Ubuntu changes get worse: Now Digital Rights Management is under discussion

lukefromdc at hushmail.com lukefromdc at hushmail.com
Wed Mar 6 19:16:17 UTC 2013

I've looked into rebasing my entire install directly on Debian because of
first the Amazon mess, now the Mir mess, and finally word on Phoronix
that Ubuntu is looking into supporting digital rights management, hoping
to run on smartphones.  They are abandoning the free and open desktop-
and will HAVE to do so if they want to be a third commerical smartphone OS.

I make only free media, and ban any uncracked DRM scheme from all my 
machines and my entire house. I don't WANT paid commercial media, and
I don't want my machines phoning home to Hollywood. Such a machine is
unsafe to connect to any network for what I do with activist media. 

For now, Ubuntu still has the whole FOSS stack in repo, and so long as it
stays in repo nobody has to install ubuntu-desktop specific packages, but
some things like Brasero are being compiled against components of Unity.

Suppose for the 14:04 LTS this situation arises: A unique display server, and
applications like DVD burners and video players being compiled against 
ubuntu specific packages that in turn are compiled against digital rights 
support libraries. For instance, if Ubuntu compiles mplayer against a package,
and that package is rejected for security reasons, that means mplayer can't be 
installed from the ubuntu repo.

In addition, if Ubuntu wanted to implement HDMI encrypted audio on a "protected" bus,
that would require a closed-down kernel, probably using secure boot and a 
unique key. Windows is reported to have been slowed down by implementing
data protection schemed on internal busses-a great way to increase latency
when recording anything.

That could require a fork of the distro, with everything that depends on the 
offending packages being rebuilt with those options not selected. Alternatively,
applications that don't depend on GNOME components altered by Ubuntu
might exist. Quick and dirty would be to add the Debian Sid repo, prefer
the Ubuntu repo, but pull any package broken by excluding the Ubuntu
DE and any digital rights management from Debian instead.

Could base on ubuntu-server, replacing the whole graphical stack, but that
means maintaining everything unless someone else already does so. Could base on 
Debian, but Sid was never meant for production systems
and Debian stable gets old fast. Ubuntu has normally done the work of creating
up to date stable distros, but that seems to be about to fork away from what almost
every derivative distro needs as a base.

I have yet to switch my whole rolling (unstable private fork) OS over due to the 
complexity, but I  fear it will be that or a version freeze the way things are going. 
Mint is also covering their six by maintaining a version based directly on Debian, while
their main distro is based on Ubuntu.

I won't have anything to do with any software pushing digital rights management. If I find
a browser implementing it in HTML 5, I will disable it, run an older browser, or one from
someone not supporting that specification and not having the keys.

On 03/06/2013 at 9:41 AM, "Len Ovens" <len at ovenwerks.net> wrote:
>On Tue, March 5, 2013 7:42 pm, lukefromdc at hushmail.com wrote:
>> The whole Mir mess might become another factor.  I assume it 
>will be  a
>> long
>> time before any media application gets ported to Mir, Wayland, 
>or anything
>> other than X.  The fragmentation mess is being brought up 
>elsewhere, with
>> fears that applications written for Mir will run only on Ubuntu, 
>> This could be a real mess for all distros based on Ubuntu, even 
>> both Mir and Wayland retain X compatability layers. X is heavy 
>> by itself, running X applications through something like this 
>will slow
>> down
>> marginal or fully-loaded machines.
>> I also expect that older DE's and things like XFCE, Cinnamon, 
>etc will
>> be ported to another display server either late or never.
>> For those of us not interested in joining the "Tablet/Touch 
>> it will be crucial that X stays in repo until all DE's have been 
>> over,
>> or permanently.
>Lets see, cdrecord (replaced by broken wodem), ffmpeg (replaced by 
>init.d (replaced by upstart or systemd), x.... I guess the next 
>thing is a
>unique, non-linux kernel...
>I am sure the list is bigger.
>Len Ovens
>Ubuntu-Studio-devel mailing list
>Ubuntu-Studio-devel at lists.ubuntu.com
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