Summary: A contributor’s take and set of thoughts about Microsoft’s latest anti-competitive tactic
Did you know, Microsoft Press (A Division of Microsoft Corporation) has published a Windows 8 book as PDF, titled “Inside Out Windows 8”. The ultimate, in-depth reference Hundreds of timesaving solutions Supremely organized, packed with expert advice Companion eBook (744 pages 34.2 MB)
However, the one and only section (page 25) on UEFI “Secure Boot” doesn’t mention how it functions, works or operates, how to access it or any interoperability. No mention on how to even disable Secure Boot at all.
Such as the undocumented steps below;
1. Boot machine while pressing F10
2. Find Secure Boot in the menu tree, ignore warnings
3. Disable Secure Boot feature
4. Enable legacy boot options
5. Enable specific legacy devices, such as USB devices
6. Save and reboot while holding down F9
(No mention in Chapter 27!)
I want to point out there is NO such thing as “Windows Hardware” because Microsoft does NOT manufacture Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, MSI, VIA, HP, Dell, Celvo, Sager, etc…
This is Microsoft extending its own brand (software) upon firmware, claiming it’s their platform. Why do the manufactures accept this theft of their hardware product?
Why doesn’t someone write to the European Court of Justice and file a complaint?
Regarding how UEFI Secure Boot has the side effect of preventing interoperability against competitors and open society by preventing unauthorized firmware, operating systems, or UEFI drivers from running at boot time unless they bear a cryptographic signature by Microsoft, the manufacturer or an UEFI signing key vendor ($99 for an UEFI signing key) for any software that modifies the bootloader that enforces the UEFI secure boot protocol.
Basically, the bootloader is the place where the PC hardware reads instructions to boot up an operating system or program. Windows installs those instructions in the bootloader, just as another operating system like Linux. By making the process proprietary without full documentation, competitors are at a huge disadvantage.
Microsoft has basically inserted themselves as the UEFI gatekeeper for installing not just their software, but any software that modifies the bootloader on a potentially huge number of devices globally around the world.
The main issue with the UEFI secure protocol is that it excludes out ALL other operating systems, for the right of sharing (educational), giving (philanthropy), renting, loaning, and borrowing on other W8 PC system/s hardware to run boxed copies of Windows or Linux on Windows logo hardware, and also impossible to install new versions of Windows or Linux unless your OEM provided a new UEFI digitally signed key. A system that ships with only OEM and Microsoft keys will not boot a generic copy of Linux.
Not to mention, Windows 8 PC owners won’t be able to replace their OS with another like Windows 7, unless they obtain a digitally signed Secure Boot version for their system.
One of the few shortcomings in the UEFI model (and it is a deliberate omission because of the complexity of running a certification system) is that there’s no designated root of trust in the current version 2.3.1. for a centralized vendor-neutral signing authority to provide UEFI keys.
The Windows 8 PC you buy in 2013 will be permanently locked into Windows 8 if Microsoft gets away with their plan. Windows 8 certification does not require that the user be able to disable UEFI secure boot, and hardware vendors have reported already that on some hardware will not have this option available.
Of course, Windows 8 certification does not require that the PC system come with any keys other than Microsoft’s. A system that ships with UEFI secure boot enabled and only includes Microsoft’s signing keys will only securely boot Microsoft operating systems.
Think how this gives great power to Microsoft, for every manufacturer that wants to sell hardware for the Windows 8 PC, needs a UEFI digital signed key, from Microsoft!
Disabling UEFI Secure Boot is NOT offered on ARM systems like Windows 8 RT (Tablets).
The PC user using x64 or x86 systems is not guaranteed the ability to install extra signing keys in order to securely boot the operating system of their choice. The PC user is not guaranteed that their system will include the signing keys that would be required for them to swap their graphics card from another vendor, or replace their network card and still be able to netboot, or install a newer SATA controller and have it recognize their hard drive in the firmware. Of course, UEFI doesn’t provide the means to generate your own UEFI keys either. Just where does that leave the PC user?
The truth is that UEFI using the Secure Boot Protocol v2.3.1 makes it more difficult to run anything other than Windows 8. UEFI secure boot is a valuable and worthwhile feature that Microsoft is misusing to gain tighter control over the market.
As it stands now Microsoft is saying OEMs don’t have to do it. They just have to do it if they want to sell PCs with Windows on them.
- http://www.uefi.org/specs/download/UEFI_2_3_1_Errata_A.zip “UEFI Specification 2.3.1″ (2,139 pages)
- http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/D/F/ADF5BEDE-C0FB-4CC0-A3E1-B38093F50BA1/windows8-hardware-cert-requirements-system.pdf (291 pages)
Note: you can obtain the source PDF as Microsoft PDF ebook “Windows 8 Inside Out by Tony Northrup (Nov 23, 2012)”
Library of Congress Control Number: 2012950441
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Inside-Out-Tony-Northrup/dp/0735663815/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354458846&sr=1-1&keywords=9780735663817 █
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Summary: Biased court gives Microsoft power over Android and Apple manages to ban some Android devices in Europe
The Microsoft vs. Motorola case (over Android and FRAND) is in many ways Google’s way of defending Android from Microsoft patent tax, but the trial is stacked by Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3] and local participants are from Microsoft’s back yard. The verdict, thus, is pro-Microsoft to the extreme:
The Seattle federal judge who recently oversaw a two-week trial between Microsoft and Motorola over standards-based patents handed down a key order today, finding that Motorola won’t be able to use its patents to get an injunction against Microsoft.
That means that while Motorola might be able to use its patents to win some money from Microsoft, it won’t be able to get the ultimate reward of a successful patent suit: the ability to kick an opponent’s product off the market.
As Groklaw put it:
The judge in Microsoft’s home court in Seattle, the Hon. James Robart, has handed the company a huge win against Motorola regarding injunctions on RAND patents. What a surprise. Not. This is in Microsoft v. Motorola, and the judge is the one who blocked the injunction a German court ordered against Microsoft for infringing Motorola’s RAND patents. Now the Seattle judge has ruled [PDF] that Motorola can’t get an injunction for any RAND patents it owns either in the US or in Germany or in fact worldwide, even though this case was about only two patents.
How about choosing a neutral setting for this trial?
In other news, Nokia is going after RIM, which is already on the verge of death because of patents. Microsoft has also been feeding trolls with strategic patents of Nokia, increasing the cartel‘s Android toll*.
These cartels are called “aggregators” in the corporate press now that Google is complaining openly, not just playing along. Some of these cartels, such as RPX, are already playing a secret role. Then, consider what Sony did last week.
Speaking of real aggregators, ones that respect fair use, the corporate press has this to say:?
Google’s imprint on daily life is hard to ignore in Europe, where it reportedly has 93 percent of the Internet search market, more than in the United States. Yet when it comes to its lobbying of lawmakers, Google prefers a low profile.
That all changed this week when Google fired a rare public broadside against a proposal that would force it and other online aggregators of news content to pay German newspaper and magazine publishers to display snippets of news in Web searches.
Recall what Rupert Murdoch did with Microsoft.
Anyway, in other news about Android, Microsoft’s patent partner Apple is banning some Android products:
Apple Inc. won a Dutch sales ban on some of Samsung Electronics Co.’s older Galaxy tablets and smartphones after a Netherlands court ruled in a patent lawsuit.
Apple has become a patents company despite not innovating, merely integrating. The same goes for Microsoft. █
* Android skills, as noted in daily links we posted, are sought within Nokia, but it is too early to speculate much.
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Summary: The absurdity of software patents, the patent wars, and the coming era of patenting or privatising life’s code
ACTIVIST against software patents — a real one, not a “moderate” one — is having a go again. PolR from Groklaw has released the second part or his “Software Is Mathematics” argument, citing Stallman from the recent conference which was stacked by so-called ‘moderates’ (controlled opposition which does not seek to abolish software patents). To quote the opening part:
I argued in part 1 of this series that computations are manipulations of symbols with meanings. In this article, I hope to further explain this notion using the social science of semiotics. Its object is the study of signs, the entities which are used to represent meaning.
This article elaborates on what Richard Stallman said in the recent Santa Clara Law conference Solutions to the Software Patent Problem.
According to this report Richard Stallman described patents on software as patents on thought, which amount to patents on the use of the human brain to reason and to solve problems by the application of reasoning. This article uses semiotics to show that Stallman’s point is more than rhetoric. It is a provably correct statement of fact.
One portal covers the “biggest fighters of the patent wars”, but it misses Microsoft’s war behind closed doors and focuses on Apple (visible patent wars) instead. To quote:
The fight between proprietary software and free software is not new. Wherever there is technology and more importantly wherever there is competition; issue like patent infringements are bound to come up. Generally, infringement wars happen when more than one organizations bring out similar kind of products.
The idea of software patent is significant as far as it promotes the originality as well as innovation. But, to some extent, software patents are road blockers for novelty. Somewhere they can harm the creativity and an aspiration to create something naive.
It is found; numerous biggies in the industry are waging wars against each other over patents. Let’s explore some significant legal battles fought (or being fought), which are grabbing lime light in the smartphone industry these days…
The problem there is, Apple is all over the place and patent blackmail gets little or no coverage. One is the equivalent of going to war and another is occupation after threat of going to war against weaker countries/groups. We will deal with Microsoft’s tactics in a separate post because it merits a longer discussion.
It is worth noting that monopolies on genetics and parts of the human body are soon to be legitimised by SCOTUS [1, 2, 3] after the USPTO already granted them. The corporate press says:
The Supreme Court announced Friday it will decide whether companies can patent human genes, a decision that could reshape medical research in the United States and the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer.
There is a lot of nonsense in this article because it focuses on benefits to corporations. To people, there are no benefits, only harm. It also harms competition, which is inherently anti-capitalist in the sense that it doesn’t let classical ‘free market’ capitalism do its thing. Here is the SCOTUS Blog page and a good rebuttal to it all:
But, of course, it was just the first step in a long process. Myriad took the case to the appeals court for the federal circuit (CAFC), the notoriously patent friendly appeals court. The only surprise here was that the US Justice Department actually said it agreed that genes shouldn’t be patentable (showing a potential disagreement within the administration, as the US Patent Office was not happy). End result? CAFC decided genes are patentable because they’re “separate” from your DNA.
We wrote about it before. CAFC is also partly responsible for software patents in the US. The system has gone rogue because the most important stakeholders, the public, get ignored. █
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Summary: Abusive monopolist and leaker of personal information Microsoft hopes that the public will move off Google and over to Microsoft for ‘privacy’
My favourite search engine, Scroogle, was shut down some months ago, leaving me to use StartPage. Microsoft now misuses the word “scroogle” in attempting to daemonise Google. Here is how IDG puts it and here is a decent response to Microsoft’s hypocritical smear:
Microsoft often attack its competitors through smear campaign whether it’s OpenOffice or Google. The Windows 8 maker is desperate to show how bad their competitors are through every channel possible. Right now Microsoft’s arch rival is Google.
The company ran the Gmail man campaign trying to tell users that Google looks at your mails (as if Microsoft doesn’t look inside Hotmail). There is no Gmail ‘man’ reading your emails, it’s all automated. The fact is Microsoft also scans your emails.
And now Microsoft tries to tell us about privacy concerns in Google search. Never mind if Microsoft spies on Windows and Skype users, eh? All that in addition to search and E-mail spying…
For private search, use StartPage, not DDG (DuckDuckGo), which uses Microsoft for results and uses Microsoft talking points against Google. It last did the latter days ago (direct link intentionally not included). █
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