Seth Schoen has some detailed and thoughtprovoking notes on Palladium, the secure platform that’s been proposed by Microsoft and a few hardware vendors. If you’re looking for the rare exception to the typical fearmongering and kneejerk, reactionary drivel that predictably dominates the press, check out Seth’s impressions — by my read, Palladium looks to be an incredibly well thought-out architecture, and has the potential to bring computing to an entirely new level of security.


I don’t quite understand how Palladium is more secure than current systems. A system will still be vulnerable to external attacks due to bugs in software like buffer overruns. (Buffer overruns could be prevented through the use of strongly typed languages, but that is a different story.)

It seems to me that Palladiums main goal is to give content providers full control over their content. This is a laudable goal, but I believe it will be linked hand-in-hand with the elimination of fair use.

In addition, Seth’s notes state that portions of Palladium are covered under patents. Will Microsoft allow third parties like Linux and *BSD to implement trusted features into their operating systems?

Finally, should Palladium be widely deployed, would Microsoft start requiring software vendors to only develop software for Palladium or risk losing their Windows compatibility logo?

I don’t think these questions that I have are “fearmongering.” I am concerned that Microsoft is not committed to developing an open, interoperable system for digital rights management. (This concern is certainly warranted based on Microsoft’s publication of specifications explicitly forbidding implementations created under the GPL.) To be honest, I would be as concerned if any other large company were to propose a similar system. I don’t trust Microsoft any more than I trust Newscorp, GE, or other large companies that I won’t name. [Of course, that isn’t entirely true. I trust companies to try to increase their wealth in any legal manner possible. :-)]

• Posted by: Sam Greenfield on Jul 12, 2002, 11:52 AM

Or illegal manner they can get away with; note the current crop of high-level absurdity in the press lately.

My take on Palladium goes something like, “Hmm, this from the company whose products ‘enable’ so many viruses it staggers the mind. Thanks, but no thanks.”

• Posted by: Karel P Kerezman on Jul 12, 2002, 1:10 PM
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