Short version: avoid Vista. Longer version: I wrote previously about Vista writing a new chapter in fair use:
Because, having killed fair use for multiple copies, believe it or
not, the media companies are attempting to kill fair use even for the
original media by the original buyer! I know this sounds crazy, but in
Windows Vista, media companies are given the opportunity to, in
software, study your system, and if they feel that your system is not
secure enough, they can downgrade the quality of the media you
purchased or simply refuse to have it play. In other words, you may
buy an HD DVD and find that the media refuses to play on your system,
not because you tried to copy it, but because it feels like your system
*might* be too open. The burden of proof is effect on the user to prove to the media companies that their system is piracy-proof before the media they paid for will play...
Back to the book
analogy, it's as if the book will not open and let itself be read unless
you can prove to the publisher that you are keeping the book in a
locked room so no one else will ever read it. And it is Microsoft who
has enabled this, by providing the the tools to do so in their
operating system. Remember the fallout from Sony putting spyware, err copy protection, in their CD's -- turns out that that event was just a dress rehearsal for Windows Vista.
Via Instapundit, Bruce Schneier concurs:
Windows Vista includes an array of "features" that you don't want.
These features will make your computer less reliable and less secure.
They'll make your computer less stable and run slower. They will cause
technical support problems. They may even require you to upgrade some
of your peripheral hardware and existing software. And these features
won't do anything useful. In fact, they're working against you. They're
digital rights management (DRM) features built into Vista at the behest
of the entertainment industry.
And you don't get to refuse them.
The details are pretty geeky, but basically
has reworked a lot of the core operating system to add copy protection
technology for new media formats like HD-DVD and Blu-ray disks. Certain
high-quality output paths--audio and video--are reserved for protected
peripheral devices. Sometimes output quality is artificially degraded;
sometimes output is prevented entirely. And Vista continuously spends
CPU time monitoring itself, trying to figure out if you're doing
something that it thinks you shouldn't. If it does, it limits
functionality and in extreme cases restarts just the video subsystem.
We still don't know the exact details of all this, and how far-reaching
it is, but it doesn't look good....
Unfortunately, we users are caught in the crossfire. We are not only
stuck with DRM systems that interfere with our legitimate fair-use
rights for the content we buy, we're stuck with DRM systems that
interfere with all of our computer use--even the uses that have nothing
to do with copyright....
In the meantime, the only advice I can offer you is to not upgrade
We have about 50 computers in the company and I have banned everyone from upgrading to Vista. I have studied Vista and there is nothing there that helps my business, and a lot that hurts it (e.g. higher initial price and much higher system requirements.) If we upgraded, we might have to replace half our old ink jet printers just because the manufacturers are really unlikely to write Vista drivers for them. We have 4 Dell's in the closet with XP loaded. After those are used up, I will build all the future computers myself. I have several OEM copies of XP on the shelf (less than 1/2 price of the Vista retail upgrade) and I will buy more if it looks like they are going to stop selling it. I would switch everyone to Linux, except most of my employees are not very computer savvy and its just too hard to get them all trained. I will probably only buy Vista for one box, which is my gaming machine at home, and even that is at least a year away before anyone has a killer DirectX 10 game I have to have.