A dystopian future - looking beyond Windows Vista

Posted by Sander_Marechal on Jan 30, 2007 6:18 AM EDT
LXer; By Sander Marechal
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If the thought of Microsoft Vista's DRM restrictions, restrictive EULA, version confusion and user lock-in has you scared then you definitely do not want to know what the lads from Redmond have in store for the next version. If Microsoft's latest patent application is anything to go by then the next version of Windows, Vista+1 is really going to give you nightmares.

If the thought of Microsoft Vista's DRM restrictions, restrictive EULA, version confusion and user lock-in has you scared then you definitely do not want to know what the lads from Redmond have in store for the next version. If this patent application, covered by Groklaw here, is anything to go by then the next version of Windows, Vista+1 is really going to give you nightmares. Here's the abstract from the patent application:



An operating system and method for use include a core function module, or basic kernel, providing fundamental operating system support and one or more add-on modules that allow customization of the operating system as desired. Add-on modules may provide support or extended capability to the computer including hardware, applications, peripherals, and support. A digital signature may be used to confirm the integrity of an add-on module prior to installation. Certification may be verified to determine if installation of the add-on module is authorized. By withholding certification, a service provider may manage illegal or undesired modifications to a provided computer. Digital rights management may be used to enforce terms of use of the add-on module in keeping with licensing arrangements.


In simpler terms it's a modular OS, much like Linux, whereby every package will have to be bought separately, has been heavily DRM'ed and will be licensed under different licensing terms. And I'm not talking about applications here but about things that people see as core OS functionality, such as basic networking, internet access, running multiple instances of one application, using an USB device (licensed on a per-device basis), etcetera. You'll even have to pay separately just to be able to install third-party applications or to use the new RAM you bought:



5. The operating system of claim 1, wherein the at least one add-on module enables installation of a non-certified application program.

[...]

7. The operating system of claim 1, wherein the operating system further comprises a memory activation module, wherein the at least one add-on module cooperates with the memory activation module to permit use of an additional memory.

8. The operating system of claim 7, wherein the operating system requires the additional memory to implement a capability.



You should read the actual patent application for more and scarier examples. It's only a few pages long anyway. It looks like Microsoft wants users to pay separately for every basic OS functionality that they use through some sort of web shop, much the same way that antiquated mainframes used to be licensed out but with the added pixie-dust of “…through the internet”. It will actively throttle down functionality that it is capable of, but which has not been payed for. Or it will “restrict unauthorized operating system extensions from being installed that may support unauthorized hardware and/or software”. So not only do you have to pay for new hardware, you have to pay again in order to use it to it's full capacity. And you can bet that the hardware makes will have to pay Microsoft as well to be included in their web shop.



This is Microsoft ultimate wet dream of lock-in through DRM. It has been their wet dream ever since they came up with Longhorn and Trusted Computing. Longhorn is the monstrosity that spawned Vista after years of delay, various rewites, dropping most of it's features and bolting it to an existing platform (Windows Server 2003) because writing a new platform proved impossible. Matthew Broersma was right when he stated that Windows Vista is the last monolithic OS. Welcome to modular Longhorn.



The message is clear. Get out while you can. Microsoft's only interest is to empty your pockets and keep your computer hostage. It wants to turn computing into a monopoly content distribution channel and sell you to the highest bidder. Choose freedom and switch to Free/Open-source software.



This article has also been posted to the author's website.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
and the M$ 'patenting-everything' goes on henke54 19 1,926 Mar 9, 2007 9:59 PM
Microsoft bullying users into paying for patent licensing? henke54 3 1,616 Feb 13, 2007 11:53 AM
Micro$oft forces-people-to-look-at-adverts-patent henke54 1 1,339 Feb 11, 2007 3:04 PM
Russian legal expert, managed to patent vista...lol... henke54 0 1,596 Feb 7, 2007 7:08 AM
cracked version of Vista around US $8 henke54 12 3,348 Feb 6, 2007 12:46 PM
What are you talking about? ProgramMax 21 2,272 Feb 2, 2007 8:13 AM
Newsflash - 2007: The year MS re-invents hardware lock-in. tqk 10 2,389 Feb 1, 2007 8:39 AM
Linux harry8227 2 2,177 Jan 31, 2007 7:46 AM
Vista upgrade invalidates your XP key henke54 3 18,290 Jan 31, 2007 5:32 AM

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