Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cost of features

Microsoft seems to be hitting their head in a wall with the new Vista content protection according to a very interesting report by Peter Gutmann.

If the actual implications are as fatal as what is stated remains open to see, but a conclusion we can make at this point is that not all end results can be known beforehand when designing an extremely complex piece of software like for example Vista.

There is no way of knowing how the software/hardware ecosystem will be affected by a gigantic release with lots of new unknown features/traits. Transparency can help, by making the design and implications visible early, but there is naturally no guarantee that anybody will spot the problem before it is too late. Also, afterwards the problem must be acknowledged and corrected, requiring a fair degree of openness.

This time it seems like bending far over in one direction has resulted in a large invasion of problems from an other unwelcome direction. It is very unfortunate and disturbing that the focus does not seem to be set on making real customers happy, but more on satisfying digital rights owners unspecific dreams.

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