Some interesting reading,
Earlier this month, Microsoft outlined their plans for their next generation of operating systems, codenamed Longhorn/Palladium. Among the features touted were the "secure networking" functions that OS would offer.
Microsoft plans to implement Palladium DRM (digital rights management) in a hardware chip, initially implanted on the mobo, but later on embedded in the CPU, and employing hardwired encryption throughout. The purpose of this is to flag every file on the computer with a digital signature telling a remote server what it is. If it's an unauthorised file, the remote server will tell your computer not to let you execute it.
This is basically an attempt to stop the trading of mp3's and/or warez.
Before an application can run, it too must have a digital signature remotely verified by another server. If the program binary doesn't match with any of the authenticated binaries, your computer won't run it. This, again, is meant to stop your computer running "unauthorised" software - which might be warez, or it might just be a nifty freewrae program that the authors acn't afford to have certified. Microsoft will be able to control exactly what your computer can and can't run.
As most of you know, Microsoft employ a strategy of making their software deliberately obsolete - they make it forwrd compatible, but not backward compatible. With the laws of the DMCA, it will soon be illegal to try to make a software product that is compatible with another programs file types (for example, take the many office applications there are for Linux which have had some success in translating their arcane file formats).
This has the effect of killing any competition in the water - since you're not allowed to make your new product compatible with any of the others, no-one will use it. And eventually people will give up using any of the others instead, since no-one else can read their documents. So the entire world will be left with one choice only for software - Microsoft.
Palladium will effectively ban free software, not just free stuff for Windows platforms, but free stuff for Linux, Mac, in fact every OS that runs on a Palladium enabled motherboard/processor. Why?
In order to get the program to run on a palladium platform, you will need to pay to have your binary certified as "safe" by Microsoft's software authentification branch. And who in their right mind is going to pay for a piece of software they spent hours working on? It just wouldn't be worth it.
It gets worse when it comes to open source projects, such as Linux and BSD. Those of you who know about these things will know that open source projects are created by freelance coders all over the world who create programs in their spare time and then give them to the rest of the world for free. Many of them also release the source code for free too, so that if you wish you can alter the program (such as to fix bugs, add features etc).
Now, it would be bad enough if the owner has to pay a certification fee. But EVERY CHANGE that is made to the source code will require a new, seperate certificate to be created. Those of you who use Linux will know that so many things get updated so quickly, that this just isn't practical, and would cost the open source developement people millions of dollars. This is money they just don't have, and Microsoft knows it.
The "secure network". This is the real clincher for Palladium. At first, they're going to make it so that it is possible to turn Palladium off at the hardware level. But it is created in such a way so that, if you try to connect to a Palladium web server, you won't be allowed to. Palladium machines will only be able to talk to other Palladium machines, and non-Palladium machines won't be able to talk to any Palladium machines.
Hence, if Palladium reaches critical mass, there will be thousands of people the world over who won't be able to access the internet or even work on a network with Palladium machines, so by extension they will be forced to "upgrade" to Palladium machines.
At first I thought: what the hell, this is only going to apply to x86 architecture (namely Athlon and Pentium chips, since it's only AMD and Intel who are involved at the moment). So, I could try another hardware architecture: such as the Mac/PPC, or the Sun Sparc, or an ARM, or any other kind of processor.
But then I realside that even if I did, I wouldn't be able to access the "Palladium network" which could encompass the entire internet if this concept goes far enough. So all you Mac users would be effectively locked out; you too would have adopt a Palladium machine if you wanted your computer to actually do anything.
Palladium will enable all your documents to be controlled remotely. No, this is not a joke. If Microsoft find you are using an outdated version of Office, all they need to do is send a message to your computer and it will no longer let you read any of your documents that were created with that application.
MS WILL BE ABLE TO CONTROL YOUR COMPUTER!
Even more sinister is that if Microsoft take offence at any of the documents on your machine ( it could be a simple document containing DeCSS information or anti-Palladium information) then they can delete or alter it not just from your PC but from every other Palladium PC on the network.
This has a remarkable similarity to the "Ministry of Truth" in George Orwell's "1984" where the government continually faked information, both new and old, the entire country over to make themsleves appear "correct" all the time.
If Palladium ever becomes widespread enough, the internet as we know it today will be dead. Instead of being controlled by us, it will be controlled by Microsoft, and you will have no choice to do exectly what they say.
Hence why I want to tell as many people about this atrocious idea before it become spopular, and M$ administer their miraculous spin to it to make it sound like the best thing since sliced bread.
Thanks Wassup, this is what I read too, but forgot where it was.