionality. If that decision is made, there is no way you will see that video through any other application unless the application governing the data allows otherwise. That data can basically be owned entirely by the application vendor, not you (as different from what the TCG claims, because no one's going to enjoy watching encrypted video gibberish. You can technically "own" the gibberish, but you still can't watch the video...). You may have a choice to delete a video, for example, but not to view it unless that vendor allows it. It is a backdoor way of implementing the media (DVD, CD, etc.) equivalent of the broadcast flag, if the app writer and OS vendor cooperate to that effect.

      Unsigned applications may be allowed to start too, and the TCG spec says that this is in the "user's" control, but let's face it, it's really in the OS vendor's control because they control the machine all the way from bootup. There isn't a little switch on the TPM chip to allow you to override your OS' choice in the matter. Still, it's possible that

  • by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @04:27AM (#13212214) Homepage
    When the proposed move to Intel was first announced, I suspected this might be the case and therefore asked in my comment about what role DRM would play. Though I didn't elaborate on it, the tip off was the "Roadmap" being more "interesting". It's a shame that Apple is heading that way. However, it's still possible for a more enlightened move from Apple's management.

    I still think the problems raised by DRM are greater and more severe than those it purports to fix. Obviously, fair use and doctrine of first sale are the first to disappear. But also, common carriage is at risk, and if DRM gets into routers and switches then it will be possible to make the Internet into the same mess the telecommunications network is in.

    The nature of DRM and the clumsy attempts we have seen so far also indicate that there is great potential for human rights abuse, too. There is of course the ability to monitor who is interacting with whom, the DRM software has to track this to work. There is also the ability to block or censor communications. After all, restricting access or dissemination is what DRM is all about. And that directly affects both the right to free speech and the right to peaceably assemble -- after all what can be published or organized without the Internet or the Web these days, without them you're shut off.

  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P ( 594330 ) on Monday August 01, 2005 @09:56AM (#13213490)
    If OS X had to run on a gazillion different combinations, that fact would be a major point it making it less reliable and less stable. BECAUSE THE OS IS SOLD TO RUN ON ONLY A FEW HARDWARE OPTIONS, IT"S EASIER TO WRITE AND TEST AND Q/A THE DAMN THING! That is part of the success of OS X and what makes it run so geat. Of course Apple wants the hardware sales, but controling the hardware is critical too. I would not want an OS X that could run on Compaqs to Dells to A Opens to your custom PC because then I wouldn't get uptimes of 90 days (rebooting only for security updates that touch the Kernel, etc).

    LOOK AT SOLARIS. Ask anyone who needs a Solaris box to stay up for critical stuff (not FTP server, talking about critical stuff at the core of a company / government / hospital) and it will be on one on Sun's servers, it will NOT be Solaris for Intel. Big metal + Tested Metal = Solaris uptimes of years if need be. Small metal + Tested Metal = OS X I know and love.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.