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Intel to Build DRM into Next-Generation CPUs 952

mdecerbo writes "The Boston Globe is reporting that next year's Intel processors will include hardware support for Microsoft's "Palladium" DRM system. There are chilling privacy implications. AMD, here I come."
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Intel to Build DRM into Next-Generation CPUs

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  • I have an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Taylor_Durden ( 605279 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:17PM (#4228876) Homepage
    Let's all just keep our current computers.
    • Re:I have an idea (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mirko ( 198274 )
      Exactly, not so long ago, we'd stay for ages with our existing machines, my first (personal) one was an atari 520ST that I used for 6 years before buying something else (an Acorn RiscPC).
      So, yes, the best way to stop this technological inflation is simply to exploit what we have to the most of their capicities :-)
    • That won't work forever. I have a 75 MHz pentium that's practically useless. It takes forever to do anything in Win95, and even Linux is unacceptably slow. (As for KDE or GNOME, I can just forget about those.) The only way I get an acceptably fast response is if I don't run X at all. It's still good for low-volume file serving and Web serving, but as a desktop machine, it's pretty much useless. If we all stop buying new processors, we can keep our old computers going for a while with more memory and other upgrades, but eventually the time will come when we have to upgrade the processor, and by that time there may not be any non-DRM processors left.

      This could be a good way for smaller chipmakers to break into the market. If they refuse to quit selling non-DRM processors, they'll guarentee themselves plenty of geek customers.

      • Re:I have an idea (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Catbeller ( 118204 )
        This could be a good way for smaller chipmakers to break into the market. If they refuse to quit selling non-DRM processors, they'll guarentee themselves plenty of geek customers.

        I guarantee that by the time such chipmakers (Cyrix, AMD, Brand X) decide to produce non-DRM chips in defiance of Intel/MS/Hollywood's monopoly, the act of producing or selling such chips will be deemed illegal, in small, politically-digestible steps.

        I also warrant that the penalties for ignoring the law will outstrip those for murder.

        Stockpiles, kids. When the last generation of non-DRM CPUs are made, buy as many as you can, and put them in a safe place. Ditto mobos and components, 'cause data drives will be DRMed to only work with approved "protected" CPUs.

        I'm not saying that some company won't be manufacturing Freedom Chips. I'm saying that the consequences for owning such devices will be so dire that the market will shrivel and the rogue companies will find themselves bankrupt.

        And other nations will not be a safe harbor for manufaturing US-banned equipment for long, either. We're (the U.S.) are the world's only economic and military empire now, and business interests will dictate changes in international and extranational laws at their whim. The majority of the legal shafting has already been accomplished, prepatory to the arrival of DRM-mandates in the near future.

        This is why I'm switching to an art career.
    • Re:I have an idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CaptDeuce ( 84529 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:58PM (#4229376) Journal

      Let's all just keep our current computers.

      I have a better idea: just don't buy a computer with Intel Inside. Let 'em incorporate as many DRM gadgets as they want. Then we buy as many non-DRM compliant gadgets as we want.

      In other words, let 'em spawn a whole new market and let theirs wither on the corporate cube vine -- the only place you'll find DRM 'puters in large numbers.

    • Or buy new computers and turn off Palladium. Or just ignore the Windows people and keep using Linux.

      Palladium comes down to copy protection of *Windows* software and music in *Windows*, and can, in any event, be disabled.

      Worst case Windows users can crack software to make it play even with Palladium turned off, which is pretty much what people already do to attack copy protection on software.

      How does it affect us? Why should we care?

      And answering "Because MS will make Windows not talk to Linux and isolate it", as some other poster did in these responses, is not good enough. MS has been trying to keep Windows from talking to Linux for a long time.
      • by Lonath ( 249354 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @01:46PM (#4229875)
        Here's how it will happen. MS will get Intel/AMD to add circuits onto their chips that require the OS running on them to implement abstract thought patents that MS owns. Hence, they will make it illegal to run any OS other than Windows. It isn't a technological hurdle, but it is a legal one. Are you willing to violate laws to run Linux? You will have to.
        • Are you willing to violate laws to run Linux?

          I don't have to. Even if Microsoft owns some patent, it doesn't change anything. Their patent is not valid where I live. It even seems to be the case, that I'm allowed to reverse engineer their software, if that is the only way to get Linux running.

          And then you might say, Microsoft can do enough lobying to get other products forbidden by law. Now I'm gonna compare this to countries that already have laws limiting peoples freedom. What do we say about people breaking the laws in those countries? Do we call them criminals? No, we don't, we say they are fighting for their freedom.

          I guess in case laws are changed in favour of Microsoft, I'm willing to violate them, because I think that is the right thing to do.
  • Sorry but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by secondsun ( 195377 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:18PM (#4228877) Journal
    AMD has already agreed to support paladium.
    • It's unfortunate, but /.s favorite CPU maker is already on the TCPA bandwagon.
    • Re:Sorry but... (Score:2, Insightful)

      Via Here I Come.
      I will buy Taiwan Hardware, I scrap My Harley Davidson and Buy and Daewoo right now :-)
    • redhat and AMD. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wildcard023 ( 184139 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:48PM (#4229276) Homepage
      According to AMD, they are doing a joint venture [] with Redhat on their x86-64 Hammer series processor. Do you really imagine Redhat going into this if they had to write closed-source DRM crap into their distro?

      Say what you want about Redhat being the next Microsoft, but they always release their code. I don't see them going into this if there wasn't some non-DRM products coming from AMD.



      • Re:redhat and AMD. (Score:3, Informative)

        by n3k5 ( 606163 )
        firstly, your OS doesn't have to support DRM in order to run on a DRM chip. if it doesn't, it's just untrusted and totally unable to play any protected media etc. (until someone cracks the protecten, which should happen much faster than microsoft/intel think.)

        secondly, DRM doesn't imply closed source, and open source doesn't imply "without DRM". it would be perfectly possible to release an OS with a media player under a open source licence and just keep some cryptographic keys secret, without breaching the protection of "secure" content.
      • Re:redhat and AMD. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ink ( 4325 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @01:17PM (#4229583) Homepage
        The beauty of Palladium and the TCPA is that it can all be done in open-source. Microsoft Palladium will be open-source as well (senator Hollings thought that would make us all happy). You will still be unable to circumvent the system because a good chunk of it resides on a remote machine, and it will go all the way down to the CPU on your local box (hence this news story).

        Welcome to the future, where you have to get permission to run computer instructions. The penalty for "hacking" this system is $500,000 and 5 years in prison. That's right. If you figure out a clever way to play an MP3 file on your TCPA machine, you're eligible for more time than a drunk driver that killed someone is.

        • Re:redhat and AMD. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @01:48PM (#4229889) Homepage
          Reminds me of the "Life for a Loom" law Luddites were subjected to in the late 1800s (I think) .. basically, if you attacked a loom, the penalty was death. (Luddites were seeing their jobs being usurped by looms and harsh factory working conditions, lower wages, etc, so they were attempting to stop the industrialization of the textile industry.)

          It's pretty amazing, but this sort of thing has always happened in our technological state. Killing someone is one thing, but impeding "progress" (note the quotes) is severly punished. Of course, "progress" usually involves strenthening the position of the current winners, which is why its usually subject to resistance at some level by the population at large, and why people in power are far more interested in punishing people who impede the furthuring of their interests than punishing the DUI driver who kills somebody they'll never meet.

          I think its crazy, but there you have it. This is pretty much a plutocracy (you need money to have your voice heard a la "lobbiest", "analyst", etc), so I'm not sure what methods we can use to oppose these things.
  • Might as well buy the biggest, most powerful non-Palladium systems while they're still available.
  • by purplebear ( 229854 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:20PM (#4228905)
    I mean if you do not plan to run Palladium, where's the problem? This would not stop you from doing anything you do now. Doesn't the OS have to support DRM also in order for this to have any effect?
    • by bfields ( 66644 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:42PM (#4229208) Homepage
      I mean if you do not plan to run Palladium, where's the problem? This would not stop you from doing anything you do now.

      Currently, you can play DVD's on linux with a minimum of hassle, and you can do perfectly normal and legitimate things with them like make backups, copy and manipulate screen shots, etc. After the adoption of Palladium, DVD's (or their successors) could be designed to play only on trusted players that don't allow you to do these things, and circumventing these restrictions will require hardware modifications.

      Do you see a problem now?

      --Bruce F.

    • I think you have to look at the gestalt of DRM and then you start worrying. Think of it like the current limitation with DVD's. The system "worked" as long as you had licensed hardware accessing licensed data using licensed software. The system broke because there was no way to keep "unlicensed" software from accessing the data.

      For true DRM to work then the system will have to reject all non-licensed software. This is especially true at the OS level. After all, if you can get at the bits (say use Linux or DOS to access an NTFS partition) then you're more than half way to breaking the protection.

      So, generation one support of DRM probably isn't too bad a thing. It'll be an option like the ol' CPU ID thing that Intel got flamed over. It's generations two and three that we have to worry about. (Especially if any of the Disney Senators' legislation passes.)
    • by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @02:58PM (#4230582) Homepage Journal
      I mean if you do not plan to run Palladium, where's the problem? This would not stop you from doing anything you do now. Doesn't the OS have to support DRM also in order for this to have any effect?

      Their model is not based on locking people in at the hardware level. Rather they're trying to build a web of interdependence.

      You need to decide if there's something you can't live without which is tied into Palladium (or anything else, for that matter.) If you decide you can't live without the latest Video game, which runs only under Palladium, then you'll be running Palladium. If some Top 40 boy band hit is your only reason for living, you'll either buy the DRM-protected CD, or you'll do without. Microsoft's strategy is to build a web (no relation to html or http) of interdependence which involves your paying money to them at some point. You can always choose to avoid microsoft, but you'll have to also choose to live without everything tied into them as well.

      Some examples: Perhaps you've decided that you can't live without a call phone. So Microsoft builds a dependency between having a cell phone and using windows: an earlier slashdot story relates how this was done through Verison using the requirement for a Microsoft Passport.

      Another common example is the proliferation of Internet Explorer-only web pages. If you can't live without a certain web site, and that site goes IE-only, then you'll be running Microsoft software for as long as you need that site, and you'll be running IE under Windows just as soon as Microsoft feels they can drop support for other operating systems.

      It begs the question of how long it will be before such common necessities as voting, cashing a paycheck, getting a drivers license, applying for a job, paying your bills, accessing healthcare, etc will require an active account with Microsoft? I suspect it will happen rather sooner that most of us expect, after all, for the majority of people who already use a Microsoft product at home or at work, such a requirement is not a barrier because it's already met. For them that day has already passed, and we didn't even notice as it flew by.

      It's the same model Red Hat is using to maintain and build their customer base, despite the claim that all of their software is free and open. Try installing a kernel source package from the Red Hat 7.3 distribution onto a system using Red Hat 7.2 without forcing against the dependencies. The package dependencies are built such that eventually you have to upgrade RPM itself to the 7.3 level, which cannot be done (AFAIK) using RPM on a live system. To use 7.3 packages, you have to install (or upgrade to) 7.3.

      We already have the same dependencies built into the telephone; try to get a job, access government services, or get emergency assistance without a telephone. The result there was a monopoly (for decades) in a single, highly regulated, provider. The phone company was authorized to charge you out the wazoo for basic phone service, and develop new innovations at a snails-pace, prevent you from attaching unapproved equipment to their system (at one time it was illegal to attach a plastic cone to the receiver to block outside noise).

      But I wonder: If we hog-tie our technology innovation as much as we did with the development of telecommunications, will the tech industries of our foreign compettitors be as willing to wait for us to get our act together? Or will they just write us off as yet anoyther former technology leader who couldn't keep their act together?

  • ... and I also wonder if VIA's C3 [] will remain DRM-free.
  • Not. Thanks, but no thanks -- I have final say over what my box can or can't do. Assuming AMD doesn't go this route, they'll be picking up my business when the time comes.
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Informative)

    by stevew ( 4845 )
    Look folks - if you are reading Slashdot, then the odds are REALLY good that you run an alternate OS like Linux. Did you note it's a MS DRM technology??? That means poor folks running MS code will be subject to it - not people intelligently choosing to run Linux, etc. ;-)

    MS users - have a nice day - if you can!
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by teamhasnoi ( 554944 )
      if you are reading Slashdot, then the odds are REALLY good that you run an alternate OS like Linux.

      You might want to look at the poll today. At this time only 34% are Linux users and 47% are using 95 thru XP.

      Besides, eventually Linux will not be 'allowed' to run on this processor. So you *better* care.

      • Besides, eventually Linux will not be 'allowed' to run on this processor.

        At which point I use another processor.

        So you *better* care.

        Why? Can't I wait until this actually happens to care about it?

        Actually, I don't use Linux, so I guess I don't even care about that. Though by the time they implement this I will hopefully have switched.

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:33PM (#4229082) Homepage Journal
      First off, the odds, according to today's poll, are about 30%.

      That said, this affects everyone. Mind you, I'm told that Palladium will always be able to be shut off via the BIOS, so you can always buy a Palladium-enabled processor and make it act as if it isn't. That's not the problem, really.

      The problem is that Palladium is hardware-embedded Digital Rights Denial. It's paving the way for music and movies that won't play at all unless you have a Palladium-enabled processor. And if you do enable Palladium, you'll be subject to the same restrictive crap that the media cartels have been trying unsuccessfully to push over the last several years. Movies that you can't move to other computers, and that only work as long as you remain subscribed to or wherever your got them.

      Will this all work out in the long run? Well, it depends on how people react. If they continue to reject hightly restricted content, we should be fine. If not, well, say goodbye to the Open Internet. It was fun while it lasted.

      • Ha, I bet they can't stop me from using my all powerfull 8MM Jack on a Palladium machine.

      • If you're right about that, then slashdot-type geeks will tend to keep one DRM-enabled computer for games and movies, and another DRM-disabled computer for hacking. The cost of doing so wouldn't be prohibitive these days.

        I'm less concerned about that scenario than I am about CBDTPA-style edicts that would take away our right to use free software by force of law.

      • But this isn't a problem either -- the idea of Digital Rights Denial.

        I simply won't buy (and won't play) their movies.

        Besides, think about it: how much do you really want to watch movies on your computer anyway? I'll gladly play DVDs on my big-ass television, go to the theater, or -- gasp! -- read a book.

        Actually, this is slightly off-topic, but all this DRM has been one reason I've been staying *away* from all things computer as much as possible. I've been rediscovering the pleasures of reading -- reading actual books, not encrypted PDF files -- and (again, GASP!) I really like it.

        This isn't the only reason I'm trying to make an effort to reconnect with deadwood books, but it's got me thinking -- especially as I'm sitting outside on a sunny day with my feet up -- how much I enjoyed reading as a kid (pre-computer days, BTW) and how little I've done it recently.

        Stuff I've read recently:

        - Virginia Woolf _Orlando_

        - Ursula LeGuin, _Left Hand of Darkness_

        - Joseph Conrad, _Under Western Eyes_

        - Tolstoy, _Hadji Murad_ (You think this stuff with Russia and the Chechens is news? Try reading Hadji Murad. You realize it's been going on for over a hundred years.)

        - Robert Jordan, first WOT book

        - Robert E. Howard/L Sprague deCamp, a couple old Conan books I dug up in my boyhood box of books

        - Abraham Cahan, _The Rise of David Levinky_ (Great book about coming to America at the turn of the century and growing up in NYC)

        - Henry Roth, _Call it Sleep_ (Another great coming-of-age story. Coming to America from Europe.)

        - W.G. Sebald _The Rings of Saturn_ (sort of a Borges meets Bruce Chatwin -- fascinating and very eerie.)

        - Frank Herbert _Dune_ (Never read it. Loved it!)

        - Heinrich Boll, _The Silent Angel_ (German soldier comes home and in the final days of WWII finds his hometown in ruins. Powerful, powerful book -- very moving, very sad.)

        - Camus, The Stranger (Wow. Never read this either. Sat down and read it straight through. Renault is one interesting dude. This is the book where he kills an Arab for no (apparent) reason. But I guess that's the question: why did he kill the Arab on the beach?)

        Anyway, no one hardly talks about this stuff here -- reading deadwood books (not that there's any particular reason to) -- but I just thought I'd add my two cents. I sincerely believe that the end result of any DRM technology is an intense, intense interest in retro-technology. Not that books are exactly retro, but you know what I mean. A rediscovery of all the cool things that Microsoft and Intel brainwashed us into thinking were dead -- the "good enough" technology.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jreames ( 564587 )
      Actually, I care. For some reason I have visions of the palladium PC's following the Xbox architecture, with a few things to ensure that you cannot run a non-trusted OS on it. Besides, what happens when microsoft brings their antivirus out and marks anything that looks like a boot sector or an ELF binary as a virus, then denies reading it into memory?

      How can you load data into your encrypted (trusted) HD?

      How can you bypass the trusted supervisor and convince it to allow you to do the things we take for granted now?

      The reason MickeySoft wants to trust the computer, is so they can tell the computer to not trust us....

    • The problem becomes when information is released that requires these pieces.. It is forseeable that soon all mp3's movies, ebooks, etc. will require windows with DRM to work properly.. This is dangerous for linux users, as it controlls the freedom of information.
  • Point/Counterpoint (Score:3, Insightful)

    by limekiller4 ( 451497 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:23PM (#4228947) Homepage
    I think that the obvious reaction for the average Slashdotter will be (a) there will always be someone putting out non-DRM hardware (perhaps) and (b) I'll be able to use my current 2.5Ghz hardware for a loooooong time before it's "slow" (gamers obviously do not fit in here). This assumes that two things will not occur:

    The vast majority of people (read; the EULA oblivious) will not adopt it anyway and;

    Microsoft will not make it impossible to talk to untrusted machines.

    I won't draw any conclusions from this and I won't talk about how the world is going to hell in a digital handbasket, but it's food for thought.

    • I'll be able to use my current 2.5Ghz hardware for a loooooong time before it's "slow"

      I have over 800 cans of tomato soup in the lead lined bomb shelter underneath my house. I can eat those for a loooooong time. Think I'd hit can 800 before opening the bulkhead?

  • by Luke Skyewalker ( 585866 ) <> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:24PM (#4228956)
    or does anyone remember that far back? the pentium III processor architecture was going to allow a special hardware code to be embedded on each processor, unique to each machine so that web transactions would be safer.

    however, due to the public backlash about having "big brother" track what their computers were doing, they allowed users to disable that hardware code from being detected.

    the hardcoded serial on those pentium III were just a precursor to palladium, however. think of it more of a proof of concept that such a device would work. intel was always heading toward palladium.

    • It's called Pentium III serial number, a permanent, unique, 96-bit serial number. This number can identify your machine not only to vendors, but also to remote Web hosts.

      Intel initally insisted that since all models where shipped with this functionality disabled, there was no privacy threat. In fact, Intel contended that only users could reactivate it, and therefore only users who wanted to be tracked would be exposed.

      This was untrue. []

      This time, howover, Intel is not alone.... :(
  • The system has a personal information sharing agent called "My Man."

    If they want hacker followers they should call the personal information sharing agent "My Women"
  • by futuresheep ( 531366 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:24PM (#4228960) Journal
    This is the most comprehensive read on Palladium available. Forward it to family and friends.
    • A quote from which was thoughtfully linked by 'futuresheep':
      The Mafia might use the same facilities: they could arrange that the spreadhseet with the latest drug shipments can only be read on accredited Mafia PCs, and will vanish at the end of the month. This might make life harder for the FBI - though Microsoft is in discussions with governments about whether policemen and spies will get some kind of access to master keys.
      The skeliton key concept has two edges: it thwarts the bad guys, but it also thwarts the good guys. In truth, it raises the question of who is 'bad' and who is 'good,' which is more impossible to answer unless you subscribe to holier-than-thou dogmas.

      I believe the reason that the clipper chip did not take off is because _business_ does not trust the gov't not to snoop. Business is less enamored with dogma and more committed to dispassionate pragmatism. The ability for the FBI et al to snoop on the so-called mafia also gives them the ability to snoop on Microsoft (there's that good/bad dichotomy again ;-). Since business ultimately rules the government, the needs for secrecy in business will weigh against the grant of skeliton keys to governments. IMHO.

  • I use AMD processors anyways. (And yes, I did see somebody's post above that said AMD has agreed to support Pallidium already, I just hope they are smart and change their minds)

    But this does raise an interesting question: Does Windows XP already have these types of systems in it, and the processor support will make it come to life?
  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:25PM (#4228975)
    Intel and Microsoft, between Windows Media Center and the forthcoming Palladium might as well just tack on "if you don't want all this crap, please see" at the end of each ad.

    While i've been telling my Windows colleagues that this was coming - none of them believed.

    And now - bonus - XP.5 and Intel both, in the same week - prove me right.

    God.. its good to buy from the "most dangerous company to Intellectual Property today"
    • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:37PM (#4229132)
      Though if Office stays part of microsoft, they might not be too pleased that Mac's don't support DRM, and might be inclined to pull Office from the Mac.

      Maybe not a big deal, but to me (someone pondering buying a mac) that's one of the big things seperating OSX and other *nix. Perhaps I've just not used it enough.
      • Not only MS. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by GoofyBoy ( 44399 )

        But every single interest group out there will pressure Apple to conform. Do you really think that they would leave a major American manufacturer to be the hole in the wall? They are going to have enough problems with Taiwan/Asian manufacturers as it is.

        And isn't Apple rumored to start using x86 chips soon?
    • If both AMD and Intel go ahead and implement DRM, I will consider switching to Mac hardware when the time come to upgrade. This is assuming that 1) Apple does not ever support DRM. 2) Apple chooses the Power4 to replace the PPC, and not X86. And 3) Linux will continue to run nicely on Mac hardware (I'll dual boot OSX and Linux.)
    • They laughed at my Mac,it had no CLI. They laughed at Linux,it had no GUI. I installed MacOS X, and shut them up.

      Hmm... That looks a little bit familiar...

    • And you think that in 4 years, when the new DVD-replacement format is what all new movies, music, etc. is being released on, is palladium/DRM only, that Apple won't follow suit and enable that feature into their OS/hardware. If you think that, then you are blind. Especially considering by that point, Hollings will have gotten something through congress that ensures that only DRM capable equipment is sold in the US. Saying this is a Wintel only problem is like saying that Macs are immune from viruses. Its blatantly false.
    • by xant ( 99438 )
      Microsoft monopoly+Media Monopoly=Palladium for everyone.

      Very simply:
      1. Palladium-encrypted (broken) content media helps keep Content Industries (contrast with: Artists) alive by giving them control, so they like it.

      2. As soon as it's profitable to do so, the CIs will Palladium-encrypt (break) every piece of media they can.

      3. When Palladium is available everywhere, it will be profitable for the CIs to digitally Palladium-encrypt (break) every piece of Mass Market Content that they create.

      4. Any piece of Palladium-encrypted content--DVD, Music CD, software program--that is not signed will fail to play unless Palladium is there to decrypt it.

      5. The MS monopoly (and Intel's and AMD's respective complicity in that monopoly) can make sure that Palladium is available almost everywhere at once.

      6. When broken content is the norm, Mac and Linux will not be able to use that content any more without supporting Palladium.

      7. Mac and Linux will have to either support Palladium or (illegally!!, in the US) circumvent it to be useful.

      8. Linux is not an organization, so it will likely go in both directions at once.

      9. Mac is an organization, and it will probably not support circumvention.

      This is very, very bad. Our best hope is for a severe Microsoft anti-trust penalty, and for our legislators to wise up and stop passing laws to prop up business plans.

  • According to the link in my sig, Intel has a knack for attempting product 'innovations' that aren't very consumer-friendly. My what short memories people have - this is what the Intel CPUID debacle was all about. Now they're going after it again, only under a more righteous-sounding moniker: "Palladium". It sounds like a place you'd go on Friday nights to have fun, but I suspect that fun is the last thing that will come of this mess.
  • by exhilaration ( 587191 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:25PM (#4228988)
    Did you guys forget AMD's CEO testifying on behalf of Microsoft in their antitrust case?

    Did you guys forget the rumors that Microsoft's support of X86-64 was due to AMD standing behind them?

    If Intel is doing this, AMD will be right behind them. They'll do anything to preserve their relationship with Microsoft.

    Don't get me wrong, I love AMD, but they're just as corporate as the rest of the semiconductor industry.

    • Dude, when you have powerful enemies, you need powerful allies. AMD went head-to-head with Intel, not a particularly small or nice company, they needed (need) support from a company like Microsoft to succeed.

      Also, Microsoft has realized for a long time being dependent on Intel is bad news; they've been trying to find options for quite a long time. I still remembr the folks at Intel weren't very happy when Microsoft demoed an early version of Windows NT (back in the early 90's) using a non-intel platform (can't remember if it was MIPS or Alpha). Being able to show Intel that they're not *that* badly needed would probably be good for Bill's boys.

      Apparently then the AMD-Microsoft relationship is mutually beneficial for them.
  • by dusanv ( 256645 )
    AMD, here I come

    I don't think you'll find much comfort in AMD. They are in that DRM working group with MS & Intel. They are also much more eagar to suck up to MS. Their ex-CEO Jerry Whatever said something like: "Wake up, MS has won. I ain't supporting Linux.." in that interview a couple of months ago (it was posted here). I think more appropriate response is: VIA/Apple here I come!
  • I had thought that this "feature" was able to be disabled in the BIOS. If that were the case, the rest of this problem is a software crack and then DRM isn't an issue. Am I wrong about the simplicity of this?
  • Remember what happened with the cpuID thing?

    I plan on sending out 2 emails, one to Intel and one to AMD. They will state that I will buy whichever processor has the same support to turn this OFF in the bios that the cpuID had and if neither of them do this, I will move to only Mac's.

    Now, I don't usually get all email-y/petition-y about this kind of thing, but it's worked before. We're the consumers here. Let's tell the manufacturers what -we- want.

    Any responses I get will be posted on the web for all to read.

  • What about Transmeta (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mocm ( 141920 )
    Would Transmeta have to emulate the DRM components of the Intel CPUs and will it be effective since it will be in software?
  • overhead (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jeepee ( 607566 )
    im curious about the processor/memory overhead that will be associated with palladium.... bored about that microsoft take more and more processor power with each of their os version..... i mean my freebsd can even run on a toaster :-)
  • Time to bug out! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davecl ( 233127 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:29PM (#4229037)
    All the more reason to stop using the Wintel platform (or should that be wintelamd now?).

    This will only encourage my move towards Apple stuff - or Motorola and IBM announced hardware DRM as well?
  • anyone noticed that there's a "personal information agent" mentioned that is called "My Man"???

    shouldn't that be "The Man"?
    or "Bill's The Man"?

    or maybe even "All your privacy are belong to us Man"?

  • First, I think the first virus that somehow manages to protect itself from an antivirus program will show that this scheme is unworkable.

    Also, I think the adoption rate of people Using this will be low. I know MS will want everyone to run only certified and signed code - but will a critical mass of companies actually agree to (pay?) MS 'approving' there software? And how is this going to work with security breaches in software? What if a piece of software is found to be exploitable, and hijacked into spreading viruses?

    I don't think enough software will be signed to allow the average user to only run signed software.

    Also, ppl like to own things they purchase. Video On Demand is an interesting idea, but there are lots of problems that keep people away from it. Worries about losing the connection, a crash and having to reboot (and losing the 2$ spent to do it), watching things on a computer screen, archiving, connection speed problems.. the list goes on, and when you add in the whole DRM stuff, it's a lot less attractive..

    So I don't see enough people trying to get content that will rely on this feature either.

    All in all I think it will kill itself - though I admit to still being worried it succeeds. The possible bad future is too severe to be ignored.
  • So, Intel includes digital rights management in their chips. And Microsoft includes it in the OS. What's the big deal? Where do you get most of your MP3s from, anyway? Your DIvX movies? Your pr0n? I'm sure you don't purchase it. Pirated stuff is always going to be DRM-free.

    Don't worry about it. All DRM is defeatable, and it's MUCH better than the alternative (unrippable CDs, anyone?)

    - A.P.
  • I take it all you worried people are running Windows? Frankly I don't give a crap about this. Because is the DRM going to do anything at all under linux? Probably not. Atleast if MS's DRM efforts pay off, all the kiddies running windows to rip DVDs will be cut off. And the people that want to just play the DVDs will still be able to. Face it, this move is pointed directly at Joe User. He don't understand it, so he don't care. Oh well, I don't care either.

    PS: I don't endorse Intel, nor Microsofts DRM bs, I'm just voicing my worthless opinion..
  • I don't know what all the fuss is about. Microsoft and Intel are obviously just responding to the demands of their customers. Joe Public has been crying out for these DRM features for ages.

    Many people on Slashdot just don't seem to understand how having completely free markets in the USA leads to companies supplying the best possible products for their customers. This is just an example of that.

    (Yes, this is sarcasm).
  • The Register has a report about this w/ some good insights: []
  • If DRM and Palladium take off in a big way and all motherboard manufacturers get on the bandwagon with MS and Intel (and I can't think of a reason why they wouldn't, being motivated by $$$), AMD would quickly find themselves without a piece of the pie. Chances are pretty good they'll fall in line.

    Suffice to say, all of this is going to blow.

  • I have struggled with MS vs Linux for quite some time now. Over the past several years I have set up various Linux boxes and used them initially, but I always found myself migrating back to the Windows box for simple and daily tasks. Tasks that would seem a lot easier and quicker on Windows vs the Linux boxes (only desktop/office/school tasks though, my OpenBSD box has a permanent place on my shelf as my designated household router/firewall). However, if Palladium interfaces caused enough of a problem with my fair use rights (and perhaps even some non-fair use) I would be forced to leave my Windows boxes and set up some Linux boxes for my permanent use. And I have a feeling that there are a lot of people out there that may be in a similar situation: they know about Linux, perhaps have checked it out a few times, and are just waiting for some sort of bomb shell to put them on the other side of the fence. If people suddenly could no longer play their music collection, or open up important documents, they might decide to take a dive into the alternative(s).
  • Sorry Connectix... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:41PM (#4229190)
    I almost forgot - so long Connectix. :-(...

    No more Virtual PC - well, not any Virtual PC's which require Le Grange.

    Unless they come up with some way to emulate a valid key that changes with each install.

    I don't know - how is Connectix going to deal with this? Can they?
  • by dgb2n ( 85206 ) <(ten.tsacmoc) (ta) (n2bgd)> on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:43PM (#4229221)
    Once again, Bob Cringely was way ahead of the /. crowd on this one. This article was written the end of June entitled "See I told you so: Alas, a Couple of Bob's Dire Predictions Have Come True" []. Bob originally warned of Palladium back in August of last year.

    Bob said it much better than I can.

    The point of all this is simple. It may actually make the Internet somewhat safer. But the real purpose of this stuff, I fear, is to take technology owned by nobody (TCP/IP) and replace it with technology owned by Redmond. That's taking the Internet and turning it into MSN. Oh, and we'll all have to buy new computers.

    You said it Bob. Thank you.
  • Up until now, Palladium has been primarily vapor and hype, and primarily known among techno-savvy people like slashdot readers and privacy types.

    Now that Intel has is planning to make it concrete and real, it will be interesting to see if the backlash is to the same level as it was for the CPU ID.
  • by catfood ( 40112 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:48PM (#4229272) Homepage

    I suppose they're making a decent effort at reporting on this in an even-handed way, but the Globe missed two important points.

    1. Palladium does nothing to protect against malicious code. It's the hardware equivalent of ActiveX "signing," which only verifies (somewhat) that the requested code comes from a known source. As we've seen already with ActiveX, code signing isn't a panacea; it can be subverted at many levels. On this the Globe is incorrect.
    2. Privacy is only half of the downside concern. The other half is that DRM-enabled CPUs and system boards could easily become DRM-required devices at the whim of a major hardware or BIOS vendor. On this the Globe just failed to notice the issue, or to mention it.
  • I take back all the comments I made about the uselessness of hacking XBOXes. Please continue.
  • As Microsoft becomes the gatekeeper of digital identity, I predict that Verisign is the next major company who boasted that their part of the market was safe from Microsoft to be crushed by Microsoft.
  • by anonymous loser ( 58627 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @12:53PM (#4229322)
    Not everyone in the world is enamored with DRM. China already distrusts Microsoft products enough to fully embrace linux as their OS of choice. Will the same thing happen to Intel products in China?

    It doesn't seem like a very smart business decision to lock yourself out of the fastest-growing market in the world.
  • Granted, I think the way Microsoft(tm) is going to implement this, it'll be generally bad for users of their products. But how much do we really now about what hardware Intel is going to add to their chips? It's quite possible that Linux users will be able to leverage this technology to improve the security of our servers in ways which actually benefit the users.

    From what I can tell, the overall thrust of this technology is to allow Microsoft(tm) to prevent a user from doing anything to patch or change certain behaviors of the OS. Basically, it's purpose is to prevent people with physical access from "rooting" the box. If we could leverage that tech to prevent a server at a co-lo from being trojaned, wouldn't that be a good thing? Perhaps there will be whole classes of expliots which will become impossible, or at least controllable? It's hard to say without knowing more. But I don't think we should automatically write off the technology just because some vendors plan on using it to screw their customers.
  • by MountainLogic ( 92466 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @01:07PM (#4229467) Homepage
    As peripherals become locked unless you have MS's DRM Linux or Apple becomes even less of an option. And by peripherals I mean every peripheral: CR-ROM/DVD, Floppy, monitor, video card, printer, the works. What hapens when you can't buy a printer or monitor that won't work with out MS's DRM. THey have the market dominance to make this happen. This is more dangerous than it first looks.
  • by KelsoLundeen ( 454249 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @01:20PM (#4229621)
    Actually, I encourage Microsoft's work on Palladium.


    Because it will herald a great (and much needed) rebirth of "personal computing." It'll launch (IMHO) a fairly comprehensive reassessment and reappraisal of why we use computers in the first place. And it'll most likely start a significant portion of us back on (or near) square one -- the late 1970's where the notion of "personal computing" really took off.

    I'm serious. For those of us alive in the late 70's, it was a great time to be a "hobbyist." There weren't geeks and no real "hackers" or "script-kiddies". Just a bunch of people who -- especially here in America -- shared a common passion for building little boxes out of solder, wires, and circuit boards so that -- after everything was assembled correctly -- we could watch a couple lights blink on and off.

    Later, once stuff like the TRS-80 and AppleII gained ground, it was really pretty cool. I still remember hanging out in the arcades and trying to write stuff like a TRS-80 version of Pac Man or Donkey Kong in Z80 assembly language with -- what? -- 127 X 47 blocky, black and white graphics.

    (Insert snide comment here about old, outdated graphics, but if you do, you miss the point.)

    I see this sort of "community hobbyism" in the Linux community (even though they don't call it that) but I think if Microsoft pushes forth this Palladium, we'll see a pretty significant split between those who embrace whatever new technology comes down the pike and those who take a hard look at where we've been and what we've achieved vis a vis Palladium and realize that better technology doesn't necessarily mean much. It means better technology, maybe, but it certainly doesn't herald or promised a better "user experience."

    Palladium will also, I think, significant a fairly radical leap in the notion of "personal computing." This DRM technology is not personal computing. It's corporate computing. There's nothing personal about it. There's not much fun about it either. It leaves the "hobbyists" -- now called geeks, I guess -- out in the cold and looking toward all the nifty retro-tech.

    The retro-tech movement, I think, will be stronger than ever if Palladium -- or something like it -- comes to pass. What that means -- retro-tech -- I'm not entirely sure, but I think it will be a gradual awareness that "good enough" really is "good enough" and something along the lines of "personal computing is dead, long live personal computing!"

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @01:36PM (#4229789) Homepage
    It's really an OS issue, or a Microsoft one. Palladium hardware is easy to disable. In fact, the whole point is that any "tampering" with the boot process disables the hardware-stored authorizations. This only matters if the OS cares about it.

    The real question is how obnoxious Microsoft will make the OS restrictions.

    Incidentally, we ought to be seeing some Palladium-enabled games soon, ones where modified clients can be detected by the server. That will be how the technology gets debugged.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @02:25PM (#4230303) Homepage
    I have a friend who spends lots of time on newsgroups, Kazaa, etc. copying movies. At the same time, I read articles like this, and spend $10 sending certified delivery confirmed letters to congressmen like Mr. Hollings and businesses like Intel and AMD. This is highly counterproductive. My friend saves $10/month on movie rentals, and I spend $10/month on letters.

    I've talked to this person and they say "Oh, I just copy movies I wouldn't rent anyway." (I assume because they are too expensive) They have a valid point since some products are just ridiculously expensive. But they are not helping the problem. If they spent their effort protesting, or finding alternatives as they did pirating, we would be in good shape. I would probably be better off paying them $10/month and having them rent the movies, than to spend it writing letters.

    What should I do? Do I turn them in? Do I hassle them? Do I pay them to stop doing it? It's my rights they are taking away, but turning them in seems ridiculous. Is there somethnig we can do in mass that could prevent this problem?
  • by bedessen ( 411686 ) on Tuesday September 10, 2002 @06:27PM (#4232384) Journal
    Okay, this is something I don't understand about this proposed scheme. Let's say media server A wants to send content to client B. A of course asks B to confirm that B is in secure mode, so that the owners of the content about to be transmitted can sleep well at night knowing that the recipient has paid. What prevents B from running a nonsecure client/OS and reponding "yeah sure, palladium enabled" and receiving the content and storing it unencumbered?

    My first thought would be some sort of cryptographic challenge/response would be used to signal this fact. But client B is totally under our control, since we've disabled the secure mode of the CPU, or we're running a non-DRM OS, or we have a legacy CPU, or whatever. So now it appears that we're back to the same situation as the content scrambling system on DVDs. There's some secret key or challenge/response protocol imbedded in the secure OS that's supposed to be running on client B. But we've hacked that software, found the key, whatever. As long as we have the binaries to this OS, someone will eventually find the secret key and that will be the end of that.

    In short, how could this form of digital rights management ever work? The situation is almost exactly analogous to DVDs, as far as I can tell -- you have the "trusted" clients (consumer DVD players -> Microsoft's future palladium OS) and the "untrusted" clients (standard PCs with DVD ROMs -> standard PCs running non-DRM OS.)

    How does this protect anything? Why go to all the trouble?

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter