April 20, 2007

Link: A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 3:27 pm

I was just reading through this article about Windows Vista’s cost analysis when I realized that Vista is intensive on hardware resources not only because of the new eye-candy features, but also because of various absurd DRM technologies which force data to flow through encryption routines before the user has access to it. Anyone thinking of buying Vista or hardware for running it should read the article. It’s long but really comprehensive about Microsoft’s obvious plans to cripple its users’ freedom.

(I’ve been unable to post actively in my blog for a while because of my mid-term exams. Hopefully, I’ll get back to writing new material before Wednesday.)

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April 16, 2007

Link: Avoid the Vista badge, it means DRM inside

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 11:38 pm

I just came across this article on Inquirer about how Windows Vista spells DRM, and why DRM is inherent evil. The author raises some pretty solid points, so be sure to check it out.

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Adobe plans to enforce ads with DRM in Flash

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 11:20 pm

Internet is a strange phenomenon. Someone comes up with an idea, it gets popular, and someone else who controls the technology behind that idea tries to monopolize the work. That’s exactly what’s going to happen with YouTube. Adobe has announced that its newer version of Flash media shall include DRM control and forced ads in order to promise content publishers “better ways to deliver, monetize, brand, track and protect video content”. I was preparing myself today for some Microsoft bashing over similar plans from them for Silverlight, but Adobe certainly proved that Ballmer is not the only greedy kid in town.

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April 14, 2007

AMD jumps off the anti-DRM bandwagon

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 3:51 pm

At a time when even Microsoft is planning to follow Apple’s footsteps for ensuring customer’s rights with DRM-free technologies, AMD decides that it will take its chances of innovating in Digital Restrictions Management. The company plans to ‘block unauthorized access to framebuffer’, which means that you won’t be able to capture videos or screenshots of the contents on your screen unless the content owners authorize your actions. A few months ago, the move would’ve appeared quite expected. However, after it has recently become quite apparent that restrictive technologies like these are not only fool-proof, but are also cause of a prominent discomfort in customers, it appears surprising and even a little ludicrous.

The greatest lesson of history: no one learns lesson from history.

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February 7, 2007

Will GPLv3 mean the demise of collaboration between free and open source software?

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 2:16 am

Nowadays, the general perception of media about open source is that of an efficient development model which is rapidly gaining user base. I also believed that open source has a bright future, but after I read’s report on the rumor about Free Software Foundation trying to lock down Novell from selling its Linux based distribution, darker prospects started looming in my mind.

RMS and FSF care more about ideology than technicalities, and that’s what sets free software apart from open-source software. Now consider a situation where RMS tries to include clauses in GPLv3 which do prevent Novell from selling Linux. Things will continue to be fine for quite a while, as the kernel developers aren’t big fans of GPLv3 themselves. However, they will really escalate if FSF decides to release GNU’s toolchain and coreutils under GPLv3. Novell will be forced to fork the v2 versions, and we’ll be left with an open war declaration of open source enthusiasts against free software evangelists.

Of course, I may be just being paranoid about free software, but I just don’t see why people don’t like the new anti-DRM clauses that are being proposed for GPLv3. Here’s what v3 says about DRM:

The Corresponding Source also includes any encryption or authorization keys necessary to install and/or execute modified versions from source code in the recommended or principal context of use, such that they can implement all the same functionality in the same range of circumstances. (For instance, if the work is a DVD player and can play certain DVDs, it must be possible for modified versions to play those DVDs. If the work communicates with an online service, it must be possible for modified versions to communicate with the same online service in the same way such that the service cannot distinguish.) A key need not be included in cases where use of the work normally implies the user already has the key and can read and copy it, as in privacy applications where users generate their own keys. However, the fact that a key is generated based on the object code of the work or is present in hardware that limits its use does not alter the requirement to include it in the Corresponding Source.

The motivation of stopping your code from being used to restrict other people’s freedom was supposed to be the primary incentive for authors using GPL for their code and the clause mentioned above only tries to further restrict the restriction of consumers’ freedom. The anti-anti-DRM clause people point out that if you had a hardware like TiVo which runs only particular versions of Linux (using cryptographically signed keys), this clause will mean a clear violation for the hardware manufacturer. The problem here, again is that these people don’t share the ideology of free software, and consequentially don’t see any freedom-restriction issues with TiVo-like products. If I buy some hardware, the choice of code that would be running on it should be entirely mine — That’s freedom.

It’s a pity to finally see the dreaded clash of ideologies between the leading figures of free and open source software movements. If the conflict isn’t resolved in a healthy manner, both movements will be once again left behind the proprietary software within a few years as their respective successes owe themselves largely to their collaborative natures.

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January 31, 2007

Blu-ray busted

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 6:05 am

At last, there’s some good news for PS3 fans like me. A hacker known as muslix64 has uploaded the BackupBluRay program. The software is still in its initial stages but at least things have now moved a step forward. Reportedly, people have been able to bypass AACS and play high definition movies in open source media players. According to muslix64, there are even few people who have burned successfully a Blu-ray HD movie to a HDDVD and vice versa.

This turn of events isn’t much surprising though, as content decryption for HD video was bound to happen sooner or later. Now we have to just wait and see the further counter actions that AACS folks are going to take against customers who demand fair-use. Things will supposedly get difficult for people who want to use the likes of BackupBluRay once the BD+ discs are widely adopted. However, that’s still not likely to dent the enthusiasm of the curious hacker community in any way. To know more about the current situation of HD discs’ copy protection, read this interview of muslix64 on

The whole thing has lifted my hopes once more. I can now look forward to buying pirated Blu-ray discs this summer when I buy a PS3. I have also noticed that the industry’s response to these attacks isn’t as aggressive as it was for CSS decryption, and there can only be two possible reasons for that. Either (more likely) they’re putting their hopes in BD+ and volume unique keys or (less likely) they have now accepted the harsh truth that piracy sells related hardware and most importantly, consoles :P .

Edit: It just came to my knowledge that the first Blu-ray rip has appeared on Bit Torrent network. The tracker is currently an invite-only site though and the movie size is about 22 GB!

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