Bonum Certa Men Certa

The FSF Ought to Protest Against UEFI 'Secure Boot' (Like It Used To)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on May 16, 2024,
updated May 16, 2024

GNUU

FSF site: (front page)

FSF: Our initiatives

Recent: Speaking of Enshittification and Freedom, We've Still Not Begun Tackling the UEFI 'Secure' Boot Mess (Preventing GNU/Linux From Even Booting!) | GNU Project Updates on Proprietary Surveillance, Malware in Cars, DRM in Trains, UEFI Insecure Boot and More

Posted a couple of days ago by Marc Sunet in libreplanet-discuss:

What's your takeaway here? Is this mostly an exercise out of curiosity?

> The Techrights site frequently posts articles which say that Microsoft's accounts should not be trusted.

It'd be illegal for a publicly-traded company to meddle with financial results and they'd risk lawsuits from investors, so I'm not sure where this claim comes from. Here's 2024 Q1 earnings:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Investor/earnings/FY-2024-Q1/press-release-webcast

> Server products and cloud services is the product category generating the most revenue. I personally do not often encounter Microsoft servers, especially web servers and email servers, so such a large presence comes as a surprise.

They missed the phone shift and cloud/Azure is where they put their money at. Likely to keep trending upwards with the OpenAI hype as of late. IIS is also fairly popular in corporate networks, but that's probably a drop in the ocean for them now.

> Maybe Microsoft has woken up to the fact that with the limited market share they hold today, they don't get to alter standards at will.

I don't think they have. I think you're confusing revenue with market share. Windows/desktop is a drop in the bucket for the company in terms of revenue, and the garbage that is Windows 11 shows for it. But they still hold >90% strong of desktop/laptop market share due to their partnerships with OEMs.

Which reminds me, how is it still legal for an OEM to ship a "default" OS in a computer without giving the customer any choice, esp. with BIOSes that now often don't let you boot a third-party OS unless you enable the option explicitly (and those that they let you boot I think need a secure boot key signed by Microsoft, lol)? Has this been an avenue of research for the FSF or some other organization lately?

Marc

You need to go back 10 years to understand what happened.

Akira Urushibata replied this morning:

> What's your takeaway here?

For many years the Microsoft's core product were operating systems: MS/DOS and Windows. It is remarkable that revenue from operation systems has dropped to a mere 10%
> It'd be illegal for a publicly-traded company to meddle with financial > results and they'd risk lawsuits from investors ...
Computer software is a relatively new industry and accounting rules and conventions have not kept up with reality. What is illegal and what is not is a murky matter.
People who buy isolated Microsoft software products are a minority. Most people buy personal computers with software pre-installed. How much does Microsoft earn with each PC sale? We don't know. Of the portion that goes to Microsoft, how much is for the OS and how much is for applications? Possibly the PC price tag includes a one-time fee for Bing search engine features which are accessible only from Windows computers.
> I think you're confusing revenue with market share.
Revenue and market share are different. But they are related.
If you have a monopoly you can charge dear for your product and enjoy high profits. You can also dictate various terms to your advantage. You can ignore demands for customization and tell customers who need it to find and hire some party which will offer such service.
The server market and game market are competitive. They are not as lucrative as the OS market was when it was dominated by Microsoft.
Thank you for the reply. I hope the above helps clarify some points.

UEFI Insecure Boot is all about monopoly. It always was. As such, UEFI Insecure Boot should be abolished. Why are we among the very who still speak about this? Where's the FSF? What about EFF staff? Only the EFF's Cory Doctorow still talks about it. As for FSF-EEE, it is still busy raising money from Microsoft!

Want to boot Linux? How about No?

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