Strong opinions, weakly held

Untrusted users

Cory Doctorow has an editorial at BoingBiong about what it will mean if Apple adopts Intel’s Trusted Computing hardware in new Macs. As consumers, it’s vitally important that we reject any operating system that provides application developers with access to these features, and indeed, reject hardware that provides these features as well. The copyright industry hates the idea of the general purpose PC existing under the control of the user. Trusted Computing is an attempt to take that away.


  1. Tim O’Reilly wrote this up over at Radar


    … and to be honest, I can’t understand why. Doctorow is a bright person but his passions get the better of him. His self-involved rant skips over important technical issues (see the Radar comments and Slashdot) and fails to mention that these are development boxes, not commercial products.

    Ugh. It’s too soon into a product cycle which has barely begun to leap to these kind of hysterics.

  2. I’m not sure that I see the hysterics in a rant. Trusted Computing provides exactly the functionality that Doctorow describes. The question is how software companies will use it (I’m certain Intel isn’t going to throw it away). I think that sending the message early and often that we do not want the files on our computer to be jailed against our will is a useful exercise.

  3. Rafe, thanks for your reply. I’m not disputing what Trusted Computing does. I’m disputing Doctorow’s interpretation of what Apple is doing with those non-commercial dev boxen.

    It’s either disingenous or ill-informed to write what he wrote, when the technology involved here revolves around Rosetta, and not the kernel. It’s either disingenous or ill-informed to ignore that flavors of Linux have this exact same untapped functionality already in place. It’s hysterical (and not in a funny sense) when he makes emotional pleas about 1979 and tatoos.

    The level of reaction isn’t commiserate with what’s going on — in other words, Doctorow is spreading FUD. I’d rather wait and see what Apple does with their commerical products before criticizing them publicly for it.

    As for being jailed, either the implementation will be ham handed and fail (akin to the original Divx DVD distribution scheme, or Sony’s Mini-Disc technology), or it won’t matter. Most folks are already jailed by hardware limitations and file formats: How easy is it to get Appleworks data from 1995 off a floppy disk these days?

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