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Son of CPRM fails ATA committee vote

Will it be driven underground?

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The proposal dubbed 'Son of CPRM' has failed to make it into the ATA hard drive specification. The results of a postal vote are published today. The T.13 committee actually voted 8:7 in favour of including Curtis Stevens' 'Proposal to Support Generic Functionality' [19kb, PDF] with three formal abstentions. But the vote failed to make the required two-thirds majority of eligible organisations, four of which failed to vote.

The roll call is as follows:

Representatives from IBM, Toshiba (4C members), Hitachi, Iomega, Microsoft, Phoenix, Absolute Software, and Circuit Assembly voted aye. Apple, Adaptec, ST Micro, Western Digital, Maxtor, LSI Logic, and independent consultant Hale Landis voted no. Fujitsu, Marvell and Qlogic formally abstained. And CMD, Pacific Digital and Dell must have got lost on the way to the post office, or the cat ate the forms: they didn't register a vote or a formal absention.

Of course, Curtis Stevens' proposal doesn't say anything about CPRM as such, and has divided opinion among copyright control watchers. The EFF's John Gilmore sees it as a smokescreen for CPRM, a view encouraged by the simultaneous withdrawal of CPRM at the last T.13 meeting in February.

On the other hand, Linux IDE guy Andre Hedrick, who sits on the T.13 committee but was ineligible to vote because of a job-change, argues that campaigners could be driving CPRM underground into the many private, secret vendor unique command sets.

"Control over a technology is more important than it existing," he told The Register in February. "If you know it's there, you're empowered."

Whether Hedrick goes nuclear, and releases his command parser, remains to be seen. The parser will bounce all undocumented, vendor commands it encounters, including many used to give vendors performance advantages. ®

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