License? GPL vs LGPL.

Marcus Brinkmann Marcus.Brinkmann at
Sun Nov 9 18:06:07 CET 2003

On Sun, Nov 09, 2003 at 11:10:00AM -0500, Daniel Carrera wrote:
> I occurred to me that we could mitigate this problem somewhat if 
> OpenOffice could address some of the problems that DRM is supposed to 
> solve, but without trapping people.
> Some of the features that DRM is meant to bring is authentication, and the 
> ability to select exactly who can read the document.  These are things 
> that GPG can do far more securely than anything MS is likely to cookup.

I don't want to open up a can of worms here, but I think that this is
probably not what the intention behind DRM is.  DRM is supposed to do
authentication, but the kind that allows one central power to decide who can
read a document, listen to a music file, watch a movie etc.  DRM is not
forced upon the users of MS Windows because it solves problems for the
users, but because it solves problems for content distributors in
restricting access to the digital information.

There is about zero need for DRM within the users of a computer, in fact, it
causes great inconveniences to them.  It does however give a lot of power on
who is allowed to do what with his computer into the hands of those content
distributors, which will then be able to charge for this "service".

This is why any DRM solution will be tightly integrated with business
solutions to give those content distributors the technology in the hand to
restrict access to the data they provide (Sony did this with it's OpenMG
system, for example, which is a plague for the customers).  And because of
that, unless you are entering that arena, I don't think that any feature you
can add to OpenOffice will rival or have an affect on what's going on in the
DRM world.

Now, MS and others probably claim that DRM is meant to bring authentication
to the user for the users advantage - that would just be part of the normal
propaganda in order to sweet the poison that the user is supposed to
swallow.  You might be able to make points in the propaganda battle by being
able to provide a solution for users that does the part of DRM that actually
gives advantage to users: Protecting the privacy of the content they write
(if that's one of the advantages a DRM system gives you, which I am not sure
of).  If you mix this with an information campaign, it might be effective,
and certainly ensures that at this front free software is not seen at a
disadvantage.  However, this would mostly be effective as a defense, I

This is not meant to stop you from developing new features to good free
software, especially features that improve the privacy and integrity
of the user's data!  It just seemed to me that your perspective on DRM
is a bit at odd with what I consider DRM to be about, so here are my 2cent.

Have fun,

`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' GNU    marcus at
Marcus Brinkmann              The Hurd
Marcus.Brinkmann at

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