Windows Vista Content Protection - Twenty Questions (and Answers)

Windows Vista Content Protection - Twenty Questions (and Answers)

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A conversation has cropped up since the recent publication of a paper scrutinizing how Windows handles digital rights management, especially for HD video.  I've since looped back with Dave Marsh, a Lead Program Manager responsible for Windows' handling of video, to learn from him the implications involved and to learn to what extent the paper's assertions are accurate.  The following is an article Dave has put together to address the misconceptions in the paper, followed by answers to what we expect will be the most frequent questions in the minds of our customers.  Leave us a comment to let us know what you think.  -- Nick

Over the holidays, a paper was distributed that raised questions about the content protection features in Windows Vista.  The paper draws sharp conclusions about the implications of those features for our customers.  As one of the Lead Program Managers for the technologies in question, I would like to share our views on these questions.

Windows Vista includes content protection infrastructure specifically designed to help ensure that protected commercial audiovisual content, such as newly released HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs, can be enjoyed on Windows Vista PCs.  In many cases this content has policies associated with its use that must be enforced by playback devices.  The policies associated with such content are applicable to all types of devices including Windows Vista PCs, computers running non-Windows operating systems, and standalone consumer electronics devices such as DVD players.  If the policies required protections that Windows Vista couldn't support, then the content would not be able to play at all on Windows Vista PCs.  Clearly that isn't a good scenario for consumers who are looking to enjoy great next generation content experiences on their PCs.

Associating usage policies with commercial content is not new to Windows Vista, or to the industry.  In fact, much of the functionality discussed in the paper has been part of previous versions of Windows, and hasn’t resulted in significant consumer problems – as evidenced by the widespread consumer use of digital media in Windows XP.  For example:

  • Standard definition DVD playback has required selective use of Macrovision ACP on analog television outputs since it was introduced in the 1990s.  DVD playback on and in Windows has always supported this.
  • The ability to restrict audio outputs (e.g., S/PDIF) for certain types of content has been available since Windows Millennium Edition (ME) and has been available in all subsequent versions of Windows.
  • The Certified Output Protection Protocol (COPP) was released over 2 years ago for Windows XP, and provides applications with the ability to detect output types and enable certain protections on video outputs such as HDCP, CGMS-A, and Macrovision ACP.

It's important to emphasize that while Windows Vista has the necessary infrastructure to support commercial content scenarios, this infrastructure is designed to minimize impact on other types of content and other activities on the same PC.  For example, if a user were viewing medical imagery concurrently with playback of video which required image constraint, only the commercial video would be constrained -- not the medical image or other things on the user's desktop.  Similarly, if someone was listening to commercial audio content while viewing medical imagery, none of the video protection mechanisms would be activated and the displayed images would again be unaffected.

Contrary to claims made in the paper, the content protection mechanisms do not make Windows Vista PCs less reliable than they would be otherwise -- if anything they will have the opposite effect, for example because they will lead to better driver quality control.

The paper implies that Microsoft decides which protections should be active at any given time.  This is not the case.  The content protection infrastructure in Windows Vista provides a range of à la carte options that allows applications playing back protected content to properly enable the protections required by the policies established for such content by the content owner or service provider.  In this way, the PC functions the same as any other consumer electronics device.

With that introduction, here are the top twenty questions, and answers, that aim to address some of the other points raised in the paper.

Dave Marsh - Lead Program Manager for Video

Twenty Questions and Answers

Do these content protection requirements apply equally to the Consumer Electronics industry supplied player devices such as an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player?

Generally the requirements are equivalent for all devices.  For example, an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc always requires HDCP protection for DVI/HDMI outputs regardless of the type of device playing the disc.  There are some cases, such as DVD-Video, where PCs have slightly different protection requirements than CE devices, but these differences are mainly historical and as dictated by the licenses associated with the systems providing access to the content (e.g., CSS for DVD).

When are Windows Vista's content protection features actually used?

Windows Vista's content protection mechanisms are only used when required by the policy associated with the content being played.  For Windows Vista experiences, if the content does not require a particular protection, then that protection mechanism is not used.

Will the playback quality be reduced on some video output types?

Image quality constraints are only active when required by the policy associated with the content being played, and then only apply to that specific content -- not to any other content on the user's desktop.  As a practical matter, image constraint will typically result in content being played at no worse than standard definition television resolution.  In the case of HD optical media formats such as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, the constraint requirement is 520K pixels per frame (i.e., roughly 960x540), which is still higher than the native resolution of content distributed in the DVD-Video format.  We feel that this is still yields a great user experience, even when using a high definition screen.

Will this affect things like medical imagery applications?

Image constraints only apply to protected content being played and not to the desktop as a whole; therefore, the resolution of other non-protected media, such as medical images, is not affected.

Do things such as HFS (Hardware Functionality Scan) affect the ability of the open-source community to write a driver?

No.  HFS uses additional chip characteristics other than those needed to write a driver.  HFS requirements should not prevent the disclosure of all the information needed to write drivers.

Will the Windows Vista content protection board robustness recommendations increase the cost of graphics cards and reduce the number of build options?

Everything was moving to be integrated on the one chip anyway and this is independent of content protection recommendations.  Given that cost (particularly chip cost) is most heavily influenced by volume, it is actually better to avoid making things optional through the use of external chips.  It is a happy side effect that this technology trend also reduces the number of vulnerable tracks on the board.

Will Windows Vista content protection features increase CPU resource consumption?

Yes.  However, the use of additional CPU cycles is inevitable, as the PC provides consumers with additional functionality.  Windows Vista's content protection features were developed to carefully balance the need to provide robust protection from commercial content while still enabling great new experiences such as HD-DVD or Blu-Ray playback.

Aren't there already output content protection features in Windows XP?

Yes.  Output content protections are not new requirements for commercial content.  The CSS content protection system for DVD-video discs requires output protections such as Macrovision ACP and limiting the resolution on component video outputs to standard definition.  Windows XP has supported these requirements for some time.

Is content protection something that is tied to High Definition video?

While HD content has some unique content protection requirements, many of the requirements apply to commercial content generally, independent of resolution.

What about S/PDIF audio connections?

Windows Vista does not require S/PDIF to be turned off, but Windows Vista continues to support the ability to turn it off for certain content -- a capability that has been present on the Windows platform for many years.  Additionally, in order to support the requirements of some types of content, Windows Vista supports the ability to constrain the quality of the audio component of that content.  Similar to image constraint for video, this quality constraint only applies to the audio from content whose policy requires the constraint, not to any other audio being played concurrently on the system.  As a practical matter, these audio restrictions are not widely used today.

Will Component (YPbPr) video outputs be disabled by Windows Vista's content protection?

Similar to S/PDIF, Windows Vista does not require component video outputs to be disabled, but rather enables the enforcement of the usage policy set by content owners or service providers, including with respect to output restrictions and image constraint.

Will echo cancellation work less well for premium content?

We believe that Windows Vista provides applications with access to sufficient information to successfully build high quality echo cancellation functionality.

Will it mean that there will no longer be unified graphics drivers?

The Windows Vista content protection requirements for graphics drivers will not lead to movement away from unified drivers.  In fact, all graphics drivers shipped with Windows Vista are unified drivers.

Will Windows Vista audio content protection mean that HDMI outputs can't be shown as S/PDIF outputs?

It is better if they show as different codec types, as it allows the difference to be reflected in the UI, thus providing the user help with their configuration and creating a better user experience.  The user wants to know the difference between HDMI and S/PDIF, as they are different physical connectors.

What is revocation and where is it used?

Renewal and revocation mechanisms are an important part of providing robust protection for commercial audiovisual content.  In the rare event that a revocation is required, Microsoft will work with the affected IHV to ensure that a new driver is made available, ideally in advance of the actual revocation.  Revocation only impacts a graphics driver's ability to receive certain commercial audiovisual content; otherwise, the revoked driver will continue to function normally.

Does this complicate the process of writing graphics drivers?

Adding new functionality usually introduces new complexity.  In this case, additional complexity is added to the graphics driver, but that complexity comes with the direct consumer benefit of new scenarios such as HD-DVD or Blu-Ray playback.

Will the 'tilt bit' mechanism cause problems even when the driver is not under attack from a hacker, e.g., when there are voltage spikes?

It is pure speculation to say that things like voltage fluctuations might cause a driver to think it is under attack from a hacker.  It is up to a graphics IHV to determine what they regard as an attack.  Even if such an event did cause playback to stop, the user could just press 'play' again and carry on watching the movie (after the driver has re-initialized, which takes about a second).  Again, it is important to note that this could only occur in the case of watching the highest-grade premium content, such as HD-DVD or Blu-Ray.  In practice I doubt it would ever actually happen.

Does Windows Vista's use of OMAC-authenticated communication impact graphics driver performance?

The authenticated communication mechanisms used for Protected Video Path in Windows Vista are only actively used while commercial content is playing.  This means that while there is a performance impact, it is limited to the scenarios where it is required to provide robust protection for commercial content.

Do content protection requirements mean that graphics chips have to provide hardware acceleration for video decode?

No.  The Windows Vista content protection requirements do not require that graphics hardware include hardware acceleration for decode for many years, but such support is highly recommended to improve the user experience for HD content.

Will the video and audio content protection mechanisms affect gaming on the PC?

The Windows Vista content protection features were design for commercial audiovisual content and are typically not used in game applications.  A game author would have to specifically request these features for them to impact game performance.

462 Comments
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  • mike_m
    1 Posts

    I was personally disgusted on how badly neutered windows media center was with Visa. I have windows7 and they still haven't learned. I was amazed to see all the wonderful Internet TV being offered. Canadian content law makes everyone need a cable box to watch cable, nothing is sent over the air now, unlike the U.S., so it can be controlled (ever play monopoly?).

    But when I was stupid enough to key in my Canadian ZIP code Microsoft was kind enough to tell my Canadian content provider that I am Canadian and all of that neat internet TV functionality was erased, and my kids can no longer see "handy Manny" on the internet web page on the computer in the living room either; thanks Microsoft for telling my content provider that I am Canadian  so they could set their filters to turn off this U.S. content on my cable box too. Also, I still cannot play my DVD’s on my computer either. I have to rip them on to my hard drive first; steal my own media so to speak.

    My question is does MS not have any idea of how badly they alienate everyone they do this to? Remember when Bill Gates defeated IBM with their OS2 fiasco by taking advantage of IBM’s complete ineptitude about what people wanted?  “IBM continues to humiliate themselves” he said and now Microsoft is doing the very same thing.  I’ll bet Google and Apple have been laughing their bums off these last 2 years.

    How am I supposed to feel privileged when I get stuff like this happening to me? I have access to bit torrent like everyone else. What do those greedy media guys think that I am going to do now that I am restricted from watching the shows? Hint: Tell Dave Marsh to Google "Handy Manny torrent" and see what restricting legal content off the internet has done for the industry, made them more $$$ or alienating 35 million people even more?  My content provider has been advertising unlimited downloading now that CRTC is allowing competition for internet at last. Now why would they be adverting something like that?  And why are manufacturers still tripping over themselves to make bigger hard drives?  What could you possibly need a 2TB hard drive for?

    This article is the best ive seen about what everyone knows is un-defendable on what is the most stupid series of moves I have ever seen any industry make.  But just in case we’re not completely sick of hearing people scream BS about the subject and that article trying to defend corporate greed 2 years later, please read today’s article in the National Post. I think it pretty much says is all. Turns out 2009 was a good year after all.

    www.nationalpost.com/.../story.html

  • remoncy
    1 Posts

    very good!

    http://www.free-drm-removal.com/

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts
  • pek guzel, very good maşallah

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Funny how Vista sales are improving.  

    E.g. counting Vista downgrades to windows XP, as a Vista sale twists normal sale logic.

    Big Companies like Intel (and Intel has helped Microsoft on the Vista coding), and Daimler is skipping Vista installations completely.

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Yes:

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/D/6/5D6EAF2B-7DDF-476B-93DC-7CF0072878E6/output_protect.doc

    Explains it techwise.

    But better/faster playback can still be done on Windows XP, with a Blueray protection disabler, and e.g. Powerdvd

  • cssmith
    2 Posts

    Thanks.  Is there any reasonably accessible documentation on this sort of scenario (with, for exmaple, flow diagrams for different types of media) ?  All the stuff I've seen so far only concentrates on the scenario of playing back DRMed content in Vista.

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    No it will not with vlc player, but if playback is from windows mediaplayer it will.

    Protected path is also checked with blueray enabled playback programs like powerdvd.

  • cssmith
    2 Posts

    Are the PVP-OPM and PUMA subsystems engaged when all media is being played, or only media which is DRM-encumbered ?

    Eg: if I fire up a video in VLC, will it have to traverse the "protected paths" for video and audio ?

  • Just spent an hour trying to fix Windows Media Center and Media Player. Turns out the DRM MALFUNCTIONED and shut everything down. This would go along with the near constant problems I have with the "genuine Windows" nonsense where the software keeps fooling itself into thinking it's not genuine, and the similar problems with all of the Office 2007 products. I could go on for days, but bottom line is that, while I'm no Apple fan, nor Linux using MS-hater, and while I've used every Windows since 3.1 on numerous machines, Vista is an absolute, unmitigated disaster that has nearly succeeded in crippling my business. I've gotten to where I stand up and cheer at the Apple commercial where the lady with the yoga school who is trying to teach the Gates look-alike to meditate blows her stack after talking about what Vista did to her business. It is going to take me a lot of work and effort, but MS has forced me to switch to Linux. I don't like it, but my survival depends on it. The DRM is just one more scary example of Vista basically being a bunch of viruses lurking on my computer. I'm not paying good money for an OS and apps that do not respect my property, or show any concern for the damage done to me in lost time and functionality. So long Vista.

  • i miss itspec; he had good points ... seems like its now a pissing contest between what people want and what microsoft/media companies want to provide.

    The only thing i can say is i think microsoft did a major change in vista sometime during the design process and prior to its release that comprimised the whole operating system. Whether this is do to drm or not i cannot say for sure; but i tend to think that it did..

  • Just found that Vista supposedly stops playback of anything super-hi-res, so have to modify what I say with an added delay, there has to be a hack found to get around that. *If it's true, it's 24hrs since I saw a bed..

  • Why is everyone getting so steamed up?

    How long do you think it will take for someone to come up with a patch that prevents the crippling of other functions if you accidentally access something 'critical'?

    Once that's been done, there will be no need for special players, plain video (straight compression) equivalents will be available for any video that anyone fancies watching, no need for special 'GreenRayGun' players or anything, just a bit of software that will play unprotected hi res video plus access to the world-wide-LAN.

    Firewall off anything that looks like a cripple code, don't try playing anything that might require 'authentication' and stick to the plain-vid equivs that will be released (usually before the premiere).

    Don't run any DVD players, don't buy any discs from Sony, and don't let microsoft updates any closer than next door's XBox.

    They're trying to lock the stable door after enough horses have left to start an alternative population in the next valley.

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Hibernation file (size of installed mem), and swap file + windows installetion, would get you close the the 7gb.

    But anyway Vista installation disc without integrated Sp1 will also have trouble. (neither seen speed or abilities improve (disabling security software is not a beneficially thing is does))

    SP2 would hopefully only improve things

  • sajith
    1 Posts

    i have an issue with my vista i just recently reinstalled vista formatting the hdd. and now the c drive shows it's full!!  i checked and the windows folder is 7gb. is this possible????

  • dnm
    2 Posts

    A big gripe I have with all of this is that mfpmp.exe keeps top CPU% spot every time I play unprotected mp3's in windows media player. Ok, so it's "only" a couple of CPU percents. Well, that's ok unless I play a game at the same time :(

    I guess the solution is to run winamp or another player, specially if I want to run a game and listening to the music of my own choice.

  • I am so glad that Ubuntu is around.  Slowly gaining ground, but I wish all the best to MS and company.  My website is hosted on a Linux machine!

    http://open-source-intelligence.org

  • Another article by J. Dvorak no less. I really hope that Nick and MS is taking a long look and read of what is being said in here, and out there in the IT world. After pretty much successfully switching to LINUX, I still find it easier to use my XP laptop to do some tasks and play the occasional games. Plus XP makes it so much easier to rip my HD-DVD, and DVD's..... But, I'll stick with Ubuntu around the house, and on my kids computer until M$ gets around to  dumping the DRM, and the awful Vista malware.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2209837,00.asp

    Please read and take some of the advice. And BTW, I have tried Vista. Just so you Redmond guys don't think this is just a bunch of Anti-drm people up in arms. I tried it at work on a spare workstation. IT Sucks and is slowwwwwww....

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    before praising Vista to greatly you should know this bug also (is not linked to the slowdown or filecopying, or slowdown on netspeed while playing mp3)

    Error message when you try to copy files from a Windows Vista-based computer to another computer by using Windows Explorer: "Out of memory There is not enough memory to complete this operation"

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/942435/en-us

    Seems reproduceable: When a Vista user (running Kaspersky Anti Virus 6 or 7) tries to copy a large number of files (~16,400).

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=829

  • sharebay, thanks for posting dsharp9000 words again...

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Sidenote. So far Intel has a plans to include a AES 128-bit accelerator routine in their next processor (aka feature that speeds up encryption/decryption of AES encryption algorithm).

    So when your computer runs slow in 3 years time is easily because it is bogged down with DRM protections (and the cure could be XP or other source of operating system).

  • i asked this before, but will ask again as it relates to all hardware vendors developing grahpic /audio hardware for vista under a restrictive agreement with microsoft.

    Specifically there is an agreement between microsoft and hardware vendors that restricts what hardware vendors can make for other "non microsoft players.

    There is an implication to this "agreement" as it effects "all" potential players of media including the "potential" hd dvd player that might be on my tv.  Does anybody see where this is headed?

  • I really am unsure of what is causing all the problems with vista.  I think what we all want is an operating system that will do what we want.   With vista proponents, its always the drivers fault.  With vista opponents, it is always the drm or some type of bloat that is at fault. However, both are inclusive, as either one makes vista faulty.  I can blame the hardware vendors for bad drivers or --- i could blame vista itself.   In the end, if it is made to complicated, then nothing gets done and there is no "leap" in something new as it is bogged down in complications.   It is clear to me that vista requires a lot more in processing powers as well as a great more complexity in hardware/driver development  to do the same as xp.   I cant say if its because of drm or not; but will say that the same pace of innovation of the past has been lost.  

  • Look at another great article about Vista. By Don Reisinger at CNet....

    http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9785337-7.html?tag=nefd.only

  • Glad to see this Blog is still here. Just an update for me personally. I have now totally gone with Ubuntu all of my computers except my laptop. They run my Media PC in my family room. Whats amazing is I can watch DVD's and HD-DVD's(never Blu-Ray Sony Crap) ripped to my hard drive through a DVI connector to my flat screen. No Vista crippling DRM or HDCP..... So far I have not had to pay one dime for any software. Just the investment of about 10-15 hours of my time. I want to thank Microsoft for forcing me away from their products and looking to the future. Also want to thank them for offering people an Upgrade back to XP. (hush hush) Now I have my company IT people onboard with discarding 90% on Micro$oft by 2010. We already have three Feisty Fawn desktops running on our network. Granted we only have about 118 desktops, but you guys in Redmond should be proud that you lost 118 revenue streams because of crippling DRM, and your invasive business model. You guys now rank up there with RIAA, MPAA, Sony, and the DCMA as some of the worst anti consumer organizations  I can think of. We are spreading the word. It might be slow, but in the end, your business model will be your downfall......  

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Or simply said both charts looks like similar performance is generated.

    But that is before you look at the the processing power.

    Could be a wise choice to maybe start backing the proposed SSE5 cpu instructions set that is based on speeding up calculations.

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    That you can estimate that playback performance costs a fair bit on your powerbill.

    Simply that the AMD dual core needs to be a about 3.6 Ghz to compare the operating systems 1:1 for the same gfx card, playing the same codec.

    (technically AMD x2's need 600mhz more than Intel core duo, to generate the same performance)

    Or put it upside down the XP performance chart could be done with a 1.8Ghz Intel Core duo.

    All in all Vista as a playback system is costly in powerdrain.

  • Gun vapor,

    I looked at the links but am unsure of what they really mean.  What does it mean?      

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    X-bit labs have compared CPU loads on gfx cards under Vista. Sorted my performance levels and codecs. (the older tests under XP is below)

    ------------------------------

    The Look of Perfect: Analysis of Graphics Accelerators Performance during Media Playback

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/video-playback2.html

    ------------------------------

    Some CPU loads under Windows XP from X-bit

    ------------------------------

    Ready to HD: Performance of Contemporary Graphics Accelerators during Video Playback (page 5)

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/video-playback_5.html

    ------------------------------

    Notice that the Vista tests uses a 3Ghz CPU

  • hello all-- nick, gunvapor, and itspec

    I must say i have really enjoyed this blog and think it is a testament to nick that he has not closed it.

    One thing i see happening at this point is basically zdnet (george) has taken on anti drm/ gutmann campaign without a basis of science which leaves most users assuming that what guttman is saying is non-sense.  I dont think this is the case and really dont want to get involved in the flaming attacks, but i do invite george to discuss in this blog his opinions and thoughts so people have an opportunity to respond with sound science and background to the issues that george is raising and outside his protected environment of zdnet.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Hello dsharp9000, GunVapor and Nick -

    I do still check in from time to time. Glad to see you are too.

    Interesting issue with the network slowdown during multi-media play on Vista. I popped over to read Nick's postings about Mark Russinovich's explanation, and that makes sense to me. I remember reading about Vista's priotitization methods to focus CPU attention on applications/functions that are sensitive to latency.

    Sounds like there is a little more tuning to be done in striking the right balance.

  • Sweet post Nick!

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey dsharp9000:  I just posted on this today, it has nothing to do with DRM:  http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2007/08/27/multimedia-playback-moderating-network-transfer-speeds.aspx.

  • i didnt know if you guys were still around or not.  Wondering gunvapor and itspec,

    what do you guys think of this:

    http://forums.2cpu.com/showthread.php?t=83112

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Hey George,

    You might want to do some more homework on this...

    It's your choice to be for or against the DRM in Vista, but your arguments would be better received if they contained substance of value (and accuracy).

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Hey George

    There is a reason this blog is over 400+ posts :-P

    some refreshes from this thread:

    Gutmann is basicly stating that Encryption/Decryption is not done free of charge. So claim that it is fully debunked is false. (would be the same as claiming that mp3 playback on portable devices, with file encryption is done with zero battery cost)

    Several factors have mayor effect on cpu cycles used for playback, biggest here is build in hardware accelation in the processes (as mentioned decryption/encryption handling is payed by customers). Other factor is the encryptionscheme (this is changeable) used for the HD dvd media (which mostly is none currently).

    Simplyfied HD dvd uses 2 encryptions: 1st is Access (is in use), second is data content (haven't heard it used yet, because here is where you need the decryption workhorses)

    Vista DRM is not an option, it's a subsystem you can't circumvent without the need to break into the driverlayer.

    btw. Several Ati 1X series cards are HDCP compatible (but missing the firmwarechip with the HDCP code for the gfx card (this means that there is hardware decryption build into the gpu))

  • hey george,

    If your going to pick on somebody then pick on me; why are you picking on clshrock and quoting something that is 6 months old.  I am an open target.  Go ahead george; hit me with your best shot.

  • clshrock says:

    "Let me say it again -- I DONT WANT *ANY* PLAYBACK OF HD-DVD/BLU-RAY--If I do, I will go out and buy a consumer electronic device that can play it!"

    So if you don't want a certain feature, then it should not exist in Vista?  A lot of people don't game, should DirectX and OpenGL support be ripped out of Vista?  A lot of people don't play DVDs on their computers, should Microsoft rip out DVD playback and macrovision support?

    This whole debate on Vista DRM is much ado about nothing.  The claims that it spikes CPU utilization and causes an increase in hardware costs has been fully debunked.  http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=673.

  • http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2007/01/20/windows-vista-content-protection-twenty-questions-and-answers.aspx , but since that post is pretty old now, I'm just going to repost it here, I hope you don't mind:

    "I hope that this topic is still watched... My question is yet again about drivers. As most of you know, Notebooks don't usually get unified drivers and since most notebook manufacturers fail to supply updated drivers after about 3 months (and sometimes not at all), notebook users have to hunt down updated video drivers themselves. Typically, these are unified drivers with a modified INF that marks the driver as compatible with additional device ids. Sometimes this behaviour has been encouraged by chip and notebook makers (you get it frequently when calling support), sometimes discouaged (NVidia recently threatened to shut down a page providing such drivers), but fact is that it's crucial to notebook users. Of course the modifications to the INF revoke the driver certificates. So what would happen to me, if I were to use such a modified driver while trying to play content with heavy protection, say BluRay with image quality restrictions enabled?"

  • I hope that this topic is still watched... My question is yet again about drivers. As most of you know, Notebooks don't usually get unified drivers and since most notebook manufacturers fail to supply updated drivers after about 3 months (and sometimes not at all), notebook users have to hunt down updated video drivers manually. Typically, these are unified drivers with a modified INF that marks the driver as compatible with additional device ids. Sometimes this behaviour has been encouraged by chip and notebook makers (you get it frequently when calling support), sometimes discouaged (NVidia recently threatened to shut down a page providing such drivers), but fact is that it's crucial to notebook users. Of course the modifications to the INF revoke the driver certificates. So what would happen to me, if I were to use such a modified driver while trying to play content with heavy protection, say BluRay with image quality restrictions enabled?

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey IPR:  what you're looking for is information on the Windows-Vista-to-Windows-XP "downgrade" rights, which you can learn about here:  http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1425295&SiteID=17

  • IPR
    1 Posts

    Can someone PLEASE tell me how do I get rid of Vista, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    http://vistabosta.blogspot.com/ My Blog

    Ignacio Peralta Ramos

  • Since it appears that this blog is closing, I will close it with the following:

    Microsoft wields great power in the Nation's economy. Its policies, software, and standards influence numerous business consumers and developers of technology , and, may result in economic prosperity or economic failure, for a number of businesses of all sizes throughout the country, as well as entire segments of an industry.  The purpose of the antitrust laws is to refrain from one company controling an entire industry and to encourage compitition; however, in the case of vista microsoft is eliminating compitition and can control or effect all industries that rely on the pc in addition to the pc industry itself. Thus, the decisions and policies of microsoft can have an economic impact on the entire nations economy.  I do not mind microsoft having a monopoly but great care should be taken so as to ensure this power is not abused

    god speed to all

  • Gunvapor,

    My main problem with vista is not the drm; but that drm is required for every person including business people.   The issue for me is that i believe that guttman is right.

    I think drm increases the cost of the computer while decreasing the performance; therefore, future advances in computer technology will be lessor.  This could lead to fewer people wanting to buy another computer because there is no difference between systems. And at the end of this is me, who no longer needs to buy a computer because mine already does what vista will do; but at lessor cost because i have xp.

  • ilkem
    3 Posts

    thank you all

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    this blog contains more pointers on, why currently Vista is a worse solution than Xp. But supporting DRM in Vista is like putting yourself in a cage, and handing the key to Microsoft.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts
  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Apple just launched a DRM-free iTunes. This is in response to consumer desire for DRM-free content, and a good business decision on Apple's part.

    Will Microsoft see the light in this?

  • I-C
    37 Posts

    It's very nice of you to link to the opposing point of view so that everybody an decide for themselves.

    -----------

    http://www.insurance-center.us/

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Hey Nick

    Any solution yet to this?

    (How to remove/Uninstall WMP11 in Vista Business (or downgrade to WMP 9 would do also)

    -----------------------------------------------

    MAR 13

    Posted by Nick White:

    Hey GunVapor:  let me get an answer for you from my WMP colleague.

    -----------------------------------------------

  • for some reason --- posted before i was ready --- must of hit enter or something --- think you get the jist so leave it at --- hope you can help on this--.

  • Nick,

    Maybe this is something you should look into as people in the tech forum are getting pretty upset over the lack of response from microsoft --- i dont think this is necessarily related to drm --- but as itspec said --- lack of response from microsoft does cause people to speculate. The people in tech forum are largely business people who need to transfer files over a network or backup thier files ---but there are also small businesses and some home users ---- leaving things like this unresolved does not look good for microsofts image --- perhaps you can look into it and provide help on this issue  as it remains unclear if anyone is really listening or working on the problem of what these people are saying --- they are really ranting against microsoft --- but are ranting there is no fix or response from microsoft. Hope you can help on this as i know someth

  • I also saw some other interesting comments in the tech forum --- i agree with you that microsoft remaining silent on it does cause one to blog and speculate --- perhaps what i am doing now --- i am somewhat leary of saying this is because of drm-- but cannot rule it out --- as you said --- its difficult to tell what is going on with vista --- and microsoft says nothing.

    What i find interesting is that microsoft didnt fix such a basic function of an os prior to release --- this should be a none issue --- and one that i would think would be quite easy to fix --- but maybe so much is tied in with all the system bus scanning and drm that somehow the drm could be broken if fixed in a simple manner (maybe as you said that somehow the drm is indirectly affecting file copying) - thus making fix more complicated?   I also find it interesting that people are saying they can go into virtual pc with xp running as a guest operating system and vista running as a host --- and they can delete files on shared network files on the host vista machine with xp in virtual guess machine with no problem --- if it was driver problem --- wouldnt this still be problem since vista is still running on host? If it is driver problem --- which a lot people say or claim if they run into a problem with vista -- then maybe guttman was right about the complication of the driver specs and the added time and costs needed to develop good drivers for vista--- an os without good drivers or a spec that makes it difficult to develop good drivers is not a good os as the os is dependent on good drivers.  

    I also read some of the disk io stuff you were talking about --- dont know where the problem really lies as everytime someone thinks they know or have fixed it --- the problem resufaces--- but one thing i can say with more certainity is that microsoft apparently focused more on protecting content and drm in development than providing an operating system that can perform a simple function efficiently such as file copying --- to me this a major issue regardless of the drm requirements.  At the very least, and as you said itspec, it very poor quality assurance from microsoft --- sorry for the rant on this --- but i think this is one rant microsoft deserves --- just fix it microsoft.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    dsharp9000,

    Yep, I saw those and thought they were interesting too. There were some other comments (posts) made that raised questions about using multiple IDE devices on a single IDE controller. That's strange, and could be driver related. Remember though, that Vista requires new compatible drivers for everything (especially data IO related). Maybe there is an indirect DRM relationship to this problem...

    Again, without Microsoft giving an official explanation, consumers are left to speculate and blog - which from a PR standpoint usually doesn't work out to Microsoft's advantage.

  • Itspec,

    here are some additional comments from tech forum that i thought you would find interesting - please note that these are from most recent comments (may 2007)- i have abbrevated some comments so not to make this post to long ---(you can look in tech forum if you need full comments) --- dont know how correct they are --- but are interesting:

    Another comment from tech forum:

    "What I did notice however is copying the file from within command prompt results in 38 events being generated in ProcessMonitor, while copying the file within Explorer resulted in 2053 events....The problem however does seem to exist and seems to be readily reproduceable... also in the future if someone claims the problem to be solved, do a little testing for us and get some numbers to us so we can compare ourselves and see if you're in fact experiencing the same problem we are....I'm hoping I'm wrong since it doesn't seem a hotfix could fix that without changing the design of the operation?"- end quote

    Another comment from tech forum (In response to above previous quoted commment):

    "I think you're onto the real issue here. I have noticed that when I copy files with Vista, it waits until the very end of the copy to present me with questions (such as Do you want to overwrite these 10 files?) So it does seem to spend an inordinate amount of time gaining access to and examining every single file" - end quote.

    Another comment from tech forum:

    There something with file copying (apart from the speed which is addressed elsewhere) which is really strange (and scary) - --it's looking and reinterpreting the target for each file within the one copy command, and continuing in the background with no indication of what it's actually doing. It seems like it's a case of letting GUI designers play with real functionality - very scary. I wonder what else is hidden away in there?"-end quote

    Another comment tech forum:

    "I have the same problem.Also workin with remote desktop from my laptop (with xp) to my vista pc in the same network is slow, realy slow.Ive tried different routers, now i'm using gigabit router and can't play a 2mb video file without it going out f sync.Copying a file to another directory on the same hard drive is a pain.I read almost everything i coul find on the net to solve this problem, but nothing works"- end quote.

  • Itspec,

    I got the same impression at first that you did --- that disabling "differential compression" and other things fixed the problem --- but as you read on in tech forum --- this did not fix the problem:

    tech forum comment:

    "total time to copy files was about 4 hours.I have disabled differential file transfer. I am running all the latest drivers,I never got under 23 min 20 sec to go (with about 100mb of files)The copy speed is a joke- end quote"

    Another tech forum comment:

    "I just wanted to say...that I have tried everything...in this section..till yesterday (May 13 2007) and none of it worked.  On top of all this (as if this is not enough), there is another issue that prevents USB drives from being removed safely... end quote"

    Another tech forum comment:

    "Now when I copy about 3GB of photos the vast majority 2-3MB a piece, file xfres go to pieces

    PATA to RAID 0 5MB/s

    PATA to RAID 5 5MB/s

    RAID 0 to RAID 5 15MB/s

    RAID 5 to RAID 0 11MB/s

    My conclusion is Vista is doing SOMETHING for each and every file... that something cost about 85MB/s when moving 3MB files around..........   something here is VERY wrong. FYI I have hot patched and disabled indexing, and everything else recommended - end quote"

    Also, please note that the hot fix will not work for vista 64 bit --- only for 32 bit.  Many users in the tech forum describe this as strange or wierd and wonder what is going on in the background to cause this.   I think it is wierd also --- and cant say it is because of drm as I agree with you that drm should not cause this as this does not relate to playing protected content--- but something is happening in background? From what i read, there is no real fix for this for 64 bit --- but it does seem that some people had sucess with using a third party file copy utility (that does not use explorer) with success- but unsure if worked in all cases.  Bottom line is that there is no real fix for 64 bit vista --- and for 32 bit vista --- turning of differential compression, indexing, search, etc did not work for many users.  Seems like a pretty fundamental problem that should be easily fixed --- but for some reason it is not easy fix --- and not a fix that microsoft wants available to the general public (which means that the current fix disables some features in vista - or has other bugs?).  I wonder if the problem while not being directly related to drm --- might be indirectly related because of all the complexity of drm --Ie: system bus being constantly scanned as some files being copied could be protected content --- so vista must ensure protected content not being copied by scanning files? --- have trouble believing vista drm would go this far but as you said -- it is the perception issue.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    I read further into the technet blog. Microsoft put out a hotfix, but customers must contact Microsoft Customer Support Services to obtain it. There is a charge associated for a Customer Support Services calls, but the charge may be cancelled at Microsoft's discretion. Microsoft's article (KB931770) doesn't really detail how the hotfix corrects the problem, or what the root causes are.

    Technet bloggers found work-arounds that solved their problems, and those may point to root causes.

    One blogger states "Fixed it though. I went into : Control Panel / Programs and features / and unchecked "Remote Differential Compression"."

    Excerpts of another post: "If you don't have the hotfix and do not need thumbnails, you can turn this bit of abject stupidity off by going to  CONTROL PANEL -> FOLDER OPTIONS, select the VIEW TAB  and then checking ALWAYS SHOW ICONS, NEVER THUMBNAILS. And poof, this HUGE delay goes away... Drag and drop operations are NEVER the freaking time to generate thumbnails."

    From the looks of this, I don't think Vista's DRM is causing the copy/move/delete latency problems. But, this does show poor quality assurance on Microsoft's part before general release. It also seems to be an indication of over-bloating the OS with unnecessary features, which unfortunately impact performance of necessary functions. Only speculations can be made until Microsoft provides better information. This goes back to that "customer perception" thing I had mentioned in previous posts.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    I'm not sure, but it seems to me that an architecture that is designed to be so paranoid about leaking any data/content (deemed to be of high value to Hollywood or Microsoft), would likely have a certain amount of unavoidable overhead latency for copy/move functions. Not sure why delete functions would be impacted.

    One would think that, because Premium Content protection is policy-based, data without an "elevated protection requirement policy" would get treated normally. But, since previous versions of Windows didn't suffer this latency issue, it certainly could make people wonder if Vista's DRM architecture is involved.

    This may in fact not be Vista DRM related. It may just be a really annoying bug that should have been caught long before Vista went final. Who knows? - because Microsoft certainly seems to be keeping a pretty tight lip about it.  

  • recently came across the following article that says vista takes forever to copy/delete/move files - this a major problem for a lot of users --- there is a hotfix --- but it is not available to the general public and you must call microsoft tech support to get approval for the download fix --- and no fix is available for 64 bit version from what i read --- only for 32 bit.  

    Wonder why this is and if relates to anything with drm --- seems like the simple task of copying/deleting/moving files should not be a problem for an os--- but it is for vista

    here are links

    http://techxpress.wordpress.com/2007/04/29/vista-slow-file-copydeletemove-vista-the-woe-starts-now/

    http://forums.microsoft.com/technet/showpost.aspx?postid=1358057&siteid=17&sb=0&d=1&at=7&ft=11&tf=0&pageid=0

    any comments?

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    dsharp9000,

    Without knowing the official capacity of this statement from boing boing (meaning is it a direct quote from a legal document or a blogger's posted interpretation), it is difficult to tell how the reference to a "Microsoft Player" was intended.

    It would seem logical to me that the author was refering to the Windows Media Player application. There are proprietary specifications in WMP that are Microsoft's Intellectual Property (IP). Microsoft is just saying they own this technology and have full rights over how it is used or emplemented.

    I don't this this is a surprise, or a big loss to the open source community. There are some very smart open source developers, who could create a very good linux media player. Could they make it capable of playing protected, premium content (like HD/BlueRay DVDs), bypassing DRM? I'm sure they could - technically, but not legally (and that would be a DMCA issue, not a Microsoft Player contract issue).

    That's my interpretation anyway. I could be missing the bigger picture somehow, but I think this is just Microsoft standard procedure for protecting its Intellectual Property. It may not be an authoritative answer to your question, but I hope it helps.

    On an interesting and somewhat related note, Microsoft recently made a public claim that the open source community has developed and published various software that infringes on over 200 Microsoft patents. Microsoft says they would rather license than litigate, but won't rule anything out. Open source is definitely a threat to Microsoft and this is some of the posturing that goes on.

  • general question:

    What is a "microsoft player".  Specifically the article from boing boing states:

    "This contract contains numerous items that limit the sort of business you're allowed to pursue [ie: no linux devices that has a mere potential to put a hole in the drm requirements], notably that you may not implement a "Microsoft player" in open source [linux] software" - end quote.

    What is a "microsoft player" pursuant to hardware agreement -- is it a software player --- is it high def dvd player --- or high def combo software player --- or any player that might be relavent to microsoft standard -- ie : wmv file or something like that implemented in any player ---

    itspec --- maybe you might know --- or if anyone knows --- i would like to know what definition is pursuant to agreement as it ecompass anything if it is not defined

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Next level for DCMA, DRM and copyright infringement is for "companies" to legally spy on  private internet connections, and attached devices (they ARE working on passing this bill in the US).

    Would i like that Microsoft would be granted this right? Or Google to be granted this right? Or anyone for that matter? No, not really.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    This really all goes back to whether Microsoft, as a SW vendor, should have the right to impose such business impactful constraints on the HW sector of the PC industry. Linus Torvalds made comments to this subject, saying "I literally feel that we do not--as software developers--have the moral right to enforce our rules on hardware manufacturers. We are not crusaders, trying to force people to bow to our superior God. We are trying to show others that co-operation and openness works better".

    The "co-operation and openness" the Linus mentions, I believe is the key to how and why the PC industry has achieved its enormous growth to become what it is today. To close this architecture and place proprietary constraints on HW is very couter-productive to industry innovation and growth.

    It is not the piracy that is the problem. The PC industry has grown by leaps and bounds, despite the piracy that has always been present. The problem is in the way "software" and "content" companies are wanting to fight piracy with the emplementation of extreme DRM models. A secondary issue, that is not insignificant (thanks to the DMCA), is that DRM can also be leveraged as a tool for companies to protect their business models and preserve their market positions.

    Neither Microsoft, or Hollywood, should have the right to mandate the technical specifications for hardware. Software and content are their business - not hardware. If they want a proprietary (closed architecture) solution for their business venture, then they should commission their own specialized HD/SW product solution. Microsoft's attempt to change the successful open architecture of the PC, to conform to a more closed architect that supports their new business venter agenda, is very selfish minded, anti-industry and anti-consumer.

    There are already closed architecture devices to play (and sufficiently protect) Premium Content. They are called Consumer Electronic (CE) devices. Why doesn't Microsoft just port vista over to run on a CE device, and leave the PC architecture alone. Either that, or Microsoft should just put their (Hollywood-satisfying) DRM only in their media player application (like Apple did with iTunes), and leave it out of the Kernel and out of the video/audio HW requirements.

    Sorry for the rant. I know there are complexities that I did not mention here, but I wanted to make a specific point.

  • abram730,

    Your comment relating microsoft licensing agreement with ati is the key issue at hand --- as long as hardware manufacturers have to comply --- they are hamstrung --- even if they are unable to comply as you indicate ---- your message is heard loud and clear to me.

    As the article from boing boing stated:

    "Microsoft's DRM requires that device makers pay Microsoft a license fee for each device that plays back video encoded with its system. it also requires every such vendor to submit to a standardized, non-negotiable license agreement that spells out how the player must be implemented. This contract contains numerous items that limit the sort of business you're allowed to pursue [ie: no linux devices that has a mere potential to put a hole in the drm requirements], notably that you may not implement a Microsoft player in open source [linux] software" - end quote.

    Does anyone know what a "microsoft player" is.  Is this a high def player or something else--- would like your input itspec on this one????

    The boing boing article also makes reference to a "non negotiable" - (empahisis) license agreement that restricts the types of businesses that vendor may pursue ---still think this type of agreement is illegal especially in view that it is "non negotiable" and with threat that company could be "black balled" from market and the fact that leverages all hardware vendors to follow microsoft spec even for hardware produced for non microsoft pc.  

    Dont know if class action suit is answer --- but hardware vender suit may be --- as i think agreement seems in violation of antitrust and unfair compitition laws as it gives sole hardware spec of entire pc industry to microsoft thereby severly hindering compitition

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Abram730,

    Wow! Through your obvious (and very justified) frustration, you've provided some valuable first-hand Vista experiences that seem to really substantiate what others are also saying (on this blog as well as others). I would be interested in finding out more about ATI's compliance (or non-compliance) with Microsoft agreements for use with Vista.

    The thing that is interesting to me, is that you bought Vista (probably based on Microsoft's marketing) and experienced these issues first-hand, without being previously tainted by what other frustrated Vista users have been posting. This lends a nice credibility that you are not just Vista bashing to be on the band-wagon, but rather a Microsoft customer that is very unsatisfied with their product (Vista).

    My thoughts... I would relay your Vista experience to those you care about. Maybe you can save them some of the pain and trouble you had to go through with Vista. As for your Vista copy, I would press Microsoft as hard as you need to, to recieve either a refund or exchange for XP. Your claim should be legitimate in that Vista does not work as advertised and does not function to meet your needs. Whether or not Microsoft decides to compensate you, it is important that they receive your feedback as a very unsatisfied customer. There are a lot of Vista owners with similar experiences and frustrations. I hope they all are letting Microsoft know, so Microsoft can understand how wide-spread this may be. Microsoft will get the message if enough customers request Vista refunds.

  • I wish I read this before I got Vista premium.  It is horrible.  40-50% CPU to play a MP3.  Yes 40-50%.  Media center doesn't work and crashes.  Games crash and perform worst then in xp on a athlon xp 2600.  I have a core 2 duo e6600 in vista.  the last working Nvidia drivers for me were the 97.46 drivers.  Each new driver causes performance to drop and I get graphic corruption on all new drivers. I ran tests on all my hardware that I could test. Sound card functionality is completely removed in vista's direct sound.  All vista sound is garbage and I find myself not being able to listed to music anymore on my PC.  It is not just a driver issue with creative.  Yes I had to remove my Audigy card, because of lockups, but the onboard sound is the same as the audigy in Vista, yet sound in xp is great with sound blaster.  Fact : all hardware sound acceleration is banned in vista direct sound.  I hear the only reason ATI can even make working drivers is because they are in violation of their Microsoft agreements.  See ATI will be dissolving and becoming part of AMD, so they don't seem to care about Microsoft's DRM.  The more a driver conforms to vista the worst it is.  A hacker in Asia made a working Vista software for creative customers(hack and slash).  Vista is not usable.  Games are so slow and the the sound sound k k keeps s s s s stuttering and distorting.  I wish I knew Vista was an enormous downgrade.  By the time I got my new hardware and discovered that it was Vista that was the flaw, I couldn't return Vista.  Any chance of Microsoft letting me upgrade to XP?  Yes upgrade.

    I have only mentioned a few issues and I have so so many.

    All this collective punishment and you'd think they were paying us to use it.  Not charging an arm and a leg.  I can't even print anymore.

    All this collective punishment and the DRM was cracked in 1 week.  Yes 1 week by a legitimate costumer that wanted to view in HD his HD videos that he paid for.

    Bill "Adolf Hitler" Gates can shove Vista where the sun.....

    Screw blue ray, hd-dvd's and Microsoft.  I want a computer again.  Not this Frankenstein beast.

    I have been robbed.

    Microsoft has lost it's mind, yet it is not them getting blamed.  Hardware manufactures are getting sued for conforming to Vista.  The better the driver the worse the performance.  The worst driver works best.  

    Less is more.  

    bloat is efficient.

    slavery is freedom.

    loosing your PC is value.

    Not even Orwell could of imagined this move by Microsoft.  Hitler eat your heart out, as you may of given humanity hell, Microsoft got us to pay for it.

    Should I try and get an upgrade from Vista do you guys think?  Or should I spend thousands of hours plastering the truth all over every tech blog google can find?  Or maybe start a class action law suit under Sales Description Act?  I bet a multi billion dollar class action could hurt them.  See one would go multi billion as that would have a huge affect court desertion aside.  That would be one hell of an investor scare.  Stock to Rock.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Nice job WaCoLaCo - good comments.

    I have posted similar comments about issues that businesses are faced with, in terms of adopting Vista, but more from the technical and project level. (see ITSpec post for Apr19)

    Your comments reinforce these concerns (as well as some of your own) from the executive management perspective, which should be of definite value to Microsoft.

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    To be correct.  

    Most corporate computers don't have a soundcard. All of the have a DSP (Digital Signal Processor) Or emulater to make sound playback possible.

    DRM implementation onto these Sound DSPs will really mess services up quite a bit with Vista. I don't think this has been tested on a large Callcenter setup, or large VoIP rollout.

    DRM + new driver model + new execution model + new graphics execution + other problems in this thread = quite a expensive package to shallow for a corporation or organisation. So guess what they do instead... ;-P

  • I can understand the frustrations of a home user...now try to migrate a company with a couple of hundred or more PC's...

    The Microsoft licensing is already arguably expensive.

    Adding however costs for additional hardware, compatibility testing of "in-house" applications with different hardware configurations etc. it pretty much makes the migration impossible or at least extremely difficult from both financial and practical views.

    Dave Mash - I got one question for you.

    A CEO of a corporation does not want users to watch/ liste to multimedia (if it is not a specific part of their job) - PERIOD. In most environments multimedia applications are disabled and in many environments PC's not equipped with a soundcard at all!

    We don't want users to get "additional features" from Microsoft (or as you say, from Hollywood) but to get efficient tools that permit our users to do their work in efficient manner. And it should be our choice what additional tools they may or may not get based on their line of work.

    Yet we feel forced to an operating system that requires us to upgrade and, what's worse, in many cases REPLACE  perfectly working hardware. Secondly  we feel forced to waste our resources to tackle non-sense OS components that are not used in many corporate environment in the first place.

    Forced, because you seem to be forcing software and hardware partners to develop hardware/ software for Vista and eventually stop the support for XP all together.

    Since it is a fact that many busineses (not for long) are depending of applications runing on Windows platform, I believe "forced by Microsoft" is the proper term.

    I would like to thank you though for your explanation, it was very educative.

    As for the question: Can you provide me with the address where I can send you the bill for the costs spent on these "additional features" that we don't use?

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    GunVapor,

    Looks like your Friend's old AMD system was no slouch (dual 2.2GHz procs, fast drives, plenty of RAM and fast graphics). One would think that Vista should perform as well or better on it, than on many of the less-powerful systems being offered with Vista to customers currently.

    From what you stated, it looks like XP performs about 50 to 80 percent faster for AVI playback, than Vista on the same HW.

    Though the QuardCore may speed up those performance times, the percentages of performance differential should likely remain the same between XP and Vista.

    I can understand why your friend doesn't want to install Vista on the QuadCore. You friend has already seen first-hand that XP will perform better than Vista for what he/she wants to use that QuadCore for. I'm sure that QuadCore was not a small investment.

    Thanks GunVapor

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    Old:

    My friends Vista installation was on a AMD X2 4200 with 2GB ram, and 2 * 80GB Raptor disks, and 2*8800GTS in sli. One qirk that grated on his nerves was up to 10sec delay on avi file playback (vs. 2-5sec on WinXP).

    New:

    So on en newly brought Intel Quad Core, 2*raptor 150GB, and 4GB ram, he didn't even want to try Vista installation again.  

    So unless I can show him a Vista Ultimate edition is faster than WinXP (or same speed), he will not use it (so no benchmarks to be had on Vista from him).

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    GunVapor,

    Actually, if your friend wouldn't mind spending a little extra time to experiment, it would be interesting to find out how Vista Ultimate performs and behaves (in terms of quirks) on a QuadCore system.

    It would be interesting (on that QuadCore) to get some benchmarks of Vista compared to XP as well. If your friend were to do this, would you report the results back here?

  • GunVapor
    49 Posts

    One of my friends brought Vista ultimate retail edition and has been using it for 3 months. But he didn't want to install it again on his quardcore cpu simply because he became tired of delays in most things he executed on his pc.

    In the end he choose speed over eyecandy, and the qirks it gave him.

    For him he rather pay for a DX10 upgrade for his Windows XP, than going back to Vista.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Interesting points, DeepSea

    You have inspired me to think in a new direction. I hope you don't mind if I throw out a couple of quick thoughts.

    Not that previous versions of Windows haven't been targets for hackers, but Microsoft sure has made Vista a target. And you are not the only person of reasonably good ethics (from what it sounds like) to in some way be hoping for Vista's DRM to get cracked.

    Consider this, though...

    With Vista's DRM rooting in the Kernel itself, a successful major crack would potentially compromise the entire integrity of the operating system - and almost certainly compromise the integrity of consumer trust in Vista's security (especially for business customers).

    So, if there is any delay in mainstream acceptance (currently) due to a customer base determined to delay upgrades until a suitable workaround has been deployed, then Microsoft better wise up and beat the hackers to it. Otherwise, if the hackers come up with a major crack of Vista's Kernel, I don't think it will bring the kind of market acceptance that Microsoft is hoping for.

  • DeepSea
    1 Posts

    I have read the preface to this blog many times and I am astounded each time with the level of double talk used. I see based on the amount of comments that the post has generated an overwhelming response. In contrast to many FAQ's what strikes me most is the thought put into each response cripples each of your attempts to spin the Vista DRM.

    I have been a software developer for 20 years and for the first time in my career I have found my support leaning toward hackers intent on circumvent the core DRM libraries. I see their efforts as the only delay to mainstream acceptance of Vista. Imagine a customer base that is determined to delay upgrades until a suitable workaround has been developed. This brings more merit to the inference "suicide letter".

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    I would also like to add that I believe hardware vendors are opposed to the adjustments required to make their hardware compatible with Vista's DRM model.

    Vista's DRM puts a much greater burden on vendor hardware, like video and audio cards, due to the fact that the data streams are now encrypted on the bus. This puts a greater decryption burden on the video cards, which requires that part of their data channels, memory and chip resources (previously dedicated to enhancing performance) must now be rededicated to decryption tasks - sacrificing performance along the way. Then, their is the redisign and coding of the drivers.

    Not only is this a step backwards in performance, but its initial developement has been frought with functionality problems and has increased prices to customers.

    This is not a good result for the business of those vendors. I don't think they appreciate Vista's DRM at all. DRM doesn't benefit them as their business model is not as impacted by piracy. DRM requirements, placed on them by companies like Microsoft, only serve to disrupt their business.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    dsharp9000,

    I think your point is valid, in that Microsoft (with its matrket share of consumer distribution) has a definite influence. Hardware vendors would be cutting their own throats if they ignored Windows compatibility altogether. Microsoft absolutely has leverage on the hardware sector of the PC industry - no doubt in my mind about that.

    With that in mind, and as Gutmann points out, it is probably too cost prohibitive for hardware makers to design, manufacture and market two versions of their hardware (a Vista DRM compatible version and a version for the rest of the PCs). So they must adhere to the Microsoft compatibility requirements for most (if not all) of their new HW products. The costs of doing this get transfered to the consumers, regardless of whether they are using Windows or MAC or Linux. That is one of Gutmann's big issues in his white paper.

    I think you and I are on the same page with this.

  • itspec,

    if hardware vendors are not opposed to drm --- then what is point?--- guttman article indirectly indicates that hardware vendors are opposed --- but also there are indications that hardware vendors must comply with microsoft agreement ---- main point is that person with biggest bucks or pull in market wins ---- which equals ---- microsoft--- or so i think

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    dsharp9000,

    My post was definitely not intended to make you feel sad. I was just trying to alert you to a current event that pertained to subject matter of one of your posts. It is a sad situation, though. I agree with you on that.

    The DMCA is a terrible abomination. Congress should be very ashamed. If enough of our Government officials on the hill had a conscience, then it would be over-hauled, or better yet over-turned. Instead, the US Government is trying to push other countries into adopting similar legislation.

    You are correct that Vista would not have the ground to stand on (with its current DRM architecture), if not for the DMCA. However, Microsoft is completely accountible for the nature of Vista's DRM. The DMCA does not state specifically that Microsoft had to build DRM into Vista, the way they did. That was a decision Microsoft made to satisfy both Hollywood and their own agendas. The DMCA just gave them the legal framework to work within.

    In terms of Vista gaining support through market acceptance, the jury is still out. It's simply too early to tell. Many large Government agencies are postponing their deployment of Vista. They say this is standard and that they are waiting for Vista's first Service Pack, but they also state significant concern over Vista's compatibility issues and security flaws. I've also seen articles with signs that a large percentage of Corporate America are also standing by and waiting.

    They will eventually roll Vista, though. They don't really have a lot of better options. That's not to say that they think vista is a great option, but rather that their other options are worse. I don't know if you would call this market acceptance, but Microsoft will no doubt see enough return on this to declare Vista a success.

    As for the home users, the ones most likely to take advantage of Vista's Premium Content capabilities, Vista's success in that market demographic really remains to be seen. I think this is the area where Vista could potentially suffer the most - as home users can much more easily stay on XP and ultimately switch to MAC or Linus. The DMCA and DRM has upset a lot of consumers - and as you can see from the Digg story, they are reacting. That could be a major problem for Vista in the home user sector.

    If I were Microsoft, I would realize this now and make appropriate considerations, in terms of DRM, for future product development.  

  • General comment:

    As long as dmca law exists so will the problem with vista.  I no longer think that you are correct itspec,---- that it is through market acceptance that vista will gain support ---- but think it is through forced legislation for the market to accept it ---in other words --- through the dmca law --- consumers must buy a dmca compatible computer--- and thus legislation change is needed --- this is my current perception --- unless legislation is changed --- vista will prevail as it is legislated into the market ---- but not by demand--- any thoughts on this would be appreciated---

  • Itspec,

    you post is rather sad to me --- i will not requote it here as it speaks for itself---but the voice is clear as to future hell that is to be inflicted on people who do not compy with drm and ramifications of dmca law--- one thing i do know --- for me vista offers nothing --- i cant say or account for others who are using vista --- but you can stick a fork in me right now --- i am not moving---maybe im a business user so not part of main stream---- maybe microsoft only cares to make itself into generic dvd player that everybody can sell --- but do not think it is worth sacrificing entire computer industry for this--- including business part.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Here's another article about Digg:

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2124653,00.asp

    <excerpt>

    Finally, at 9 PM, founder Kevin Rose gave in.

    "So today was a difficult day for us," Rose wrote. "We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

    "But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you've made it clear," Rose added. "You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won't delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

    "If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying," Rose said.

    Rose seemed to indicate that the site would support any subsequent digg posting that included the code. As of 11:15 PM PDT on Tuesday night, however, the site was not functioning, with a static "out of service" message on its front page.

    <end excerpt>

    The site may have been down on Tuesday night, but I just checked and it's up a running today (Thursday) - and the posts containing the cracked processing key are still there...

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    dsharp9000,

    I've seen case examples of the DMCA being used to intimidate website owners to either remove certain content or risk being shutdown.

    There is a recent incident of interest around this subject that you may want to follow. I will provide links to two news articles below:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/zd/20070502/tc_zd/206608;_ylt=AgZf4_9fE.BmmZWUNTOrBTJX.3QA

    <excerpt>

    Yesterday, the "community-run" news site Digg.com melted down when apparently 15,000 people decided to post a hex code to decrypt high-definition DVDs, letting users copy them or play them on Linux machines. The industry coalition behind HD-DVD sent Digg a cease-and-desist letter, so Digg deleted the posts with the keys. The users revolted, and basically brought down the site, leading Digg to finally reverse its policy and let the key be posted.

    <end excerpt>

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20070503/tc_cmp/199203386

    <excerpt>

    On Tuesday, Digg users rejected the community news site's effort to censor posts that revealed a 32-digit number, the "processing key" that can be used to open the digital lock protecting HD-DVD and Blu-ray video discs. Digg tried to remove posts containing the number in order to avoid liability for publishing information that could be used to facilitate copyright infringement.

    The rebellion is rooted in longstanding contempt that many members of the online community have for digital rights management (DRM) technology. "What the revolt speaks to is the frustration of consumers' ability to control a property that they purchased,"

  • Ah --- just realized ---- websites outside united states cannot be taken down --- and this is what article is referring to--- sorry if mislead anybody.

    Does make me think though of ramifications of dmca and the power it holds over anyone ---

  • An interesting read about dmca:

    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/31859/97/

    The article suggests that dmca cannot be used as basis for website take down --- but wonder if article is correct on this as based on my review of dmca --- website could be taken down --- dont know on this --- but would like to hear opinions from others --- at any rate found article interesting.

  • I have not heard much from the hardware manufacturers in this blog --- it would seem they have the most to lose or gain with regard to the issues brought up in this blog ---- maybe the hardware manufacturers have commented in here but are making indirect comments against the hardware requirements because they are concerned with backlash from microsoft --- or maybe they are not concerned --- or maybe they are making their comments known directly to microsoft through backdoor negotiation---- just would like to here from anyone associated with hardware people ---- particularly video card manufacturers.

    Pulsar --- thanks for recent post to update to guttman article --- found it most interesting.  

    One other comment, I am somewhat skeptical of the sales of vista that microsoft posted for the 1st quarter ---- based on what I know on the street (from people I do business with or associate with) --- there is not that much of a massive push to vista --- but microsoft is saying vista sales exceeded expectations based on 1st quarter earning report ----something seems wrong here --- if true maybe more people are transitioning to vista than I thought.  Just wondering if anyone out there is as skeptical as I am with these sales numbers as I am as I think the numbers dont make sense based on what I am hearing in the field with my cleints.

  • Itspec and pulsar,

    The same thing happened to me a while back where I submitted a comment and it did not post immediately (I think it posted week or weeks later --- unsure of when as other posts were appearing in front of mine but not mine----nick was going to look into it as I think microsoft uses an outside source for hosting this blog   It has not happenned to me since then --- but maybe glitch is still there.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Pulsar,

    Looks like your your attempted post on Apr 27 finally got published here - and I'm glad it did.

    I found the information very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pulsar
    17 Posts

    Maybe the hard disk is full.  A post of mine several days ago has not appeared.  

  • Pulsar
    17 Posts

    This site appears to be full, not taking any more posts.

  • Pulsar
    17 Posts

    Apple and EMI are not the only ones moving away from content protection.    There is an interesting and insightful article by Eric Flint, himself a writer and content producer who argues that content protection is against some of the basic rules of economics.  Flint makes his own books available free on the web.  

    <Start excerpt>

    "The reason I initially put up my first novel for free online was because I got fed up reading the hysterical howls of some authors in online discussion groups, shrieking that their livelihood was being mortally threatened.

    To prove that was nonsense, as graphically as I could, I put up one of my own novels for free. "Pirated myself," if you'll allow me the absurd expression. That novel, Mother of Demons, has been available online for free for almost seven years now. And . . .

    It's still in print, and still keeps selling.

    <End excerpt>

    http://preview.baens-universe.com/articles/salvos6

    For those interested,Peter Gutmann has updated his paper:

    http://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    It appears that the Music industry may actually be starting to see the light, or at least some of the companies have, in terms of DRM. I think it may just be a matter of time now before the rest of the music industry follows.

    Priracy is harmful to a content company's profits - that's a fact. But, DRM is harmful to business - and it doesn't stop the hard-core prirates that are the major profit-eaters.

    It looks like Apple and EMI both realize this. Now, if Microsoft and Hollywood could just realize this...

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    Oooops - guess I should have given the page more time to update my posts. I've never seen it take that long for any of my previous posts to update, so I thought my recent tries might have been getting kicked out.

    My appologies to those readers who get scrollers-cramp while working their way past my repeats.

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    For some reason, and for the first time, I submitted a post and it didn't get updated to this page. So, I will try again.

    I just saw this article and could not resist commenting on it. The article can be found at:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070426/tc_nm/apple_jobs_dc_1

    I tried to include an excerpt form this article, but the post was again unsuccessfull. If it is being sensored, I'm not sure I understand why. I think digital content consumers, as well as Microsoft, would find the information in this artcle of interest.

    It is a very good example of the kind efforts consumers would like to see Microsoft championing on their behalf. Consumers want DRM-Free content (and DRM-Free computers).

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    For some reason, and for the first time, I submitted a post and it didn't get updated to this page. So, I will try again.

    I just saw this article and could not resist commenting on it. The article can be found at:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070426/tc_nm/apple_jobs_dc_1

    <Excerpt>

    Industry executives and analysts told Reuters last week that they expect Apple to push for further concessions from record companies on selling music without copy-protection software known as digital rights management (DRM).

    In February, Jobs urged all four major record labels to drop DRM, a move that some observers at the time said was sparked by the pressure Apple faces from European regulators to open the iPod/iTunes family to other technology platforms.

    Already Apple, owner of the market-leading iPod digital media player as well as iTunes, has cut an early deal with EMI Group Plc, the third largest-record company, to sell music without copy protection software.

    "There are a lot of people in the other music companies who are very intrigued by it," Jobs said of the move to sell songs without copy-protection software. "They're thinking very hard about it right now."

    The Apple/EMI deal leaves Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment -- a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann -- and Warner Music Group Corp in a tough spot, analysts say.

    "We've said by the end of this year, over half of the songs we offer on iTunes we believe will be in DRM-free versions," Jobs said. "I think we're going to achieve that."

    <End Excerpt>

    This is a very good example of the kind efforts consumers would like to see Microsoft championing on their behalf. Consumers want DRM-Free content (and DRM-Free computers).

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    For some reason, and for the first time, I submitted a post and it didn't get updated to this page. So, I will try again.

    I just saw this article and could not resist commenting on it. The article can be found at:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070426/tc_nm/apple_jobs_dc_1

    <Excerpt>

    Industry executives and analysts told Reuters last week that they expect Apple to push for further concessions from record companies on selling music without copy-protection software known as digital rights management (DRM).

    In February, Jobs urged all four major record labels to drop DRM, a move that some observers at the time said was sparked by the pressure Apple faces from European regulators to open the iPod/iTunes family to other technology platforms.

    Already Apple, owner of the market-leading iPod digital media player as well as iTunes, has cut an early deal with EMI Group Plc, the third largest-record company, to sell music without copy protection software.

    "There are a lot of people in the other music companies who are very intrigued by it," Jobs said of the move to sell songs without copy-protection software. "They're thinking very hard about it right now."

    The Apple/EMI deal leaves Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment -- a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann -- and Warner Music Group Corp in a tough spot, analysts say.

    "We've said by the end of this year, over half of the songs we offer on iTunes we believe will be in DRM-free versions," Jobs said. "I think we're going to achieve that."

    <End Excerpt>

    This is a very good example of the kind efforts consumers would like to see Microsoft championing on their behalf. Consumers want DRM-Free content (and DRM-Free computers).

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    I just saw this article and couldn't resist commenting about it. The article is at:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070426/tc_nm/apple_jobs_dc_1

    <Excerpt>

    Industry executives and analysts told Reuters last week that they expect Apple to push for further concessions from record companies on selling music without copy-protection software known as digital rights management (DRM).

    In February, Jobs urged all four major record labels to drop DRM, a move that some observers at the time said was sparked by the pressure Apple faces from European regulators to open the iPod/iTunes family to other technology platforms.

    Already Apple, owner of the market-leading iPod digital media player as well as iTunes, has cut an early deal with EMI Group Plc, the third largest-record company, to sell music without copy protection software.

    "There are a lot of people in the other music companies who are very intrigued by it," Jobs said of the move to sell songs without copy-protection software. "They're thinking very hard about it right now."

    The Apple/EMI deal leaves Vivendi's Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment -- a joint venture of Sony Corp and Bertelsmann -- and Warner Music Group Corp in a tough spot, analysts say.

    "We've said by the end of this year, over half of the songs we offer on iTunes we believe will be in DRM-free versions," Jobs said. "I think we're going to achieve that."

    <End Exceprt>

    I think this is a good example of the kind of efforts consumers would like to see Microsoft championing on their behalf. Consumers want DRM-free content (and DRM-free computers)!

  • ITSpec
    77 Posts

    dsharp9000,

    I am very pleased that Microsoft set this blog up to be a forum for our comments and concerns. I have learned a lot from the many who have posted here and have enjoyed particpating in the discussions. I've tried not to rant (ha), but I know I've been on my soapbox a time or two.

    I think you've made some great points too, and have brought a valuable perspective to the discussions here. I have gained insight from your perspectives as well. Thank you, dsharp.

    I believe I understand the business reasons why Microsoft decided to market four flavors of Vista. Their is a strategy to it that makes business sense.

    Home Basic edition is pretty bare-bones, no real whistles and bells, but it is priced to get consumers (especially those on tight budgets) to try Vista. If they try Home Basic and like it, then they will likely upgrade as they decide that the premium editions offer a lot more of the whistles and bells they want - which means more money for Microsoft in upgrades as well as initial sales.

    Microsoft did a similar thing with the Xbox 360. They initially offered a premium version (with hard drive for $399) and a basic version (without hard drive for $299). Those that wanted to try the Xbox 360, but weren't sure it would be worth $400 bought the basic model - only to find that the hard drive offers so much more (game saves, content download and Xbox Live). So, many of them eventually bought the hard drives from Microsoft. Now Microsoft is offering an Elite version (that has a much larger hard drive and is HDMI capable) for $480. If you want to buy the bigger hard drive separately (to upgrade a non-elite Xbox 360) the price is $180. (Gee, thanks Microsoft)

    It's a common marketing strategy, used by many businesses.

    Still, offering four different versions of Vista seems a little excessive. I think the Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Vista could have been combined into one edition. The Home Basic and Business editions should not be Premium Content capable, thus not have the Premium Content DRM protection architecture.

    The Home Ultra-Premo Edition could be maxed out with all the multi-media features and premium content playability - and have all the DRM that Hollywood and Microsoft desires.

    If Microsoft had gone that route, I might have considered Vista for my home systems, but it wouldn't have been the Ultra-Premo DRM edition. I prefer to use CE devices for playing Premium Content, and use my computer for work and research.

  • Itspec,

    You one again bring up good points  --- and once again give me pause to think of what is really going on.

    I think we had discussed earlier in this blog the possibility of a non drm version for business ---something I would love to see --- but think there was input from others (ie:gunvapor and cant remember who else) that gave the arguement that a non drm version might be an impossibility due to work arounds that could occur that somehow could allow someone to bootleg premium content onto a non drm version of vista--- but dont know if they were right or wrong --- their arguements seemed persuasive to me --- but i am not expert --- but could be reason that microsoft left drm in the home and business versions.  

    I more think that its because microsoft wants all hardware and software to be drm protected in future--- only way to push this is to require all hardware and software to be drm protected no matter what version of vista you are running --- a non drm version of windows might encourage less development and support of drm hardware amongst hardware manufacturers as in theory cheaper and better hardware could be developed for non drm vista version since drm spec does not have to be met --- sort of a catch 22 as if spec was left open for home version and business version --- these versions would have better hardware support and performance than the drm versions --- dont know if this makes sense to you --- but bottom line is non drm versions would be outperforming and be less costly than non drm versions --- and therefore -- drm versions and hardware would be difficult to market as long as a non drm version alternative exists.

    You brought up another point that I had somewhat forgotten about --- and that is all the different versions of vista.   I currently have 3 computers that use xp home for business.  Never had issue using these computers for business --- but it appears to me that in future i may not be able to run business applications on home basic or premium. Further, there are restrictions with home basic  for home use --- as you said, you cannot edit high def home movies with microsoft editing software - and believe you also cant do it even if you have premium edition --- another hidden cost and restriction to the consumer.  

    To me, the main reason vista is not taking well with consumer is because of cost and performance issues --- and lack of legacy support for certain software program.  The same xp computer I had bought prior to vista (in november) cost a couple hundred dollars because i need a better video card and more ram to get same performance as xp --- and even if i spent the extra --- many of my legacy business applications wont run.  

    Itspec, one question i have for you is the issue of all the different versions of vista and the impact it may have on the consumer as well as marketing of vista by microsoft.  To me, it seems the different versions of vista offers the consumer a loss of functionality unless you buy more expensive version --- with xp --- this issue did not exist.

    One other comment --- I appreciate the time and effort you have spent in this blog --- you are fair and balanced and try to bring both sides of picture in view when presenting your opinion --- there is no ranting from you --- this i thank you for. You have furthered my understanding (and  continue to do so) --- I thank you for this --- this is not say there have not been others --- as gunvapor, pulsar, and others have also been very helpful.  It is always good to  hear from people who have well thought out opinions and cause me to pause and think of what is going on.