11.15.14

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The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft ‘Loving’ Linux: Nightmares With UEFI ‘Secure’ Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A reminder of Microsoft’s sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations

THE OTHER DAY we saw Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke speaking about Microsoft’s attempt to enter primarily GNU/Linux-oriented datacentres such as Rackspace’s. To Microsoft, especially these days, the goal is not just to dominate operating systems, APIs and file formats but also to possess all files (in so-called ‘cloud’ storage) and servers (so-called ‘cloud’ hosting). It’s all about control, e.g. surveillance on databases, site visitors, individuals’ files, passwords, E-mails etc.

When speaking about Microsoft “loving” Linux (a lie that we debunked here before) we should bear in mind that Microsoft views GNU/Linux in Azure as just another object to spy on, extort, tax, and ultimately control. The strategy is one of devour or command-and-conquer. This Linux.com article from the other day made some noteworthy points: “When a journalist asked about the absence of Red Hat, during the Q&A session of the same event where Nadella declared Microsoft’s love for Linux, Microsoft executives didn’t have any specifics. Nadella stepped in and vaguely said, “We’d welcome Red Hat in our cloud.”

“We don’t know what is stopping Microsoft from offering Red Hat, because both companies are not ready to talk about it. John Terrill of Red Hat sent me the following response by email, “While we can imagine that a partnership, which respects each party’s business model and open source, could be possible for Red Hat technologies on Azure, we are not able to comment publicly on the topic. Red Hat does have a partnering arrangement of substance with Microsoft – certifying and supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on Hyper-V, and Windows Server running on Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization.”

“It’s unclear who is unwilling to work with the other, even if it makes no sense for either companies.”

No person should trust Microsoft for a whole load of reasons. We already know that Microsoft really hates GNU/Linux and only does things for it where these things are inherently detrimental to GNU/Linux. Several weeks ago Curry’s essentially prevented me from even replacing Windows with GNU/Linux without voiding the warranty on the underlying hardware (like keyboard or screen). I never found out who was behind this ridiculous policy, which consistently applied to hundreds of large stores across the UK (stores called “PC World”). Although they have changed their policy nationwide following my rants (I checked in the stores to ensure it’s truly as they’ve claimed it to be) this basically shows just how GNU/Linux-hostile Microsoft forces retail giants to become. Not only would they void the warranty of those who install GNU/Linux but Intel, Microsoft and OEMs also work together to make it very hard to install GNU/Linux on PCs. Here is a new UEFI nightmare story from a British writer:

Because this is a UEFI Firmware system, the first step is to wrestle with with BIOS and UEFI configuration. Every OEM is different in this area, and sometimes even different models from the same OEM are different. The critical questions are:

How to UEFI boot from a USB stick

How to (optionally) disable UEFI Secure Boot

How to (optionally) enable Legacy Boot (MBR)

Will changes to the UEFI boot configuration be retained

I know from experience with previous Acer systems that there are two things you have to do in the BIOS to prepare for Linux installation. FIrst, you have to change the “F12 Boot Menu” option to ‘Enable’, so that that you can press F12 during startup and get to the Boot Select menu.

Second, if you want/need to change the UEFI boot settings, you will first have to set a “Supervisor Password” in the BIOS configuration. Once the password is set, you can disable Secure Boot and/or enable Legacy Boot as necessary.

[...]

After the installation process completed, and before I rebooted, I checked the UEFI boot configuration (efibootmgr -v). It was correct, with “opensuse-secureboot” defined and first in the boot sequence list. But then I rebooted and… it booted Windows. ARRRRGGGHHHH! NO! Acer doesn’t do this kind of garbage, HP/Compaq does! I have two or three other Acer laptops around here, and the boot configuration is perfectly stable on them!

I rebooted and used F12 to get Boot Select, then selected openSuSE from there, and it came up ok. Then I checked the boot configuration again. Sure enough, the boot order had been changed back to have Windows Boot Manager first. Swine…

I rebooted again, and this time went into BIOS setup (F2). On the ‘Boot’ page, there is a ‘Boot priority order’ list, and “Windows Boot Manager” was right at the top of that list. There was nothing about “openSuSE” in the list, but there was a strange new entry for “HDD: WDE WD5000LPVX-22VOTTO”, which is absolutely as clear as mud… I didn’t recall seeing that entry when I was in the Boot menu the first time. I moved that item to the top of the priority list, crossed my fingers and rebooted.

If Microsoft loves GNU/Linux as much as it claims, why does it continue trying to complicate installations of GNU/Linux? People must ask such questions. The sad thing is that some in the Free software community are right now being bamboozled by facts-free charm offensives.

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