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Thanks to Doc Searls for allowing me to share a preview of a forthcoming SuitWatch newsletter (Link below.).

Time Magazine closed 2006 by naming You its Person of the Year: The subhead exclaimed, “Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.”

Not so fast.

Allow me to present some evidence to the contrary before making an affirmative claim that Time will be right one year from now - when we have a popular Linux laptop.

First, go read A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection, by Peter Gutmann. The piece is chock full of juicy pull-quotes, topmost of which is its Executive Executive Summary: “The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history.” The public sources he sites are appended below.

Seems Vista’s “content protection” requirements will force hardware makers to do several awful things at once, mostly by burning DRM into hardware. Needless to say, this will screw up things for Linux’s customary hermit-crab approach to running on generic hardware. Because, if Microsoft succeeds, there won’t be generic hardware. White boxes won’t be able to run Vista. They’ll only run Vista’s ancestors and competitors. Vista-ready boxes will be white in the manner of Apple’s: in color only.

For those of us old enough to remember, this approach calls to mind IBM’s suicidal Microchannel bus, back in the late 80s. Microchannel was a PC backplane lock-in strategy that rode to market inside a Trojan Horse of improvements over the aging PC (ISA) bus. The Microchannel horse was transparent as well as lame, and the market didn’t buy it. Instead the market eventually bought the PCI bus, which was open and useful for everybody.

Micrsoft hides its hardware lock-in strategy inside a transparent Trojan Horse of “protectection” for “premium content”. As we know, “premium content” is produced mostly by the entertainment industry. Not by You. Thus the Vista Content Protection spec is a kiss for Hollywood and a fart for everybody else.

It goes on from there. I’m not done with it yet. If you want to quote it, say I’m putting it in an upcoming SuitWatch newsletter.

Update: The full Suitwatch is out and well worth reading. Click on the above link, select December and select Dec 30.

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