The holy-grail of DRM is absolute ubiquity. That is, every device capable of playing the DRM'd content is fully capable of detecting the person playing the content, and can thus transparently authenticate the content without any real knowledge by the person using it. Or, from the user's perspective, they can put the content on any device that can execute it without restriction.
The holy grail and the Achilles' heel. It's a single point of failure: If whoever is in charge of the DRM stops supporting it, you're left with a lot of useless content and software.
In addition, that level of transparency has never been shown to be feasible. It would require a level of market saturation close to 100% - it would have to rival iTunes. That's simply not realistic.
In addition, DRM tends to ignore laws and is often very inflexible. What happens when the copyright expires? What happens if the customer's computer is destroyed and the customer has to buy a new one? What happens if the developers go bankrupt? What happens if the nation decides to change copyright laws?
And of course, what about compatibility with legacy devices that were created before the DRM? New hardware is needed for future DRM - will customers be punished for having incompatible devices?
. . . and you can you make absolutely sure it's ubiquitous? How do you convince everybody to adopt it? What about people who are philisophically against DRM? How about people who want to treat products as ownership rather than licensing? How do you handle all of the IP laws of different countries? What if a significant nation decides it doesn't want DRM?
. . . and don't forget the technological barriers! The current PC architecture is a very open architecture - there's very little memory protection on PCs. Effective DRM will require decryption, and both the decryption routine and the decrypted data will need some type of protection. If you can't protect the decryption code and the decrypted data, you have little hope of thwarting hackers. Right now, DRM doesn't just not work - it can't work because of the way PCs work.
And of course the question that really needs an answer - how many customers really want DRM? Who is demanding it? Is it really a win-win situation, or are the creators of DRM simply fooling themselves?
Or, from the user's perspective, they can put the content on any device that can execute it without restriction.
If it's without restriction, why bother with the DRM in the first place?
At the same time, if Valve needs a competitor, I'd rather it not be Impulse. I mean, let's face facts here: Impluse is not a difficult program to write and maintain. These are solved problems; websites do this stuff all the time. Yet SD has made significant mistakes in their implementation of this system.
Problem is, websites aren't centeralized in any way, and they don't perform automatic updates on the software the user downloads. They're also extremely limited without plugins.
Sure, version 1 of Steam had lots of problems too. But this isn't 2004 anymore; StarDock needs to be doing it better than the competition. Everything about how Impluse has been implemented suggests to me that it is something that was rushed, lacks clear vision, and is ultimately not a good product. It is simply not a well-executed product.
Feel free to share what you believe are shortcomings with the product.
Technically, you are not "running" Steam; it runs itself. It's just a start-up process that's always there.
Strange. I swear I had to go to the website and download, install, and run it. I didn't wake up one day and there it was.
. . . and oh, yeah - Steam starting when the computer boots is totally optional. An option I happen to have turned off.
. . . and technically, you never run any program if you really want to be that literal about the wording. The operating system loads and runs all software.