Vista's DRM score

On January 30, 2007, Microsoft released Windows Vista, their new operating system. One of the features of this new operating system is that it cares more about people with a shitload of money than it cares about the people for whom it's supposed to be written: you, me, your neighbour. Regular people. Microsoft's customers.

You see, Microsoft added an entirely new subsystem that implements an advanced form of DRM, which would not allow one to copy music without having the right to actaully copy it. While this may sound reasonable if you don't know much about DRM and its problems, it really isn't.

On top of that, DRM is fundamentally impossible. What it tries to do is to give you a copy of the content you buy, including everything required to play it, but without any instructions to play it; all that's allowed is for you to play your content using the software provided by the content producer.

To understand why doing so is fundamentally impossible, consider the following analogy: imagine a man who gives you a specially-crafted DVD with a specially-crafted DVD player. He tells you that it's impossible to play the DVD on any regular DVD player, but that his specially-crafted DVD player will allow it. He also tells you that opening the DVD player is forbidden, and that he will come and eat your babies if you try it anyway.

Everyone who understands a bit about technology will see that it's possible to hook up a VCR to the DVD player (rather than a TV set), or to open up the DVD player anyway (and not tell anyone, so that no babies get eaten), or to do a number of other things that will allow to make a copy anyway.

In order to prove to anyone that DRM is, in fact, fundamentally impossible, I've decided to keep score. The match is between Microsoft and The World. Microsoft gets a point if it reduces the possibility of anyone copying a file in a way that was not allowed under the DRM restrictions. The World gets a point if another hole is found in the vista DRM system that makes it possible anyway. Let's start counting.

MicrosoftThe World
  1. They brought out Vista. Vista implemented these DRM restrictions in the first place, so that gets them one point.
  1. On the very day Vista was released, Alex Ionescu announced that he had cracked and been able to bypass Driver Signing in Windows Vista, which is vitally important for Vista to be able to trust itself (and therefore to be sure that the content is not being copied rather than being played).
  2. On April 4th, 2007, it was announced that a piece of software, called "Vbootkit", would allow one to boot from CD-ROM, then load Vista from hard disk; this piece of software would allow bypassing DRM requirements, too.

The score therefore is

Microsoft - The World: 1 - 2

Note that I'm not omnipotent; any additions to this page (points for either side) are welcome.