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08.13.12

SUSE to Help Microsoft With UEFI Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 3:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Agenda

Summary: The Microsoft-funded SUSE will reportedly work with Microsoft to restrict the number of operating systems (or distributions) which can run on future hardware

BASED on some reports like this one, “Olaf Kirch of SUSE writes on the blog, “At the implementation layer, we intend to use the shim loader originally developed by Fedora – it’s a smart solution which avoids several nasty legal issues, and simplifies the certification/signing step considerably. This shim loader’s job is to load grub2 and verify it; this version of grub2 in turn will load kernels signed by a SUSE key only. We are currently considering to provide this functionality with SLE11 SP3 on fresh installations with UEFI Secure Boot present.””

“We are currently considering to provide this functionality with SLE11 SP3 on fresh installations with UEFI Secure Boot present.”
      –Olaf Kirch
We criticised Red Hat for what it did [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] about UEFI and now we shall criticise the Microsoft-funded SUSE as well. They just never learn, do they? Pamela Jones helps remind us of what Microsoft does to so-called ‘partners’. To quote: “Novell has followed through, as it said it would, and has filed a notice of appeal in its litigation against Microsoft over antitrust issues from WordPerfect.”

Why does Novell run back into the same cave that had it devoured in the past? And why did SUSE not stand up to Microsoft? Or even opted for the Canonical approach (which is the lesser of the two evils)? SUSE does not even like Unity all that much. It seems not to follow Canonical’s footsteps. SUSE’s business model is to use Microsoft to take away from Red Hat while passing Microsoft a share of its gains.

As reports flood the Web with support from SUSE folks Red Hat will surely use SUSE’s choice to defend its own bad policy. Matthew Garrett, for example, writes: “There’s a post here describing SUSE’s approach to implementing Secure Boot support. In summary, it’s pretty similar to the approach we’re taking in Fedora – a first stage shim loader is signed with a key in db, it loads a second stage bootloader (grub 2) that’s signed with a key that’s in shim, the second stage bootloader loads a signed kernel. The main difference between the approaches is the use of a separate key database in shim, whereas we are currently planning on using a built-in key and the contents of the firmware key database.”

“In summary, it’s pretty similar to the approach we’re taking in Fedora…”
      –Matthew Garrett
OpenSUSE has an anniversary, but coverage about the project is scarce. SUSE is planting some PR in Indian Web sites; that won’t change a thing. When you serve your competitor you lose credibility, especially when that competitor is a convicted monopolist. Debian has been on the good side in all this (supporting the FSF’s petition), but some minutes ago we learned that “GNU/Linux” is being removed from release names (scroll down to the list).

“What we [Novell and Microsoft] agreed, which is true, is we’ll continue to try to grow Windows share at the expense of Linux. That’s kind of our job. But to the degree that people are going to deploy Linux, we want Suse Linux to have the highest percent share of that, because only a customer who has Suse Linux actually has paid properly for the use of intellectual property from Microsoft. And we took a quota, you could say, to help them sell so much Suse Linux. That’s part of the deal. We are willing to do the same deal with Red Hat and other Linux distributors, it’s not an exclusive thing. But after a few years of working on this problem, Novell actually saw the business opportunity, because there’s so many customers who say, ‘Hey look, we don’t want problems. We don’t want any intellectual property problem or anything else. There’s just a variety of workloads where we, today, feel like we want to run Linux. Please help us Microsoft and please work with the distributors to solve this problem, don’t come try to license this individually.’ So customer push drove us to where we got.”

Steve Ballmer

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