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04.15.13

Microsoft’s UEFI Restricted Boot Delays GNU/Linux Releases, Causes Many Issues for Windows ‘Refugees’

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dionaea

Summary: More reasons to treat UEFI restriction tricks from Microsoft as an antitrust violation and some new delays, bad experiences, and consistent rants

TO KICK OFF with a personal story, today I received a call from a loved one whose Windows computer had slowed down to the point of being useless. This is typical and it requites a ‘technician’ to routinely come and ‘fix’ it by reinstalling Windows. Next week that person will move to Linux, but not on the same hardware. I will purchase brand new hardware. The matter of fact is, dodging UEFI is becoming more difficult because of Microsoft’s legal traps. This is an antitrust-type abuse,

“This is not the first time we see these restrictions interfering with release cycles.”It is being reported that GNU/Linux development is being impeded due to UEFI, even where collaboration with Microsoft exists. Michael Larabel writes: “The Fedora 19 Alpha has been delayed by one week, thus pushing back all other milestones for this next version of Fedora Linux. The Fedora 19 Alpha delay is coming due to unresolved UEFI bugs blocking the release.”

UEFI Restricted Boot has already been flagged as an antitrust issue. “To do this thing right, the EU should also include that users who overwrite that other OS before or after accepting the EULA should be given a full refund of the retail price of that other OS,” Robert Pogson wrote.

This is not the first time we see these restrictions interfering with release cycles. A while back we saw Ubuntu releases whose purpose is to adjust for Microsoft's alleged UEFI violations alone. This is another company, Canonical, suffering from playing along with Microsoft.

Here is another rant about it and the original which states:

Today at Go/No-Go meeting it was decided to slip Fedora 19 Alpha release by one week due to unresolved UEFI bugs, see the blocker tracking app [1]. Otherwise we think we have pretty solid foundation for Alpha, please help us to identify the real impact of the UEFI issues. More details in meeting minutes [2].

Incidentally, Fabián Rodríguez, a rather prolific Free software proponent, wrote today:

I knew the time would come when I would meet someone that had #Windows 8 and they wanted to keep it either as dual-boot or as I suggest, virtualize it, to ease the transition into GNU/Linux. It doesn’t seem to be possible anymore.

My current advocacy focus are #Trisquel (with legacy BIOS + secure boot disabled) and #Debian. I use the FSF links and resources to inform about the problems with secure boot and Windows 8 and so far few people decided to keep Windows 8 – this means not using GNU/Linux at all since I don’t know yet how to keep #Windows 8 safely.

Debian latest installers support UEFI provided secure boot is disabled, but there is a bug that prevents easy dual-boot: http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=679817

This also affects #Ubuntu (and therefore, Trisquel): https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/grub2/+bug/1024383

Virtualizing would require either using VMWare (free as in beer only) VM converter, which takes longer and I haven’t tested w/Windows 8, or re-installing from OEM media which can’t be obtained it seems: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8-windows_install/a-clean-install-of-windows-8-oem-media-download/1b1e2517-5658-450d-943e-7e81f902adec

I hate telling people “sorry, next” but I’d like to focus advocacy where it matters – not on having free software coexisting with Windows 8, specially when people don’t depend on it too heavily (yet) since it’s relatively recent.

The easiest is to simply wipe everything related to Windows 8 but so far I had been able to offer a smoother transition w/o learning a whole lot more.

What to do now?

Help the antitrust complaint? The above is no accident, Microsoft must have foreseen it with glee.

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A Single Comment

  1. mjg59 said,

    April 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Gravatar

    The UEFI issues in Fedora 19 have nothing to do with Secure Boot.

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