Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Jan 2012 16:20 UTC, submitted by moondevil
Windows And so the war on general computing continues. Were you looking forward to ARM laptops and maybe even desktops now that Windows 8 will also be released for ARM? I personally was, because I'd much rather have a thin, but fast and economical machine than a beastly Intel PC. Sadly, it turns out that all our fears regarding UEFI's Secure Boot feature were justified: Microsoft prohibits OEMs from allowing you to install anything other than Windows 8 on ARM devices (the Software Freedom Law Center has more).
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RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by Alfman on Sat 14th Jan 2012 07:20 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

Adding to your lists:

Fact: Vendor locks restrict choice (that's the whole point of them)

Fact: The "designed for windows 8" computers would run alternate operating systems fine if not for the microsoft imposed restrictions.

Fact: The more vendors that lock hardware, the smaller the set of users who have the ability to try alternate operating systems on their hardware.

Fact: Independent development projects traditionally start out running on existing off the shelf hardware. When it is locked, it raises the bar to entry, creates fragmentation, and limits market potential.

Fact: Users who must buy (and tote) multiple devices to try out alternate operating systems will be less inclined to do so.

Fact: Locked devices prevent users from recycling/re-provisioning them when the manufacturer drops support.

Fact: Secure boot doesn't protect from operating system vulnerabilities.

Fact: Microsoft made dishonest statements regarding forcing OEMs to lock devices.

Fact: Once these devices hit the market, there will be no way within the UEFI spec to unlock just one device without compromising all of the other devices sharing the same platform keys.

Edited 2012-01-14 07:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 14th Jan 2012 08:11 in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Fact: Vendor locks restrict choice (that's the whole point of them)

Not exactly. It only restricts choice as pertaining to specific hardware (configurations). Companies do this to protect their interests, and it's completely within their legal right to do so.

Fact: The "designed for windows 8" computers would run alternate operating systems fine if not for the microsoft imposed restrictions.

Both incorrect and completely irrelevant. Any potential restrictions are imposed by the hardware vendor, not Microsoft. And as stated previously, companies have the legal right to protect their interests.

Fact: The more vendors that lock hardware, the smaller the set of users who have the ability to try alternate operating systems on their hardware.

Users still have several other options, all easily accessible. So while this may technically be correct, it has little real world impact.

Fact: Independent development projects traditionally start out running on existing off the shelf hardware. When it is locked, it raises the bar to entry, creates fragmentation, and limits market potential.

The moment "Designed for Windows 8" hardware hits the shelves, all the other hardware doesn't magically disappear. The existence of "Designed for Windows 8" hardware absolutely has no impact on the above.

Fact: Users who must buy (and tote) multiple devices to try out alternate operating systems will be less inclined to do so.

Generally, I agree. However, if a user wants to be able to try multiple operating systems on the same hardware, then that user should NOT purchase "Designed for Windows 8" hardware. If they do, they absolutely should not expect to use it in a way other than intended by the maker.

Fact: Locked devices prevent users from recycling/re-provisioning them when the manufacturer drops support.

In theory, yes. In practice, no.

Fact: Secure boot doesn't protect from operating system vulnerabilities.

False. Secure boot does in fact protect an operating system. The only debatable aspect is the level of protection it offers.

Fact: Microsoft made dishonest statements regarding forcing OEMs to lock devices.

False. Microsoft has not forced anyone into anything. Vendors choose to agree or disagree to Microsoft's licensing. Further, there's no proof anything Microsoft has said was dishonest at the time.

Fact: Once these devices hit the market, there will be no way within the UEFI spec to unlock just one device without compromising all of the other devices sharing the same platform keys.

Possibly true but no proof as of yet.

The only problem "Designed for Windows 8" hardware introduces is potentially restricting a users ability to use the hardware outside of its intent. If the users needs extend beyond what "Designed for Windows 8" offers, the user should NOT purchase "Designed for Windows 8" hardware. Instead, the user should elect one of the several other options available. There's simply no getting around this fact.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by bigdog on Sat 14th Jan 2012 08:29 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
bigdog Member since:
2011-07-06

As far as I can see you take a legal approach. Now back to the real world.

Since Microsoft is so dominant on the desktop, no producer in his right state of mind would produce anything other than "Designed for Windows 8" hardware.

So effectively, and not legally, all other os will have become useless.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by Alfman on Sat 14th Jan 2012 08:50 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

"Companies do this to protect their interests, and it's completely within their legal right to do so."

I didn't say it was illegal, I said it prohibits consumer choice.



"Both incorrect and completely irrelevant. Any potential restrictions are imposed by the hardware vendor, not Microsoft."

Please re-read the article then. The restriction is being imposed by microsoft specifically. And secondly, it's an artificial restriction prohibiting software which would otherwise work.



"So while this may technically be correct, it has little real world impact."

For you maybe, but not for users/promoters of alternative operating systems.



"The moment 'Designed for Windows 8' hardware hits the shelves, all the other hardware doesn't magically disappear."

The hardware isn't actually "designed for windows 8", that's a marketing slogan. Under the hood the hardware is virtually identical to unlocked devices in all ways except the firmware boot restrictions. In any case your point doesn't contradict mine.


"Generally, I agree. However, if a user wants to be able to try multiple operating systems on the same hardware, then that user should NOT purchase 'Designed for Windows 8' hardware."

Regardless of what users should or should not do, the requirement to buy/carry separate devices at the same time will undeniably give mainstream platforms a huge advantage over independent platforms. Both users and devs who would be willing to participate in early development through the use of dual booting will be put off that they cannot. This barrier will hurt alternative project membership.


"In theory, yes. In practice, no."

Are you saying secure boot will be broken? Or are you saying that manufacturers will not drop support?


"False. Secure boot does in fact protect an operating system. The only debatable aspect is the level of protection it offers. "

As I said, it won't protect operating system level vulnerabilities. The only new piece of protection not previously possible is making sure the bootloader is signed.

"False. Microsoft has not forced anyone into anything. Vendors choose to agree or disagree to Microsoft's licensing. Further, there's no proof anything Microsoft has said was dishonest at the time."

Re-read the article and complain to it's author if you disagree, not me.


"Possibly true but no proof as of yet."

The spec is published, it's not speculation.

Reply Parent Score: 5