Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Sep 2011 22:22 UTC, submitted by kragil
Windows The story about how secure boot for Windows 8, part of UEFI, will hinder the use of non-signed binaries and operating systems, like Linux, has registered at Redmond as well. The company posted about it on the Building Windows 8 blog - but didn't take any of the worries away. In fact, Red Hat's Matthew Garrett, who originally broke this story, has some more information - worst of which is that Red Hat has received confirmation from hardware vendors that some of them will not allow you to disable secure boot.
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RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Alfman on Sat 24th Sep 2011 05:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Member since:


"It's not like MS has a monopoly on the desktop either, when you consider that it competes with OSX, as well as smartphones and tablets these days."

Semantically, it depends on the definition you choose to use for monopoly. While there's no market share breakdown which is universally agreed upon, individual markets do define what it means to legally be a monopoly.

In the UK, I've read that's it is a 25% market share. In the US 50% qualifies as a monopoly. A "pure monopoly" would be 100%, but I'm not really sure whether any company in modern history has ever had 100% market share. It terms of what matters here, microsoft is monopoly which can be subjected to anti-trust law.

"will eventually figure out a way to 'root' their PCs (or just buy one unlocked)"

This is presumptuous. I believe the bios has always been more secure than the OS, even if only because it's much less complex. It's not like users can run software within the bios to exploit a privilege escalation attack. The bios is a few dozen menus with static options, how likely is it that pounding on any of the computers's external IO ports will manage to jailbreak the bios?

Even if we can, we'd have to reflash the bios for the hack to be persistent. This is possible but every single motherboard would need a custom hack in order remain jailbroken. Also, there's a serious risk of bricking the motherboard this way.

"98% of the population won't give a shit. I'm not saying this is a good thing, but that's just the way it's going to be."

I think people do mind anti-features like DRM, vendor lock in, and application restricts, but they just not informed about these things until it bites them. An iphone user once asked me if I could write him a simple app, and wasn't even aware that his device was forcefully locked to the apple store, and that he or I would have to enroll as a commercial apple developer before we could write software for his iphone. Strangely enough, even though he owned the iphone, he never knew that he was tethered to apple without hacking into his phone.

But I think your conclusion is fair, people will buy into microsoft locked devices just as they bought into apple locked ones. For us, that means we can no longer buy any random new/used computer and expect it to run under linux anymore. And we may no longer be able to recover windows machines with knoppix rescue disks and the like.

Edited 2011-09-24 05:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by Luminair
by WorknMan on Sat 24th Sep 2011 17:56 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Luminair"
WorknMan Member since:

Even if we can, we'd have to reflash the bios for the hack to be persistent. This is possible but every single motherboard would need a custom hack in order remain jailbroken. Also, there's a serious risk of bricking the motherboard this way.

Right, which is why I said they'll either find a way to unlock it, OR just buy a motherboard that's already unlocked. Since there are mobos that are friendly to overclockers (who are definitely a niche group), I have no doubt that there will be manufacturers selling unlocked boards as well.

As for the mainstream, it's pretty much all over. As you said, they would only care about these restrictions if it happens to bite them, but for the majority of the population, it's not going to. So if things go as projected, we're just gonna have to choose our PCs/laptops carefully, because there probably are not enough enthusiasts out there to make a big enough stink about this for most major PC vendors to care.

Edited 2011-09-24 17:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Sat 24th Sep 2011 21:08 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:

By the time your dire predictions come true, we'll be talking about android laptops sitting next to windows laptops in stores. ARM android, ARM windows.

At that point, there will be a viable alternative operating system to Windows. Sold in stores, next to Windows. Using the same hardware. And the question will be: Can you change the operating system on your computer?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Luminair
by trev on Mon 26th Sep 2011 17:46 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Luminair"
trev Member since:

I'm curious to see how this effects the corporate environment where they often like to make a wholesale shift from say Win7 to Win8. Basically, buying win 8 hardware they won't be able to load Win 7 on. Going to make migration and desktop management even more of a nightmare than it currently is with Windows. So glad I work in the server/network environment and don't need to bother with this any more. I actually like to see MS make themselves more and more of a pain to use. Eventually people should reach a point of frustration where they throw up their hands and say enough. I really hope the hardware vendors dive all in and choke on this colossally bad idea. Let the support costs / returns explode for Win8 certified hardware and see if the OEMs are willing to choke down the MS garbage next time.

When the users and IT depts finally have had enough and throw up their hands we'll get more variety in the desktop market. Vista was a godsend for Apple and Linux on the desktop, this could just be part two of that saga.

Reply Parent Score: 1