King of the drm-busting distos

The king of DRM-busting distros isn’t even Linux. It’s Windows.

A quick survey I did over the weekend revealed that none of the Linux based solutions that used to allow you to strip DRM from media files, for example Amazon e-books, work any more. In fact it looks like most if not all only work on Windows (with a few claiming to be Mac-compatible).

So much for Linux being a vector of attack on DRM.


Of course some Digital Rights Management defeating techniques may still work on Linux, particularly those relating to CD or DVD media. But who actually buys (or borrows) CDs or DVDs anymore? A combination of the wholesale destruction of the neighborhood video rental store business by well-funded national chains, followed by massive mismanagement in those chains (I’m talking about you, Blockbuster), and the nearly ready-for-prime-time video streaming option (unready due to the staggeringly short-sighted lack of investment by private ISPs in their network infrastructure — thank you, Comcast and TWC), not to mention the laughably high prices of content on those old and notoriously fragile media, have rendered CDs and DVDs entirely redundant — and frankly not worth mucking around with.

Red Hat, Canonical and other Linux vendors have done a good job, I think, of legitimizing their product. While there may be some outliers, it is now in fact possible to do most things on Linux in compliance with patent and copyright. There is nothing inherent in the platform that makes it easier to compromise intellectual property rights.

Windows, on the other hand, home to perhaps the greatest population of software pirates and systems hackers in history, doesn’t get enough credit as the weapon of choice for not only malware operators and financial fraudsters, but also for mass archivers and manipulators of copyrighted and patented materials.

So I hope the RIAA and MPAA will understand when I call B.S. on the FUD they and others continue to spread about free and open source (FOSS) operating systems. In fact I’ve come to believe that their enmity towards FOSS has more to do with the individual investment portfolios of those who call the shots in the entertainment industry than with any real threat to intellectual property.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).