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A Vista of Corruption

I spotted this on Ars today.

It's a story, prompted by a press release by Microsoft, stating that there will be seven different- some only different in nuance -"editions" of their upcoming Longhorn operating system, dubbed, "Windows Vista." I personally look forward to the new UI advances afforded by hardware manufactured and brought into common ownership since 2001, when their latest operating system was released. In that time, Apple has danced circles around Microsoft, in terms of user interface, with their masterpiece of an operating system, OSX(the 'X' is for 'ten,' not 'ex,' Lyons).

That, however, is about where my enthusiasm for Windows Vista ends. The more I hear about it, the less I like what I hear. One central facet of the upcoming release is the incorporation of Digital Rights Management, or DRM, into almost all of the "media"-centric programs. I think that's awful, but it exists today, in hugely popular programs like Windows Media Player and iTunes. However, today, users can use use any media software they want to use.

The difference with Vista, I fear, is that in the name of DRM, the use of other applications will be made very difficult, maybe even impossible. This, I predict(and I sorely hope I'm wrong), will come with an admonition from Microsoft, backed by assurance and funding from the MPAA and the RIAA, saying that DRM(They won't say DRM. They'll call it "Certified Computing" or something similarly fuzzy.) is for your protection, as "untrusted" files(viral programs like- GASP -alternatives to system-installed media programs) are generally dangerous and made by people that are out to get you.

The truth is that said "untrusted" files, by getting people to stop using Microsoft's preinstalled programs, are against Microsoft's best interest, not yours. A captive audience is the best kind, and hundreds of millions around the world are captives of Microsoft's operating systems, by way of making their own programs integral to everyday use. It's easy to change to better alternatives, but that doesn't occur to most people. I predict that with Vista, they will take it one step further, and eliminate the user's ability to avoid Microsoft software, all in the feigned name of safety, and to the unprecedented benefit of Microsoft.

I predict that the underlying code of Windows Vista will eliminate competition against itself, except in a few cases, in which deals are made with other large software companies.

I know it sounds bleak, but that is the future we are crafting for ourselves, by allowing- indeed encouraging -our freedom to be sucked away, and whisked up by large companies that have filled out the forms correctly.

2:46 PM, Sep 12, 2005

1 comment

Rachel thinks:

Hopefully, if this happens, people will start to look for alternatives within their computing. Windows Vista sounds terrible. How scary. [A class to learn how to use] Linux, here I come!

3:49 PM, Sep 14, 2005

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