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

11.01.11

Watch Out for Microsoft Spin and Daemonisations Over UEFI Misuses

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ed Bott

Summary: UEFI spin occupies part of the media as attempts are being made to describe GNU/Linux users — not Microsoft — as the offending party

THE SUBJECT of UEFI was covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and we provided antitrust material to show that, based on history, Microsoft does many such things deliberately in order to impede competition (while planning to market everything to the public as a “feature”, even DRM). Over the past few weeks, Microsoft boosters (with a proven history of sheer bias) have been trying to daemonise those who complain about UEFI and here is an example of a site that took the bait although it also wrote: “On that reading, Microsoft is spitting in the eye of their own customer base and it occurs to me that Microsoft’s secure boot would also prevent Windows users from using recovery and diagnostic software too (though frankly, I can’t muster much sympathy for people who pay for the privilege of being persistently shafted. They’re being digitally bitch slapped.) Even people who do not use GNU/Linux (or even proselytize for it) will have spotted straight away that European anti-trust laws forbids abuse of market dominance in one area to obtain it elsewhere. Already Linux Australia is considering petitioning the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the basis that it is anti-competitive. OEMs will be in the picture too if they lock down secure booting (even if under duress from Microsoft). Cartels aren’t popular. Or legal. It has even be mooted, that “hacking” the UEFI may even breach the DMCA.”

We also saw Ubuntu Forums trying to keep quiet in the face of people who raise concerns about this problem. A reader sent us links to show this. When people who argue in favour of GNU/Linux are supporting this “jail boot” scheme, they effectively argue for locked-down Linux and a major loss for software freedom, which is just what Microsoft might want (unintended achievement).

Over at Christine’s good site there is one among several claims that UEFI is already here:

Secure Boot Problems for Linux Users Are Here Already

More disturbing news on the UEFI/Secure Boot situation. Evidently, we don’t have to wait until the release of Windows 8 to find GRUB locked out of the boot sector on new computers. On Monday, Benjamin Kerensa reported on his blog that he’d received the following email regarded a failed attempt to install Linux on an HP PC:

“Recent articles regarding UEFI and Windows 8 suggest the problem of the former blocking Linux bootloader installation is a matter that will appear at the introduction of the latter. That is not the case. It is on Win 7 machines and blocking GRUB installation now.

“My friend recently got an HP s5-1110 with Win 7 installed. UEFI has prevented the installation of GRUB on this machine. I could find no way in the BIOS to disable the feature and so far, as I work my way up the HP tech support ladder, I have found no HP techs who have a clue what I’m talking about.”

Kerensa says that he’s looked further into this issue and has found that UEFI is already in use on some Dell and HP laptops. Evidently the folks over at Ubuntu are already aware of this problem and have posted some possible workarounds.

We need to make a lot of noise about this issue to convince the OEMs it would be to their advantage to take a position on this that doesn’t only benefit Microsoft.

We saw similar claims elsewhere, e.g. In Google+ (sent to us by readers). Microsoft boosters spin this in Ars Technica and in IDG (no links as that would feed them, but good ol' Microsoft Ed is one of them) while using the classic Microsoft talking points, also many quotes from Microsoft itself. This helps wash aside more balanced articles on the subject. Trying to live by Microsoft’s rules in the GNU/Linux world is not the solution, as we easily learn from past abuses with the MBR (we see Microsoft deliberately vandalising it, then speaking about it internally). Microsoft is again being allowed to get away with anti-competitive moves that it spins as “features”, just as it managed to get away with crimes related to Web browsers by agreeing to let other browsers be installed alongside its own (not instead of it). Here is a new article about this:

Microsoft abuse of dominant position

[...]

Certainly the software giant from Redmond, Washington, has invested huge capitals in research and development of desktop software, but it is quite arguable that that alone could justify such a prominence in the market. Network effects can lead a company to dominate over its competitors, especially when there is a time advantage in reaching a market (for instance, see [17]). However it is well documented that Microsoft Windows gained at least part of its overwhelming market share through unlawful practices.

Microsoft has been accused of abusing its dominant position multiple times, both in Europe and elsewhere, resulting in some of the highest fines ever handed out by any court[18]. In 1993-1994, following a complaint by Novell Inc., Microsoft was found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour by requiring manufacturers to pay a Windows license for each computer sold, regardless of whether or not it carried Windows on board[1]. In 1998 Sun Microsystems argued that Microsoft was not disclosing key information needed to achieve interoperability of Windows NT with concurrent systems and programs. Following this complaint, the EU further investigated the way in which streaming technologies were being integrated in Windows[14].

In 2003 the European Union ordered Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player bundled to it, so as to open the market to competing media player software. In 2004 the European Commission stated that Microsoft’s practise “constitutes by its nature a very serious infringement” of European Treaties and added a fine for €497.2 million[6]. Additional sentences followed this decision due to Microsoft appeals and to its limited compliance to the 2004 sentence. These led the EC to fine Microsoft for €280.5 million in 2006[7] and €899 million in 2008[12].

The article as a whole misses some of the key points which we covered a couple of years ago and that’s a shame. Free Software Magazine actually disappoints with some of these latest articles, but it is possible that the PR efforts from Microsoft had it deceived. There is too much junk posted on the Web as “news” and also a PR campaign going for extortion of Android, but that will be the subject of the next post.

“Never wrestle with a pig—you get dirty and the pig likes it”

Sometimes attributed to Abraham Lincoln

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

A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    November 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Gravatar

    Stop whining about UEFI. Yes, there is a risk with it assuming OEMs are stupid… but even Shuttleworth has noted it has benefits. I find it very hard to agree with you that Shuttleworth is a “Microsoft Booster”.

    You whine when MS does not support security. And here you whine when they do.

What Else is New


  1. Now is the Time to Sign the Petition Against the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    With only days left before the UPC is debated in English/British (and maybe Scottish) Parliament it's important to make public officials aware that there is resistance among those sufficiently informed



  2. Justice is Dead Not Only at the European Patent Office But Also the Whole European Patent Organisation

    The whole mechanism of justice at the EPO (notably separation of powers) is more or less defunct after Battistelli asserted God-like powers not just over the Office but the entire Organisation, including the above-mentioned Boards of Appeal



  3. IAM Just Can't Stop Pushing for Software Patents in India

    The shaming tactics against India, which come from many directions (notably front groups in the West), still try hard to convince Indians to shoot themselves in the foot and allow foreign companies to privatise algorithms



  4. More Hardware Companies Adopt Software Patents and Become Like Patent Trolls

    A glance at the 'trollisation' of large companies that are tempted by the prospects of patent bullying, even if it's known to be damaging to one's brand and a distraction from productive activities



  5. Yes, Michelle Lee is Still in Charge of the US Patent Office, in Spite of the Patent Microcosm's Endless Attacks on Her

    In spite of many attacks on Michelle Lee -- all of which courtesy of rude patent maximalists -- she remains in charge of the Office and we wish her continued success in that role



  6. Links 28/2/2017: Wine 1.8.7, AWS Goes Belly-up

    Links for the day



  7. The Boards of Appeal Openly Complain (in the EPO's Web Site) About Battistelli, But Don't Tell Battistelli About It...

    The Boards of Appeal have found the courage -- in the face of a pattern of illegal retaliation -- to state that Battistelli's abuse of power compromises the perceived if not actual legitimacy of their decisions



  8. Web Site of French Senator Richard Yung Cracked Just Days After Criticising the EPO

    A French politician finds himself red-faced after criticising the EPO, as his site gets flagged as malicious, gets blocked, and his blog post (speech) about the EPO vanishes



  9. New Survey Shows That Even Patent Professionals Know That Team UPC is Lying About Unitary Patent Roadmaps

    The "Unified Patent Court (UPC) is unlikely to become operational by December 2017 [according to] nearly three-quarters of WIPR readers," but Team UPC continues to spread lies



  10. Does the EPO Want Patent Quality to Decline Against the USPTO and Become Akin to SIPO?

    The EPO, which is trying to convert a patent system into a cash cow rather than a public service, risks losing public support and an applicants base (where it hasn't lost it already)



  11. Xinova is a Patent Troll With Connections to Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures, the World's Largest Troll

    A Microsoft patent troll gives birth to another trollish tentacle (one among literally thousands), this one called "Xinova" but formerly known as Invention Development Fund (IDF)



  12. IAM 'Magazine' Rented Out to Microsoft Again, in Order to Attack Amazon (as Host of Free/Libre Software) Using Software Patents FUD

    The new front against GNU/Linux, or the attempt by Microsoft to tax the platform using software patents, is glossed over in puff pieces from Microsoft, conveniently published under IAM's own umbrella again



  13. Links 27/2/2017: GNU Linux-libre 4.10, Weston 2.0.0, Git 2.12.0, Linux From Scratch 8.0

    Links for the day



  14. Top Officials in French Government Are Growing Tired of Battistelli's Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    An automated translation of a recent debate about the EPO in the French government, culminating in intervention by Richard Yung



  15. A US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Which is Hostile Towards Patent Maximalists May Closely Examine More Patents That Apple Uses Against Android

    A company which often takes pride in designers rather than developers (art, not technical merit) may lose that leverage over the competition if its questionable patents are taken away by the Supremes



  16. As Long as Software Patents Are Granted and Microsoft Equips Trolls With Them, “Azure IP Advantage” is an Attack on Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is feeding enemies of GNU/Linux and Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) in order to sell its 'protection', which it names "IP Advantage" in a rather Orwellian fashion (same naming as back in the Novell days)



  17. Patent Trolls on Their Way Out in the United States and Their Way Into China, No Thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN)

    An update on patent trolls and the role played by supposed allies of Free/libre software, who in practice do everything to exacerbate the problem rather than resolve it



  18. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VIII: When Governed by Criminals, Truth-Tellers Are Cast as Criminals and Criminals as Justice Deliverers

    The bizarre state of affairs at the European Patent Office, where being an honest and transparent person makes one incredibly vulnerable and subjected to constant harassment from the management



  19. The Sickness of the EPO – Part V: Shedding Light on Institutional Abuse Against Ill and/or Disabled Individuals

    The seriousness of the situation at the EPO and a call for action, which requires greater transparency, even if imposed transparency



  20. The EPO's Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

    The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract -- and certainly failing to retain -- talented examiners



  21. Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

    The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as "news", continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year



  22. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

    A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting



  23. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

    Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called 'business methods', just like algorithms) and oughtn't be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)



  24. Google's Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent 'First Strikes'

    Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)



  25. Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

    Links for the day



  26. IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'

    The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn



  27. Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

    In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature



  28. Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

    The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts



  29. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

    The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi



  30. Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

    Links for the day


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