Suppressing The Concerns Over HDCP Content Protection For Intel's Linux DRM Driver

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 4 December 2017 at 06:01 PM EST. 68 Comments
Last week I wrote about a Google engineer working on HDCP content protection support for Intel's Direct Rendering Manager driver on Linux that is also obviously open-source. Understandably, that raised concerns by free software purists not wanting to potentially lock-down their system in any manner to playback protected content on their systems.

HDCP / content protection / Digital Rights Management remains a very polarized topic for Linux users as can be seen by looking at the 65+ comments to last week's article about the Intel i915 Direct Rendering Manager driver bits for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection.

One user and developer concerned about the possibility of HDCP restricting their rights had inquired on the Intel graphics mailing list. A. Wilcox was seeking to have a Kconfig switch for this HDCP code so it wouldn't even be compiled into their distribution's kernel.

But it doesn't look like that Kconfig build switch will happen since from the Intel DRM driver side, the HDCP code is just one part of the puzzle and doesn't restrict the system's potential on its own. Daniel Vetter noted, that the patches don't enforce anything without the rest of a HDCP implementation and the code doesn't run by default at all unless a DRM property is set, as such users shouldn't have much to worry about with restricting their Linux systems.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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