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Do You Trust Your Apple?

If you've kept up with Apple's recent announcements about moving from IBM's Power PC chipset to Intel Pentium chips by early 2007 and you're concerned about what the switchover will mean for you, there's much more to worry about than you thought. So much so, I suspect you'll be hearing more about this breaking story in the weeks to come about the new Intel Mac OS.

Seems people working with early versions of the next Intel-based Mac OS X operating system have discovered that Apple's new kernel makes use of Intel's Trusted Computing hardware. Although Trusted Computing claim their hardware is merely used to prevent the unauthorized sharing of music among users, some of its developers claim that's not it's true purpose.

Fact is, Trusted Computing could make it nearly impossible to open a document in a computer other than the one that wrote it in the first place, unless the application vendor authorizes it. So, for example, that letter you write in future versions of AppleWorks on Intel-powered Macs may not be readable on Microsoft Word, either on a PC or Mac. An application can write documents in "open formats" but use Trusted Computing to prevent competing applications from reading them. And, even worse, if you make a switch from AppleWorks to Microsoft Word, none of the documents you wrote yesterday in AppleWorks could be read on your new word processor today.

Apple may never implement this completely unnecessary "solution" in their own apps, although it'll be a total surprise to me if it isn't used in iTunes and its DVD player.

So, do you want computer makers or any other entity to take away your freedom of choice?

BoingBoing July 31, 2005

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