Laser Blog

Articles tagged "digital rights"

50 Word Processor Review

Friday 9th February, 2007

The review itself is quite interesting. We all use word processors at some time or another. But it was these two quotes which caught my eye: is the first office suite (and word processor) to use the new OASIS OpenDocument Format, the future-proof ISO certified international standard for office documents (ISO/IEC 26300:2006).
As of 2006, ODF is the ISO certified international standard for office documents, not OXML, nor .doc. For any other vendor, it's easier to write a conversion filter for ODF than will ever be for OXML, among other reasons for the sheer sake of supporting Microsoft's backward compatibility with its previous proprietary formats over the past 18 years. Corel has announced it will support both ODF and OXML in the next WordPerfect version.

(Emphasis added.)

OXML (Open XML) is Microsoft's answer to ODF (OpenDocument Format), although the name is somewhat misleading in that it's not really open. When concerns were raised about this, Microsoft provided a covenant not to sue, an offer which was generally rejected. Underhand stuff; try and sneak it in, then promise "not to sue", a promise which turns out to be worthless anyway.


49 The BBC plans to lock online TV viewers into Microsoft products

Wednesday 7th February, 2007

This is interesting. The BBC has announced that its new on-demand services will be limited to Microsoft Windows.

A report from the BBC Trust said that services will be unavailable to consumers who do not use Microsoft software or have an up-to-date version of Windows.

(Emphasis added.)

So, will BBC services eventually be limited to users of Microsoft Vista only?


45 Vista "an unprecedented loss of consumer control over their own PCs"

Thursday 1st February, 2007

The BBC has finally published an article on some of the negative aspects of using Vista. I imagine their previously one-sided reporting annoyed so many people that they were forced to publish the other viewpoint.

The article's author, Michael Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, identifies some worrying issues:

Vista's legal fine print includes extensive provisions granting Microsoft the right to regularly check the legitimacy of the software and holds the prospect of deleting certain programs without the user's knowledge.

Also, note that earlier I said "using Vista", not "owning Vista"; you don't own it, you're just paying for the right to use it, within certain constraints which Microsoft have decided to apply. When you download a free copy of Linux, it belongs to you.

For greater certainty, the terms and conditions remove any doubt about who is in control by providing that "this agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights".

For those users frustrated by the software's limitations, Microsoft cautions that "you may not work around any technical limitations in the software".

Some people actually pay money for this sort of abuse!


44 Vista isn't Green?

Wednesday 31st January, 2007

The Green Party (UK) asks: "Who has the key to your Vista PC?" I'll give you a clue: it isn't you.

Microsoft's latest operating system, due for release tomorrow, is defective by design, putting Microsoft and the corporate media in control of your computer.

It's a valiant effort by the Green Party, but some people don't seem to get it. No matter how many times you tell them, they just don't care. Apathy, eh?

"So-called 'digital rights management' technology in Vista gives Microsoft the ability to lock you out of your computer. Technology should increase our opportunities to consume media, create our own and share it with others.

"But Vista helps the corporate media take away our consumer rights. Silence in government betrays a shocking complacency in the face of this latest attack on our rights."

Vista will also be power hungry, as it requires more processing time to encrypt and decrypt 'premium' content, and looks around the computer every few milliseconds to check that nothing is trying to distribute de-coded 'premium' video or sound.

There was never a better time to switch to Linux.


43 A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

Wednesday 31st January, 2007

This is a real eye-opener, a detailed analysis of Vista's DRM infection. The article is quite long, so you might be tempted to think, "Ah, forget it!" Before you dismiss it, have a quick look at the more important section titles:

  • Disabling of Functionality
  • Indirect Disabling of Functionality
  • Decreased Playback Quality
  • Elimination of Open-source Hardware Support
  • Elimination of Unified Drivers
  • Denial-of-Service via Driver/Device Revocation
  • Decreased System Reliability
  • Increased Hardware Costs
  • Increased Cost due to Requirement to License Unnecessary Third-party IP
  • Unnecessary CPU Resource Consumption
  • Unnecessary Device Resource Consumption

Believe me, if you intend to purchase Vista, or a PC with Vista installed on it, this is well worth the read.