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Doctorow: the Coming War On General-Purpose Computing 439

GuerillaRadio writes "Cory Doctorow's keynote at 28C3 was about the upcoming war on general-purpose computing driven by increasingly futile regulation to appease big content. 'The last 20 years of Internet policy have been dominated by the copyright war, but the war turns out only to have been a skirmish. The coming century will be dominated by war against the general purpose computer, and the stakes are the freedom, fortune and privacy of the entire human race.'" If you don't have time for the entire 55-minute video, a transcript is available that you can probably finish more quickly.
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Doctorow: the Coming War On General-Purpose Computing

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  • by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:47PM (#38543290) Homepage Journal

    That's because most users care about personal freedom -- where they're the only person that matters. Insular thinking is way too common and is way too corrosive. However, it does go a little bit beyond that. Metronets almost don't exist except in a few more enlightened places, because people were conned into thinking of it as a tax. They would be paying for someone else's Internet access. Well, no. What they'd be paying for is the freedom to choose your Internet access. Most places, the ISP is nothing more than a shell company that "provides" access to a single actual Internet provider - your "choice" is what illusion you want. It's not a real choice, which means that if the real provider decides to implement a specific restriction then ALL your "choices" implement that specific restriction.

    In short, Joe Public is easily tricked into giving up real freedoms because real freedom means someone else gets that freedom too and Joe Public would go through hell or high water before contributing to someone else's freedom. Real freedom is never individualistic, it's binary. It's there or it isn't. By deceiving people into thinking that they're gaining by inhibiting the freedom of "others", freedom becomes impossible. There is no gain in loss. Ever.

  • Re:Alarmism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:49PM (#38543304)
    I'm inclined to agree with him rather more, because I recently had to root my tablet. During the last routine system update, mysterious new crap appeared: Something called Layar. It was impossible to uninstall without rooting, and the marketplace page for it is just page after page of people giving it one-star reviews and complaining that it was installed without their consent. I think it's some type of augmented-reality program.

    I spent a lot of money on that tablet so I can read books in the bath and watch FiM on the train. I don't need the problems of it updating itsself to install new junk I don't want.
  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @06:58PM (#38543394) Journal

    I hope you're right. The processors in even a total homebrew have to come from somewhere and I can see the content providers requiring DRM being built right into the CPU. (As I write that, I can't imagine that MPAA folks could even understand the issue, but anyway.)

    I agree with what you said about content being created elsewhere. A series I watch regularly started life as webisodes, and I believe Netflix is already creating original content. And that has *got* to scare the living crap out of Hollywood. If you can make a popular series in Lubbock with equipment from Best Buy and released on Netflix, what the heck do we need Hollywood for?

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:02PM (#38543422)
    It's not the computer they're trying to control, it's the communications. And they are most definitely winning right now. It amazes me that a tiny minority can run the world so completely.
  • The third great war (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sara Chan ( 138144 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:14PM (#38543538)
    The first half of the twentieth century was dominated by the war against fascism. The second half of the twentieth century was dominated by the war against communism. We are now engaged in a third great war: where governments try to gain total monitoring capabilities—where everything everyone does and says is monitored.

    The goal will be to have everything tracked and recorded. The technology will certainly exist, and governments will certainly try to deploy it. And most people will acquiesce. Because the governments are doing it "to protect the children", or "to stop terrorism". Or maybe it will be done just for convenience (e.g. portions of the Internet now require a Google account—and having a Google account now requires giving Google your phone number). Just remember, "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear".

    This war will last decades, like the first two. The outcome is anyone's guess.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:24PM (#38543608)

    I'm not sure if the best answer to the paradox of choice is to remove choice and configurability. For example, newegg offers a ton of deals for buying certain combinations of hardware, and when there are 231 possible deals for your CPU, it's not feasible to try and sort through that. The answer wouldn't be to stop those deals, but rather, to make it easier to process all that information.

    People don't want to process the information for 231 possible CPU deals. The easiest way to deal with that kind of information is to not process it all, removing configurability and therefore the psychological fear of a missed opportunity. It's been shown in several studies that too many choices hinders the decision-making process and leads to decreased happiness, which was the subject of the book I linked by psychologist Barry Schwartz.

    One might have argued at one point that there are too many websites on the internet, but the solution to that wasn't to reduce the number of websites, but to create good search engines that let us make sense of it all.

    It goes without saying that the sites on the first page of the search results get the vast majority of hits. Nobody wants to sift through the 10,000,000+ hits a Google search gives you. It's an impressive number but ultimately meaningless in terms of how most people use a search engine.

  • by suomynonAyletamitlU ( 1618513 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:37PM (#38543688)

    "General purpose computing" is just a synonym for power, in the same way as violence, money, and land are.

    When you had land, you could do whatever you wanted on your land, even if it was criminal. When you had money, you could get whatever goods or services money could buy, even if it was criminal. When you had violence, you could take others' land and money, even if it is criminal (it isn't always; Police, in principle, "claim" land and money using violence, but not criminally). Naturally, government came in to regulate all three.

    When you have general purpose computing, you can have whatever the peripherals of your computer allow you to have, even if it's criminal. Such peripherals include, but are not limited to, recording devices and displays, CNC machines (fab), and telecom (the internet, VOIP, etc).

    The funny thing about computing though, is that it is not consumed in the process the way money and land are. Those have to be invested, because you really can't build a factory on a plot today, and then change it to apartments for a few hours to meet demand. You can't have your paycheck pay for food today, and then have the same money pay for rent tomorrow.

    So now users have this virtual land that isn't dedicated to a single purpose and can change at the drop of a hat from producing (or consuming) kitten videos to committing virtual crimes to emailing your mom and back again. It defies the concept of specialization of labor. It defies the concept of investment, because once you pay the overhead and produce something for that virtual land (software), everyone can use it without investing in it themselves.

    In other words, it defies the models of money and land. It is its own kind of beast, and computing is our window into that world. What computers we use are our "avatars," to use a tired term, and GP computing is the only avatar that isn't artificially hindered. But an avatar that is unhindered is (for the purposes of law enforcement) no different from allowing all citizens access to weaponry, without even background checks. Maybe it will take care of itself, maybe it won't; the arguments could go on forever.

    I would say that the argument for GP computing is more akin to the right to bear arms than the right to free speech. It's individually empowering, to the point of threatening other people. Either you respect that people will someday need it, or you get in the path of that train. Maybe you can derail it with your corpse, maybe not, I don't know, but there are a LOT of people who won't sit idly by as you take their (metaphorical) guns away.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vanders ( 110092 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:51PM (#38543798) Homepage

    With the music industry, Apple *forced* their hands

    Google will force the hands of TV and movie companies in a similar manner. I'd bet on it.

  • Walled gardens... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @07:59PM (#38543892)

    ... do not mean malware free computing, it means corporate sponsored malware the user is unaware of and can't get rid of. You people are dense who think walled gardens are going to be a panacea. The good thing about open systems at least is that they are analyzed by lots and lots of eyeballs. Closed systems will let nefarious organizations do whatever they want without your say or your knowledge.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:17PM (#38544070) Journal

    When the height of copy protection was MacroVision, you could always buy VCRs that ignored it: but they weren't typical home use models, they were built for studio editing. Those general purpose tools have to exist for professionals, and it was such a small percentage of VCR sales that the studios didn't care.

    The situation with computers is similar - it's possible that general-purpose home computers will stop being mainstream, with everyone using appliances and pads and whatnot, all o which are locked down. But there will still be a need for general purpose computers that can work around restrictions, even/especially within the content-creation profession. And again the studios won't care, as long as the exception is sufficiently non-mainstream as to not affect their money grab, such as home-built computers running a free OS have always been.

    However, I also doubt that we'll ever reach a place where people can't use their locked-down applaices and pads to add music to thier funny cat videos, or home videos of kids playing. Try to mess with that and you've hit something the average voter actually cares about, it's not news for nerds any more, and democracy will happen. The MAFIAA can buy votes on geek issues, because the voters at large don't care, but touch something that people are going to have a strong opinion about regarldess of political advertisng and you're playing with fire. (And if you've never sold home video equipment, trust me, people really want to add music to their home videos of their kids playing, and goodness knows there's jst no stopping funy cat videos, those are a force of nature!).

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:30PM (#38544196) Homepage Journal

    Only in the short term. In the long term devices such as this, and the tools needed to work with them will be strictly controlled and only licensed individuals will get access


    You couldn't even get MS and Apple to back that bill.

    The app store did at least $2 Billion in direct revenue for Apple this year, and that's not including $80 Billion for the devices it actually sold. Is anyone really going to argue they wouldn't understand that destroying the hobbyiest programmer wouldn't be slitting their own throat? Without guys willing to write apps, none of these guys make any money, and if you kill the garage hacker, you kill most of the software engineering profession. There aren't going to be that many kids going into CS if the first time they touch a compiler is when they're 19 in CS 103 after a government background check and a license, and the ones that do, probably aren't going to be any good.

    Dumb as most congressional representatives are, there can't be that many that wouldn't understand any bill like that would be economic suicide.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:41PM (#38544312)

    There is a love affair with being an outlaw. The outsider, the whole hacker manifesto.

    Growing up as kid I was the stereotypical nerd/geek that would take things apart, hack into them, re-purpose them, etc.

    With technology becoming so fundamental to our way of life, children don't see using smart phones, tablets, computers as geeky anymore. The person that can "rootkit" a device, really own it, etc. has become the new cool.

    Locking down the tools and the equipment? That will only put gasoline on a fire. Best way to encourage youth to break the law is to make something popular and fun illegal.

    The War on Drugs, cigarettes, and liquor has sure kept kids from using it huh?

    Sometimes I think the best way to get kids to read would be to outlaw the books.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:56PM (#38544454) Journal

    Let us not forget what is REALLY gonna drive this, which is families with kids. i have several customers that have gone HTPC and put little Nbox players in the kid's bedroom, why? Because DVD rippers have gotten to the point it is "Push button to output .AVI" which is beyond easy peasy and NOBODY wants to deal with little Annie crying because her little sister managed to scratch her favorite Dora video. With a 200Gb hard drive and a $30 Nbox you have a system that is simple enough a 6 year old can work it (no exaggeration there, I've actually watched a 6 year old work an nbox) with NO discs to scratch and NO boxes to deal with or to get lost, you can just store them into the closet and if the HDD dies whip another .AVI off or do as my customers do and just back up 4 or 5 onto a blank DVD and call it a day.

    Then you have the parents which after seeing how easy it works for the kiddies goes "Hey how come I can't have it that easy?" and end up looking at one of my customer's HTPCs and have me build them one. the new remotes are beyond simple for those that are used to texting (I recommend the Lenovo HTPC remote, fits the hand nicely) and then they can plug in wireless gaming controllers or a full wireless keyboard and mouse when they need to do some real work on the thing. The prices are frankly INSANELY cheap if you stick with AMD, which since i'm an AMD only shop isn't a problem, and you can get an E-350 based setup dirt cheap if all you want is a media center, but most of my customers end up kicking the the few extra bucks to get a triple core that will let them game as well. Before the flood you could build a frankly crazy powerful HTPC that would game for around $500 and that box will last you probably a good decade by simply changing out the GPU occasionally, hell even after the flood if you shop around you can build a 1Tb system for around $600 that will play just about any game in 1080p. you wanna talk about an easy sale, just show them how easy Windows media Center makes dealing with a library of media and then fire up batman:AA or Just Cause II and let them drool on the graphics, cha ching!

    So ultimately its families and word of mouth which i think will kill all this BS, just as it did with music. Folks want easy, simple, and cheap and HTPCs frankly fit all three of those conditions now, its the MPAA dragging their heels and making us feed discs like it was 1988 with VCRs. But there are plenty of people with more growing everyday that are tired of feeding discs and just want to "push a button and its all there" and little shops like mine are happy to oblige. All it takes is ONE person in a neighborhood getting an HTPC and soon the word is out and all those around them are going "Hey can you get me a thing like what he's got?" and there it goes.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @08:58PM (#38544468) Journal

    Point me to any piece of legislation on THOMAS that would prohibit selling or possessing CPUs that can run arbitrary code, or requires a license to own a compiler, or any other of these dystopian futures that would put every software developer on the planet in the unemployment line or prison overnight, or require every functioning Intel CPU currently installed to go to the crusher.

    None of the really crazy stuff has become legislation yet; the craziest I've heard floated was a 2002 proposal to require watermark detection on all analog/digital converters; this was part of the Content Protection Status Report the MPAA submitted to the US Senate.

    At best, the content industry is saying we're going to build content protection into hardware, and if you want access to our properties, you'll use hardware that respects that.

    That's too generous; they want to have content protection in all hardware, whether it has anything to do with their content or not.

  • by xs650 ( 741277 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @09:18PM (#38544622)
    Did you really expect 1984 to occur in 1984? Government programs by their very nature a completed late.
  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @09:42PM (#38544804) Homepage Journal

    That space is dominated by ARM chips, and there's no general-purpose PCs made with ARM CPUs.

    That's what the Raspberry Pi is. The whole point is we're at the point now you can grab an "embedded" chip off the shelf and make a half decent general purpose Linux box out of it now. ARM is finally to the point where it's got the horsepower to run some GP workloads comparable to what you had on the desktop from Intel a few years ago.

    I've never seen an x86-64 used in an embedded system; they're too power-hungry and expensive for anything other than things like >$100k test instruments.

    You aren't looking in the right markets. It's nowhere near the volume of ARM and PPC, but there are companies that need x86 power for appliance workloads that aren't "General Purpose" in the sense that they run customer code, generally running BSD derivatives. My employer is one of them.

    And the computers used in data centers aren't "embedded", they're servers.

    Didn't say they were. They are largely running custom enterprise code to support a business, or somebody's SaaS code on the web. It's a market that's not going to take kindly to any apocalyptic scenario being discussed here.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Friday December 30, 2011 @10:03PM (#38544940) Journal

    Exactly. Both AMD and Intel probably sell a dozen server chips for every desktop, both have embedded chips in the C/E series and Atom respectively and while these chips are used in appliances there are also used in everything from camera control setups for businesses to micro desktops. There is just too much money in general purpose computing for either company to slit their own throats for what is essentially a bit player in the wide scheme of thing because despite all their bluster the MPAA really is a small fish compared to the worldwide computing market. this of course is only counting X86 and isn't even counting the Via chips that are used in car computing nor the myriad of ARM and MIPS chips used all over the damned place, to expect them ALL to kiss the ring is frankly the height of insanity.

    Finally as we all know thanks to Citizens united our laws are written by he who has the most cash and on their best day the MPAA lobbyists couldn't touch a consortium that had Intel, AMD, all the ARM and MIPS manufacturers and MSFT and Apple all joined together and join together they would because ALL of the above make boatloads of money on general purpose computing. The chip manufacturers sell more chips, and the software houses like Apple and MSFT make money off the appstore and getting people to use Visual studio to enhance their Windows platform respectively so the amount of money they'd stand to lose would frankly be staggering and for what? So a company doesn't have to wake up and smell the present and can instead still pretend like its 1983 and broadband doesn't exist?

    In the end the MPAA will be dragged kicking and screaming into the present just like the music companies were and then will find out shock, gasp! That there is plenty of money to be made if you actually give customers what they want, which is cheap, easy and convenient access to anything they want. there is no damned reason in this day and age i just can't go to amazon and whip out my CC and buy an .AVI or .MP4 or whatever format i want movie just like i buy an MP3 or buy a game off of Steam or GOG except the MPAA is just too damned stupid to sell it to me. eventually they'll figure out what Valve did years ago and that is you'll never kill piracy but if you make it cheap and easy enough the majority simply won't bother because the legal version will be easier. I mean compare what it takes to load a movie onto an Nbox or WDTV now, you can 1.-go buy a disc, 2.-get the disc home, 3.-rip the disc to the HDD, 4.-convert it to the right format, 5.-drag it to the device, or you can just 1.-go to TPB and download the movie in the correct format and 2.- put it on the device. Which takes less steps? Now compare that to say Steam 1.-Pick game and push button to either keep or give to friend/family member, 2.-there is no step two. Make it simple, cheap and easy and people WILL buy, make it a royal PITA where the pirate gets less hassle than the guy that gives you money and watch the piracy soar, duh!

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @10:30PM (#38545120)

    I hope you're right. The processors in even a total homebrew have to come from somewhere and I can see the content providers requiring DRM being built right into the CPU.

    They cannot do that. Content providers could require that some API report that the processor has DRM built in, but that is the beauty of software layers: they can report whatever you want.

    Or to be more specific: they can inquire what the hardware is on the Tor exit node you are currently on, but that has nothing to do with the hardware you are actually running. Cory Doctorow's future involves much heavier use of Tor than is required today.

  • by tzanger ( 1575 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:02PM (#38545268) Homepage

    People often ask me about my anti-Apple attitude (or anything really restrictive) and when I explain to them that they've bought something that don't actually really posses complete control over it they are usually understanding.

    You must certainly feel the same way about just about every cell (not just smart) phone, tablet, set-top box or embedded system. Unless you're given the full API documentation and enough of a schematic or layout documentation to be able to reflash the system (if not also the bootloader) then you simply don't have the means to hack away at the devices you have bought and own. I specifically don't include laptops or desktops here because generally speaking, they're designed to run whatever you want to put on them.

    In my experience, most people imagine that they "own" something when they purchase it. When they understand that they don't own their iPad in the same way they own their car or their house, they do understand why thats a bad thing *even if they lack of the technical knowledge to take advantage of it*.

    It's been my experience that most people you will talk to about this will give you a blank stare and a "yeah, so?" kind of look after having it explained to them. Most people are not stupid, I agree with you, but it's simply not a big deal to them.

    People don't want to spend hundreds of dollars to rent a thing. When you explain how all of this ties into planned obsolescence and other market strategies they can become quite offended at the idea. Owning a device you are free to operate fully means you can replace it on your own terms, not artificial ones (say, from lack of software updates).

    Again, you must be running with a different crowd than I am. Even my technically-minded friends, while not incensed when discussing this subject, don't feel it's a big problem. They usually want the faster processor or better graphics in a few years anyway. I do have a couple of friends who like to make their tech buys last as long as possible, and it's that type of personality that cares about this, by and large. It's been my experience that the general population gets it, but has bigger things to worry about.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:23PM (#38545386) Homepage Journal

    There's nothing legal or technical preventing someone from buying a handful chips from any of a half-dozen ARM licensees and fabricating the rest of a system around it, either for personal or commercial use. Etching and populating a multi-layer board with SMT components has been a bit of a stumbling block in the past, but there's several rapid-turn, small-order board fabricators online now that can handle that.

    There's no 300 MHz ARM system with 128 MB of RAM being mass-produced and marketed, because there's historically no market for one as an Intel competitor. Raspberry Pi seems to think that ARM has matured enough and there's a large enough niche market to give it a go though.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by voidptr ( 609 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @11:37PM (#38545486) Homepage Journal

    There's always going to be someone starting the next big thing in their garage, but setting that argument aside, "garage hackers" are also important because kids that get exposed to STEM in their childhood, including computers, turn into people who pursue those fields as an adult.

    The whole information economy is intertwined. All those big shops still need developers from somewhere, and most of them know their own roots enough to know any proposal along those lines would devastate the pipeline of computer science graduates in this country, and everyone's got to hire new talent from somewhere from time to time.

    On top of that, most of the people working as software developers in the US aren't writing commercial apps, they're writing and maintaining in-house business applications for the company they work for; the corollary is that almost every company of more than a few hundred employees has some amount of internal software they depend on, even when software or SaaS isn't their actual product. Restricting the ability of anyone to maintain or run in-house code would kill most companies overnight, let alone the damage it would do to all the IT vendors who sell general purpose hardware. IBM / HP / Dell etc. make way too much money selling computers to run their customer's workloads to ever allow that market to get closed off.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Saturday December 31, 2011 @02:29AM (#38546266)

    No, it doesn't prove his point. What would prove his point is someone proposing legislation that made manufacturing, selling, or owning a device that allowed the user to compile and run their own code illegal.

    Apparently there already is such legislation. You see, it's called the DMCA. Gun's don't kill people, people kill people. Software doesn't defeat DRM, people defeat DRM with software. We've been given VERY LIMITED exemptions to manufacture, sell, own or run software capable of cracking DRM, or Jailbreaking phones, but it's still illegal for me to crack my XBox or Playstation3, or ANY OTHER DRM DEVICE not on the magical white list.

    You're wasting your time if you're on the watch for legislation that prevents you from running any code you want. It already exists; It just depends on YOUR definition of "any". Furthermore, as long as EULAs allow MFGs to instant click-wrap legislation into being, you're looking in the wrong place, and you're even looking in the wrong direction!

    What we need now is the right to bear technology; I've been saying this for years, and am glad to see the sentiment being finally adopted. When my first 128bit public key encryption program was basically classified as "munitions" and prevented from exportation in the early 1990s I REJOICED! I actually danced a little jig! I foolishly believed that this meant my 2nd amendment rights, "The right to bear arms, lawfully", would come into effect and I'd be able to wield any computing technology just as I can legally wield a gun: If its self defense and/or I'm not physically harming anyone, what I'm doing shouldn't be illegal. To my dismay our Constitutional rights have not been interpreted in this way.

    The definition of what is "lawful" has become: That which the EULA allows. The definition of what is "causing harm" has become: That which we can not measure or prove, but suspect.

    It would have been as RIDICULOUS to outlaw guns in the pioneer era as it would have been to outlaw possessing ANY stone tool in the Stone age, or for using an iron tool on your own possessions in the Iron age. Yet, here we are in the INFORMATION AGE, and we've got laws against using particular information processing tools...

    Some would say that I do not own some of the information that I possess. To them I would ask: "Do you own the memories in your head?" Can I not read 1s and 0s and then use my mind to break encryptions? Can I not use the information in my own mind? I can use external tools such as graph paper and pencil to help me perform my mathematic algorithms too. However, If I use a GENERAL PURPOSE COMPUTER to help me do certain tasks with the INFORMATION that can be or has been absorbed and then extracted from MY OWN MIND -- Then I can be found guilty of violating existing legislation.

    Perhaps you're saying that as long as they don't outlaw all programs and general purpose computers, we've nothing to fear. I put it to you that standing buy while our 1st AND 2nd amendment rights are being restricted in any fashion is OUTRAGEOUS, has already occurred, and continues to occur each time you click the [_] Accept button on a restrictive EULA.

    What we need is the right to use our computers. The right to possess and use technology. You wouldn't stand a chance taking ancestors' stone or iron tools, or guns from them. I'll be damned if I'll stand idly by and let ANYONE take my INFORMATION tools from me.

    Those stone age peoples who opposed iron tools quickly became extinct: Welcome to the Information Age.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Saturday December 31, 2011 @07:21AM (#38547002) Journal

    And the music loaded on them is...survey says...pirated! You DO realize it would cost something like $64,000 to load an iPod full of RIAA approved music, yes? After all they say ripping to your iPod is illegal and you should have to cut them a check per song (I'm not shitting you, look up "industry says ripping to your iPod is illegal" in Google) but nobody is actually paying attention to their asses are they? And Apple TV is DOA for precisely THAT reason, its all iStore and no easy way to run home ripped media.

    In the end for a media device or home appliance to be a hit with regards to media it needs to be easy, cheap, and convenient and the MPAA haven't grasped that yet which is why so far every attempt they've made has bombed. When they want $3 an episode for TV shows with DRM piled on and more restrictions than you can name VS a user just going to TPB or ripping the thing? they WILL use TPB. It isn't like the old days where only someone with skillz could rip, try something like Tipard DVD Ripper where it is literally "push button to get movie" and even has Streams and CUDA support built in to speed ripping and you'll see why MPAA approved methods are full of fail. There is NO reason why my dad shouldn't be able to buy a DVD player with built in ripper that rips to a 1Tb HDD and makes loading movies off a flash as simple as drag and drop. the tech is there already, its the MPAA that is holding technology hostage.

    But the simple fact you can walk into a big box retailer or Amazon and pick up an Nbox or WDTV (which there is no actual legal way to load media on according to the *.A.A and DMCA) means their bullshit isn't selling on their wouldn't be a big enough market to warrant these devices. Hell my 71 year old dad has sent me over a dozen customers simply by raving about how "My boy got me this Nbox thingie and now all my movies are just a click away!" and his friends (and even his nurse at the doctor's office) ask him "You wouldn't happen to have his number handy, would you?" because ultimately that is what the consumer WANTS, they want "push button and movie goes" and the MPAA isn't giving it to them so TPB is. Like Gabe at Valve said "Piracy is someone else offering a better product" and its true, you get nasty with price and DRM and folks WILL go elsewhere. Look at how much game companies make off Steam, it has just enough DRM that Joey isn't passing his purchase to all his buddies while making it beyond simple and cheap to buy. Make it easy, cheap, and convenient and they WILL buy because humans are lazy creatures and will go with the path of least resistance wherever possible. Make it an expensive royal PITA and then piracy is the easier route, simple really.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @07:31AM (#38547024) Journal

    There's a different definition of PC, and that's short for "IBM PC", and it's a personal computer with specific characteristics: x86 CPU

    x86 CPU and PC-compatible BIOS. The latter is important - there have been a few other x86 systems (including some Sun 386 workstations) that did not have a PC BIOS and so could not boot any of the common x86 operating systems. The first Intel Macs also fell into this category, until they shipped a BIOS compatibility layer for EFI.

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