Bonum Certa Men Certa

Tivoization of Office Files on Vista?

This is a scary post on kokonet, in which it is pointed out that Microsoft Vista's "Trusted Computing" features could make the "openness" of the file format irrelevant and block "unauthorized" readers access to the file.

Think of this, if you will, as the Tivoization of Office files, only with malicious intent. Microsoft could, indeed, open up the document format completely and swear before God that it will never sue anyone for patent infringement. However, this does not prevent Microsoft from locking Office files in such a way that only Vista users can read them. No one else will be able to do so without the proper authorization, thus rendering the open format and Microsoft compatibility entirely meaningless.

In an article entitled "How Vista Lets Microsoft Lock Users In", Cory Doctorow explains how "Information Rights Management" technologies will give Microsoft the tools to control what programs can open Office files, and what they can do after opening it.

But Information Rights Management (IRM), first introduced in Office 2003, goes further -- it doesn't just control who can open the document, it also controls what they can do with it afterwards. Crypto is like an ATM that only lets you get money after you authenticate yourself with your card and PIN. IRM is like some kind of nefarious goon hired by the bank to follow you around after you get your money out, controlling how you spend it.

Read the full article, then remember that Novell is now partnering with Microsoft to help bring their vision of computing to our community. Do you want any part of it?

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