EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.02.13

UEFI Restricted Boot: Torvalds Asks Developers Not to “Please Microsoft by Doing Idiotic Crap Approach”, Petition Set Up to Nail Microsoft for This Antitrust Abuse

Posted in Antitrust, FSF, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photo by Alex Dawson, 2002

Linus

Summary: “Because it really shouldn’t be about MS blessings, it should be about the *user* blessing kernel modules,” Torvalds explains

THE MAN who habitually dismisses some Microsoft critics proves his older statements to be somewhat hypocritical. He too treats Microsoft exceptionally.

Torvalds recently made headlines by using strong language and addressing a controversial subject. It is about UEFI with restricted boot and here is some more relevant coverage he generated, helping to raise awareness of the issue:

  • Torvalds blasts Howells, Garrett over secure boot

    A push by Red Hat kernel developer David Howells and ex-Red Hat developer Matthew Garrett to get code supporting secure boot merged into the mainline kernel to meet some of Microsoft’s requirements has led to a sharp rebuke from Linux creator Linus Torvalds.

    Howell made a request for a patchset to be pulled into the mainline kernel last Thursday, writing, “It (the patchset) provides a facility by which keys can be added dynamically to a kernel that is running in secure-boot mode.

  • Linus Torvalds blasts Microsoft in sweary tirade

    Linux guru Linus Torvalds is at it again. After telling Nvidia to go forth and multiply, the outspoken Torvalds has decided to share some of his thoughts on Microsoft’s signing techniques in a heated online argument with fellow Linux developers.

    The developers were discussing ways of improving the Linux kernel with a bit of code that makes it easier to boot on Windows 8 PCs. The process of booting Linux on PCs shipped with Windows 8 has been complicated due to the widespread use of UEFI firmware with Secure Boot feature enabled. Red Hat developers emailed Torvalds to discuss the addition of new keys to the Linux kernel, which should get around the issue.

  • No Microsoft certificate support in Linux kernel says Torvalds

    Red Hat’s Secure Boot support is a case of the company wanting to “deep-throat Microsoft”, according to a forthright posting from Linus Torvalds on the Linux kernel developer mailing list. Torvald’s comments were made in response to plans by a Red Hat developer to extend Linux support for Secure Boot. The comments have given rise to an ongoing discussion, during which several prominent kernel developers have shared their thoughts on Secure Boot support in Linux.

Moreover, as it turns out, US citizens can now sign this petition calling for the White House to get involved to tackle the antitrust abuse (reports suggest that Microsoft’s fine for antitrust abuses in Europe is only weeks away).

James Bottomley wrote about this in his blog, but being former Novell staff who had worked on Microsoft projects, we expect no strong opposition from him. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, a Novell-sympathetic writer, wrote this followup:

No one, but no one, in the Linux community likes Microsoft’s mandated deployment of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Secure Boot option in Windows 8 certified PCs. But, how Linux should handle the fixes required to deal with this problem remains a hot-button issue. Now, as the debate continues hot and heavy, Linus Torvalds, Linux’s founder and de facto leader, spells out how he thinks Linux should deal with Secure Boot keys.

Swapnil Bhartiya, not a strong critic of Novell because he likes SUSE, sure isn’t a fan of what Microsoft is doing here. He is in good company when he writes along the same lines of Torvalds, whom he interviewed last year:

There is a heated (heat is a bit colder word) debate going on within the Linux community over how should Linux handle the Microsoft’s secure boot keys.

In an ongoing discussing Linus Torvalds has made some suggestions which he believes put users in control of their system and not Microsoft.

Torvalds was sarcastic when saying, “let’s please Microsoft by doing idiotic crap approach.”

This attitude is not exactly news (Torvalds alleges that so-called Secure Boot has nothing to do with security). “Because it really shouldn’t be about MS blessings, it should be about the *user* blessing kernel modules,” Linus Torvalds believes. He basically agrees with Richard Stallman and the FSF then.

Dr. Garrett, on the other hand, continues to push for the agenda that Microsoft hoped for, facilitating its control over Linux, Here is part of this whole long discussion where Torvalds says:

So instead of pleasing microsoft, try to see how we can add real security:

- a distro should sign its own modules AND NOTHING ELSE by default. And it damn well shouldn’t allow any other modules to be loaded at all by default, because why the f*ck should it? And what the hell should a Microsoft signature have to do with *anything*?

- before loading any third-party module, you’d better make sure you ask the user for permission. On the console. Not using keys. Nothing like that. Keys will be compromised. Try to limit the damage, but more importantly, let the user be in control.

– encourage things like per-host random keys – with the stupid UEFI checks disabled entirely if required. They are almost certainly going to be *more* secure than depending on some crazy root of trust based on a big company, with key signing authorities that trust anybody with a credit card. Try to teach people about things like that instead. Encourage people to do their own (random) keys, and adding those to their UEFI setups (or not: the whole UEFI thing is more about control than security), and strive to do things like one-time signing with the private key thrown out entirely. IOW try to encourage *that* kind of “we made sure to ask the user very explicitly with big warnings and create his own key for that particular module” security. Real security, not “we control the user” security.

Sure, users will screw that up too. They’ll want to load crazy nvidia binary modules etc crap. But make it *their* decision, and under
*their* control, instead of trying to tell the world about how this should be blessed by Microsoft.

Because it really shouldn’t be about MS blessings, it should be about the *user* blessing kernel modules.

Quite frankly, *you* are what he key-hating crazies were afraid of. You peddle the “control, not security” crap-ware. The whole “MS owns your machine” is *exactly* the wrong way to use keys.

Sam Varghese, consistently an opposer of restricted boot, says that it would put “Linux is at Microsoft’s mercy”:

Linux companies or organisations that have paid for, and obtained, keys from Microsoft to ensure that their distributions can be booted on secure boot-enabled devices, have to abide by the terms of a contract or else may have their keys revoked.

Whatever some Linux developers with past in Novell may say, at least we know Torvalds’ approach is perhaps more similar to the FSF’s than his employer’s.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 31/8/2014: Linux 3.12.27, Akademy 2014

    Links for the day



  2. Links 30/8/2014: Jailhouse 0.1, *buntu 14.10 Beta

    Links for the day



  3. Links 28/8/2014: Many New Games, CTO of Red Hat Steps Down

    Links for the day



  4. We Are Gradually Winning the Battle Against Software Patents

    The once-elusive war on software patents is finally leading to some breakthrough and even the Federal Circuit reinforces the trend of software patents' demise



  5. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

    A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software



  6. Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

    Links for the day



  7. FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

    In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft



  8. Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

    Media in Microsoft's pocket is telling Microsoft's lies and deceives the public for Microsoft's bottom line



  9. Microsoft's Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

    A new report about Microsoft's admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft's criminal aspects



  10. Links 25/8/2014: China's Linux Revolution Imminent

    Links for the day



  11. Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  12. Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft-Funded Attacks on Android Security and Patent/Copyright

    A look back at examples of people who smear Android and are receiving (or received) money from Microsoft



  14. Blowback in Chile and Munich After Microsoft Intervention

    Microsoft's attacks on the digital sovereignty of countries involves lobbying, corruption, an attack on standards (e.g. ODF), an attack on FOSS policies, and even an attack on accurate reporting (truth itself)



  15. The End of Microsoft is Nigh

    A look back at a tough year for Microsoft and a not-so-promising future



  16. Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

    Links for the day



  17. UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

    UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft's shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software



  18. Microsoft's Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

    Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC



  19. Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

    Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences



  20. Microsoft's Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

    More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft's leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted



  21. Links 21/8/2014: Conferences of Linux Foundation, Elephone Emerges

    Links for the day



  22. Links 20/8/2014: Linux Event, GNOME Milestone

    Links for the day



  23. Corruption Watch: Microsoft Lobbying Designed to Kill Chile's Free Software Policy and Promote Microsoft With Subsidies, More Dirty Tricks Emerge in Munich

    icrosoft is systematically attacking migrations to GNU, Linux and Free software, using dirty tricks, as always



  24. Vista 8 Such a Disaster That Even Microsoft Cannot Cope With It, Vapourware Tactics Start Early

    Microsoft's Windows-powered services are failing and Windows gets bricked by Microsoft patches, whereupon we are seeing yet more of Microsoft's vapourware tactics (focusing in imaginary, non-existent versions of Windows)



  25. On BlackBerry and Other Patent Trolls

    A roundup regarding patent trolls, starting with the bigger and latest joiner, BlackBerry's new patents apparatus



  26. Links 19/8/2014: Humble Jumbo Bundle 2 Betrayal, Mercedes-Benz Runs GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  27. BlackBerry -- Like Microsoft Nokia -- Could be the Next Patent Proxy Troll

    BlackBerry is restructuring for patent assertion (i.e. trolling) in the wake of some alliances with Microsoft



  28. After Microsoft's Soft Bribe Some Non-Technical Deputy Does Not Like Free Software, Microsoft-Linked Media Responds to This Non-News by Making Bogus Claims of Munich Leaving GNU/Linux (Updated)

    The subversive forces that have secretly been attacking Munich over its migration to GNU/Linux (Microsoft press, Gartner, and even HP) are back to doing it while China and Russia follow Munich's lead



  29. Gates Foundation CFO Quits and Debate About Revolving Doors Recalled Amid Systematic and Shrewd Bribery of Public Officials

    More officials step out of the Gates Foundation and their destination is not known yet; Gates continues to corrupt the public sector with his money so as to increase personal gain at taxpayers' expense



  30. Links 19/8/2014: GNU/Linux Raves and Alternative to Proprietary Voice Chat

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts