New Reports Show How Microsoft Rendered New Hardware Linux-hostile Out of the Box Using UEFI Demands
Summary: GNU and Linux proponent have an unhappy Xmas because their new machines come with barriers to Linux booting — barriers that the vast majority of users would be unable to get around
THE nightmare which is UEFI is only starting to rear its ugly head now that PCs with Vista 8 are being sold, sometimes to people who do not want Vista 8. Microsoft is trying to bake its software into motherboards, just as it already does with hard drives (many come with NTFS, e.g. Seagate). Why are so many people forced to pay for something they don’t want and many people dislike. Where are antitrust regulators? These are patent baits, too. They help spread patents as part of the ‘standard’.
The “Goodbye Microsoft” Web site has this to say about UEFI:
If you’ve bought a new PC lately, it probably came equipped with something called “Secure Boot.” Secure Boot is basically a feature which prevents you from running anything but Windows on the PC. That’s not its official reason, but that’s the practical effect.
Diego Elio Pettenò from Gentoo shows how difficult it is to get past the retarded hardware Microsoft has been breeding. Read his post to see the technical complexity:
Last Friday (Black Friday, since I was in the US this year), I ended up buying for myself an early birthday present; I finally got the ZenBook UX31A that I was looking at since September, after seeing the older model being used by J-B of VLC fame. Today it arrived, and I decided to go the easy route: I already prepared a DVD with Sabayon, and after updating the “BIOS” from Windows (since you never know), I wiped it out and installed the new OS on it. Which couldn’t be booted.
Now before you run around screaming “conspiracy”, I ask you to watch Jo’s video (Jo did you really not have anything with a better capture? My old Nikon P50 had a better iris!) and notice that Secure Boot over there works just fine. Other than that, this “ultrabook” is not using SecureBoot because it’s not certified for Windows 8 anyway.
The problem is not that it requires Secure Boot or anything like that but much more simply, it has no legacy boot. Which is what I’m using on the other laptop (the Latitude E6510), since my first attempt at using EFI for booting failed badly. Anyway this simply meant that I had to figure out how to get this to boot.
Microsoft has been adding a layer of complexity that only Linux veterans are well equipped to deal with when things do not go smoothly or when making hardware purchases. Watch what J.A. Watson, an excellent blogger, found:
The good news was that I checked the specifications very carefully, and there was no mention of “UEFI” or “Secure Boot” or “Made for Windows 8″, so at least I shouldn’t have to fight with that yet.
Then came the next bad news. This system does indeed have UEFI Secure Boot. Grrr. I don’t know if it would have made a difference in my purchase decision if I had known this, but it might have, and in any case I would prefer to have been forewarned. Microsoft might think they can tighten the noose around user’s necks by imposing this mis-feature, but I refuse to play along.
As it was, I went into BIOS setup (on HP this means press F10 during boot), found the Boot option settings, and changed Legacy Boot to Enabled. That got it to the point where I could go to a boot selection menu (press F9 during boot), and then select a USB thumb drive with a Linux Live distribution to boot. I subsequently learned that there is still some limitation that I don’t quite understand yet in the booting. I am able to install pretty much any distribution I want, but at the moment it only boots successfully from Fedora (either 17 or 18 Alpha/Beta). I’ll go back and figure the rest of that out later, but for the moment I want to get this thing working, so booting the brand-new Fedora 18 Beta release is fine with me, and I can boot whatever other Linux distributions I want from the F18 Grub2 bootloader.
This should not be so difficult. Over ninety percent of people would struggle and abort plans of moving to BSD or Linux. These are the people Microsoft hopes to make stuck because Vista 8 is terrible. Antitrust is the only solution now. █