Linux and DRM

Summary:The recent hiring of a former Microsoft executive, Nat Brown, by Linux developer CAC Media of New York leads me to our question of the day.Can the open source community live with Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

The recent hiring of a former Microsoft executive, Nat Brown, by Linux developer CAC Media of New York leads me to our question of the day.

Can the open source community live with Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

Technically, there is no question about it. Linux Torvalds didn't write his kernel just for GNU's Richard Stallman, the way God gave life to Adam. (You were wondering about the picture, a detail from the Sistine Chapel.) Torvalds let his kernel be licensed in many ways, and he has said it's quite compatible with DRM.

This isn't a technical argument. It's more about the attitudes of the open source community. With devices like the TiVo and iPod being "downgraded" with DRM-driven "upgrades," which satisfy copyright owners but keep users from re-using their stuff as they want, it's really a philosophical question, an ethical and moral question.

So let me put it to you. If CAC Media (to cite an example) puts out a Linux media player with strong DRM inside it, will you accept it, refuse to buy it, or try and hack it apart?

Topics: Open Source

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.