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. The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    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