Mozilla Firefox to Implement Adobe DRM for Video

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 06:56 PM |
Tagged: ultraviolet, mozilla, DRM, Adobe Access, Adobe

Needless to say, DRM is a controversial topic and I am clearly against it. I do not blame Mozilla. The non-profit organization responsible for Firefox knew that they could not oppose Chrome, IE, and Safari while being a consumer software provider. I do not even blame Apple, Google, and Microsoft for their decisions, either. This problem is much bigger and it comes down to a total misunderstanding of basic mathematics (albeit at a ridiculously abstract and applied level).

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Simply put, piracy figures are meaningless. They are a measure of how many people use content without paying (assuming they are even accurate). You know what is more useful? Sales figures. Piracy figures are measurements, dependent variables, and so is revenue. Measurements cannot influence other measurements. Specifically, measurements cannot influence anything because they are, themselves, the result of influences. That is what "a measure" is.

Implementing DRM is not a measurement, however. It is a controllable action whose influence can be recorded. If you implement DRM and your sales go down, it hurt you. You may notice piracy figures decline. However, you should be too busy to care because you should be spending your time trying to undo the damage you did to your sales! Why are you looking at piracy figures when you're bleeding money?

I have yet to see a DRM implementation that correlated with an increase in sales. I have, however, seen some which correlate to a massive decrease.

The thing is, Netflix might know that and I am pretty sure that some of the web browser companies know that. They do not necessarily want to implement DRM. What they want is content and, surprise, the people who are in charge of the content are definitely not enlightened to that logic. I am not even sure if they realize that the reason why content is pirated before their release dates is because they are not leaked by end users.

But whatever. Technical companies, who want that content available on their products, are stuck finding a way to appease those content companies in a way that damages their users and shrinks their potential market the least. For Mozilla, this means keeping as much open as possible.

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Since they do not have existing relationships with Hollywood, Adobe Access will be the actual method of displaying the video. They are clear to note that this only applies to video. They believe their existing relationships in text, images, and games will prevent the disease from spreading. This is basically a plug-in architecture with a sandbox that is open source and as strict as possible.

This sandbox is intended to prevent a security vulnerability from having access to the host system, give a method of controlling the DRM's performance if it hitches, and not allow the DRM to query the machine for authentication. The last part is something they wanted to highlight, because it shows their effort to protect the privacy of their users. They also imply a method for users to opt-out but did not go into specifics.

As an aside, Adobe will support their Access DRM software on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Mozilla is pushing hard for Android and Firefox OS, too. According to Adobe, Access DRM is certified for use with Ultraviolet content.

I accept Mozilla's decision to join everyone else but I am sad that it came to this. I can think of only two reasons for including DRM: for legal (felony) "protection" under the DMCA or to make content companies feel better while they slowly sink their own ships chasing after numbers which have nothing to do with profits or revenue.

Ultimately, though, they made a compromise. That is always how we stumble and fall down slippery slopes. I am disappointed but I cannot suggest a better option.

Source: Mozilla

NAB 2014: Intel Iris Pro Support in Adobe Creative Cloud (CC)

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | April 8, 2014 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: Intel, NAB, NAB 14, iris pro, Adobe, premiere pro, Adobe CC

When Adobe started to GPU-accelerate their applications beyond OpenGL, it started with NVIDIA and its CUDA platform. After some period of time, they started to integrate OpenCL support and bring AMD into the fold. At first, it was limited to a couple of Apple laptops but has since expanded to include several GPUs on both OSX and Windows. Since then, Adobe switched to a subscription-based release system and has published updates on a more rapid schedule. The next update of Adobe Premiere Pro CC will bring OpenCL to Intel Iris Pro iGPUs.

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Of course, they specifically mentioned Adobe Premiere Pro CC which suggests that Photoshop CC users might be coming later. The press release does suggest that the update will affect both Mac and Windows versions of Adobe Premiere Pro CC, however, so at least platforms will not be divided. Well, that is, if you find a Windows machine with Iris Pro graphics. They do exist...

A release date has not been announced for this software upgrade.

Source: Intel

NitroWare Tests AMD's Photoshop OpenCL Claims

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | February 4, 2014 - 11:08 PM |
Tagged: photoshop, opencl, Adobe

Adobe has recently enhanced Photoshop CC to accelerate certain filters via OpenCL. AMD contacted NitroWare with this information and claims of 11-fold performance increases with "Smart Sharpen" on Kaveri, specifically. The computer hardware site decided to test these claims on a Radeon HD 7850 using the test metrics that AMD provided them.

Sure enough, he noticed a 16-fold gain in performance. Without OpenCL, the filter's loading bar was on screen for over ten seconds; with it enabled, there was no bar.

Dominic from NitroWare is careful to note that an HD 7850 is significantly higher performance than an APU (barring some weird scenario involving memory transfers or something). This might mark the beginning of Adobe's road to sensible heterogeneous computing outside of video transcoding. Of course, this will also be exciting for AMD. While they cannot keep up with Intel, thread per thread, they are still a heavyweight in terms of total performance. With Photoshop, people might actually notice it.

Podcast #256 - Mobile Frame Rating, NVIDIA licensing Kepler, Xbox One DRM and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2013 - 11:03 AM |
Tagged: video, podcast, 780m, frame rating, nvidia, kepler, xbox one, Adobe, CC, opencl

PC Perspective Podcast #256 - 06/20/2013

Join us this week as we discuss Mobile Frame Rating, NVIDIA licensing Kepler, Xbox One DRM and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:33:43

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:43:30 Ryan's summary of E3
      1. Oculus 1080p, Razer Blade, Monoprice, SHIELD
  3. 1:22:00 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Swiss-Tech Keychain Tools
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

Adobe pulls a Microsoft 180

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2013 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: Adobe, oops, SaaS

The initial outcry from users of Adobe's Creative Suite because of their move to providing only Software as a Service was mostly ignored by Adobe.   The 10% decline in sales and 66.8% decline in profit for Q2 of this year compared to last year is a little harder to ignore however and shows just how upset Adobe's customers were with this decision.  The Register reports that most customers were upset by the licensing fees which essentially force them to constantly pay Adobe instead of purchasing a product as a one time expense and skipping a few generations of software before purchasing a new Creative Suite.  The solution Adobe has offered is to perpetually sell and support the last boxed edition, Creative Suite 6 ... and there was some rejoicing.

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"Adobe dropped the D-bomb during a Q2 conference call with analysts after admitting some customers are "disappointed" it decided to murder future copies of its boxed Creative Suite.

Clearly top brass at the company were living in er…cloud cuckoo land when they revealed last month that future Creative Suite versions would only be web-based, a move that went down badly with some channel partners and their customers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Manufacturer: Adobe

OpenCL Support in a Meaningful Way

Adobe had OpenCL support since last year. You would never benefit from its inclusion unless you ran one of two AMD mobility chips under Mac OSX Lion, but it was there. Creative Cloud, predictably, furthers this trend with additional GPGPU support for applications like Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

This leads to some interesting points:

  • How OpenCL is changing the landscape between Intel and AMD
  • What GPU support is curiously absent from Adobe CC for one reason or another
  • Which GPUs are supported despite not... existing, officially.

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This should be very big news for our readers who do production work whether professional or for a hobby. If not, how about a little information about certain GPUs that are designed to compete with the GeForce 700-series?

Read on for our thoughts, after the break.

AMD and Adobe Show OpenCL Support for next version of Adobe Premiere Pro

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 5, 2013 - 08:48 AM |
Tagged: premiere pro, opencl, firepro, amd, Adobe

As we prepare for the NAB show (National Association of Broadcasters) this week, AMD and Adobe have released a fairly substantial news release concerning the future of Premiere Pro, Adobe's flagship professional video editing suite. 

Earlier today Adobe revealed some of its next generation professional video and audio products, including the next version of Adobe® Premiere Pro. Basically Adobe is giving users a sneak peek at the new features coming to the next versions of its software. And we’ve decided to give you a sneak peek too, providing a look at how the next version of Premiere Pro performs when accelerated by AMD FirePro™ 3D workstation graphics and OpenCL™ versus Nvidia Quadro workstation graphics and CUDA.

This will be the first time that OpenCL is used as the primary rendering engine for Premiere and is something that AMD has been hoping to see for many years.  Previous versions of the software integrated support for NVIDIA's CUDA GPGPU programming models and the revolution of the Mercury Playback Engine was truly industry changing for video production.  However, because it was using CUDA, AMD users were left out of these performance improvements in favor of the proprietary NVIDIA software solution.

Adobe's next version of Premiere Pro (though we aren't told when that will be released) switches from CUDA to OpenCL and the performance of the AMD GCN architecture is being shown off by AMD today. 

Adobe-Premiere-OpenCL-vs-Cuda.png

Using 4K TIFF 24-bit sequence content, Microsoft Windows® 7 64-bit, Intel Xeon E5530 @ 2.40 GHZ and 12GB system memory, AMD compared several FirePro graphics cards (using OpenCL) against NVIDIA Quadro options (using CUDA).  Idealy we would like to see some OpenCL NVIDIA benchmarks as well, but I assume we'll have to wait to test that here at PC Perspective.

Adobe-Premiere-GPU-Utilization.png

AMD also claims that by utilizing OpenCL rather than CUDA, the AMD FirePro GPUs are running at a lower utilization, opening up more graphics processing power for other applications and development work.

While this performance testing is conducted on a pre-release version of the next Adobe Premiere Pro, we’re really pleased with the results. As with all of the professional applications we support, we’ll continue to make driver optimizations for Adobe Premiere Pro that can only help to improve the overall user experience and application performance. So if you’re considering a GPU upgrade as part of your transition to the next version of Adobe Premiere Pro, definitely consider taking a look at AMD FirePro™ 3D workstation graphics cards.

You can continue on to read the full press release from AMD and Adobe on the collaboration or check out the complete blog post posted on AMD.com.

Source: AMD

Javascript + Adobe; you got your exploit in my vulnerability ...

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2013 - 09:27 AM |
Tagged: Adobe, firefox, pdf, javascript, fud

What could possibly go wrong by combining two of malwares most favourite security holes into one?  With FoxIt recently sprouting leaks and Adobe's continual duct taping of it's Reader, reading PDFs online is a great way to catch something nasty. Then again, there is always malformed Javascript commands and links which are another very popular way to give your PC a cybernetically transmitted disease.  The new Firefox combines the two in their latest version, 19.0, which is currently in beta testing and it uses an open sourced Javascript add on to open PDFs online, which will likely improve the responsiveness and loading time of PDF links.  The real question won't be answered until use of this new add on becomes commonplace and we find out if the two combine into some a gaping new hole into your PC or if somehow mismatched vulnerabilities will combine to create an actual secure way to read PDFs.  Then again, maybe it will not introduce anything new at all.  More at The Register or grab the latest Firefox and try it yourself.

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"Mozilla's Firefox web browser now includes a built-in PDF viewer - allowing users to bin plugins from Adobe and other developers.

The move to run third-party PDF file readers out of town comes after security holes were discovered in closed-source add-ons from FoxIt and Adobe. The new built-in document viewer is open source, just like Firefox, and is written in JavaScript."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

CS6 OpenCL support -- not quite hardware acceleration for all

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 19, 2012 - 12:27 AM |
Tagged: Adobe, CS6, gpgpu

Last month, SemiAccurate reported that Adobe Creative Suite 6 would be programmed around OpenCL which would allow any GPU to accelerate your work. Adobe now claims that OpenCL would only accelerate the HD6750M and the HD6770M running on OSX Lion with 1GB of vRAM on a MacBook Pro at least for the time being at least for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Does it aggravate you when something takes a while or stutters when you know a part of your PC is just idle?

Adobe has been increasingly moving to take advantage of the graphics processor available in your computer to benefit the professional behind the keyboard, mouse, or tablet. CS 5.5 pushed several of their applications on to the CUDA platform. End-users claim that Adobe sold them out for NVIDIA but that just seems unlikely and unlike either company. My prediction is and always was more that NVIDIA parachuted in some engineers to Adobe and their help was limited to CUDA.

Creative Suite 6 further suggests that I was correct as Adobe has gone back and re-authored much of those features in OpenCL.

AdobeCSOpenCL.png

Isn't it somewhat ironic that insanity is a symptom of mercury poisoning?

AMD as a hatter!

CS6 will not execute on just any old GPU now despite the wider availability of OpenCL relative to the somewhat NVIDIA proprietary CUDA. While the CUDA whitelist currently extends to 22 Windows NVIDIA GPUs and 3 Mac OSX NVIDIA GPUs current OpenCL support is limited to a pair of AMD-based OSX Lion mobile GPUs: the 6750M and the 6770M.

It would not surprise me if other GPUs would accelerate CS6 if manually added to a whitelist. Adobe probably is very conservative with what components they add to the whitelist in an effort to reduce support costs. That does not mean that you will see benefits even if you trick Adobe into accepting hardware acceleration though.

It appears as if Adobe is working towards using the most open and broad standards -- they just are doing it at their own pace this time. This release was obviously paced for Apple support.

Source: Adobe

IOLO U-NO-LOL. Ed Bott not amused by system optimizer ad

Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2012 - 01:36 AM |
Tagged: IOLO, Adobe

A recent Adobe auto update included a poorly labeled advertisement for IOLO System Checkup. The ad urges you to purchase System Checkup by dramatizing mundane events on your PC to be remedied only by their paid product. The scan also fails to alert for issues which actually are serious and commonplace.

Adobe has been known to be slightly haphazard with using their update application for advertising purposes. If you are not ever vigilant it is possible that your computer could be gifted a trial of McAfee antivirus or something.

An advertisement for System Checkup by IOLO has recently been added to the site you are directed to after a manual update of Flash. Upon running the “Free PC Health Check” you are prompted to purchase the full product to fix the problems it finds. Ed Bott over at ZDNet takes exception with the advertisement.

IOLOL.png

At least it does not cripple your machine until you pay.

Ed Bott complains about the advertisement, and Adobe’s distribution of it, on two main grounds: the scanner urges you to fix things that do not need to be fixed allegedly to alarm you and it fails to warn you about things that you should be alarmed about.

Throughout the article, he runs the scanner a couple of times on a couple of setups and discusses the issues it claims to have found and points out what it should have detected but failed to.

First and foremost if software wishes to protect your PC from attack it should, at the very least, ensure that you are patched. On a completely unpatched machine, the scanner did not even try to warn the user to update their operating system.

Likewise, the application claimed that the user’s RAM required defragmentation. Most of our users should be aware of defragmenting, what it does, and why it is not useful for SSDs. Extrapolate that thought to RAM.

The moral of this story is to be absolutely careful about what you run on your PC. While the scanner itself is harmless outside of alarmism, there are plenty of others which are malicious. Even if you trust the site, it is possible that the website could have been compromised by an attack and forced to deliver you malicious content.

While, again, this situation is not malicious -- just feels annoying and grossly misleading -- it should be one more event to teach you that the only thing to keep your computing device safe and properly functioning is your constant vigilance.

Source: ZDNet