Anne van Kesteren

Day against DRM

Tuesday May 4th has been named day against DRM. I am not that great on internet memes, but DRM is something I truly despise. Long time ago I bought music via the iTunes Store on my iPod Touch. Because of DRM I could not copy it back to my MacBook. At some point Apple started distributing music DRM-free. They allowed everyone to upgrade the music they already bought so it could be shared once again. Much like books and CDs in the olden days. However, it failed to work for my iPod Touch. Then my MacBook died. In theory one needs iTunes to talk with an iPod Touch, which is not available for my operating system of choice, Ubuntu. The protocols for talking with an iPod Touch are effectively some layer of DRM designed by Apple. In large part proprietary to help them keep control of the system. The Ubuntu 10.04 upgrade made it possible to talk with an iPod Touch. Not only is the protocol reverse engineered (it was long ago), it made it into a mainstream product I happen to use. I.e. I can finally exchange music files with my iPod Touch again!

(Note that only music is distributed in a DRM-free manner by the iTunes Store from Apple. Ebooks, TV series, and movies still have a heavy layer of DRM unfortunately. Also, I would like to point out, maybe somewhat contrary to the point of this DRM-day, that while Apple is surely evil for DRM protection on pretty much all their products, they do make killer hardware. The best. They understand battery power is extremely important. I fly a lot. Having to shut down my laptop after a couple of hours is the worst. They understand products need to look nice. Not weigh a whole lot. I seriously dislike carrying my current laptop around. I am using a ThinkPad, but will probably buy a MacBook Pro next. The competition is just too weak.)