NZ boffin's claim

VISTA'S CONTENT PROTECTION specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history, claims a new and detailed report from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

"Peter Gutmann's report describes the pernicious DRM built into Vista and required by MS for approval of hardware and drivers," said INQ reader Brad Steffler, MD, who brought the report to our attention. "As a physician who uses PCs for image review before I perform surgery, this situation is intolerable. It is also intolerable for me as a medical school professor as I will have to switch to a MAC or a Linux PC. These draconian dicta just might kill the PC as we know it."

But this isn't just a typical anti-Microsoft rant. Gutmann's report runs to 6,000 words and contains hardly any FSF-style juvenile invective.

"Windows Vista includes an extensive reworking of core OS elements in order to provide content protection for so-called "premium content", typically HD data from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. Providing this protection incurs considerable costs in terms of system performance, system stability, technical support overhead, and hardware and software cost," says Gutmann on his homepage.

"These issues affect not only users of Vista but the entire PC industry, since the effects of the protection measures extend to cover all hardware and software that will ever come into contact with Vista, even if it's not used directly with Vista (for example hardware in a Macintosh computer or on a Linux server). This document analyses the cost involved in Vista's content protection, and the collateral damage that this incurs throughout the computer industry."

He also claims that Vista's content protection will 'have to violate the laws of physics if it is to work'.

I'm not going to comment on the details of the report and its implications but merely suggest that you read it for yourselves and come to your own conclusions. I'd also venture to suggest that Microsoft might want to comment on Gutmann's work.