Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 21st Sep 2011 22:06 UTC, submitted by kragil
Windows After the walled garden coming to the desktop operating system world, we're currently witnessing another potential nail in the coffin of the relatively open world of desktop and laptop computing. Microsoft has revealed [.pptx] that as part of its Windows 8 logo program, OEMs must implement UEFI secure boot. This could potentially complicate the installation of other operating systems, like Windows 7, XP, and Linux.
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RE[3]: Comment by ronaldst
by lemur2 on Thu 22nd Sep 2011 03:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ronaldst"
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Hi, "Anti-user. QED.
Whether or not it's anti-user depends on who has the keys. If the owner of the computer (e.g. the end-user) has full control over which keys are installed, then it's a "pro-user" feature as it allows them to run any OS they like while also making it hard for things like boot-time rootkits and viruses; and may possibly even help to prevent theft (e.g. if your laptop gets stolen, then maybe nobody will be able to access your data without your password; even if they attempt to replace the OS). This is the best case scenario - a scenario where (for e.g.) Linux could also use secure boot to benefit the end user. If the owner of the computer (e.g. the end-user) doesn't have any control over which OSs are allowed and which aren't, then it's anti-user (and I'll be boycotting and recommending everyone else does too). It's worth pointing out that "UEFI Secure Boot" could be used either way - to benefit the owner/user, or in spite of the owner/user. I'm hoping it will be used in a good way (e.g. to avoid the need for a layer of "DeepSAFE" McAfee bloat) and not in a bad way. - Brendan "

My post made no claim if UEFI Secure Boot was or was not an "anti-user" feature.

The author of the lead article, kragil, introduced the term "anti-user" with these paragraphs:

"For now, it's hard to tell if this secure boot thing will be an option we can turn off, or if OEMs will - like they do with BIOS features all the damn time - disable the option of turning it off. In any case, I must say that I'm very, very worried that the horrible, anti-user situation of smartphones will permeate into the world of desktop and laptop computers.

The problem here is that governments the world over will be filled with glee over the fact that we would no longer be able to run the software of our choosing - at least, not easily. This means more control, something the, for instance, entertainment industry will love to death. I mean, someone has to think of the children.

I have a hard time believing the combined power of Apple and Microsoft - both strong supporters of these kinds of anti-user features - will not be able to convince and buy governments the world over into not doing anything about this.

It would appear that despite his extremist views over the years, Richard Stallman is more and more starting to look like a true visionary. The fact that he had the foresight to think about hypothetical issues like this decades ago is pretty remarkable."

My post was intended only to explain what was meant by the term "anti-user". It is not a term that "does not compute".

FWIW, I think the original article was actually a pretty decent clue as to what was meant by the term, and what was wrong (from a user's perspective) with UEFI secure boot, but there you go.

BTW, the whole concept of UEFI secure boot is defeated if ordinary users have keys. If ordinary users have keys, rootkit authors will have keys also.

Edited 2011-09-22 03:18 UTC

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