stephenbrooks.orgForumMuon1GeneralComments on the new Linux client
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Stephen Brooks
2002-10-01 02:00:42
I have some interesting thoughts on this whole topic, but I've got to go away for 3 days on family-related buisness for now.  If the stats break in that time, I won't be able to fix them until I come back.


"As every 11-year-old kid knows, if you concentrate enough Van-der-Graff generators and expensive special effects in one place, you create a spiral space-time whirly thing, AND an interesting plotline"
maverick
2002-10-01 03:40:51
quote:
Hiding the security code from all users is very smart.


Anta baka?  Security through obscurity still doesnt work.  Microsoft has proven that multiple Times.  Its still no problem to reverse-engineer the code generated.  Of course, its a bit more difficult, but it wouldnt prevent me from spamming (if i wanted to do so).

quote:
What about wanting to make MONEY?

I give my cpu time for free.  I expect the same from stephen.

quote:
If the stats break in that time, I won't be able to fix them until I come back.

Stats are nice to have, but not necessary.  I dont think that this project is about stats, but about trying to find the optimal design of this muon thingie.
ZeonX[OCAU]
2002-10-01 04:54:27
Well i support anything you do stephen and i think making it harder to cheat will turn alot of programmers that don't know an awful lot and of course there will always be the hard core programmer who wants to prove they can cheat but if we can eliminate basic cheating then its all good.

I have participated in alot of DC's and i know Eccp-109 is open source and i havn't heard of anyone cheating and then there is Folding@Home and they don't share the source because they are worried people will cheat but i don't think anyone has and i don't think many people try to cheat with humaniterian(spelling?) projects, also its alot harder to fake some projects results.  I would love to try to cheat to help the DC eliminate holes but i'm not that smart.  big grin

And with the stats can't you get the server or another machine to run it every hr or how ever often you run it normally?
TheFinalLoser
2002-10-01 06:17:38
well , everyone has his own reason to run the DC projects, but i think the Majority does it not, to get an High Score, expecially not, when you can not win something like in some other Projects.
I don't have any Problems with an open or an closed code projekt, cause i watch a project a while before I join.  If I join i'll trust the Project, and it can have open sorce or not.  If I not join - WHO CARES -
I can really understand the problem from Stephen, cause some People DO cheat to get an high Statistic.  So and the every day cheater, what does he need today to cheat... almoust nothing.  if you want to decompile a sourcecode you must spend much, much more efford in that, and those people would do anything, you cant do something against them

"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Mt.20:16
David
2002-10-01 06:29:01
I'd love for you to explain why you believe that downloading source code that does not have any license conditions attached to it is illegal.

David
David Bass
2002-10-01 13:28:37
[David the guest is me, posting from work]

It seems that Infopop hasn't put my reply under the original comment - presumably because I didn't reply specifically to the post, but to the thread.

If one argues that downloading source code that has been made freely available to download, with clear indications from the author that downloading it is ok, leaves you open to a suit for theft of intellectual property, you must be living in the United States (or some other jurisdiction where the law is equally an ass).

Whilst I am not a lawyer, I would suspect that any suit brought against a party who read the source code when it has been made freely available without any visible or even easily found conditions would be laughed out of court in my country.  (I'm sure a lawyer could be found to allow the author to find this out, expensively, though.)

David
maverick
2002-10-01 14:26:20
This is currently valid in switzerland, and most other countrys that know a copyright too (but iam only sure about switzerland).  So actually, even when something is freely available, but without a written notion by the Author (Something like a LICENSE which states "this is package is freely distributable with no restrictions whatsoever"), distribution is illegal. 

Wheter that can be brought through the court (hey, it was steven who put it on the site), IANAL smile
pben
2002-10-01 15:27:29
Well been one of the unlucky, I have still to break into the 3% group even with the latest top 250, no one could acuse me of cheating. 

I can assure you also that no Lawer in the USA would take a case without someone that they can get a lot of money from. 

I guess that meen that we are all save here!  big grin
Jwb52z
2002-10-01 19:02:06
::I give my cpu time for free.  I expect the same from stephen.:: Maverick

The thing is that CPU time isn't worth anything in monetary terms.  It is diferent than something someone created out of their own minds or with their own hands.  Expecting it to be some kind of "officially free" thing is REALLY silly.  You must be really cheap or some kind of hippy to say, "I won't have anything not free on my computer" is honestly a bit bizarre.
maverick
2002-10-02 00:55:56
So you think DRM and Intellectual Property is a good thing[tm]?
Posty McPosterson
2002-10-02 04:08:27
Maverick: Just because a very skilled person could theoretically cheat doesn't invalidate the effort to stop the casual cheater.

While I understand your philosophical line, I think it fails in a practical sense.  Yes, security thru obscurity doesn't work for MS, but that's not really the issue here, is it?  The issue is whether or not it will help this project in the here and now.

And Stephen's word is good enough for me.  While the legalisms around open licensing are useful, their lack does not in any way subvert the original (and stated) intent of Stephen.  If he says his software is free, then it's free, whether or not he has bothered to punch up a legal document.

My 2 cents.

P McP
maverick
2002-10-02 05:41:23
1.) It makes the whole cheating protection-closed source thingies useless.  If you want to protect against cheating, you have to do that in a way, that noone can cheat.  If just 1 Person on this Planet can cheat, it is useless. 

If you want to prevent people from cheating, you have three ways:
a) you dont make stats.  Nobody is interested in cheating.
b) you doublecheck results.  You dont have to check every score again, just every 100th or so.
c) you _trust_ the people.  This is probably not a way to go when subscribtion is open

2.) Does it really help the project? 
a) cheating is still possible (although it will require a bit of more work, still nothing if you _want_ to cheat)
b) some people dont join or quit because the software is proprietary

3.) Stephens Words may be enough for you, but not for the court.

Let me concatenate this:
I understand Stevens point, that he doesnt want the anybody cheats.  This is a good and a valid goal.  But he chooses the wrong way to achieve this goal.  Hiding the source code is useless.  Just think about all those games, windows-software out there with copy protections that get cracked day for day.  I want to spend my idle processor time for something useful.  But that doesnt mean that i take the risk and run software where i cant verify what it does.
Jwb52z
2002-10-02 09:01:29
Intellectual property is a good idea, but I don't know what DRM stands for so I can't say on that part.
Jwb52z
2002-10-02 09:09:56
Does anyone else think that Maverick is a tiny bit massively paranoid and hippy-like?
huraxprax
2002-10-02 09:15:19
Some thoughts on this issue.

First I haven't looked at the client lately but with the possibility to send from linux I am interested.

Now the legal thing: maverick, you said that downloading the source code without any license was illegal: Why shuld that be under which law?
Afaik, if there is no additional license (GPL/Public Domain/EULA) the software is subject to simple copyright law.  That means you can download it, use it, modify the source code as you wish, but you may not distribute either the binary or mordifies sources without Stephen's consent.

As for cheating: look at SETI, it is closed source and yet cheating is a trivial act, possible without any programming experience and probably done in large scale.  Just by the project's nature it doesn't do much damage and the project mantainers choose to ignore it.  So since those cheaters have these easy target where thay can get more of their fake recognition,I don't think they would become a danger here.

Now with an Open Source license, i think you could get additional users who refuse to run any proprietary software and therefore don't use the other DC clients, and some developers too.  But it remains your choice, and I would always have the clients checked before allowing them to upload.

cu, huraxprax
[SG] fj
2002-10-02 10:01:58
quote:
Originally posted by Jwb52z:
Intellectual property is a good idea, but I don't know what DRM stands for so I can't say on that part.


DRM=Digital Rights Management.  What is currently beeing discussed, may prevent anybody from quoting the bible, unless he isn't bothered, catching the eye of some law enforcement authorities.

[URL=http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/tcpa-faq.html ]see some FAQs[/URL]

fj

Most important conservation laws: 3rd - Momentum.  2nd - Energy.  1st - # of beer cans in the fridge (this one is obviously broken in most cases)
David Bass
2002-10-02 10:07:54
Why not let's all just hijack this project so we can goet on our own personal Open Source/Free Software/DRM/All record companies are evil hobby horse?

The code belongs to Stephen - he has expressed quite clearly that there are no restrictions on downloading it.  That constitutes intent in my mind.  If he changes his mind, then the most he can reasonably ask is that people cease and desist from using his code.  The chances of any large financial liability arising are so small that they are not worth debating.
px3
2002-10-02 11:46:28
>If you want to prevent people from cheating, you have three ways:
>a) you dont make stats.  Nobody is interested in cheating.
>b) you doublecheck results.  You dont have to check every score again, just every 100th or so.
>c) you _trust_ the people.  This is probably not a way to go when subscribtion is open

IMHO the only way to prevent cheating is choice a.)

all other options agree to cheating..

Regards,

Rolf
PX3

p.s. if someone opens a race, you'll allways find cheaters
pben
2002-10-02 16:02:20
There is a couple of things that could cut down cheating on this project:

1. No prize (or money) for anyting.
2. The best results can be easly checked.

Since my PC hasn't hit 3% yet even with help from the best 250 the best results must be in a very narrow band.  If that is the case double checking the best results will be the best of your three options.  If someone wants to fake a few thousand 2% results to get on the front page of the stat page little harm is done.  If he fakes a 3% or 4% result his cheating will be found out sooner or later.  The whole point of this is to come up with a good design.  Any good engineer would double check the calculations before actually building anything, at least they do where I work (I am draftsman at an engineering company in the USA).


quote:
Originally posted by px3:
>If you want to prevent people from cheating, you have three ways:
>a) you dont make stats.  Nobody is interested in cheating.
>b) you doublecheck results.  You dont have to check every score again, just every 100th or so.
>c) you _trust_ the people.  This is probably not a way to go when subscribtion is open

IMHO the only way to prevent cheating is choice a.)


MaFi
2002-10-03 02:54:02
> 1.) It makes the whole cheating protection-closed source thingies useless.
> If you want to protect against cheating, you have to do that in a way,
> that noone can cheat.  If just 1 Person on this Planet can cheat, it is
> useless. 

@ Maverick: i dont understand your point.  do you really think it is better that 1000 people can cheat than 1 single person?  would you buy a car without seatbelts, because you can still die in an accident even wih seatbelts (seatbelts are not a 100% protection).  i just dont see your problem in this case.
markus
Jwb52z
2002-10-03 07:01:07
MaFi, I have come to the conclusion that Maverick is one of those weirdo antisecret people who want EVERYTHING known and that a secret is vile to them.  In their minds it is almost like being a communist, not of money, but of the mind and production of working.
Stephen Brooks
2002-10-03 09:37:12
OK, I'm back.  Now that we know where the commonly-visited points in this discussion are, I have some things:-

1. I said "I have some interesting thoughts on this whole topic". I've realised that "directionless ramblings" would be a more appropriate adjective.  And here they are.

2. Thanks to all those who offered their general non-political support to the future of the project.  Not that you actually _needed_ to, but at least it gets it in perspective that what we are talking about here is not a life-or-death issue for the project itself.  It's just important in other respects.

3. As regards intellectual property, we're currently at a T-junction in the evolution of money.  There hasn't ever been a time when indefinitely-copiable entities (software, music, the content of books, digital art) have been so important in economic terms.  This is due to a load of things including computers, the internet, and the proliferation of transducers (scanners, digital cameras, printers, microphones etc.) that can turn a lot of the things we can percieve with our senses into digital form.  And when they are in digital form, they are subject to copy-protection issues just like any other data.

3A. We could then assume that this means these items now no longer have any value and should be freely copied at zero price.  After all, it would be rediculous to sell something at price X>0 when the recepient could duplicate it 10 times, sell it for price X/2, make a profit _and_ under-cut you at the same time.  This would have immediate benefits for users of those sorts of items (you could download anything off - say - Napster without breaking the law), but it would cause a quandry for the industries that traditionally produced those things.  In effect, there could be no software industry, or music industry, and no professional novel-writers either, because those things would only be funded as subsiduaries of other commercial goals.  There would still be a wide range of amateur/voluntary work done in these areas, however, which people could use.

3B. Alternatively we could assume that money corresponds to 'value' in the more general sense, corresponding to how much it matters to users whether they have an item or not.  To get this to work would require sophisticated and reliable copy-control systems (see 5), but it would have the advantage that creators of intellectual property are rewarded in proportion to how much their creation means to users.  It would also mean that programmers (and other creatives) would still be able to set _themselves_ up in buisness and sell their products direct to the users.  In situation 3A there is the danger that since programming will become a 'service' to companies in other fields, these companies will be interested in reducing salaries as far as they can get away with.  The zero-price world would also cause all media industries to downsize (including news), meaning that a lot of the communications and entertainment sectors would be in trouble (they already are, in fact) and that would knock on to decelerate investment in the technologies that enable these things, which is not good.

4. In effect, 3A would be the ideal situation in a world where money did not exist, but in the real world we would need to come up with a solution that works economically as well.  Actually what I suspect will happen is that we will continue down the road we are going and then we'll wonder why in about 2007 the technology sectors have hit a 25-year low.  If you make it difficult for a technology to make money, basic investment in it will eventually dry up and progress in this field will be decelerated.  What open-source software does is to under-cut all the commercial developers in that area.  There are anti-trust laws to stop _companies_ undercutting companies in this manner (remember the fuss at MS bundling IE with Windows 98 a while ago), but no laws that I know of to stop 3rd-party groups from doing so.  By now you probably know my position on this issue: the idea of RedHat that 'the cardboard box and the manuals are the only things with value' seems simply absurd, and as our laws and our monetary system are _artificial_, we are in a position to change them in order to prevent absurd conclusions from being generated.

5. The next generation of chips from Intel include on-the-chip support for protected memory.  Search http://developer.intel.com/pressroom/archive/speeches/otellini20020909.htm for the phrase "LaGrande Technology", or Google for that phrase on the web.  If this sort of protection is to be included on the next generation of chipsets, it is not such a far-fetched idea that at some stage, blocks of RAM will be marked with "do not copy" or "do not transmit by wire" flags.  This will both prevent the sort of hacking of security systems that Maverick has mentioned and also protect the value of intellectual property when it is distributed.  In effect, if information is going to be the currency of the 21st century, we better have some way to prevent it from being watered down.

6. In the 22nd century, solution 3A may again be superior.  I say that because when we have used technology (and space exploration) to reduce all our problems of limited physical resources, money may no longer be a 'strong' force in any area of life.  From then on we will only need it to prevent people using up unfair amounts of materials, and hopefully people will do their jobs because it interests them and not because they get paid for it.  But right now, the physical resources are still very limited even though the information resources were always infinite.  If we let the two economies decouple, we will end up with the material-related industries dominating, and the information industries suffering a funding crisis.  As technology advances it is becoming more and more an information-industry (well here we are designing a particle accelerator entirely in digital form), and yet it is in the most serious need of funding.


"As every 11-year-old kid knows, if you concentrate enough Van-der-Graff generators and expensive special effects in one place, you create a spiral space-time whirly thing, AND an interesting plotline"
Stephen Brooks
2002-10-03 09:57:38
Aha.  I see that (5) is what [SG] fj posted a link about a while ago.  Having read through that I can't see why DRM is such a bad idea.  There is the implication that it will make it "harder for competitors to enter the market", but this is what anti-trust law is here to prevent.  The security this system would provide only seems to make the internet-world just like the real-world in terms of what you can and can't do.  And I don't think the real world is so bad.


"As every 11-year-old kid knows, if you concentrate enough Van-der-Graff generators and expensive special effects in one place, you create a spiral space-time whirly thing, AND an interesting plotline"
David Bass
2002-10-03 16:05:16
A lot of things to ramble on about.

1. Red Hat's Business Model.
I believe that your statement that Red Hat consider that people are paying for the cardboard box and manual is not correct.

Red Hat considers that people are paying for the convenience of packaging, plus the technical support they provide to registered, paying users.  It's the value-added services that people pay for.

For example, Cygnus (since absorbed by Red Hat) had a business model based in part upon GCC development.  They were paid by hardware companies to provide support for their hardware on GCC.  GCC, being GPL'd must be made freely available.  Cygnus made enough money from that to keep developers working on GCC for years, and Red Hat, amongst many others, manage to continue that trend.

Now, that way of working isn't vastly different from the way the company I work for creates software products - it bids for a contract to provide a software solution to a specific problem.  At the end of it, generally speaking, the product *belongs* to the customer who paid for it, not the software company that created it.  (This is more complicated when company IPR is involved, but when software product is created "from whole cloth", then the customer has paid for the *service* of having that software created.)

2. It's the Service, not the Product
Anyway, the inexorable movement in Western, post-industrial society has been towards the service sector.  "Free" software isn't free - it costs money (aka time) to produce, and many of the "free" software developers are paid fulltime workers of companies that see the productivity benefits of sharing the results and having common goals rather than reinventing the wheel at every opportunity.

3. Information Economy, My Arse
People talk about the information economy being the next big thing, but people will pay for the *service* provider to filter and present that information, not for the raw data itself.

4. Security Through Obscurity - the Appropriate Model for this Project?
For any serious effort at developing a secure, cheat-free project Maverick's approach may be the long-term correct one.  If you are serious about secure algorithms, then opening your source to scrutiny improves the chance that an honest man will report deficiencies in your algorithms.  If you don't do this, then an honest man would have a higher barrier to climb to uncover vulnerabilities.

Given that there is no monetary reward for this project, that there are easy ways to detect cheats and that there are easier ways to disrupt the project (e.g. by ftp-bombing duplicate results), the method you intend to adopt seems to me to provide the most effort-effective way of reducing the risk of cheating.

The next most effective method would be to investigate using an existing library - therre are several open (ha!) projects attempting to build distributed Computing libraries, IDK what state they are in, though.

5. The Fallacy that Open Source and Free mean the same thing.
Incidentally, and apropos of nothing at all, Maverick is focusing on only a single aspect of "Free Software", which is the "Open Source" aspect.  Stallman would have a fit if you considered the two terms interchangeable.  Why?  Ask the Free Software Foundation if you really care.

As ever, my opinions are worth whatever you paid for them.
pben
2002-10-03 16:21:10
Well Microsoft lost the anti-trust case almost a year and a half ago.  They have found a unquie solution ignore it!  Some how when you hae 40 billion dollars in the bank the laws don't apply to you.  The sad truth is Digital Restriction Management will not stop theft but it will make PC a bigger pain in the ass to use.  The last thing a programmer need is getting permission, a certificate of trust, from Microsoft to run a program you wrote on your PC.  Funny how stolen code has shown up in Windows before (Stac Electronics) and with this DRM, Pd, Longhorn approach they will be fee to do it again.  You can be sure that any opt-outs will disappear over time.  I am of the opinion that Microsoft can't be cheaper than Linux/BSD, beaing cheaper is what got MS to where it is, so it is trying to change the rules and lock users in the Microsoft. 

Microsoft lost the case, they have failed to live up to the terms of past settlements, they can not be trusted to follow the current settlement.  Now they say you have to get a certificate of trust from them to run your code on your PC.  No thanks.

quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Brooks:
Aha.  I see that (5) is what [SG] fj posted a link about a while ago.  Having read through that I can't see why DRM is such a bad idea.  There is the implication that it will make it "harder for competitors to enter the market", but this is what anti-trust law is here to prevent.  The security this system would provide only seems to make the internet-world just like the real-world in terms of what you can and can't do.  And I don't think the real world is so bad.

thormodr
2002-10-03 18:33:22
As far as I understand it, cheating costs Stephen his precious time.  Having to comb through the results even if a script is made up takes time. 
I totally reject the idea that if you cannot prevent all occurences of an activity then why bother trying.  Why do I lock my garage door?  Somebody could still pick the lock, smash the door, or break into my house in order to steal my... lawnmower or whatever.  Should I then just leave my garage door open?  No.  If I just close it, I'll probably deter 90% of the people (they'll assume it's locked).  When I lock I probably get another 5%. Beyond that, if somebody REALLY REALLY wants to break into my garage they'll do it anyway.  The same analogy goes for your car, house, etc... So yes Maverick this will not prevent all cheating but who can?  My alma mater made you take off your hat, leave your bags at the door, take the back off the calculator, alternate rows between courses, only be able to bring one model of calculator, etc. all in the effort to prevent cheating.  Does it work perfectly?  No, I imagine there are more ingenious ways of cheating being thought up every day.  but it is incumbent on them to make it hard enough to so that 99% won't do it...
If anyone out there REALLY wants to pump your stats in a DC project, that's pretty pathetic.  If you cause someone else to spend their precious time filtering out the crud that's even worse.  Disparaging an effort that will cut down on the time wasting seems a bit dogmatic. 
Ramble, ramble, ramble...
This is Stephen's project.  In some senses, he can further his own academic career through this.  Does this offend your sense of Free software?  If you want something out of this other than to say for yourself when they build the particle accelerator (or find the little green men or find the zillionth Merseine prime) "Cool, I was a part of this" then don't do it.  I'll say it again: This is The Great Mallard's project in the end.  I really believe that you are missing the point about free software.  The much bigger fish is to be caught in the Lake of Open Standards... But that does not relate to Muon...

Alas, I digress...
Stephen Brooks
2002-10-04 06:16:30
quote:
Originally posted by David Bass:
1. Red Hat's Business Model.
I believe that your statement that Red Hat consider that people are paying for the cardboard box and manual is not correct.

Red Hat considers that people are paying for the convenience of packaging, plus the technical support they provide to registered, paying users.  It's the value-added services that people pay for.


So who is going to pay people for the 'service' of writing a novel, or composing music?  All types of information are de-valued by being indefinitely-copiable.  While a few software companies can survive on hand-outs from hardware manufacturers (whose merchandise is not indefinitely-copiable), I can see that these companies, being interested primarily in selling their product and not the software itself, will simply pay for the minimum program that does the job.  Microsoft funds a great deal of fundamental research into programming at various universities - nobody would have the capital to do this if it weren't for software license agreements.

quote:
Anyway, the inexorable movement in Western, post-industrial society has been towards the service sector.


This is a trend, but the idea that a society can survive on the service sector alone is a myth.  The only places that do survive only on services are holiday resort islands!  Most post-industrial countries would be crippled if it weren't for their manufacturing sector.

quote:
3. Information Economy, My Arse
People talk about the information economy being the next big thing, but people will pay for the *service* provider to filter and present that information, not for the raw data itself.


And what evidence do you have for them not paying for the data, when people still spend a great deal of money _per item_ for buying music CDs, books and prints of works of art?  I'm fairly sure if you asked most people they would say they were paying for the content itself, not simply the service of having it burnt onto a CD or whatever.

quote:
Originally posted by pben:
The sad truth is Digital Restriction Management will not stop theft but it will make PC a bigger pain in the ass to use.  The last thing a programmer need is getting permission, a certificate of trust, from Microsoft to run a program you wrote on your PC.


I don't see why they would have anything to benefit from doing this.  Software _you_ wrote and compiled should have no restrictions on it (unless of course you are trying to access memory or data of another application, which is subject to a license).  As far as I gathered from the DRM FAQ on the last page, restrictions would only apply to software that you got from a company and has a license attached to it.  So your copies of MS Word etc. would theoretically belong to MS, and indeed MS could delete these files from your computer if they were pirated, but they would not have permission to delete files that you created independantly, or were not subject to a license in the first place.

DRM is a new idea that will give the companies power to stop piracy (which was illegal anyway).  As with nearly everything in life, there is the potential to abuse it, but I see no reason why the anti-trust laws cannot be extended to make abuses of the system illegal.  In fact in that situation, the potential law-breakers would be the companies, so this is easier to police than the users (who currently break the law on a frequent basis).


"As every 11-year-old kid knows, if you concentrate enough Van-der-Graff generators and expensive special effects in one place, you create a spiral space-time whirly thing, AND an interesting plotline"
pben
2002-10-04 11:03:11
I guess this is where being an American shows, I don't trust the goverment to do the right thing.  Then there is always the question of which goverment is going to control the content and the hardware makers in a global economy. 


The whole point of DRM is to make a PC safe to have Pay per View content.  Software, music, or video would have to be given a certifice of trust before you can use it.  Is it going to be in the interest of Microsoft to alow you to run a program you wrote when they could sell you some thing that they wrote?  If you can run unsigned code that you created on your PC you could be running an exploit that would get around their DRM.  You and I both know from the history of PC gamming that that will appear very shortly.  So in order to protect their cut of any pay per view they will have to stop uncertified code from any source from running on their OS.  You may think that it is your PC but Microsoft disagrees, it is theirs.


In short DRM does not solve the problem you have just moved the war from the backs of Hollywood and the RIAA to the backs of Microsoft.  Microsoft thinks that they can pull it off in new hardware and software.  They are wrong but it will just make OS more unstable and harder to move my data from my PC to my notebook.  I guess you just have to have lived through the PC gamming mess in the 1980's to see the madness. 


There is a cost for freedom.  That cost sould be born by the corps trying to sell you somthing not by taking away the customers flexabality.  Content creators have to face facts that there may not be a mass market for there content.  The idea of moving atoms around for entainment or software is broken.  It is just too easy to copy.  The idea of making it harder to copy is doom to fail.  The only thing that will work is selling it for a lot lower price as quickly as possable to keep ahead of the copiers, turning it into a service.  Keep selling newest thing and moving on.  that means that Hollywood, RIAA, and Microsoft are going to have to lower their cost structure.  They hate it but that is live, do it and move on.


quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Brooks:
DRM is a new idea that will give the companies power to stop piracy (which was illegal anyway).  As with nearly everything in life, there is the potential to abuse it, but I see no reason why the anti-trust laws cannot be extended to make abuses of the system illegal.  In fact in that situation, the potential law-breakers would be the companies, so this is easier to police than the users (who currently break the law on a frequent basis).


Stephen Brooks
2002-10-04 11:31:03
quote:
Originally posted by pben:
The whole point of DRM is to make a PC safe to have Pay per View content.  Software, music, or video would have to be given a certifice of trust before you can use it.  Is it going to be in the interest of Microsoft to alow you to run a program you wrote when they could sell you some thing that they wrote?  If you can run unsigned code that you created on your PC you could be running an exploit that would get around their DRM.


This is where I think you aren't correct: as far as I can tell, this new system includes security at the chip-level, so it doesn't matter what _software_ you run or create - you still won't be able to get around the security without interfering at the hardware level.  If that means hotwiring an IC, it becomes near-impossible.

--[So in order to protect their cut of any pay per view they will have to stop uncertified code from any source from running on their OS.  You may think that it is your PC but Microsoft disagrees, it is theirs.]--

At most, MS could insist that everyone run their own programs inside a Virtual Machine prevented from tampering with the DRM.  As it happens, I don't think even this will happen since the technology seems to be focussing on putting the security at the hardware level.

--[They are wrong but it will just make OS more unstable and harder to move my data from my PC to my notebook.  I guess you just have to have lived through the PC gamming mess in the 1980's to see the madness.]--

There's a lot of unjustified assumptions here, but moving (your own) data should be no trouble.  Moving _applications_ and suchlike will require the license to be updated on their server so it knows you are running it on a different machine.  In fact, it may be that you will be able to copy applications onto many computers but only one user will be allowed to be using a copy at any one time (the checking with the license server could be done automatically).  Just like it says on the current software licenses, in fact.

There was actually a solution to the 1980s gaming problem - some software vendors produced 'dongles' containing special hardware that you had to plug into a port in order for the thing to run.  I think this was phased out because the port used became obsolete and on a multitasking OS plugging in many dongles would become silly.  The DRM would allow automation of this process.


"As every 11-year-old kid knows, if you concentrate enough Van-der-Graff generators and expensive special effects in one place, you create a spiral space-time whirly thing, AND an interesting plotline"
pben
2002-10-04 16:25:10
The X-box laso has security at the chip level.  Microsoft had to slipstream modification to defeat mod chips that had started to circulate.  They have gone after the first seller of the mod chips.  Given that Microsoft has a horrid record at security this kind of thing will continue.  Untill they put the entire PC on one chip they are open to hardware modification, just ask Sony about the history of mod chips for PS1 and PS2.

Yes they can put Windows in a Virtural machine, the HAL layer in NT/2000/XP should make this eaiser.  The history of HAL shows that Microsoft was not willing to pay the performance cost, hence the bringing the video card drivers back into ring 0, kernel space, with Windows 2000. It is starting to get costly for the user, performance loss.

Sharing of files, media files, has to be prevented or DRM is a failure.  Maybe Microsoft will let you share your Excel file with your notebook.  There is already a ID buried in each file, a toe hold for DRM to be used.

The dongle was a failure in the USA.  Unlocking software was very common.  There was also the problem of software not sharing dongles.  It was a real pain to keep swaping dongles depending upon what program is running, of course you could not stack dongles on the same port because they would not unlock the program.  So many had the problem that cracking software soon appeared. 

We disagree, you have faith in goverment and multinationls will conspire to keep your freedom.  I think they will conspire to fatten thier coffers at users expence.  The current model of copyright and IP is broken and making it harder to make copies is not the answer.  The media companys just have to get lean and more efficent at distributing their product.  They don't actually make the content in most cases anyway.  A farmer gets a few pennies from the sell of a loaf of bread and a singer gets a few dimes from the sell of a CD. 

The good news is when they fail.  In five or ten years in a post DRM world the creators might get a better deal, at least I hope so.
David Bass
2002-10-06 18:57:49
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Brooks:
So who is going to pay people for the 'service' of writing a novel, or composing music? 



Don't confuse two issues - we were talking about a business model associated with the provision of software, not books and other "artistic" product - I'm going to ignore the potential debate about software design being "art", and maybe come back to artistic product later.

quote:

All types of information are de-valued by being indefinitely-copiable.  While a few software companies can survive on hand-outs from hardware manufacturers (whose merchandise is not indefinitely-copiable) -snip-



You've conveniently forgotten the rest of the huge software market that I mentioned - as I said, the company I work for and many others like it, develop software for customers directly.  We tend to be paid on a "time and materials" basis in that we estimate development costs in that way.  Once the client owns the software, we don't care if the world and his brother gets a free copy.  We make our money from the initial contract and then maintenance support.  I agree that the "license to use" business model is the one that is under the greatest threat from mechanisms that make copying easy.

quote:

I can see that these companies, being interested primarily in selling _their_ product and not the software itself, will simply pay for the minimum program that does the job.  Microsoft funds a great deal of fundamental research into programming at various universities - nobody would have the capital to do this if it weren't for software license agreements.



Microsoft, by funding fundamental research gains IPR over that research then rigorously defends the monopoly that brings.  On the other hand, IBM, which has a reputation for in house blue-sky research, has recently started providing access to the results of that research to the Free Software Community.  (For example graph colouring for compiler optimisations to GCC.) I see no evidence that Apple is looking for "minimum programs" to produce OS X.

quote:

[service economy] ... is a trend , but the idea that a society can survive on the service sector alone is a myth.  The only places that do survive only on services are holiday resort islands!  Most post-industrial countries would be crippled if it weren't for their manufacturing sector.



I think you assign an opinion to me that I never stated as being mine - I never claimed that the induistrial sector was unnecessary, that would be absurd. 
However, once upon a time, the primary industry in the United Kingdom was agricultural.  Now that industry employs approximately 1% of the workforce.  The industrial revolution happened, and most workers became factory or mill workers.  We didn't starve merely because the agricultural industry became a nearly insignificant portion of the economy.  (As an aside, we only produce 60% of our food needs.)
More recently, the industrial sector has started to suffer a similar decline - the proportion of the economy and the workforce engaged in it has declined drastically over the last 20 years.  I see a parallel - whilst an industrial capacity remains necessary globally, it becomes less significant as the service sector increases.  Standard of living improvements do not depend on an ever increasing mass of gadgets (I can only use one washing machine...)

quote:

And what evidence do you have for them not paying for the data, when people still spend a great deal of money _per item_ for buying music CDs, books and prints of works of art?  I'm fairly sure if you asked most people they would say they were paying for the content itself, not simply the service of having it burnt onto a CD or whatever.



Where is the evidence that an Old Master is indefinitely copiable?  This debate only affects media that are easily digitised, and oil-on-canvas and other physical art products cannot be so easily copied.  (Or everyone would be satisfied with a print.)

But back to the issue of data.  I perhaps should have said that I have a clear definition of the difference between data and information.  My opinion is that people may believe they are paying for data, but in fact they are paying for information.  Information is (I propose) data that has been filtered, ordered and presented in a fashion suitable for a user to absorb.  (Note that a user with the time and skills could do this themselves, but the fact that I could repair my car doesn't mean that I refuse to go to a garage to get it serviced.) News media do this distillation process all the time.  When you pay for a newspaper, are you paying for the news, or for the *selection* of news presented, or for the opinion expressed about the news.  I argue that the presentation of the data in this suitable fashion is the service.You may not agree.  [Shrug - this is a discussion, not life-and-death.]

Note that musicians and writers have only relatively recently bagan to make money out of mass-publishing of their works - say, over the last 200 years.  A different business model was in existence before that.  It was largely based on patronage, as were nearly all of the arts.  Was that better or worse than what we have now?  The technology of the printing press eventualy obsoleted that business model.  Copiable digital media may be in the process of obsoleting the current one.  I take no position on digital rights management, except to state that the model of "pay as you play" is one that already exists in the broadcast world.  It is paid for either by subscription (TV license) or advertising.  How is that different from what is being proposed?
Stephen Brooks
2002-10-08 13:59:35
quote:
Originally posted by David Bass:
Don't confuse two issues - we were talking about a business model associated with the provision of software, not books and other "artistic" product - I'm going to ignore the potential debate about software design being "art", and maybe come back to artistic product later.


Unfortunately they are the same issue.  The DRM question is over whether all computer data should be unrestrictedly-copiable or not.  This applies to software, where maybe the consequences of copiability aren't so bad because of the 'vertical'/specialist applications you mention, but it also applies to other digital data, like music.  But you also say you have no particular opinion on DRM, so I will not argue that here.

quote:
I see no evidence that Apple is looking for "minimum programs" to produce OS X.


Apple are in the convenient situation of mostly selling their operating system packaged into their computer.  This means that they've effectively tied the software to the hardware, so getting a form of copy protection by 'default'.

quote:
Where is the evidence that an Old Master is indefinitely copiable?  This debate only affects media that are easily digitised, and oil-on-canvas and other physical art products cannot be so easily copied.  (Or everyone would be satisfied with a print.)


This is good news for people who create oil-on-canvas works, but still bad news for anyone who creates digital works.  The distribution of data for free is not creating a particularly fair world for people who create data in the pure form.

quote:
When you pay for a newspaper, are you paying for the news, or for the *selection* of news presented, or for the opinion expressed about the news.  I argue that the presentation of the data in this suitable fashion is the service.You may not agree.


Hmmm, but in this case it is a service that is done _once_, but the newspaper is payed for by _each_ customer.  This is a lot more profitable than the situation programmers are in, where they only get payed once no matter how many times their software is used smile I just think it should be fair and consistent across the industries.

quote:
I take no position on digital rights management, except to state that the model of "pay as you play" is one that already exists in the broadcast world.  It is paid for either by subscription (TV license) or advertising.  How is that different from what is being proposed?


It's not really, so I have no problem with either system.  I also like the idea of DRM because it is the beginnings of a global access-control system for the internet.  If you imagine the web as a big filing-system, then if it were running under UNIX, you'd have users and groups and permissions/restrictions on what could be done with various files.  Currently it has none of that control, but the fact that nearly all servers have that control suggests that it is a beneficial thing to have.


"As every 11-year-old kid knows, if you concentrate enough Van-der-Graff generators and expensive special effects in one place, you create a spiral space-time whirly thing, AND an interesting plotline"
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