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. With Unified Patent Court (UPC) on Its Death Throes, Team UPC Now Resorts to Promoting Pertinent Parts of the Agreement (UPCA)

    The latest writings about the Unitary Patent and agenda related to it, courtesy of the same people, firms and Web sites that spent several years lobbying for the UPC (i.e. for their own wallets)<



  2. Reporting Benoît Battistelli Before He Too 'Pulls a Željko Topić'

    The media is full of EPO-sponsored puff pieces about the EPO (very soon Joff Wild and Battistelli will promote software patents again), so we encourage readers to contact authorities in France and tell them what Battistelli has been doing in (or to) the European Patent Office (EPO)



  3. Links 26/4/2018: KStars 2.9.5, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, NetBSD 8.0 RC1

    Links for the day



  4. Battistelli Misuses EPO Budget to Saturate the European Media With Puff Pieces About His Event

    The latest examples of 'synthetic' coverage or fluff about Battistelli's expensive event that he cryptically and mysteriously chose to have at his other workplace in Saint-Germain-en-Laye



  5. Battistelli's EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents and Even Pays the Media to Play Along, Impacting Other Continents

    With silly new terms such as "4IR" (the EPO used to say "ICT", "CII", "Industry 4.0" etc.) Team Battistelli is hoping to make software patents look/sound acceptable, honourable and inherently innovative or "revolutionary"



  6. Links 25/4/2018: Ubuntu 18.04 Coming Shortly, Fedora 28 Next Month

    Links for the day



  7. Koch Brothers and Big Oil Could Not Buy the Decisions in Oil States, SAS

    In Oil States Energy Services v Greene’s Energy Group, a case which Koch-funded think tanks meddled in (including those whose panel guests send me threatening legal letters), ends up with dissent from a Koch-connected Justice citing or quoting those very same Koch-funded think tanks



  8. The European Patent Office (EPO) Wastes a Lot of Money on External PR Agencies for Battistelli's 'Heist'

    The EPO's management is once again scattering/throwing EPO budget at PR agencies and media companies (publishers/broadcasters) to disseminate a bunch of puff pieces and virtually ignore the very obvious conflict of interest, which should be a scandal on par with that of FIFA (resulting in the arrest of its boss, Mr. Blatter)



  9. Today's EPO is Not Compatible With the Law and It's Grossly Incompatible With Truth and Justice

    Today, once again, the EPO openly advocates software patents while media promotes loopholes (notably hype waves)



  10. Quick Mention: As Expected, the US Supreme Court Cements PTAB's Role With Trump-Appointed Gorsuch Dissenting

    Oil States has been decided and it's very good news for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); even Conservatives-leaning Justices support PTAB



  11. Links 24/4/2018: Preview of Crostini, Introducing Heptio Gimbal, OPNsense 18.1.6

    Links for the day



  12. Patent Maximalists Step Things Up With Director Andrei Iancu and It's Time for Scientists to Fight Back

    Science and technology don't seem to matter as much as the whims of the patent (litigation) 'industry', at least judging by recent actions taken by Andrei Iancu (following a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee)



  13. Mythology About Patents in the East

    Misconceptions (or deliberate propaganda) about patent policy in the east poison the debate and derail a serious, facts-based discussion about it



  14. Patent Trolls Watch: Red River Innovations, Bradium Technologies/General Patent, and Wordlogic

    A quick look at some patent trolls that made the news this Monday; we are still seeing a powerful response to such trolls, whose momentum is slipping owing to the good work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  15. Holding Benoît Battistelli Accountable After the EPO

    The many abuses and offenses committed by Mr. Battistelli whilst he enjoyed diplomatic immunity can and should be brought up as that immunity expires in two months; a good start would be contacting his colleagues, who might not be aware of the full spectrum of his abuses



  16. Links 23/4/2018: Second RC of Linux 4.17 and First RC of Mesa 18.1

    Links for the day



  17. The Good Work of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Latest Attempts to Undermine It

    A week's roundup of news about PTAB, which is eliminating many bad (wrongly-granted) patents and is therefore becoming "enemy number one" to those who got accustomed to blackmailing real (productive) firms with their questionable patents



  18. District Courts' Patent Cases, Including the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX/TXED), in a Nutshell

    A roundup of patent cases in 'low courts' of the United States, where patents are being reasoned about or objected to while patent law firms make a lot of money



  19. The Federal Circuit's (CAFC) Decisions Are Being Twisted by Patent Propaganda Sites Which Merely Cherry-Pick Cases With Outcomes That Suit Them

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to reject the vast majority of software patents, citing Section 101 in many such cases, but the likes of Managing IP, Patently-O, IAM and Watchtroll only selectively cover such cases (instead they’re ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ or some similar name-dropping)



  20. Patents Roundup: Metaswitch, GENBAND, Susman, Cisco, Konami, High 5 Games, HTC, and Nintendo

    A look at existing legal actions, the application of 35 U.S.C. § 101, and questionable patents that are being pursued on software (algorithms or "software infrastructure")



  21. In Maxon v Funai the High 'Patent Court' (CAFC) Reaffirms Disdain for Software Patents, Which Are Nowadays Harder to Get and Then Defend

    With the wealth of decisions from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) wherein software patents get discarded (Funai being the latest example), the public needs to ask itself whether patent law firms are honest when they make claims about resurgence of software patents by 'pulling a Berkheimer' or coming up with terms like “Berkheimer Effect”



  22. Today's European Patent Office Works for Patent Extremists and for Team UPC Rather Than for Europe or for Innovation

    The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) and other patent maximalists who have nothing to do with Europe, helped by a malicious and rather clueless politician called Benoît Battistelli, are turning the EPO into a patent-printing machine rather than an examination office as envisioned by the EPC (founders) and member states



  23. The EPO is Dying and Those Who Have Killed It Are Becoming Very Rich in the Process

    Following the footsteps of Ron Hovsepian at Novell, Battistelli at the EPO (along with Team Battistelli) may mean the end of the EPO as we know it (or the end altogether); one manager and a cabal of confidants make themselves obscenely rich by basically sacrificing the very organisation they were entrusted to serve



  24. Short: Just Keep Repeating the Lie (“Quality”) Until People Might Believe It

    Battistelli’s patent-printing bureau (EPO without quality control) keeps lying about the quality of patents by repeating the word “quality” a lot of times, including no less than twice in the summary alone



  25. Shelston IP Keeps Pressuring IP Australia to Allow Software Patents and Harm Software Development

    Shelston IP wants exactly the opposite of what's good for Australia; it just wants what's good for itself, yet it habitually pretends to speak for a productive industry (nothing could be further from the truth)



  26. Is Andy Ramer's Departure the End of Cantor Fitzgerald's Patent Trolls-Feeding Operations and Ambitions?

    The managing director of the 'IP' group at Cantor Fitzgerald is leaving, but it does not yet mean that patent trolls will be starved/deprived access to patents



  27. EPO Hoards Billions of Euros (Taken From the Public), Decreases Quality to Get More Money, Reduces Payments to Staff

    The EPO continues to collect money from everyone, distributes bogus/dubious patents that usher patent trolls into Europe (to cost European businesses billions in the long run), and staff of the EPO faces more cuts while EPO management swims in cash and perks



  28. Short: Calling Battistelli's Town (Where He Works) “Force for Innovation” to Justify the Funneling of EPO Funds to It

    How the EPO‘s management ‘explained’ (or sought to rationalise) to staff its opaque decision to send a multi-million, one-day ceremony to Battistelli’s own theatre only weeks before he leaves



  29. Short: EPO Bribes the Media and Then Brags About the Paid-for Outcome to Staff

    The EPO‘s systematic corruption of the media at the expense of EPO stakeholders — not to mention hiring of lawyers to bully media which exposes EPO corruption — in the EPO’s own words (amended by us)



  30. Short: EPO's “Working Party for Quality” is to Quality What the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea” is to Democracy

    To maintain the perception (illusion) that the EPO still cares about patent quality — and in order to disseminate this lie to EPO staff — a puff piece with the above heading/photograph was distributed to thousands of examiners in glossy paper form


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