What is this page about - why am I here???

One would say: Because of Billy. Infact, that's not completely true.
The truth is, that Microsoft is one of the leaders (beside Intel and other companies) of the TCPA.

TCPA stands for 'Trusted Computing Platform Alliance'. The TCPA is an organization, which was founded to offer trustworthy computing.
Sounds nice, you think? So, read on and you will learn what trust means in their eyes. I bet, it won't meet your understanding of the word trust.

Their stated goal is to create a new computing platform for nowadays, which should improve your
trust in the PC. For reaching their goal, they (mainly) created two things:

  • TCPA hardware (the so called Fritz chipset)
  • software (= Palladium) communicating with that hardware

So, first of all, let us have a brief look at the hardware!
In general, it's kind of a dongle soldered to your motherboard. You're used to a BIOS
taking control of your PC's startup? Don't get used to that too much. In a not so distant future (2004)
the TCPA hardware will take charge, when you turn on your PC. This onboard chipset checks the integrity
of your boot ROM, executes it and measures the state of the machine. After that, it checks the
booting process of your operating system. If the chipset detects a TCPA-compliant OS it will
load and execute it. Furthermore, the chipset maintains a list of your hardware (means: soundcard, videocard etc.)
and checks them for TCPA-compliance, too. So, let's assume, Fritz (remember? the name of the chipset) detects,
that all the stuff in your PC is on the TCPA-approved list, it will be finally happy and boot your system to the
login screen. Be careful: If there are significant hardware changes, you will have to go online and re-certify
your machine (like XP does).

So far - so good. Doesn't sound as bad as I told you? Wait, please. Now we're getting to the part,
where Microsoft takes control of your PC. After the booting process, Fritz hands over the control to the
software part of TCPA: Palladium.

This piece of Operating-System-Integrated software is going to determine what you are allowed to do with "your" PC.
Let's say: What you are not allowed to do with. Before you can start an application or open a document,
it checks wether it thinks you are allowed to or not. No, that's no joke. It really does. Via the Internet, Palladium
keeps an up-to-date list of software (the blacklist), you can't start. One can imagine what's on that list.
e.g: every kind of cracking / hacking software, illegal copies and so on. Sounds like Microsoft installed a DRM
via the backdoor? And that's not even all it is. Every PC with a Fritz chip has an unique ID. Only
the software you bought for THIS ID (means: your PC) would be able to run. There's not even the chance
to sell software you don't use anymore. Palladium / Fritz won't allow it to run on ANY other machine.
There's also a blacklist for documents. Imagine: You're not able to play one of your thousand MP3's anymore,
because they don't have a valid certificate, even though the original CD sits in your rack. Not one of your Movies.
You also gave Microsoft the permission to delete all the files, once it has found them. You don't believe me?
Read the last EULA of your Media Player. Whoa, surprised? I was.

No problem for me, you might think. Everything got hacked 'til now. Believe me, just one more time please.
This chipset / software combination will be different.

Reasons:

  • It's an onboard chip, there's no way to "plug it off".
  • This chip will get integrated into the processors. (just read the member list: AMD, Intel)

And there's more. Every program you want to execute has to be certified.
So, you're a developer and want to create your own programs? Of course,
with a certified IDE you're able to write your own source code. But it's not
possible to execute your programs you just developed - unless you're going
to certify them (which costs about $100.000!).

"What the heck, I'll switch to linux when TCPA is reality!"
Now we're getting to the point where you could imagine what happens to the GPL
and linux. First of all: It's no longer possible to install linux, because this Operating
System is not certified by the TCPA. No, that's not a joke. Okay, imagine there
would be a certified Linux. (HP creates one, btw). What's happening to OpenSource
development, then? Every open source developer would need to certify his program,
before he can distribute them. But how should he pay that certification?
What happens to quick bugfixes? And what happens to all the guys who want
to compile the software on their own. There is NO chance to do all that stuff.

Disapointed? I am.

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