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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EasyBCD, Chain-Loading
by dosende on Thu 22nd Sep 2011 12:55 UTC
dosende
Member since:
2011-05-27

Is it maybe possible to chain-load other operating systems via's Microsoft's own UEFI boot loader? When multiple versions of Windows are installed on the same machine, they share one UEFI boot entry, then their own boot loader allows you to choose between versions of Windows, just as one install of GRUB can be configured to boot many operating systems.

For MBR/BIOS systems, Microsoft's loader has been configured to load a number of operating systems other than Windows (look to EasyBCD). But I think that just chain-loads other boot loaders like GRUB. If Microsoft's loader still uses UEFI's boot services, then chain-loading will be just as difficult/impossible as loading directly.

If we put aside user lock-in and think about it as a security issue, then the possibility of booting alternative operating systems with Microsoft's own boot loader seems unlikely (it'd be easier to attack a user by reconfiguring their loader from within Windows).

If this is implemented as expected, the only way I see installing Linux is if we somehow make Linux mimic Windows because Microsoft's boot loader will be the only one available.

I don't know. I have a similar feelings as the article's author. I'm worried but not panicked. These things tend to work out. Worst-case scenario, retail PCs with Windows pre-installed will be locked-in to Windows. The enthusiast community will still be able to be their own machines.

For my open-source/fun computing needs, I'm thinking about switching to something like Trim-Slice or a PandaBoard. As ARM continues its journey towards competing with x86, more stuff like this will become available and viable desktop replacements. But, yes, the days of renewing the life of old Windows machines with a free operating system might be numbered.

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