[linux-elitists] News conference, demonstrations, and talks inmid-July 2003

Willy willy@linuxgazette.com
Thu Jul 17 21:47:14 PDT 2003

> On Thu, 17 Jul 2003, Seth David Schoen wrote:
>> Jay Sulzberger writes:
>> > Why does one part of the EFF believe Microsoft's claim that you will
>> be
>> > able to run a free operating system on Palladiated hardware?
>> I think _all_ of the EFF believes this.  I'm sorry I haven't read
>> linux-elitists very recently.
> What then is the position of the EFF with regard to Microsoft's EULA?
> There is a straighforward declaration at the start of the EULA that you
> get
> a refund if you do not run the already installed Microsoft OS.  Yet
> Microsoft in combination with vendors of hardware refuse to give you a
> refund if you try to get one.
> Clearly the Refund Clause of the Microsoft EULA is a more trustworthy
> declaration than any number of white papers, and certainly much more
> trustworthy than private declarations made in secret by unofficial
> representatives of Microsoft.
>> TCG's architecture is such that (1) the TPM chip does not get to
>> decide what code can run, and (2) anybody can make a TPM chip.  If you
>> want to, _you_ can make a TPM chip according to their specs.  (I have
>> not heard about patents.)  Apparently your theory, in a later message,
>> is that major manufacturers will make chips not according to spec and
>> containing some kind of back door.
> No.  An entire infrastructure has now been built and is in process of
> being
> forced into every IBM style peecee motherboard.  What does this
> infrastructure support and what is the declared objective of the design
> and
> deployment?  This infrastructure supports a system of inter and intra
> device authentication which can be placed under control of the
> manufacturers without any inconvenience to the manufacturers.  A tiny
> change in the block diagrams, indeed just a one line relabeling of one
> component in one diagram, presented in the white papers of the TCPA group,
> results in a system which does not boot any OS except an OS signed by
> Englobulator Central or a licensee of Englobulator Central.  The design,
> mass manufacture, and mass deployment of this infrastructure has cost
> billions of dollars.  When Microsoft deploys Palladium, do you honestly
> think Microsoft will suddenly abide by its sweet private promises not to
> use Palladium against free software?  Why do you believe this?  Why have
> the Englobulators spent billions of dollars on TCPA hardware, is it only
> so
> that you may run GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Hurd, FreeLispOS, etc., more
> conveniently than now?  This is what the EFF is claiming, if the EFF
> believes the private secret promises made by unathorized representatives
> of
> Microsoft and the TCPA.  To be precise, the EFF must believe that after
> Palladium is deployed, the Refund Clause of the Microsoft EULA will be
> strictly adhered to, when violation of the Refund Clause will be much
> easier to defend than today.

Why does it even matter what they do? There are already working
alternatives; examples which come to mind include the ARM and the Dragon
(link to Godson I and II chips):

Both the ARM and the MIPS instruction sets and architectures are much
newer than the Intel products, so if you're thinking that it's a matter of
performance, I'd reply that it will be easier to get further performance
gains from the newer architectures. I believe there's even still some 8088
baggage in Wintel hardware and software.

Surely this new generation of MSTrusted Computing will end up like the IBM
PS/2 product; there are many other in the history of computing. Just
because someone spends bazillions developing something doesn't mean it's
going to be a hit in the marketplace. Anybody remember the iAPX32? It was
going to save the world, too. Even the englobulators can't force people to
buy things everywhere in the world.

The trend is very clear. Linux is gaining widespread acceptance
*especially outside the developed countries*, where people haven't locked
themselves into mind cages (read "intellectual property laws").

Another thing to think about: last quarter, 33 million PCs shipped
worldwide, or about 120 million annually. See:
http://www.iht.com/articles/103238.html . According to Mitch Kapor's
keynote at OSCON, 7 out of the 10 million PCs shipped in China last year
*had no OS*, and 1 million shipped with Linux. If my math is right, that
leaves 2 million with legal copies of Windows, although not explicitly
stated; that's a pretty amazing ratio when compared with the sales in the
developed world. It's also a significant chunk of total worldwide PC
sales, and it's growing.

The Chinese consumer, as well as consumers who run illegal OS copies in
other countries, have shown by their numbers that they are not going to
embrace MSTrusted Computing. The Chinese already have an alternative; they
will be building machines which run Linux very well, and which
incidentally will *never* run Windows. And they will happily ship those
machines to others who don't want MSTrusted Computing.

I live in the "Third World". I know a little bit how people think there,
and they don't think like people in the US and Europe. What's really going
to happen is that the people who are marketing this "superior technology"
are just going to box their customers and themselves into a very dark
corner and eventually lose their customer base in free countries. It may
take some time, but that's what's going to happen.

Over the next few years in Iraq, we'll get to see first-hand how well the
US does in overlaying its culture and mindset on people who think very
differently. I could spout off about this for quite a while, but here's
hoping you can cogitate a little and get the general idea of why this is
significant, without my having to write a bunch of stuff which on the
surface doesn't have anything to do with computing.

Whether it's free or not, the marketplace works. It's very clear from
looking at software piracy figures and changing attitudes that Trustme
Computing will not be successful. If you squeeze the toothpaste tube hard
enough with the cap on, eventually it makes a new hole and comes out
there. The new hole in this case is most likely to be a different
microprocessor architecture which runs GNU/Linux or any other Open

Willy Smith
Costa Rica

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