Microsoft and DRM

I am not a Microsoft fan. I use Linux on my own computers, windows mainly just at work because that is what my employer uses. Lately I have been hearing a lot of people complain about Microsoft and “their” DRM initiative. They feel that Microsoft is using DRM to strong-arm people into using their OS, since their OS is the one that can legally use the DRM enabled software. A lot of this sentiment comes from a misunderstanding of what DRM is. A lot of this post is similar to one I sent to a mailing list. It was in response to the assertion that Microsoft and Macintosh have a choice of whether or not to include DRM software in their operating systems.

There is one big issue. There are still a LOT of people among the average consumer that thinks of their computer as a “DVD Player Plus.” If Microsoft and/or Intel cannot provide them with that, then they lose a rather large chunk of the consumer base. They are too Large, and in the media too often to do this illegally without major repercussions. This means doing it legally, which means, sorry for the vulgarity, Hollywood has them by the short hairs. This is the same reason that the Packaged distros no longer ship with full DVD support built in. It is not because they do not have the ability, it is because they do not wish to face the legal firestorm that would result if they did so. Hollywood is watching us. They see us as a threat. 😛 They are convinced that we will watch DVD’s under Linux in an unlicensed manner. >:)

From a purely moral standpoint, I personally feel that watching DVD’s under whatever platform is a Fair Use matter, as long as you have a legal copy of the DVD. I wish the courts still felt that way. :/ Instead, the organization producing your software has to pay out the nose for you to be able to use it legally.

I wonder how hard it would be to start a fund geared specifically towards raising the money for licensing of a DVD player program. The only problem is that while the majority of the code could be open sourced, the Important part, the part that actually decodes the video stream, could not.

Basically though, Hollywood is driving the DRM issue. 😛

In order to continue providing legal DVD playback under windows, they have to shell out the cash for the license. Under the terms of the license, it is revocable under most any reason that the corporation wishes. The thing is easily as bad as one of MS’s EULA’s.

I would say though that there are plenty of reasons to dislike Microsoft even without the DRM issue. ^^;; Yes, it is an agitation, but we cannot focus directly on MS if we hope to solve that problem. That will have to become an issue of dealing with the media industry.

We can encouraged MS to fight it, and if they choose to do so (and more importantly hold their ground) Then they can be a strong ally in that one area. They made noises in that direction once, but it only took a few threats from Hollywood lawyers to get them to back down. That WAS their decision, but it was a business decision based on how much it could cost them in the long run, and the fact that the courts they would have to deal with were already a bit angry with them anyway.

*grins* All it takes is one agitated lawyer to cause problems for a long time. ^^;; If you ever go to court, Don’t tell the judge he is computer illiterate.

Things we can target MS on. 😛 Lousy performance. Strong-arm tactics (though we need more support from the computer manufacturers for this one), frivolous patent suits, jacked up standards. These things alone (especially performance issues, and jacked up code) are more than enough reason to dislike MS. Most of the reasons people apply to them work just fine. 😛 We just need to make sure to keep each issue in proportion.

A Bit of Advise

Everyone needs to choose their battles wisely.
I am not saying you should turn away from a strong enemy, or that cowardice is the right route.  Instead, what I am saying is that you need to insure that you know your enemy.
If you are going to engage a target, then make sure it is the right one.  Do not overestimate your enemy, and end up aiming six feet over their head.  Do not target a perceived enemy for the flaws of another.  Do not paint an unrealistic image of your foe, because that will make it harder to gain allies.  If you are going to fight a battle, make sure to do it on realistic grounds.  We cannot defeat a foe by punching at shadows.  We cannot garner allies through spreading lies, to do so is dishonorable.   We should make sure our allies know what is real as well.

Newton’s Mechanistic World and it’s impact on Religion.

What follows is a paper that I wrote for a class. (So, Ma’am, if you see this one I realy wrote it, I didn’t just grab it off of this blog page) 😛
The paper was not great, but I hope that it got an A, I should hopefully find out soon.  🙂
I may do a review later on the books that I used for this course (REL340 Science and Religion).  One of the books is excelent, the other is not so great.  🙂


The Heliocentric model presented by Copernicus did much to explain where the planets moved, but not why.  Kepler had presented theories on the locations of the planets, but still no real evidence of why or how.  Among Newton’s greatest achievements were his studies of celestial mechanics.  He sought to explain what those before him had not (McGrath, 1999, p. 16).

Newton’s contributed greatly to this body of knowledge, but his greatest contributions perhaps were simply a new way of looking at the issue.  He saw connections between information that people before him had seen as unconnected, and he gave more detail to ideas that had only been discussed as vague concepts before that (McGrath, 1999, p. 16). 


Newton used basic measurable concepts such as mass, space, and time to investigate the motion of objects, and their interactions with one another.  First he focused on the laws of motion.  His three laws lay the foundation for the study of motion and the interaction of objects with one another (McGrath, 1999, p. 17). 


He looked seriously at Kepler’s laws and how the planets interacted in light of his own theories.  He was able to see that while Kepler’s laws seemed by themselves somewhat arbitrary, when applied along side the laws of motion they were plain to see.  At the core of these studies was his belief that the same laws that applied to objects in relation to each other on the earth would apply equally to the celestial bodies.  Applying these assumptions, he was able to calculate the duration of the moons orbit around the earth with an error of only ten percent.  It was later discovered that the error was simply caused by a misunderstanding of the moon’s distance from the earth.  When later studies were able to accurately measure the distance of the moon, the calculations and observed time matched (McGrath, 1999, p. 17).


Newton’s studies led quickly to a mechanistic view of the world.  That is the view that the world operates according to a set of fixed laws, much like the gears and springs that cause a clock to operate.  This mechanistic worldview was embraced by many who saw that it encouraged the idea of design.  It was seen to indicate that there was a guiding hand in the process of creation; How else could everything be so structured and work so fluidly together.  Newton himself supported this view  (McGrath, 1999, p. 18).

“The success of Newton’s mechanistic world view led to a significant religious development. . . .  It can be shown without difficulty that Newton’s emphasis on the regularity of nature encouraged the rise of Deism.” (McGrath, 1999, p. 18)


In this way Newton’s theories supported a non-confrontational model of science and religion in that in his view and the view of many of those who followed his studies, science and religion converged.  The two complemented each other.  God was the great creator.  It was he who built the great device that was the universe.  From him all science flowed, and all of nature pointed to his existence just by it’s very eloquence.  To Newton, and the Deists who clung to his theories, no words needed to be written for a man to see God in the very fabric of creation.



Alister E. McGrath, 1999, Science & Religion, Maryland: Blackwell Publishing