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From: Chuck Simmons
Organization: You jest.
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.61 [en] (X11; U; Linux 2.0.33 i586)
Subject: Re: TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Alliance) and future PC use for
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 20:27:07 GMT
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 12:27:07 PST
"N. Coesel" wrote:
> "ricardo" wrote in message
> > I read an article about TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Alliance). The
> > project targets on introducing hardware protection against running
> > uncertified software. Any software without certificat is intended no to
> > be executable on future PCs.
> > What happens to allt the engineering software written daily for the
> > folloing purposes:
> > - Device driver for lab equipment
> > - data mining (I can't imagine Excel to handle an oscilloscope data
> > stream of 8MB binary and perform fourrier analysis with 1.6 Billion
> > multiplications!)
> > - C-models for complex systems
> > - Compiled verilog or VHDL
> > Does TCPA mean we have to refrain from using PCs for engineering and
> > switch to UNIX workstations?
> > When does delivery of PCs with such hindering hardware start?
> Hmm, I wonder when something _really_ new is going to be invented. In the
> early 1980 DEC already shipped a desktop computer with an unique number in
> it mainly to enable software vendors to create software that runs on only 1
> computer. I think these where called DEC Rainbow, but I can't remember the
> name right now.
I did not know that the Rainblow (as many of us at DEC at the time
called it) had that feature. The VAX 11-7xx series all had unique serial
numbers known to the CPU but in house, we had some general licenses that
we could download from corporate. The MicroVAXes obviously did not have
serialized CPUs but by that time, I don't think any non-network
configurations were sold so the unique ethernet ID was used for them. In
the DEC scheme of things, the software vendor decided whether or not his
software would use the protection scheme. All other software would run.
The CDs that came with VAXen of the mid to late 1980s had all of DEC's
software. When you paid for something, they gave you a key to access and
install it on the system.
There were refinements to the scheme. A VAX running VMS really had to
run networking. A lot of things didn't work if you didn't so even the
lone MicroVAX I had at home ran full blown DECnet mainly talking to
itself (DECnet over a 2400 baud modem was slower than grass growing).
This brought on licenses where a server was licensed to hand out images
and keep count of the number out and running. This meant the server had
to identify limited images and honor the license. The machines on the
network would run anything the server was authorized to hand out. Unix
licensing schemes are quite similar and have been since the 1980s.
TCPA is a giant technological leap backward to the late 1970s and early
1980s. It seems pointless for any machine on a network to be
distinguished other than licensed software servers and a network should
allow any number of license servers to exist on the network each being a
license client as well.
> Besides, a lot of software already uses licence schemes based on harddrive
> ID, MAC or IP address.
These methods have various diseases but they definitely beat having a
dongle. A dongle has the advantage, in any event, that in an emergency,
the license is completely portable.
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons firstname.lastname@example.org
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