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Thread: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

  1. #1
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    UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    The real threat here is that Windows 8 Logo computer will prevent GNU / Linux from booting as part of the "secure boot" process. When combined with anti circumvention legislation it could even make it illegal in certain countries to install GNU / Linux on certain computers since one would have to crack the DRM in the UEFI boot loader in order to boot an "untrusted" binary. The legal situation would not be different for example to cracking the DRM on a PS3 in order to install GNU / Linux on it.

    Here are some articles with some the early warning signs.

    http://www.itwire.com/opinion-and-an...g-out-gnulinux
    UEFI Secure Booting by Mathew Garrett
    UEFI and "secure boot"

  2. #2
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    Well, it makes me glad I build my own computers, but this could be an issue for laptops and the like which have to be bought with an OS already installed. When I need to get a new netbook, I should be able to find one with Linux. Perhaps manufacturers will even offer more options because of this?

    What really concerns me is that people who buy a system with Windows 8 could be unable to even try Linux, which would in turn hurt the potential userbase. Even if a way around it is found, it might be beyond the scope of an average user (like permanently getting around Windows' protection now), or make would-be users nervous that it's a "crack."

  3. #3
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    Last edited by Thewhistlingwind; September 21st, 2011 at 04:13 AM.
    Life is an extraordinarily long concatenation of luck and coincidence.

  4. #4
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    Oh gosh. There go all my fancy laptop dreams.

    I build my own desktops, but I don't know of any way to build my own laptop.

    Anyone know any resources? Or is it just not possible?

    Also, doesn't this sort of kill the point of those "Happy Birthday Linux" videos MS made?

  5. #5
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    This won't be the first time Microsoft has been dragged into court for anti-trust and I doubt it will be the last. lol.

  6. #6
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by Dangertux View Post
    This won't be the first time Microsoft has been dragged into court for anti-trust and I doubt it will be the last. lol.
    what does it have to do with MS? lemme guess- its all their fault, right?

    but, seriously:
    1. trusted boot can be used on linux
    2. it will be used on workstations, not on 'home pc'
    3. it will be supported by the higher versions of Windows /enterprise, ultimate etc/
    4. in overall, it is a great feature /shame that it's not supported as easily /for end user/ as on windows/

  7. #7
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    This will not happen in the EU, MS would get smacked around by Neelie Kroes.
    F1+2, DB 2, DB 21, FB 21, DB 2~F 1 FTW.

  8. #8
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    Antitrust is glacially slow

    Quote Originally Posted by Dangertux View Post
    This won't be the first time Microsoft has been dragged into court for anti-trust and I doubt it will be the last. lol.
    Don't rely on antitrust action to resolve any problems in a timely manner. The WordPerfect/Quattro case from 1994 is just getting started. It's good that this is going forward, but in the case of locking down the boot process, other measures are needed.

  9. #9
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    Couldn't it just be that the set of keys for Windows 8 be pre-authorized, while instead of blocking the other operating system which are not authorized, there could be a simple warning that "this key is not recognized, wanna continue?" similar to SSH logins? Pardon me if I am completely missing the point, but isn't this the most practical approach.

  10. #10
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    Re: UEFI, Secure Booting and the Windows 8 Logo requirements locking out GNU / Linux

    Quote Originally Posted by Canis familiaris View Post
    Couldn't it just be that the set of keys for Windows 8 be pre-authorized, while instead of blocking the other operating system which are not authorized, there could be a simple warning that "this key is not recognized, wanna continue?" similar to SSH logins? Pardon me if I am completely missing the point, but isn't this the most practical approach.
    If your goal was to allow multiple operating systems to boot, then yes. However, I really doubt that Microsoft, and anyone they can pressure (read "OEMs") would have this goal in mind.

    Then you also have to consider that secure boot (in theory) is supposed to prevent rootkits that the average user (let's call them "newbies") might get infected with.

    Now, suppose that secure boot IS implemented this way. What happens when a newbie gets the "this key is not recognized" screen? (hint: they don't know what a cryptographic key is, and only really care about getting to their desktop). In this case, the proposed purpose of secure boot is completely circumvented.

    Another option might be to have a bright red warning. e.g. something to the effect of "WARNING: This boot file is not recognized. This may be due to a virus infection. It is recommended to not continue booting until a PC technician has examined your system." But then the newbies would see this right after installing Ubuntu and tell all their friends that it's a virus. (especially if they're unlucky enough to take it to someone that doesn't know what Linux is)

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