Peter Guttman, a security engineering researcher from New Zealand, writes in a new paper that Vista's copyright protection not only threatens to shut down drivers and degrade performance via constant DRM checks, it also will just orphan a lot of media hardware that doesn't comply with its standards.
Our favorite Microsoft cynics at The Register, along with many others in the press, seem delighted with Guttman's contention that Vista DRM may spell "the longest suicide note in history." (He heads this attention-grabber as the paper's "Executive Executive Summary.")
We were more taken with Guttman's speculation that some older devices -- video cards in his example -- that don't support Vista's DRM processes may simply have their drivers revoked by Microsoft, with no update from vendors likely. His description of Microsoft's pressure on hardware partners:
The threat of driver revocation is the ultimate nuclear option, the crack of the commissars' pistols reminding the faithful of their duty.
Guttman then goes on to speculate about hospitals closing down and other near-apocalyptic events.
Certainly, Guttman isn't the first to suggest that Microsoft has gone too far this time, and will push its users to Linux, Mac or some other alternative. Yet it's just not happening.
But his paper is a learned, entertaining look at the complexities of a new OS as massive (some would say bloated) as Vista.
Good thing you'll have to replace those old video cards if you want to run full-blown Vista, anyway.