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

01.18.12

Microsoft Tries to Spin Anti-Linux UEFI Measures, Ubuntu Tablets Possibly Affected

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft wants the only keys to the hardware

Hand with keys

Summary: An accumulation of articles about Microsoft’s anti-competitive UEFI moves and responses to these

UEFI has been a hot subject this week. Ever since Glyn Moody published his findings and conclusions the debate has been rekindled.

Jeff of Bodhi Linux thinks further:

I wrote a post late last year when all the news first started being posted (pretty much everywhere) about the Windows 8 “secure boot” support. Well folks, the open source news media is at it again – Microsoft has announced they are doing exactly what we thought they would – they are implementing secure boot on Windows 8 ARM devices.

[...]

Do these people have any idea how many Linux based ARM devices don’t allow dual booting? Do they have any idea how many Linux based ARM devices exist, were even if you can dual boot them they lack hardware functionality in alternative operating systems due to closed source drivers?

We pointed out just the other day that Microsoft is a non-starter in this area. But Microsoft is historically a non-starter in all areas; it wasn’t until Microsoft cheated with secret exclusionary deals and sometimes bribes that the company managed to marginalise competition.

According to Michael Larabel, this is a “big problem” for Linux because:

Matthew Garrett, the Red Hat developer commonly working on power management and UEFI/BIOS matters for Linux, has a new blog post related to UEFI Secure Boot. This latest posting is simply entitled Why UEFI secure boot is difficult for Linux.

From this post from Matthew Garrett we learn why it’s technically difficult:

I wrote about the technical details of supporting the UEFI secure boot specification with Linux. Despite me pretty clearly saying that this was ignoring issues of licensing and key distribution and the like, people are now using it to claim that Linux could support secure boot with minimal effort. In a sense, they’re right. The technical implementation details are fairly straightforward. But they’re not the difficult bit.

Joe Brockmeier writes about the latest UEFI débâcle. He says that Microsoft insists on not disabling UEFI:

Remember last year when questions arose about Microsoft’s policies on UEFI secure boot on Windows 8? Microsoft’s response, or lack thereof, was that “OEMs are free to choose” how or whether to enable turning off secure boot on systems shipping Windows 8. It appears, however, OEMs may not be as free to choose if they’re shipping ARM hardware.

Here is another new take:

Microsoft was quick to hit back at such claims, stating categorically that OEMs would provide buyers with the ability to disable the UEFI Secure Boot mode for use with non-signed operating systems. Sadly, it appears that the company missed one vital point from its statement: the fact that ARM-based systems are excluded.

According to the company’s latest certification requirements document for Windows 8, while non-ARM systems – traditional desktops and laptops, in other words – will allow a ‘custom’ mode to be selected that prevents UEFI Secure Boot from blocking third-party unsigned code, the ARM build – for tablets and low-power laptops – must have this feature removed if manufacturers want to be able to put the Windows logo on their products.

These excuses for Microsoft are unconvincing and some wonder if these practices from Microsoft “killed” Ubuntu tablets:

Did Microsoft Just Kill Ubuntu Tablets?

[...]

There is no doubt that Canonical is looking at the ARM based hardware for its tablets. But Microsoft seemed to have nipped Ubuntu’s Tablet in the bud. The company tweaked its Windows Hardware Certification Requirements to effectively ban most alternative operating systems on ARM-based devices that ship with Windows 8.

Microsoft’s booster Peter Bright spins this in Microsoft’s favour and Microsoft's Bott is again pretending that UEFI is not a problem. Sam Dean, who previously recited the lies from Bott, now says that his “stance toward Linux users is questionable” and adds

Thus far, there is no official response from Microsoft on the issue, but the Linux lock-out debate is back in new form.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols remarks on the spin from Bott as follows:

I wrote recently about Microsoft trying to block any other operating system from running on Windows 8 ARM-powered devices . While Ed Bott think that seeing this as an attack on Linux and other operating systems is FUD, I don’t think that’s the point.

I don’t see Linux being attacked by this move. I see Linux supporters being annoyed at it–I know I am–but attacked, afraid? No.

Sure as Bott writes “The Secure Boot requirements apply only to OEMs who sell an ARM-based device and Windows 8 as a complete package.” and that “If you disable Secure Boot on a Windows 8 ARM tablet, you have effectively bricked it.” So, yes you can take this as attack on people who want to switch operating systems, but it’s 2012. Now, if Microsoft was trying this trick with x86 PCs, it would be a different story, but Microsoft has backed off from that position. So, is really it that important to Linux that Microsoft is trying to keep it off Windows 8 ARM devices?

No, I don’t think so. Today Microsoft can’t dictate terms to the computer industry they way they once did. In the 1990s, Microsoft could call up an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and tell them what they could or couldn’t ship on their PCs, how much they would pay for the privilege, and they could take it or die.

That was then. This is now. While the U.S. courts found in 2001 that “Microsoft had a monopoly in the market for Intel-compatible personal computer operating systems,” the company was only slapped on the wrist. It might have been better for Microsoft in the long run if the courts had insisted that the company be broken up. As it was, Microsoft continued with business as usual. But, the world was shifting under Microsoft’s feet and even now the company hasn’t catch up with those changes.

The Register is meanwhile writing about the x86 tablets that never seem to fly:

m Taiwan’s computer manufacturers: lower the price of Windows 8 tablet components and software or the devices will be so expensive that consumers won’t want them.

Claiming that both Microsoft and Intel have rejected calls to drop their prices, Asian moles say that means Windows 8 tablets could cost as much as $899 (£586) before sales tax when they go on sale later this year, DigiTimes reports.

That is too expensive to sell much and Pogson says “Android/Linux on ARM is looking better all the time and there is still the option of GNU/Linux on everything if prices really do matter.”

This is why Microsoft wants to block it. As another article puts it;

There\s been some controversy since September of last year. It seems that Microsoft, while unsure if it’s intentional or not, is going to make it quite difficult for people to install Linux on a computer that comes with Windows 8.

Basically, it comes down to a process called UEFI secure booting. Hardware makers must have it enabled in order to qualify for a “Designed For Windows 8″ logo. The technology prevents operating systems from booting that are not signed by a trusted certificate authority.

This means that in order for Linux to be installed on a “Designed For Windows 8″ PC, one would have to figure out a workaround in order to make it happen and that means your choice of what to install, may be quite limited.

Companies need to just reject Vista 8 and stick with what’s becoming market leader (Android/Linux).

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 30/8/2016: Fedora 24 Reviewed, Ubuntu Patched

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC4, Maru OS Source Code

    Links for the day



  3. Let Them Eat Patents

    A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings



  4. Nothing Whatsoever Has Improved at the European Patent Office, It's Just Summer's Recess (and Silence)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has done absolutely nothing to improve the work atmosphere, it just alters the marketing strategy somewhat



  5. Links 28/8/2016: Q4OS 1.6, ConnochaetOS 14.2

    Links for the day



  6. The United States Has Gotten Over Software Patents

    A roundup of new articles about software patents in the United States, 2 years into the post-Alice era (the US Supreme Court deeming patents on software too abstract to have merit)



  7. More Lies From President Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Crisis Which Continues to Deepen

    The European Patent Office (EPO), collectively speaking, is still wrestling with a Battistelli infiltration (a circle of high-level managers) which habitually lies and viciously attacks those who dare counter these lies



  8. Links 27/8/2016: Torvalds and GPL, “DOD Must Embrace Open-Source Software”

    Links for the day



  9. Links 26/8/2016: Maru OS Resurfaces, Android More Reliable Than 'i' Things, PC-BSD Becomes TrueOS

    Links for the day



  10. Good Job, David Kappos, Says the 'Boss' (IBM)

    Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US



  11. Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

    Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as "anti-patents", IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is 'trolling' the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate



  12. Erosion of Patent Quality Enables Patent Extortion With Large Portfolios of Low Validity Rate

    Revisiting the EPO's vision of poor patent examination and the effect of discriminatory granting practices, favouring patent bullies such as Microsoft (which actively attacks Linux using low-quality and usually pure software patents)



  13. The EPO's Francesco Zaccà Presenting in Turin Alongside Patent Trolls (Like the Patent Mafia Sisvel) and Lobbyists/Front Groups for Software Patents, UPC

    Benjamin Henrion (FFII) on seeing the EPO alongside patent trolls and other nefarious actors, doing what they do best, which is undermining public interests and harming patent quality



  14. The EPO, USPTO, and Patent Microcosm Peddle Myths About Patents in Public Universities and Research

    Tackling some of the commonly-spread myths about patents as "saving lives" and "promoting research" (in practice leading to the death of poor people and promoting trolls)



  15. Large Corporations' Lobbyist David Kappos Disgraces Former Employer USPTO by Meddling in Their Affairs on Software Patents, Downplaying the Supreme Court

    The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank



  16. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  17. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  18. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  19. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  20. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  21. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  23. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  24. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  25. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  26. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  27. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  28. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  29. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  30. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    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