Examples of proprietary control

P.B. pb at fsfe.org
Tue Oct 13 12:48:48 UTC 2009

Hash: SHA1

I concur with David Gerard, that DRM is at least one (of many) corners
where end-users feel that they've been bitten by proprietary software
vendors. Unforunately, there are *many* cases where the end user gets
bitten, but either doesn't realize it, or (more likely) thinks that
it's normal for "computer-stuff" to be like that.

Here are some cases that I've already seen personally (and yes, many
of them are DRM).
Sorry, no "list of people", but maybe it helps as inspiration for
finding more?

(1) Governmental institutions: bought proprietary software from vendor
XY and uses it for everyday, core functionality.
At a later point in time, they are issuing a call for tender for a new
feature/functionality they need, but in fact *noone* can seriously
compete, because it's impossible for non-vendor XY alternatives to
properly interact with their core system. Vendor-lock-in in
governmental institutions is a direct loss for the tay payer. :(

(2) You cannot install version XY of program Z, because you have only
have a "home" edition of Windows.

(3) A company develops hardware/software for a very specific purpose
and sells it like an embedded system. It works and is known to be
stable. Unfortunately one day, they're not allowed to deliver an
application (e.g. OS, database, ...) anymore due to licensing
restrictions (or simply end-of-life) they depend on.
They are unable to sell a stable version and are forced to
upgrade/switch - causing unnecessary, additional development/support
costs and diminishes the reliability-quality of their product.

(4) You cannot play *any* of all your own WMAs (honestly copied from
your own CD collection), because after setting up your computer again,
it's lost its "key" and therefore does not believe that those WMAs are
yours. Unfortunately, you've neither been told now knew that there
even was such a key or DRM involved when backing up your music
collection CDs.

(5) Trying to print a "printing disabled" DRMed PDF in Acrobat Reader.
kpdf on the other side has DRM as option to disable ;)

(6) In a recording studio: Every band member can listen to the most
recent version of a track immediately after the recording session on
their MP3 player - except for those who own an MP3-Player that
requires a vendor-specific application/driver to communicate with
(instead of plain usb-storage). Sony- and Apple-devices are popular
for that.

(7) A classic is to own original, bought content on e.g. DVD, but
because of "region protection" are unable to play it on your current
DVD player.

... I could go on ...


David Gerard wrote:
> Any forms of DRM at all.

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