EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.07.10

Western Digital is Bad for Freedom (and for GNU/Linux)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Western Digital logo

Summary: Two reasons not to buy products from Western Digital, as means of making a statement to the company

SEVERAL HARD-DRIVE manufacturers are fairly friendly towards Linux (not Seagate, that’s for sure). One particular brand which we knew was serving the MPAA|RIAA is Western Digital, but now we discover that it also serves Microsoft, just like Seagate, which preinstalls Windows file systems on its products (and offers no other option on the face of it). The Register has this new story about Western Digital supporting no platforms other than Microsoft Windows (at the software side):

A Windows host must be used to run Western Digital disk drive diagnostic software, forcing Linux, Unix and other O/S users to buy a Windows system if they want to use it.

A few years ago (2007) we also found The Register (and other publications) reporting that Western Digital takes orders from Hollywood when it implements a “DRM-crippled” device which refuses to do what its owner tells it to do:

Western Digital’s 1TB My Book World Edition external hard drive has been crippled by DRM for your safety.

A kindly Reg reader tipped us off that the remote-access HDD won’t share media files over network connections. Which is, as you can see here, the entire stinking point of it.

It’s a scary world full of potentially unlicensed media. We’re fortunate there’s a hard drive vendor willing to step forward and do some indiscriminate policing for us.

From the WD site:

“Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the most common audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access.”

Unless or until Western Digital resolves this issue, Free software supporters are encouraged to avoid Western Digital and tell others to do the same. It’s the only effective way to defend one’s freedom — voting with the wallet. This can help raise awareness deter other companies from doing the same thing. The customers come first, not Hollywood.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

7 Comments

  1. dyfet said,

    August 7, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Gravatar

    I have one “current” western digital SATA drive. It is really a crappy drive, as when it benchmarks (Ubuntu disk utilities) there are places where performance drops to the floor faster than a stock market decline, and sure enough during booting, if some unfortunate file happened to be in one of those spots, it’s slow. I retired the drive quickly as I had no tools to do a true low level format. It is not the first time I have had problems with quality with their products, either, though at least in older generation drives you could force such a media reformat. So it may not just be DRM, but also poor quality products, that may plague this company and offer reasons to avoid it.

  2. williami said,

    August 7, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Gravatar

    Damn, I was using Western Digital for my past few hard drive purchases… They made some pretty decent drives, but after hearing this, I think I’ll go with Samsung for my hard drive needs, they have affordable hard drives and they work very well in RAID setups.

    By the way, I’ve always avoided Seagate, after my first hard drive with them killed my old Emachine, and nearly killed my machine.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Samsung sold Linux down the river though. It’s one of the few companies which we boycott to defend the freedom of Linux (the whole ‘patent issue’).

    williami Reply:

    Well, other than Samsung, there’s a Hitachi drive that looks very good:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145287

    It seems pretty good because of the price and generally good reviews…

    dyfet Reply:

    I currently have a Hitachi drive I am very happy with. It replaced that wd one I noted earlier :).

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I had an Hitachi HDD in my laptop and it didn’t last.

  3. twitter said,

    August 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Gravatar

    These issues mostly apply to Wester Digital’s non free software which they must provide to Windows users because Windows lacks sharing and diagnostic tools. I have bought, for lack of options, several WD external drives and have happily formatted them with ext3 and used them to share files across networks with them. I’m not aware of WD’s level of cooperation when it comes to releasing specs or following standards. These are the things needed to make WD drives work with the free software tools that come with every GNU/Linux distribution. I’m also not aware of how badly they are extorted by Microsoft to cripple their drives with FAT and NTFS. More troubling would be DRM and data retention baked into the controller, issues I’m not aware of. People worried about that should run whole drive encryption, to feed it garbage, and should never use non free software like WD’s tools.

    These are issues that The Register should have followed up with but did not. The most harmful thing WD or any other drive maker is to deviate from published specs in a way that would break GNU/Linux systems. It is bad that they did not say that free software tools would do the job just as well as their own, but we can’t judge them by what Microsoft friendlies at The Register have to say. The Register should have tried out the monitoring tools themselves. I’ve never bothered because I’m not so picky and have not had any real problems.

What Else is New


  1. Links 19/2/2018: Linux 4.16 RC2, Nintendo Switch Now Full-fledged GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  2. PTAB Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents and to Stop Patent Examiners From Issuing Them

    Erasure of software patents by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) carries on unabated in spite of attempts to cause controversy and disdain towards PTAB



  3. The Patent 'Industry' Likes to Mention Berkheimer and Aatrix to Give the Mere Impression of Section 101/Alice Weakness

    Contrary to what patent maximalists keep saying about Berkheimer and Aatrix (two decisions of the Federal Circuit from earlier this month, both dealing with Alice-type challenges), neither actually changed anything in any substantial way



  4. Makan Delrahim is Wrong; Patents Are a Major Antitrust Problem, Sometimes Disguised Using Trolls Somewhere Like the Eastern District of Texas

    Debates and open disagreements over the stance of the lobbyist who is the current United States Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division



  5. Patent Trolls Watch: Microsoft-Connected Intellectual Ventures, Finjan, and Rumour of Technicolor-InterDigital Buyout

    Connections between various patent trolls and some patent troll statistics which have been circulated lately



  6. Software Patents Trickle in After § 101/Alice, But Courts Would Not Honour Them Anyway

    The dawn of § 101/Alice, which in principle eliminates almost every software patent, means that applicants find themselves having to utilise loopholes to fool examiners, but that's unlikely to impress judges (if they ever come to assessing these patents)



  7. In Aatrix v Green Shades the Court is Not Tolerating Software Patents But Merely Inquires/Wonders Whether the Patents at Hand Are Abstract

    Aatrix alleges patent infringement by Green Shades, but whether the patents at hand are abstract or not remains to be seen; this is not what patent maximalists claim it to be ("A Valentine for Software Patent Owners" or "valentine for patentee")



  8. An Indoctrinated Minority is Maintaining the Illusion That Patent Policy is to Blame for All or Most Problems of the United States

    The zealots who want to patent everything under the Sun and sue everyone under the Sun blame nations in the east (where the Sun rises) for all their misfortunes; this has reached somewhat ludicrous levels



  9. Berkheimer Decision is Still Being Spun by the Anti-Section 101/Alice Lobby

    12 days after Berkheimer v HP Inc. the patent maximalists continue to paint this decision as a game changer with regards to patent scope; the reality, however, is that this decision will soon be forgotten about and will have no substantial effect on either PTAB or Alice (because it's about neither of these)



  10. Academic Patent Immunity is Laughable and Academics Are Influenced by Corporate Money (for Steering Patent Agenda)

    Universities appear to have become battlegrounds in the war between practicing entities and a bunch of parasites who make a living out of litigation and patent bubbles



  11. UPC Optimism Languishes Even Among Paid UPC Propagandists Such as IAM

    Even voices which are attempting to give UPC momentum that it clearly lacks admit that things aren't looking well; the UK is not ratifying and Germany make take years to look into constitutional barriers



  12. Bejin Bieneman Props Up the Disgraced Randall Rader for Litigation Agenda

    Randall Rader keeps hanging out with the litigation 'industry' -- the very same 'industry' which he served in a closeted fashion when he was Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit (and vocal proponent of software patents, patent trolls and so on)



  13. With Stambler v Mastercard, Patent Maximalists Are Hoping to Prop Up Software Patents and Damage PTAB

    The patent 'industry' is hoping to persuade the highest US court to weaken the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), for PTAB is making patent lawsuits a lot harder and raises the threshold for patent eligibility



  14. Apple Discovers That Its Patent Disputes Are a Losing Battle Which Only Lawyers Win (Profit From)

    By pouring a lot of money and energy into the 'litigation card' Apple lost focus and it's also losing some key cases, as its patents are simply not strong enough



  15. The Patent Microcosm Takes Berkheimer v HP Out of Context to Pretend PTAB Disregards Fact-Finding Process

    In view or in light of a recent decision (excerpt above), patent maximalists who are afraid of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) try to paint it as inherently unjust and uncaring for facts



  16. Microsoft Has Left RPX, But RPX Now Pays a Microsoft Patent Troll, Intellectual Ventures

    The patent/litigation arms race keeps getting a little more complicated, as the 'arms' are being passed around to new and old entities that do nothing but shake-downs



  17. UPC Has Done Nothing for Europe Except Destruction of the EPO and Imminent Layoffs Due to Lack of Applications and Lowered Value of European Patents

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is merely a distant dream or a fantasy for litigators; to everyone else the UPC lobby has done nothing but damage, including potentially irreparable damage to the European Patent Office, which is declining very sharply



  18. Links 17/2/2018: Mesa 17.3.4, Wine 3.2, Go 1.10

    Links for the day



  19. Patent Trolls Are Thwarted by Judges, But Patent Lawyers View Them as a 'Business' Opportunity

    Patent lawyers are salivating over the idea that trolls may be coming to their state/s; owing to courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) other trolls' software patents get invalidated



  20. Microsoft's Patent Moves: Dominion Harbor, Intellectual Ventures, Intellectual Discovery, NEC and Uber

    A look at some of the latest moves and twists, as patents change hands and there are still signs of Microsoft's 'hidden hand'



  21. Links 15/2/2018: GNOME 3.28 Beta, Rust 1.24

    Links for the day



  22. Bavarian State Parliament Has Upcoming Debate About Issues Which Can Thwart UPC for Good

    An upcoming debate about Battistelli's attacks on the EPO Boards of Appeal will open an old can of worms, which serves to show why UPC is a non-starter



  23. The EPO is Being Destroyed and There's Nothing Left to Replace It Except National Patent Offices

    It looks like Battistelli is setting up the European Patent Office (EPO) for mass layoffs; in fact, it looks as though he is so certain that the UPC will materialise that he obsesses over "validation" for mass litigation worldwide, departing from a "model office" that used to lead the world in terms of patent quality and workers' welfare/conditions



  24. IBM is Getting Desperate and Now Suing Microsoft Over Lost Staff, Not Just Suing Everyone Using Patents

    IBM's policy when it comes to patents, not to mention its alignment with patent extremists, gives room for thought if not deep concern; the company rapidly becomes more and more like a troll



  25. In Microsoft's Lawsuit Against Corel the Only Winner is the Lawyers

    The outcome of the old Microsoft v Corel lawsuit reaffirms a trend; companies with deep pockets harass their competitors, knowing that the legal bills are more cumbersome to the defendants; there's a similar example today in Cisco v Arista Networks



  26. The Latest Lies About Unitary Patent (UPC) and the EPO

    Lobbying defies facts; we are once again seeing some easily-debunked talking points from those who stand to benefit from the UPC and mass litigation



  27. Speech Deficit and No Freedom of Association at the EPO

    True information cannot be disseminated at the EPO and justice too is beyond elusive; this poses a threat to the EPO's future, not only to its already-damaged reputation



  28. No, Britain is Not Ratifying 'Unitary' Anything, But Team UPC Insinuates It Will (Desperate Effort to Affect Tomorrow's Outcome)

    Contrary to several misleading headlines from Bristows (in its blog and others'), the UPC isn't happening and isn't coming to the UK; it all amounts to lobbying (by setting false expectations)



  29. The EPO's Paid Promotion of Software Patents Gets Patent Maximalists All Excited and Emboldened

    The software patents advocacy from Battistelli (and his cohorts) isn't just a spit in the face of European Parliament but also the EPC; but patent scope seems to no longer exist or matter under his watch, as all he cares about is granting as many patents as possible, irrespective of real quality/legitimacy/merit



  30. Andrei Iancu Begins His USPTO Career While Former USPTO Director (and Now Paid Lobbyist) Keeps Meddling in Office Affairs

    The USPTO, which is supposed to be a government branch (loosely speaking) is being lobbied by former officials, who are now being paid by private corporations to help influence and shape policies; this damages the image of the Office and harms its independence from corporate influence


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts