You can use unsigned drivers in Vista, but if a driver isn't signed, the DRM model kicks in and shuts down parts of the operating system. An unsigned video driver might be prohibited from playing back DVDs for example, even if that DVD is of home movies and unencrypted. It's sort of like adding teeth to the warning message that shows up in XP if you try to install unsigned drivers.
There are a lot of things about Vista that are rather off-putting. Only the 64-bit version will be able to use the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DVD releases at full resolution, and only if using an encrypted HDMI cable. So all 32-bit users are left out, and even people with 64-bit CPUs will have to likely upgrade video cards.
Part of the DRM model involved Microsoft having to remove some of the fault tolerance of the entire operating system. In an effort to try and prevent people from tapping encrypted video/audio signals, the operating system is set to shut down if it detects what's called a "tilt value". This has unintended consequences, making the operating system less resilient to various forms of network attacks.
There's the ongoing squabble between Microsoft and some of the big anti-virus firms. Norton users probably won't notice anything out of the ordinary with the rapid decline of that brand, but users of Norton and McAfee products may have to suffer through some teething problems early on.
Then there's the fact that aside from Aero, virtually every promised feature that made Vista a worthwhile upgrade, got chucked overboard a long time ago.
WinFS went to the wayside a long time ago. The promise of rewriting all of the usermode code to use the .NET Framework was quickly abandoned. Aero is sort of a pale shell of what it was supposed to be. The list goes on.
I'm all for Microsoft trying new things, even if for little more than the sake of trying them. It's good to shake things up now and again, but Vista isn't doing any of that. It's a product of Microsoft's complete sellout/cave-in to the music and movie industry and their unreasonable expectations. Anyone with half a brain can figure out the entertainment industry doesn't really care about piracy, they know as well as the next person that online piracy helps sales of CDs and DVDs, they care that they don't have absolute control over the distribution path anymore, and can't squeeze every last cent out of customers.
I for one plan on buying a Mac for my next system. And if down the road Apple too follows suit like Microsoft has, there's always Linux or FreeBSD. These days, Richard Stallman seems less like a raving lunatic hermit as he has for the past 20 years or so, and more like a prophet, who foretold that greed would cast its ugly shadow over computer users far and wide, choking users and crushing them with oppression, leaving only a few small bastions of hope and freedom for people to flee to.
What I really fear though, is the rather apathetic nature of the general public. I fear that they will simply accept all of these new restrictions, and it will only embolden Microsoft to try even more. One would have thought that Americans would have revolted in large numbers at the shredding of the Constitution and everything this country was founded for by the current Presidential administration, yet there's been little more than a weak whimper. I can't help but wonder, and fear, if the same won't happen with Vista.
Anyway, that's enough rambling for me for one post.
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