Note: I am updating this post before publication because new information has just arrived.
Summary: Canonical finally has an official statement on the UEFI situation Microsoft is selfishly creating
CANONICAL has not yet made its position or solution to Microsoft’s anti-competitive booting scheme publicly known (at the time of writing, although Canonical has an official statement as of minutes ago). But based on those who have researched the subject, as well as a discussion we had with Jono Bacon yesterday, the bad example of Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4] might be followed by Ubuntu. And to quote some new articles:
That better solution, Canonical commercial engineering director Victor Tuson Palau suggested last year, would include: “systems manufacturers including a mechanism for configuring your own list of approved software. This will allow you to run Windows 8 and Linux at the same time in your PC with Secure Boot “ON”. This should also include you being able to try new software from a USB stick or DVD.”
Palau added, “With the ability for users to configure Secure Boot, it will become harder for non-techie users to install, or even try, any other operating system besides the one that was loaded on the PC when you bought it. For this reason, we recommend that PCs include a User Interface to easily enable or disable Secure Boot.”
Canonical has not made any statements about the secure boot. I do trust they are working on the solution. Michael Hall said during a discussion on Google+ that they will find a solution once Windows 8 devices start hitting the market.
I am interested in their solution because I am a long time Ubuntu user so I do want to know whether I will be able to run Ubuntu on the hardware that I will be buying soon.
Our readers can ask them, e.g. in Ubuntu Forums, to do the right thing and resist UEFI, not accept it. It is sad to discover that on the surface Canonical just became a bit of an apologist to a convinced monopolist. Please note that this rant was composed a very short while before Canonical finally explained its position. They say they’re “committed to ensuring that Ubuntu will work smoothly with Secure Boot enabled hardware. In addition to investigating Microsoft’s recommendation to participate in its WinQual program, Canonical has generated an Ubuntu key, and we are in active discussions with partners to implement simple ways for enterprises and consumers to use this key. These conversations have not concluded, and as a result we cannot detail the plans of our OEM partners yet.”
It’s a travesty when they let this poison spread. It’s a major step back for computing and it leaves independent distributions in a bad position. █