Before you upgrade to Vista, you should read this

2007/01/31

In order to provide HD Video capabilities and to appease content creators, Microsoft went very far in making sure the Vista is not seen as a tool for content piracy. Did they went too far ? What will be the real cost of this contraversial features ?

Listen (or read) the comments of people that understand the DRM topic better than me and make your own opinion:

* How and why Windows Vista has incorporated the most pervasive and invasive system for digital rights management ever created, AACS – as MP3 and PDF

* Interview with Peter Gutmann on Vista DRM – as MP3 and PDF

* Vista DRM Wrap-Up – as MP3 and PDF

* Microsoft’s response to Peter Guttman and Paul Thurrot on the above

Too bad that this huge effort that went into killing the opennes of the PC platform (which was the main and only reason for its market dominance, against technologically superior Apple computers) was not spent on something actually useful – for example on the features that were silently dropped from Longhorn (anybody remembers WinFS ?), or making the CLR inside the SQL Server 2005 useful for real life, non-Hello World applications (try to run larger piece of software that works with XML inside the SQL Server and you’ll see what I mean).

As for my self, I am not keen at all to jump onto Vista train. Yes, it looks nice – but so does OS-X. Yes, WinFX and XAML are interesting – but so is XUL and there is nothing wrong with .NET 2.0. And the XP can run the Framework 3.0 – so what is the big deal ? Eventually, over year or two, Vista will come with new hardware – it is unavoidable. But until that time, I will stay with XP and postpone the upgrade as much as i can. And to be proactive and have Plan B, maybe I’ll start to learn Objective C 🙂


NAS Odyssey: Fedora Core

2007/01/31

As the title says, the Ubuntu is out. Not really because of some technical flaw or missing features (as the FreeNAS, NASLite+ and OpenFiler before), but because of lack of experience and patience on my side. Unlike other distribution which come pre-packed on DVD, Ubuntu installs from a single CD. There are 3 CD variations available: Desktop, which most of the people use and which is likely responsible for Ubuntu fame, Server and Alternative. I did not want to go with desktop – for obvious reasons, so I started to install Server. It installed OK, except it did not offered any option to create RAID. Technically, I still had the RAID created from experiments with OpenFiler, but as I was not sure in which state did I left it, I wanted to recreate it.

The server installation, unfortunately does not install any GUI and all operations are performed from command line. I dare to administer Apache and Samba via command line, but meddling with file system operations made me feel really uncomfortable. I tried installed webmin (using apt-get) but it did not succeed at the first attempt and gave up afterwards. Ubuntu seems to cover well two sides of the Linux experience scale: beginers (ex-Windows users) and experienced Linux guys. For somebody who needs more than simple desktop but does not really want to go to deep internals, it does not provide very much. Maybe the alternative install would do – but I gave up, time to move ahead.

I decided to try Fedora first. There seems to be lot of information available (such as books on Safari Online) and I know few people that use Fedora and may be a good source of information if I get stuck.

I’ve encountered few issues during Fedora setup. First – there seems to be a bug in Anaconda installer: as soon as you try to select additional RPM repositories, it crashes and you can start from beginning – as nothing was saved yet. Lesson learned: do not do that. The other problem I’ve seen had nothing to do with Linux: my setup kept freezing and crashing at first. I figured out that there likely was an IRQ conflict between USB and RAID – after I disabled RAID on BIOS, it disappeared. Right now, I have selected the packages and the installer runs …

Put alltogether: it was great lerning experience so far and much more complicated that I have expected, but quite fun. And that is only beginning – I am pretty sure I’ll learn much more cool stuff in the process of managing my new (still not existing) NAS. I have to hurry up, because the all NSLU2 died and the family archive of images and videos is inaccessible on USB drive formatted as ext3 filesystem …