Bonum Certa Men Certa

The UEFI Forum (Intel et al.) is Polluting Linux in the Same Way Corporations Polluted W3C/WWW With DRM

UEFI logo with monopoly



Summary: Linux gets injected into it some code that potentially ties software to hardware (in the lock-in sense)

Based on antitrust exhibits, Intel's relationship with Microsoft is complex, but Intel generally uses Windows to keep the Wintel cash cow going. Earlier this year I spoke to Intel employees who run the UEFI Forum (a forum decorated by some more members who help distract from the real dominating force) and I tried to be polite and constructive, advising the head of this forum to withdraw 'secure' boot. I didn't bring up the fact that his employer, Intel, is a criminal company whose former staff plays a big role in parasites like Intellectual Ventures. I just pointed out that my brother in law works for Intel and that perhaps Intel can be changed for the better. But that was too optimistic. The utter mess which is UEFI 'secure' boot (harming hardware, not just computing freedom) goes forth and despite the fact that it is bricking devices with Windows on them (apparently things are getting even worse [1]), Linux developers let that nonsense enter the kernel, specifically for ARM [2], where so-called 'secure' boot cannot even be disabled.



"This is like another Tivoization taking place and Linux Torvalds, who spoke out against UEFI 'secure' boot, will probably just find some excuses for letting it be."This is probably happening because Intel funds the Linux Foundation. UEFI Forum is Intel is Linux Foundation (in part). That's how the influence of money works. This is like another Tivoization taking place and Linux Torvalds, who spoke out against UEFI 'secure' boot, will probably just find some excuses for letting it be. The situation is similar when it comes to the W3C (Linux Foundation equivalent), where corporate members (like Intel/UEFI Forum) push DRM into the Web while the founder, Tim Berners-Lee, just lets it be, essentially forcing everyone to just swallow the poison, even good forces like Eich/Mozilla [3].

The head of the UEFI Forum mocked or at least dismissed DRM as just for "business models", but his employer promotes DRM. UEFI 'secure' boot -- like DRM -- is just about business models, so who is he kidding? Likewise, Berners-Lee has many reasons to dislike DRM given his historical background (he created the Web to share his work), yet he keeps defending DRM right now [1, 2, 3]. Are these people thinking for themselves or are they all just blindly/reluctantly following orders of those who pay their salaries? Rather than protect copyright monopolies in their respective areas (which is why the monopolies try to use DRM on the Web) or protect the monopoly of software crooks (who use bribe and sabotage to hold back GNU/Linux) perhaps those influential people should make a brave stand and rise up against corporate takeover, spilling some beans or using public humiliation to drive away the lobbyists.

Related/contextual items from the news:



  1. Updates knocking on the door!
    And then, there's the celebrated Microsoft update to convert your Windows 8 RT computer into a Windows 8.1 RT... brick! It went so bad that Microsoft had to prevent people from installing it.

    I don't know if they fixed it but, according to this post, the update to Win 8.1 now seems to convert your computer into a cat (because it does not play nicely with mice).


  2. Linux 3.13 To Support EFI On ARM
    While EFI was originally developed by Intel and largely targeting x86 platforms, the EFI 2.3 specification does exist for Itanium and ARM architectures too and early this year the UEFI Forum had shown a proof-of-concept UEFI boot environment for ARMv8. With the EFI pull for the Linux 3.13 merge window, the Linux EFI support extends to ARM.


  3. Brendan Eich, Mozilla's CTO, on EME and DRM
    If I didn't before, after talking to Eich I had a strong sense that Mozilla is constrained by conflicting desires - to do the right thing, for example, while retaining enough browser share that it remains able to do the right thing. As you might expect, there are no easy solutions. Fortunately, things seemed more hopeful regarding another topic we discussed: I'll be exploring that in my next column.


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