About this Author
Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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January 15, 2004

HP's Corporate Schizophrenia

Posted by Ernest Miller

Late last week Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina declared that starting this year all HP digital entertainment products will use software that respects the copyrights of artists. In other words, HP would become one of the leading proponents of DRM (HP Goes Off the Rails).

This week, Fiorina is celebrating the fact that HP raked in the bucks selling Linux-related products and services in 2003, according to a C|Net News article (Linux brings in $2.5 billion for HP). HP is selling Linux-based collections of hardware and software, as well as thin clients that plug into central Linux servers. Revenues for Linux-related products and services in 2003 increased $500 million or 25% over 2002. Sounds like a nice, healthy, growing business to be in.

Apparently, not a business HP really wants to see take off, however. Someone at HP should inform Fiorina that DRM and Linux don't work too well together.

Here's an idea Fiorina: the heck with sucking up to Hollywood; start selling Linux-based digital entertainment products to consumers. Who wouldn't want a central Linux server that sends multimedia to a bunch of thin clients throughout the house?

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Digital Rights Management | News | Open Source


1. Greglas on January 15, 2004 09:22 AM writes...

Good question.

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2. Cypherpunk on January 15, 2004 12:11 PM writes...

I'd suggest that Linux and DRM can work fine together. There have been a number of efforts to integrate Linux with TCPA (aka TCG), the "trusted computing" initiative. In fact, now that Microsoft has gone in its own direction with Palladium (NGSCB), Linux will probably be one of the main platforms for TCPA. See for work on integrating the IBM TCPA chip into Linux. There are reports that HP is working on similar technology.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a DRM enabled version of Linux. It would be especially appropriate for set top boxes, TiVos and similar specialized content display systems, which are more and more being built on a Linux platform. End users may eventually be able to boot a TCPA Linux kernel and get access to online resources that would otherwise be unavailable, if trusted computing becomes widely used on the net.

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