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. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  2. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  3. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  4. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  5. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  6. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  7. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  8. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  9. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  10. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  11. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  12. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  13. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  14. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  15. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  16. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  17. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  19. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  20. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows



  21. Spinning Proprietary Software Dangers as Dangers of Free/Libre Software

    News sites mislead their readers, teaching them that the biggest dangers associated with proprietary software are in fact problems exclusive to Free/libre Open Source software



  22. Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

    Links for the day



  23. Terminology of Patent Lawyers and Pro-Patents Media Serves to Mislead the Public

    An outline of stories where the language used to describe patents is grossly distorted so as to bias the reality and mislead the audience/readers



  24. Amid Billions in Losses, Microsoft Tries to Conquer the Competition (Which Already Wins)

    The 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' strategy goes a few steps further as Microsoft looks to dominate developers, devices and servers that are running Free/libre software



  25. Microsoft Losing Billions of Dollars is Not News

    Few remarks on Microsoft's latest admission that it is losing a lot of money



  26. Links 22/7/2015: Kodi 15.0, MKVToolnix 8.2.0

    Links for the day



  27. The Technology Sector in the US Has Gotten Fed Up With Apple's Patent Aggression Against Android/Linux

    Apple is desperately trying to stop Android from increasing its levels of dominance (in phones, tablets, watches, and so on), so Silicon Valley is lining up against Apple, antagonising its misuse/abuse of patents for anticompetitive purposes



  28. Patents Regime in Europe: Mixture of Greed, Competition Abuses, and Propaganda

    A roundup of the latest patent news from Europe, focusing on Italy, the UK, Germany, and Hungary



  29. Patent 'Reform' in US Congress Still Under Attack by Patent Lawyers and Corporate Lobbyists

    The latest instances of assault on changes to the US patent system, demonstrated through an elaborative survey of the media (two days' worth)



  30. Don't Ever Rely on Microsoft for Hardware, Hosting, Especially When it Comes to GNU/Linux

    Warning signs over Microsoft hosting, as well as reliance on Microsoft for maintenance of hardware


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