[sf-lug] Consumer & admin (was: Possibly interesting data point on jobs postings)

David Sterry david at sterryit.com
Wed May 17 21:05:17 PDT 2006

My intent was not to confuse free(as in beer or speech) sofware with 
open source. I do realize the distinction.

My point about DRM is that when closed-source software provides platform 
services that ensure license integrity, alternatives will be sought 
where those services are optional. For example, one can imagine a day 
where any media file that's to be played on Windows has to be signed 
with an officially purchased certificate(in turn signed by Sony or some 
other content CA). It's at that point that many many people will see a 
trade-off between the applications they know and love that come with a 
more restrictive future or a space where they may have to pay some dues 
mentally but will be able to experience content with less legal ties.

Your point about the PS3 as a test case is right on target but it leaves 
me with one question. How does the open sourceness of an OS affect the 
ability to develop a secure application for it?

> You are confusing free software (as in either/both free as in cost 
> or/and freedom) with open source software. The two are different, 
> though most of the time open source software is indeed free of charge.
> Regarding the "complicated" nature of Linux, it actually isn't very 
> complicated considering what it does. It is important to keep in mind 
> that Linux was not designed to be a mass consumer operating system. 
> Linux is an open source, free of charge, POSIX-compliant Unix 
> operating system. Linus Torvalds has only recently stated an interest 
> in the Linux desktop, no doubt prompted by his new employer the Open 
> Source Development Laboratory (OSDL). Linux does has excellent 
> potential for the mass consumer market; Mac OS X is the proof of 
> concept. But because Linux and the associated facilities are developed 
> mostly by volunteers who all have a say in the architecture of their 
> work, Linux will take longer to bring to the general public as a 
> slick, easy to use operating system.
> Regardling DRM, that issue is not going to go away, regardless of 
> operating system. Companies hoping to capitalize on Linux will have to 
> find a way to enforce digital rights and payment of royalties to music 
> companies. We won't have to wait too long to see how this will be 
> handled. Sony's new Playstation 3 is due out November 11. The PS3 will 
> use Linux as the operating system and Sony plans to use it as a hub 
> for digital home entertainment. This means Sony will most likely 
> devise a method to enforce DRM on Linux. It will be interesting to see 
> how they do it.

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