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Re: Closed OSes exist for Closed content

Eric S. Raymond wrote:
Andy Green <andy warmcat com>:

wants the desktop and what it's prepared to do to get it.  It ties
into a larger issue about what the Linux community needs to do to
thrive under competitive pressure, which *is* a question for Fedora.
What does "competitive pressure" mean in the context of a Free OS?

Competitive pressure for market share from Windows and MacOS, of course.

I'm no wiser after hearing that "competitive pressure" means "competitive pressure". The Free OSes don't really compete for seats in the same way that a commercial OS does, because the model allows one copy of the install media to bleed into and dupe itself wherever it is wanted. If that is one seat or 1,000 it makes little difference to a Free OS like Fedora since it has no per-seat income.

I think I explained this in some datail earlier.  We need market power
in order to stave off a future where we get DRMed and EULAed to death

Patent law and content protection laws like the DMCA and EUCD give huge punitive powers to the folks that originate "technological protection measures" and Copyright law itself totally gives copyrightholders the power to license content only to non-Free OSes or devices and to cut out Free solutions. They are motivated to do so because they hope to restrict unauthorized copying. Therefore the content that the lumpenprolitariat people want, to watch DVDs, HDTV media content, HDTV downloads is definitively out of the reach of Free OSes unless fashion changes and en clar content like CD Audio or VHS is the norm. (I see Bojan Smojver has made my points on this already).

Vista will have it all at a cost as will OSX and you can say then "that is what they are for". For all other usage that does not require it -- that's quite a lot, like your standard Office PC, Linux is getting really quite ready to leak into and then floodfill that space.

The content IS DRM'd going on and it is hard to see legit players for it licensed on Linux other than highly exotic ones with signed binary drivers, a signed kernel coming up from TPM, basically making your box un-Free.

It's clear that traditional restrictively licensed media is inherently anti-Free, since the last thing you can do with it is copy it around, but the crypto goes one step further and makes it actively evil, since it tries to pervert people away from Free OSes on to platforms controlled by the originators to actually play it.

"Market power" in the form of a lot of Free boxes will only harden the crypto-locked media providers against allowing decode on that 'dangerous' 'widespread' 'out of their control' platform, not strongarm them into it.

> because hardware manufacturers figure all they have to do is serve the
> Windows & Intel Mac markets.  Down that road lie video cards we can't
> use and on-the-mobo TPM to lock us out.

"serving Windows + Intel Mac" is not the same as "video cards we can't use", and that is not the same as "linux dying". Still, advanced features of video cards are closed even today, it is a sore point in an otherwise pretty decent driver landscape.

TPM to bind the OS-at-the-time-of-sale to the motherboard is possible. As things stand though all PC motherboards, excluding the Xbox 1, are pretty much agnostic about OS. Only Apple seems to want to change that. If it catches on there are serious and obvious Antitrust problems. BTW:


'' ... 4. Initialization and management functions that allow the owner
to turn functionality on and off,
reset the chip, and take ownership, with strong controls to protect
privacy. The system owner is
trusted and must opt-in. The user, if different from the owner, may
opt-out if desired. ...'' (p6)

- Why shouldn't a dramatic growth of Linux on the Desktop have the opposite effect of triggering an apocalypse of attacks from MSFT on their various desktop-related patents?

That will happen once we do *anything* to piss off Microsoft enough,
whether it's the fast-growth scenario I want to see or the boil-the-frog-
slowly scenario you think is good enough.  So it's kind of a wash.

They have to be able to show damages to launch a painful attack, showing that say 10% of their market share was lost to Linux due as they might claim to unlawful use of the patented stuff will serve for that. It's harder if a lost-in-the-noise 0.5% is bleeding away year by year. So it's not all the same.

- Why is the current frog-boiling method while Linux and the Free apps improve and establish themselves deeper and deeper not good enough?

Because it's not getting us any desktop penetration to speak of.
- In your theory, is Linux in the embedded space going to die too because MSFT continue to have ~90% of desktops?

No, but lots of Linux in the embedded space doesn't solve our problem either.
Puts no pressure on the video-card makers, for one thing.


- "Linux" will go on regardless, there is no 'die'. "Linux" is a very broad thing: patent attacks may chop bits out case by case. The urgency and level of threat you have been talking about are false propositions, probably brought on by Vista-angst

- You raise video cards becoming more closed as the other cost of not getting enough marketshare, it's certainly possible. It's not obvious what kind of lost market would prompt action. So far there is support for the mass market video cards one way or another.

- You raise DRM as the cost of failure to get marketshare, but DRM is not sensitive to Free OS Marketshare because it will not target it, only closed platforms by definition. Therefore there is no possibility to legally compete with modern media playback, even DVD. Therefore this whole stack of capability is ceded to paid-for, closed OSes.

- Closed OSes are given a role and meaning in the world by the above. If you don't like it then Copyright and Patent law are the enemies. You can fight it by encouraging liberally licensed media, donations at Jamendo.com made me feel better about it.

- Cracked, quite possibly illegal solutions exist for nonpermitted media playback: as a project, aside from what we do as individuals, if Fedora stands for encouraging that in order to get "market share" we will have become MSFT.


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