Laser Blog

Articles tagged "news"

44 Vista isn't Green?

Wednesday 31st January, 2007

The Green Party (UK) asks: "Who has the key to your Vista PC?" I'll give you a clue: it isn't you.

Microsoft's latest operating system, due for release tomorrow, is defective by design, putting Microsoft and the corporate media in control of your computer.

It's a valiant effort by the Green Party, but some people don't seem to get it. No matter how many times you tell them, they just don't care. Apathy, eh?

"So-called 'digital rights management' technology in Vista gives Microsoft the ability to lock you out of your computer. Technology should increase our opportunities to consume media, create our own and share it with others.

"But Vista helps the corporate media take away our consumer rights. Silence in government betrays a shocking complacency in the face of this latest attack on our rights."

Vista will also be power hungry, as it requires more processing time to encrypt and decrypt 'premium' content, and looks around the computer every few milliseconds to check that nothing is trying to distribute de-coded 'premium' video or sound.

There was never a better time to switch to Linux.


43 A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection

Wednesday 31st January, 2007

This is a real eye-opener, a detailed analysis of Vista's DRM infection. The article is quite long, so you might be tempted to think, "Ah, forget it!" Before you dismiss it, have a quick look at the more important section titles:

  • Disabling of Functionality
  • Indirect Disabling of Functionality
  • Decreased Playback Quality
  • Elimination of Open-source Hardware Support
  • Elimination of Unified Drivers
  • Denial-of-Service via Driver/Device Revocation
  • Decreased System Reliability
  • Increased Hardware Costs
  • Increased Cost due to Requirement to License Unnecessary Third-party IP
  • Unnecessary CPU Resource Consumption
  • Unnecessary Device Resource Consumption

Believe me, if you intend to purchase Vista, or a PC with Vista installed on it, this is well worth the read.


42 Amusing Vista security claims

Wednesday 31st January, 2007

This article has been prominent in technology section of the BBC News page.

Windows Vista is "dramatically more secure than any other operating system released", Microsoft founder Bill Gates has told BBC News.

When I first read that statement, I burst out laughing. It had to be a joke. OpenBSD sprang straight to mind. It couldn't be a serious claim. Further on, the article says:

Security analysts have praised the improved tools in Vista but many feel that holes in the operating system eventually will be exposed and that Microsoft will continue to need to update it through online patches.

Well, you know what? The first service pack is already being built! That means that there are known bugs. "How long before Vista SP1 is released" = "How long before known Vista bugs are patched". Well, here's a rough guideline for you; with Windows XP, it took 11 months.


41 Microsoft copies core BlueJ functionality, then applies for patent, then backs off

Monday 29th January, 2007

BlueJ is an educational IDE for teaching object-oriented programming and Java to beginners. The full article details how Microsoft knowingly copied core functionality from BlueJ and planned to patent it as their own "invention".

After blatantly copying BlueJ (without reference or attribution), Microsoft have now filed for patent for the functionality they knowingly copied from us.

Why? To sue us out of the market? To make us pay? Who knows. Sad fact is that this could destroy BlueJ.
BlueJ competes with Microsoft’s Visual Studio in the education market. Not ‘compete’ in a commercial sense from our point of view, since we ... do not make money from the distribution of BlueJ, but ‘compete’ in a business sense for Microsoft, since BlueJ adoption can theoretically mean lost sales for Redmond.

After the full glare of Internet publicity hit them, Microsoft claim that:

... the patent application was a mistake and one that should not have happened. To fix this, Microsoft will be removing the patent application in question.

A mistake? One wonders how many other such mistakes have been made and not noticed.


40 malicious code on websites

Wednesday 24th January, 2007

According to an article on the BBC News website, tech criminals are moving the focus of their activities from e-mail to the web. It appears that many spyware or trojan-infected e-mails are getting blocked before they reach the user, so instead "clean" e-mails containing links to websites which contain malicious down loaders are being used instead. The goal seems to be to try to gain access to corporate networks. This rather ties in with my previous article on the relative security of internet explorer and mozilla firefox.

This also seems a little at odds with an earlier report which implied that home PC users were the main target of tech criminals. Or it may be that that particular user base is nearing saturation as far as the aims of tech criminals are concerned.