EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.08.11

Windows Killer Feature: It Kills GNU/Linux Partitioning

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serial killer

Summary: Microsoft uses system updates in Windows to eliminate access to one’s GNU/Linux partition/s, despite repeated complaints from users

VISTA 7, despite all the vacuous marketing, is no different than its predecessors when it comes to anti-competitiveness. In many ways, it is a lot worse. Microsoft is not only preventing OEMs from offering GNU/Linux as an option, but it is also destroying GNU/Linux partitions that exist outside the Windows one. Microsoft has done this type of thing for decades as we explained in posts such as:

Jamie Watson explains that Microsoft is still doing this, even with system updates in an age of a mythical ‘new Microsoft’. Jamie is rightly upset because he needs to spend time wrestling with what most people would not even know how to resolve. “Windows 7 Declares War on GRUB” is his headline and the level of Microsoft’s intrusion is inexcusable:

Windows then informed me that it had another “Important Update” to install, so I let it do that, rebooted, and it seemed ok. But of course, this being Windows we have to stick to the absolute, inviolable Microsoft philosophy – “Why do it simple when you can do it complicated?”. Shortly after rebooting from that update installation, it informed me that it had even more “Important Updates” to install, including Windows 7 SP1. Sigh. So I let it do that… of course, it slogged around for an hour or so downloading and trying to install the update(s), before it finally informed me that the installation had failed, please reboot.

Here we go again… I tried to reboot, and Windows Update had scribbled on the MBR again. ARRRGGGGHHHH! Boot openSuSE Live USB, repair GRUB, boot openSuSE from disk, all is well. Boot Windows, it thrashes around in “Phase 3″ for a while again, then seems to be ok, but when I tried to reboot after that, GRUB was corrupted again. ARRRGGGHHH! At this point I was ready to just give up, go to the class next week and tell them that I am not interested in training on a stupid, broken, unreliable, uncooperative tinker-toy operating system. But I am too stubborn for that, I’m afraid. So now I am doing a “factory restore” on the dm1, and then I will go through all of the Windows Update installations before installing Linux and GRUB on it. If it still fails after that, I will print out the quote above and hand it to the instructor on Monday. Sigh.

So, there you have it. What’s going on? Has Microsoft simply decided that they won’t tolerate GRUB, or anything other than their own crummy bootloader? Or are they just so stupid and narrow-sighted that they don’t care, and don’t bother checking before they start scribbling on the disk in the place where they assume their bootloader should be? Or are they so incompetent that this is all just another ridiculous Microsoft “bug”, and if I sit tight and wait for the next “patch Tuesday” or whatever, it might go away?

Where are the antitrust regulators? According to some new statistics, the market share of GNU/Linux on the desktop keeps growing. Microsoft must not be allowed to pull the above tricks.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

9 Comments

  1. saulgoode said,

    May 8, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Gravatar

    I do not think there is enough basis for an anti-trust intervention.

    My understanding is that there is a small amount of space residing on a boot disk between the MBR and the first partition. The PC BIOS specification does not establish how this space (the “MBR gap”) should be used. GRUB, if installed to the MBR, will use the MBR gap space for storing its Stage 1.5 code and it is possible that the problem Mr Watson encountered is owing to the Windows update placing its own data in the space and corrupting the GRUB code.

    If such is the case, Microsoft could claim to be merely abiding by the specification and that they have just as much a right to that MBR gap space as GRUB. At least that would be the legal argument.

    Though it is always risky to rely upon unspecified behavior from a standard (even a de facto one), from a technical standpoint, my view would be that the MBR gap space should be controlled by whatever boot code is in the MBR; if Microsoft’s NTLOADER is used then MS should regulate the gap space, if GRUB is installed then it should control the gap space.

    It is extremely poor practice on Microsoft’s part to ignore the possibility that their customers may wish alternative code to control the boot process, but it is not necessarily contrary to the PC BIOS specifications (notably, the GRUB installer takes the more friendly approach of issuing a warning and aborting installation if it detects the MBR gap space is already in use).

    Whether because of incompetence, apathy, or actual malice, Microsoft’s lack of consideration of its customers provides sound reason to reject Windows, but it does not necessarily meet the legal threshold of abusing their monopoly.

    twitter Reply:

    Given Microsoft’s prior convictions as a coercive monopoly and proven history of MBR malice, we must conclude that Microsoft’s actions in this case are malicious. There’s more than enough grounds for anti-trust enforcement and every gnu/linux desktop distribution should complain. Red Hat, Canonical, Mepis and many others will be irrevocably harmed by this and society should not wait for private lawsuits to fix it. Notice that this is happening the month of shutdown for the last anti-trust oversight shutdown?

    Users should not wait for government relief. The best solution is to dump and ignore Windows, especially the new versions which don’t have a real presence on corporate networks. Time wasted on Windows is time not spent learning how to get the job done with free software.

    An immediate technical relief for Mr. Watson would be to run Windows 7 in Virtual Box or use disk swapping. Chances are that Windows 7 has hooks to detect it is being run in a Virtual machine and will abort, so disk swapping is probably the only option for people who must use Windows.

    I’d rather scrub toilets for a living than support an abusive monopoly with my time and effort but the choice is rarely that stark. The more we use free software, the less people will be abused.

    Needs Sunlight Reply:

    M$ has been aware of the bootloader or a long time:

    http://www.birdhouse.org/beos/byte/30-bootloader/

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In Microsoft’s eyes it must be a feature, not a bug.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    IIRC, it was Microsoft’s Bill Hilf who blamed this on technical difficulties. So I guess what one GRUB developer can do a 85,000-employee company cannot.

  2. assemblerhead said,

    May 8, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Gravatar

    This has been a problem for a long time.

    My desktop has two HD’s sitting next to it. One boots Win32, the other Linux. Which drive is hooked up depends on what I am doing.

    This is the only way I have been able to get around this.
    (Besides, when Windoze crashes you don’t have to format or risk the Linux drive / partitions in the reinstall.)

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft is not even trying to address the issue. That’s the problem.

    assemblerhead Reply:

    Agreed.

    They think the problem belongs to somebody else.

    They probably didn’t bother to check for the new BIOS/UEFI LBA translation either. For people with the newest machines and 3TB+ size HDs. The DOS/Win MBR won’t work correctly on those. (Linux does!)

    Remember Kerberos and how M$ did its implementation of that? Could be more of the same …

    twitter Reply:

    It’s more like they think they’ve created a problem for someone else. They have but these problems they create have a tendency to blow back on them. People conclude that Windows is malware and dump it.

What Else is New


  1. Injunction Against Battistelli's Investigative Unit (Known Internally as 'Gestapo') Amid Serious Injustices and Bogus 'Trials'

    SUEPO, the EPO's staff union, steps up its spiel in a case against the "European Patent Organization" as defendant and "SUEPO/VEOB" (Trade Union of the European Patent Office) as claimants



  2. [ES] Con la UPC Muerta por el Resto del Termino de Battistelli, No Hay Razón para que la EPO o el Consejo Administrativo Sigan Manteniéndolo Más

    Pensamientos acerca de lo que pasará al líderazgo de la EPO después de ‘Brexit’ (salida Británica de la EU), lo que sevéramente socava el proyecto más grande de Battistelli el que usaba habituálmente para justificar sus increíbles abusos



  3. [ES] El Caradura Benoît Battistelli Debería Renunciar a Luz de la Filtrada Nueva Decisión en Su Vendeta en Contra de un Juez que se Atrevió a Decir la Verdad (Actualizado)

    Benoît Battistelli continúa quebrando las propias reglas de la EPO, no sólo las leyes naciónales, como una nueva decisión ayuda a revelar



  4. [ES] Cada Vez Más Parece Que Battistelli está Escondiéndo ‘Evidencia’ Falsa y/o Ilegalmente Obtenda de la Unidad Investigativa de la EPO

    El porqué creemos que Benoît Battistelli está cada vez mas desesperado de esconder operaciónes ilícitas de reunir ´evidencia´ lo que eventuálment lo puso a él mismo — no al acusado — en una situación catastrófica situacion que lo puede forzar (esperamos) a us renuncia



  5. Links 28/6/2016: Vista 10 Updategate, OpenMandriva 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  6. Links 27/6/2016: Linux 4.7 RC 5, OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  7. From Alleged Organised Crime to Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Željko Topić's situation in Croatia illuminated by means of recent documents from the authorities



  8. Battistelli May Still be on the Way Out as Pressure Grows in Germany, UPC in Shambles

    Pressure on Battistelli is growing even from within circles that are traditionally protective of him and a long letter is sent to Dr. Christoph Ernst, who some believe will replace Battistelli



  9. Caricature: European Patent Office (EPO) Under Battistelli

    The latest caricature about the state of the European Patent Office (EPO)



  10. Techrights (Almost) at 10: From Software Patents to Novell and to Present Focus on EPO

    A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe



  11. Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

    A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced at the moment



  12. Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

    Links for the day



  13. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  14. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  15. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  16. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  17. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  18. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  19. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  20. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  21. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  22. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  23. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  24. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  25. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  26. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  27. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  28. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  29. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands



  30. As Alice Turns Two, Bilski Blog Says 36,000 (Software) Patent Applications Have Been Rejected Thanks to It

    A look back at the legacy of Alice v CLS Bank and how it contributed to the demise of software patents in the United States, the birthplace of software patents


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts