Vista 8 Fails This Xmas, UEFI Blocks GNU and Linux While Microsoft Tries Collecting in China, Stopping Sales of Open PCs
Summary: Very dirty tactics from Microsoft draw complaints from the FSF and other Free software advocates, including Techrights
THE “checkmate” against Microsoft, known to many as Vista 8, gets its users angry and censorship seems to ensue. Microsoft cannot handle criticism.
Vista 8 demand is very weak and OEMs are openly complaining:
As Microsoft (MSFT) does its best to paint a positive picture of its Windows 8 launch, the company’s PC vendor partners continue to report weak end-user demand for computers running the new platform. The latest in a long line of such reports comes from Fujitsu (FJTSY) president Masami Yamamoto, who told reporters in Tokyo on Friday that initial demand for Windows 8 is “weak.”
Even the NYT (New York Times) acknowledged the problem, despite being close to Microsoft.
The monopolist can hope to stifle Linux growth using UEFI dirty tricks. Garrett shows how little support there is for it among about a thousand distros. It is a ‘divide and conquer’ approach. GNU/Linux advocates noticed this problem. Microsoft has already decided that it’s naughty-naughty to install GNU/Linux on hardware which it labelled as its own, thereby slowing down Linux growth that GNU and Linux deserve:
Many Linux users who tracked each step in the endless saga surrounding the Windows 8 UEFI Secure Boot scheme were highly disappointed a few weeks ago to hear that a promised workaround from The Linux Foundation is delayed. Last year, in the post “Will Windows 8 Lock Linux Out of PCs?,” I discussed a Microsoft methodology for ultra-fast booting of Windows 8 PC through a specification called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). Linux users cried foul over it, because UEFI makes it technically possible for a hardware manufacturer to deliver a Windows 8 machine that won’t boot an alternative operating system.
Now that it’s the holiday season and Microsoft is heavily pushing Windows 8 toward consumers, there may be a lot of folks who are wondering how to get Linux to run on a Windows 8 machine. The good news is that there is a solution out in the wild, but it is aimed primarily at developers of Linux distros, and isn’t widely implemented yet.
Installing Linux on most Windows 8 computers is still no easy task. On some Windows 8 machines, you can get as far as having a Linux distro installed, only to find that the UEFI Secure Boot scheme keeps the BIOS from allowing Linux to start.
The Free Software Foundation is on an offensive against restricted boot systems and is busy appealing for donations and pledge in the form of signatures in a bid to stop systems such as the UEFI SecureBoot from being adopted on a large-scale basis and becoming a norm in the future.
The FSF, through an appeal on its website, is requesting users to sign a pledge titled “Stand up for your freedom to install free software” that they won’t be purchasing or recommending for purchase any such system that is SecureBoot enabled or some other form of restricted boot techniques. The FSF has managed to receive, as of this writing, over 41,000 signatures. Organizations like the Debian, Edoceo, Zando, Wreathe and many others have also showed their support for the campaign.
The Free Software Foundation is now soliciting donations and signatures for a pledge in hopes that it can stop UEFI SecureBoot and other “restricted boot” systems from becoming too common.
Techrights was told by Richard Stallman about coreboot as a possible workaround or solution/path to advocate (for OEMs). Here is a new suggestion going along those lines:
Is it possible that the recent attempts to push secure boot onto computer users was a response to the growing hardware vendor support for coreboot back in 2011? This is only speculation on my part, but I suspect that this might be the case. Coreboot is a badly needed solution that can restore freedom to PC users while updating the outdated PC BIOS technology.
Microsoft is clearly ruining hardware by artificial limitation and lack of versatility. Meanwhile, lacking sales, Microsoft is squeezing China using the old lie of “for security” — a lie that IDG, frequently a BSA partner, propagates:
Microsoft has launched a new anti-piracy campaign in China, which intends to highlight the security risks of buying counterfeit software.
In a recent investigation, Microsoft purchased 169 PCs from shops in China and found that all were installed with pirated versions of Windows, with 91 percent of them containing malware or deliberate security vulnerabilities.
This is nonsense that we wrote about before. Microsoft is fighting like a dog and in the process it lies. It tries to suppress OS-free hardware distribution, or machines that come with Free software. Protest against UEFI and associated anti-choice tactics. It’s clearly a problem and Microsoft should be penalised or boycotted for this. █
“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
–Bill Gates about China