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How Microsoft Can Lock Linux Off Windows 8 PCs

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the if-only-penguins-were-secure-enough dept.

Microsoft 899

Julie188 writes "Windows 8 PCs will use the next-generation booting specification known as Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). In fact, Windows 8 logo devices will be required to use the secure boot portion of the new spec. Secure UEFI is intended to thwart rootkit infections by using PKI authentication before allowing executables or drivers to be loaded onto the device. Problem is, unless the device manufacturer gives a key to the device owner, it can also be used to keep the PC's owner from wiping out the current OS and installing another option, such as Linux."

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What an over sensationalist title (3, Insightful)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466354)

So it isn't really Microsoft that can lock you out, it's device manufacturer. Likewise they could lock you out of Windows if Linux was the OS that came with computer. Why don't we see a headline like "How Linux Can Lock Windows Off PCs"? Oh right, this is slashdot. We're here to bash Microsoft.

Boot rootkits are a real problem. Microsoft is improving security here. In fact, Linux has had the capability to use (U)EFI for years. Now Microsoft is just making it default in their system, because quite frankly most people aren't that intelligent with computers and the OS needs to decide some security for them. It's funny how in other news Microsoft gets bashed for bad security, and then in other news they get bashed for implementing those security features.

If you don't get the key when buying your computer, complain to your manufacturer. It's their fault. I don't know why you're buying a computer with Windows to begin with if you're going to install Linux anyway, you're just throwing away money. And nowadays there's lots of computers available without Windows, or you can just build it yourself.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (4, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466394)

And why would a device manufacturer lock the device to a particular OS? Maybe for the same reason they could be coaxed to only sell the device with a particular OS?

You're absolutely right, if you completely ignore history.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1, Flamebait)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466416)

You seriously think Microsoft is stupid enough to try it again? It's been 15 years. Let it go.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (5, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466446)

"Try it again?" They haven't stopped.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (2, Insightful)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466490)

Now you're just talking shit. Microsoft was fined 15 years ago for making deals with manufacturers and were forbidden for doing so. They stopped. Manufacturers still offer Windows because that's what most people want, believe it or not. Everything works with Windows, especially if you're a gamer.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466624)

For your sake, I hope you're being paid by Microsoft to spout this rubbish.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466656)

Maybe you're just ignorant. I've asked three computer stores in my area, and they all say that they are contractually obligated to install Windows on every PC they sell. I asked if I could buy one with no OS, or with another OS installed, and they said their Microsoft contract forbids it. That was this year, not 15 years ago.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466496)

I bet you're shaking with anger and foaming at the mouth right now!

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466658)

Just more fanboy hyperbole. Maybe once you get over trying to beat Microsoft and just be happy with whatever you've decided to take on as your own instead you'll finally find peace. But as long as you need to kick MS in the ass you'll never get ahead of them. Sad.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466470)

Yes. One reason: cash money. The anti-trust case is long gone - time to revert back to old proven tactics to capture more market. Welcome to capitalism, where have you been?

Re:What an over sensationalist title (-1, Flamebait)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466522)

Welcome to capitalism, where have you been?

US hasn't been capitalist country for a while. It's turning into socialism, especially with Obama. I'm not even American and I can see that. The recent introduction of much higher taxes for rich people support that even more. Soon it will be like here in Europe, where they tax you so that no one can get richer than any other worker. It's nanny state tactic - people's feelings would get hurt when other people are better and have more than them.

moron. (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466578)

Dont show your general american political ignorance on random places on the internet. the world socialism does not mean anything near 'fascism', which was what you were trying to express in your pathetic attempt to link concepts 'tax' and 'government'.

if it was ANYTHING like socialism there, your ass would be secured in regard to employment, wage, social security and you wouldnt be even giving two shits about whether you were being taxed or not.

what you are going through is the early stages of fascism that comes after capitalism. there is NO kind of income equalization and redistribution happening. if it happened, you wouldnt be needing to save your own ass.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index [wikipedia.org]

the above index shows how better europeans are living with that socialism. your so very beautiful capitalist country has not ever topped that index, ever. and it always ranks 10 or lower.

just shut the fuck up and dont talk with what you heard from fox news or other right wing pieces of shit, will you ... or alternatively, you can just take up some reading on what socialism, capitalism, fascism, social democracy, corporatism and so on means. its just a google search away.

Re:moron. (-1, Offtopic)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466646)

You went on such a huge rage that you even missed me saying I'm not even American. I live in Europe. Let me say it again - I live in Europe. And I hate the socialism here. Yes, the human development index might be better, but that's just it. It's standard shitty life for everyone, no matter how hard you work or try to make it better.

If you are starting to make it better than other people, they tax you so much that you're soon back to where everyone else is. At least with capitalism countries you can work to make your life better. In socialism countries you cannot - you just have to accept that no matter what you do, you will always have the same standard of living than anyone else.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466488)

And why would a device manufacturer lock the device to a particular OS? Maybe for the same reason they could be coaxed to only sell the device with a particular OS?

You're absolutely right, if you completely ignore history.

Why waste your time inventing conspiracy theories, when a very good reason to do this is obvious: Malware is a real problem, and this is a good measure to take against it.

Your rant is somewhat incoherent, but I think the "history" you alude to is Microsoft's practice of charging more for windows if an OEM had netscape installed by default, or also sold computers with OS/2. If Microsoft does that again, they deserve severe punishment. However, fixing a major hole in their security model is not at all the same thing. This change benefits users.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466592)

However, fixing a major hole in their security model is not at all the same thing. This change benefits users.

So how would users who want to run something else in addition to Windows get something else in addition to Windows signed to run?

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466696)

Then they get a device that doesn't require it. It's an OPTIONAL security addition, that most likely will be mostly included in business line devices. Read the article.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (3, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466626)

Why waste your time inventing conspiracy theories, when a very good reason to do this is obvious: Malware is a real problem, and this is a good measure to take against it.

No, this is a really, really BAD measure to take against it, just as locking down the Internet and requiring a national ID number to connect a device to it would be. With such a system you could lock up or even execute all the black hats and there would be no malware within a year, does that make it a GOOD solution because it's effective?

And yes I think that's a fair comparison, both ridiculously bad for the freedom of average citizens and the overall freedom of computing.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (4, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466588)

They don't have to be coaxed, it's in their best interests to lock it out from the purchaser. It's the same reason they lock you out of android phones. Installing your own OS is something they don't want you to do because they think it drives up support costs and makes their built in advertisements go away.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466702)

Are you serious? Since when do random beige box models need the "SEO perfection" of Apple devices? Why have they never tried to prevent the installation of competing OSes before in history since the release of the first "IBM clones?"

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466720)

Why would a mobile phone manufacturer lock the device to a certain network? Oh. Wait.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

yomammamia (1916736) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466664)

"it can" Where did you read "it will"?

Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (4, Insightful)

kju (327) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466402)

In my opinion neither the title nor the article are overly sensational as claimed by you. While it is technically true that the device vendor does the lock out, this is nothing more than a smoke grenade tampering with the truth.

The fact is that Microsoft will require the manufacturers to support this technology if they want to sell devices on which windows will run. Even more the fact is, that this means that they will have to include keys by Microsoft which will prevent the device from running unsigned code like Linux.

And while it is still a rumor it can probably be taken as a fact that disabling this feature (if made possible by the manufacturers) will likely cause Windows to not start because this is what malicious software would do as well and allowing this would circumvent the security improvement.

So cut the crap. Yes, it will be the device manufacturers who will effectively bring this restriction into life. But it will be Microsoft who forces them to do so.

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (1)

alexandre_ganso (1227152) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466414)

Can you imagine having to change the uefi setup every time you switch OS?

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466500)

Can you imagine having to change the uefi setup every time you switch OS?

Yes, this inconvenience would be a good reason never to switch back to Windows... but do you really believe they will actually give you the option of switching this off?

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466618)

The average person does not 'switch OS'. Plus all the morons who try Ubuntu and think thats what a good *nix is will be thwarted, and that's good for everyone.

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (1)

GrandTeddyBearOfDoom (1483117) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466648)

So what is a good *nix? BSD running on an EOL processor and architecture with a 25Mhz clock?

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466460)

Troll? Moderator on crack? Hope I catch that one on meta-mod.

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466504)

Not a moderator on crack, but the official MS Reputation Management Squad.

And yes I hope metamod does its job with them.

Re:Sensationalist? I strongly disagree (0)

yelvington (8169) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466700)

Hmm. kju, who is absolutely right, was modded "troll" and the thread is being swarmed by MSFT defenders. I have to wonder whether they are paid shills, or merely lacking in any historical perspective.

For decades now, MSFT has done everything it could get away with to kill competition, and has been hauled into court repeatedly over charges of antitrust law violations in the US and EU.

Anyone who genuinely thinks hardware manufacturers would be the responsible parties in this travesty really needs another cup of coffee. MSFT has dictated configurations for years.PC manufacturers have no real choice. There is no free, open, competitive PC software market. It's Redmond's way or the highway.

But the world is changing. Microsoft is desperate to move into the tablet word. But if Linux or Android could be installed, it would be shoved aside just as it's been shoved aside in mobile phones. It needs locked-down systems to prevent open programming and open competition.

A decade ago, you might look at Richard Stallman as an alarmist and extremist. Increasingly he's looking like a prophet.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (-1, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466406)

Also I've been suspecting this for a while now, but I'm now sure enough to call it - you're a shill for Microsoft. You mostly spew hate at their competitors, doing "negative marketing" rather than "positive marketing," but I'm sure of it now.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466462)

Wait, so you want me to do "positive marketing" for MS competitors? That doesn't count as shilling? Jeez, not everyone who gives a positive opinion about something is a shill. I seriously doubt that Slashdot even interests any large company, it's a small niche website of geeks who bash anything not-Linux or open source.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (-1, Troll)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466520)

There you go again. You know the post history feature is working again and everybody can see it. The fact that the feature was broken until recently is what kept you in the suspicion zone.

The better shills at least make a meaningful number of posts not related to shilling.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (-1, Offtopic)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466556)

And how does it feel to be a shill for Nintendo? Must be pretty lonely there though, as Nintendo doesn't get that much stories in Slashdot.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466620)

That's because Nintendo's lockdown is even worse than Microsoft's or Apple's.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466678)

Oh jeez I knew my username would bite me in the ass some day when I came up with at around 12 years old...

I'm not a Nintendo fanboy. It's meant to mean "boy who plays games." That's why there's no space or initial caps.

I haven't said a single positive thing about Nintendo in at least the last 4 years. I find their lockdown on the 3DS and Wii absolutely disgusting.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466546)

Isn't that an ad hominem though? He made an argument. Who he is doesn't affect the truth of the statements of the logic of the conclusions.

As for whether he actually is, a lot of us dislike the groupthink here and will typically only post when we feel that the initial post is rather too slanted. This will typically make some people come across as pro-MS because a lot of their posts simply disagree with those who are strongly anti-MS

Ad hominem is a heuristic (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466674)

An individual lacks the time to investigate "the truth of the statements of the logic of the conclusions" fully for all statements ever made by all other individuals. So some people employ a heuristic based on previous statements that another individual has made. Those who do not apply heuristics such as ad hominem are vulnerable to ad nauseam.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

sunr2007 (2309530) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466408)

From the PPT slide .Its because MS forces the manufacturers and OEMs to lock the booting of other OS (Linux) in order to be compatible with Windows8 Logo . so dont sell your garbage here. try somewhere else. this is /. not some MS forum to believe your shit!

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466434)

Oh right, this is slashdot

Get off my lawn!

Re:What an over sensationalist title (4, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466444)

If you don't get the key when buying your computer, complain to your manufacturer. It's their fault. I don't know why you're buying a computer with Windows to begin with if you're going to install Linux anyway, you're just throwing away money.

What about those people who buy Windows now, because they don't know any better, but then learn about Linux, and want to install it on their then old computer several years from now? This is not only a plausible scenario for installing Linux on a computer which had Windows initially, but it is also a scenario where complaining to the manufacturer won't help: he may no longer be in business by them, or not longer have the keys for obsolete machines.

O, and another reason to buy a computer with Windows if you're going to install Linux anyways: maybe Microsoft is still so good at bribing most manufacturers that it is difficult to find computers of the desired spec without Windows.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0, Flamebait)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466582)

I think that case happens really rarely. It's much greater good that Microsoft fixes the security problems regarding boot rootkits. Saying anything else is just hating Microsoft for nothing. And in the next boot rootkit article you can again yell at Microsoft about why they don't secure their systems. Jeez.

Rarely > never (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466694)

I think that case happens really rarely.

Rarely > never. Once all home PCs come with this lockdown, companies like System76 that specialize in selling PCs specifically certified for compatibility with Linux will start to run out of compatible PCs to rebadge.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (0, Flamebait)

kirbysuperstar (1198939) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466584)

What about those people who buy Windows now, because they don't know any better, but then learn about Linux, and want to install it on their then old computer several years from now?

I'm sure all four of them will work something out.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466456)

And nowadays there's lots of computers available without Windows, or you can just build it yourself.

Any pointers, especially for laptops? system76, I heard about. Now one I can actually use and buy stuff from on mainland Europe? I've seen some at alternate.de coming with FreeDOS or some unknown linux, but most of the time those are the bottom barrel machines and nothing high-end.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466566)

Yeah laptops are gonna suck. Last time I bought one I shopped around at the "Linux boutiques" and they were all bloody expensive (as in 2x+ the cost of the same laptop from the vendor with Windows on it). I just bit the bullet and bought a Windows laptop and wiped it (changed the hard drive, actually...I don't want that slow bargain-basement shit they put in all off-the-shelf non-gaming PCs).

I thought about refunding the Windows license but decided not to, in case I wanted to run games on it or something. In retrospect I should have done it, even though it's a fair bit of work.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466472)

Really? That's your complaint? You don't know that the vast majority of PCs currently being shipped, and expected to be shipped in at least the foreseeable future will come with Windows, and set up to MS guidelines? When the roles are reversed, and Linux is the majority player, driving how manufacturers configure their hardware (yea, right!), then you can complain that Windows is getting picked on.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466478)

I don't know why you're buying a computer with Windows to begin with if you're going to install Linux anyway,

Even if we ignore the new Linux installs, how about re-purposing an old PC, second hand PCs, corporate computers that are sold off for cheap, huge blocker for people wanting to migrate/test Linux and so on. Laptops pretty much all come with the OS preinstalled and the desktop market is dominated by OEMs. The volume of "virgin" hardware that's never been touched by Windows is just a few percent of the market (excluding Macs, but Apple might decide to do the same).

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

zakkie (170306) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466498)

Some devices just cannot be bought without MS Windows installed on them. I could not source a new laptop without it, for instance.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466530)

It's only "sensationalist" in the theoretical imaginary world where you focus purely on what the 'secure boot' sections of UEFI are capable of, and not at all on how the market can be expected to shake out...

Purely architecturally, the cryptographic mechanisms are vendor-agnostic. They could as easily be used to enforce the tyrannical rise of a BeOS monoculture! Except, of course, that there is zero likelihood of that ever happening....

In practice, it can reasonably be expected that OEMs will adopt the Windows 8 logo requirements(which will imply the secure boot UEFI is in place, and at least keyed to work with MS products) and that key distribution will be a somewhat...uneven afterthought.

The "just build it yourself" will be rather unhelpful, given that the motherboards you need will be churned out to support systems built to the same logo spec(more SKUs are expensive...), and you can really only build generic whitebox towers, not laptops or other more embedded systems.

Re:What an over sensationalist title (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466612)

I don't know why you're buying a computer with Windows to begin with if you're going to install Linux anyway, you're just throwing away money.

Maybe because many manufacturers actually sell PCs with Windows installed for less than they sell PCs with Linux (or no OS).

Windows Upgrades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466362)

Wait.. wouldn't this also stop people from upgrading to a new Windows release. Why would MS want to do that?

Re:Windows Upgrades (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466380)

Maybe future versions will come from the app store, like with macos.

Re:Windows Upgrades (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466400)

As long as the upgrade is signed, why would that be a problem? This is like tivoization for PCs, they can upgrade but nobody else can modify it.

Re:Windows Upgrades (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466410)

SUEFI can be set to lock out everything but a given set of trusted hashes(which would indeed preclude any updates of the existing OS) or it can verify the signature of something against a set of trusted keys before loading it.

Outside of a few embedded applications, I'd assume that the latter would be the one that sees more general-purpose-computer use. OSes get patched and updated all the time; but so long as the vendor signs the update the way they signed version n-1, everything will just work...

Caveat Emptor (1, Informative)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466396)

Buyer Beware.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466510)

Buyer Beware.

Seriously we moved passed "Caveat Emptor" centuries ago. Hence rulings on product safety, reasonable quality, being as described and not facilitating uncompetitive practices.

Re:Caveat Emptor (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466698)

Seriously we moved passed "Caveat Emptor" centuries ago. Hence rulings on product safety, reasonable quality, being as described and not facilitating uncompetitive practices.

Then we entered the new economy where all things are licensed, not sold and none of the rights we used to have apply anymore. To take an example the right of first sale, several games recently have simply said this is a non-transferable license and that was the end of that. Also there are other abominations like the DMCA where they can put use restrictions into the DRM, because they can make whatever terms they want to be a licensed player. It's the greatest ripoff the software and entertainment history has ever seen. And all the devices that aren't yours anymore because they can just remote kill applications, remote delete books and so on. The walled garden may seem far and wide today, but I bet the walls will close in sooner rather than later.

Re:Caveat Emptor (4, Insightful)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466666)

I'm aware. Does that mean I will have a choice then?

(*_*) (1)

Haven (34895) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466398)

I'm sure that's really going to stop linux nerds from doing what they do... which is installing linux on anything and everything.

This will be cured by a boot disk, ala iBoot.

Re:(*_*) (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466412)

Trusted Boot prevents the use of alternative boot disks. It is controlled from chips soldered onto the motherboard and PKI keys.

No key, no boot. Replacing drives or using external drives does not help. There is no "BIOS Reset" option and you can't short jumpers to clear it.

Google uses it on the CR-48 Chromebooks, but also includes a little switch under the battery to turn it off. With it turned on, the system boots only Google-signed images and nothing else. Period.

Re:(*_*) (4, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466718)

If trusted boot is used to deny people's right to hardware they lawfully purchased I expect to see attacks of both technical and legal natures succeeding against trusted boot.

it's not a bad idea in general as long as the owner of the device holds the key.

Re:(*_*) (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466458)

But will it boot at all from removable disks?

Chances are, if they "secured" hard disk boot in such a way, they made booting from removable media impossible as well...

Re:(*_*) (1)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466492)

But will it boot at all from removable disks?

Chances are, if they "secured" hard disk boot in such a way, they made booting from removable media impossible as well...

but will it blend - sorry I had to do that..

This would be illegal in the EU (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466420)

Because it is anti-competitive. Unless the device manufacturers want their PCs and mainboards to be barred from being sold in the EU, they better find a way to make Linux installation possible.

Illegal in the US also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466536)

It's illegal here in the US also. The main difference is, the political climate here is a lot more friendly to anti-competitive behavior, and microsoft in particular, than it is over in Europe.

Re:This would be illegal in the EU (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466550)

Are iPads legal in the EU?

Re:This would be illegal in the EU (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466642)

iPads are not general-purpose PCs. iPads are "devices" like mobile phones.

Re:This would be illegal in the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466660)

the difference is that ipads are entertaining devices and taxed accordingly while computers have a lower tax. Some people even say that's the reason why sony added initially the option to boot linux to the ps3, to try to import it as a computer into europe and as such have a lower tax, that didn't pass and it was taxed as a console.

Re:This would be illegal in the EU (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466672)

That's a fucking retarded distinction. Anything Turing complete is a computer.

Re:This would be illegal in the EU (1)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466614)

you mean like providing the key upon request or even with the machine?

So this isn't down to Microsoft? (0, Troll)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466424)

If the hardware manufacturers don't give the key out, then it's their fault, not Microsofts. Needlessly inflammatory article IMO.

Re:So this isn't down to Microsoft? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466610)

Windows 8 logo devices will be required to use the secure boot portion of the new spec.

Totally not Microsoft's fault!

I'm sure Microsoft will encourage handing out these keys. No way they'd try to hinder distribution of these keys. After all, Microsoft are the good guys and would never do anything bad to hinder competition and increase their market share. Nossir, not Microsoft. They are saints!

Re:So this isn't down to Microsoft? (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466670)

Hey, I ain't sticking up for Microsoft! :D

Re:So this isn't down to Microsoft? (1)

ajo_arctus (1215290) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466644)

I believe you may be wrong on two counts:

1. Microsoft will most likely sign the code and OEMs will embed Microsoft's public key. The OEMs do have the option of doing the signing, but that option would prevent you (the buyer) from updating/re-installing Windows using non-OEM versions.

2. Microsoft seem to be mandating the trusted boot in order for devices to be certified as Windows compatible, so the OEMs have to go along or be left behind.

While I think the articles on this are inflammatory, I don't think it's as bad as you seem to make out.

As an aside, I've also read convincing arguments that Microsoft don't actually care about Windows on ARM, but just need an option to prevent OEMs installing Android/Linux/A.N.Other OS, much like they did on the Netbooks (hence Windows Starter edition). The theory goes that once Microsoft have an ARM compatible alternative, they're going to insist that OEMs offer ONLY Windows, in exchange for getting/not-losing discounts for Windows-on-desktop licenses. That would give Intel a bit more time to get Atom in to a ready state for tablets, and business as usual would resume. It sounds a bit silly, until you realise that Microsoft have actually done this sort of thing several times before -- it's in their DNA to utterly kill competition using these exact kinds of tactics.

Of course, I'm not actually an expert on any of this, but I have been around long enough to see similar situations play out many times in the past. Leopards and spots etc.

Re:So this isn't down to Microsoft? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466690)

The article may be somewhat excessively inflammatory, but it is important that people be made aware of this new practice so that they know to ask for the key when buying a PC. My suspicion is that most manufacturers will not give out the key by default, but will give it to you if you ask for it when you buy the PC.

Re:So this isn't down to Microsoft? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466716)

Unless the conditions to have the "right" to sell Windows require this. For so-called "security reasons", for example.

DejaVu (3, Informative)

pmontra (738736) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466450)

From one [lwn.net] of TFAs

While it would be possible for various [Linux] distributions to get their keys added, that wouldn't help anyone who wanted to run a tweaked version of the "approved" bootloader or kernel. Distributors would not be able to release their private keys to allow folks to sign their own binaries either. Each key is just as valid as any other, so malware authors would just pick up those keys to sign their wares. Exposed keys would also find their way onto the forbidden list rather quickly one suspects.

This reminds me of the way keys are used to protect DVDs and we all remember what happened.

This is news? (2)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466464)

Ten years ago, "Trusted Computing", or whatever it was, was sort of news. And it was not unexpected back then either.

But PKI isn't going to be enough, really. They're going to have to find some people to make examples of and sic the lawyers on 'em.

Of course, real security, in the form of a physical switch, is too simple, and too easy for the owner to, well, switch.

Wow the masses, cow the masses.

Hooray! (0)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466466)

Yet *another* reason to abandon Windows.

Re:Hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466534)

yeah maybe using a MAC would be different eh?

The RIAA saying they wanted something like this (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466476)

Sorry I can't find any references but I remember a few years ago the RIAA said they wanted something like this. They used their usual dishonest wording and said something like "equipment should not allow the installation of any systems that allow the circumvention of DRM".

Re:The RIAA saying they wanted something like this (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466576)

And yet, strangely enough, you can circumvent DRM just fine while running Windows...

Oh Hell No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466482)

If I wanted to be a disempowered consumer, instead of an empowered user, I'd buy a Mac.

If you don't fully control it, then you're just renting it, even if you don't pay by the month.

I suspect there would be some sort of setting... (2)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466484)

...to enable or disable this. If you buy a name brand machine, then yes, you might expect it to be locked down, so if that is the case, then the Linux crowd will simply stick to machines they build themselves, or have built for them that are not locked down. Simple solution really.

Re:I suspect there would be some sort of setting.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466688)

What about laptops?

What about virtual machines? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466508)

Maybe they can stop dual-booting, but what VMs?

Now that we can buy 8gb of ram for about $40; just run win8 in a VM.

Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466524)

It's not like you can easily install Android on an iPad either. You people bash Microsoft for what Apple has already been doing.

Re:Apple (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466600)

I don't exactly see Apple having made many friends by doing that, so it seems entirely consistent to be against another player who is heading down the same path. Hell, forget Apple, the term "tivoization" has been a perjorative for the deleterious effects of lockdown bootloaders since well before team Steve started shipping any devices with them. The position that they are a Bad Thing has been largely consistent across vendors since that time.

Re:Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466710)

It's not like you can easily install Android on an iPad either. You people bash Microsoft for what Apple has already been doing.

Just because we're bashing Microsoft, doesn't mean we didn't bash Apple as well. Both companies' products' defectiveness by design is terrible. But because desktop PCs have had a long tradition of openness, this sort of thing on desktop PCs is more likely to be responded badly to than on mobile computers.

Only an annoyance (1)

putaro (235078) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466564)

Ten years ago this might have been a viable threat to Linux. Today, however, Linux is worth too much money to too many people for this to be used to wipe it out. At worst, it will mean that cheap hardware will be locked down.

How about no OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466594)

Besides Windows locking out OtherOS (eg. Linux). Has anyone considered the possibility that malicious software (virus, trojan) might use the very same system to lock out ALL OSes (besides possibly, itself)? This would be a small upgrade from a bios/mbr virus. Malicious software (ab)using security tokens is not unheard of. Obtaining legitimate security tokens is not impossible either (DigiNotar anyone?)

I foresee very, very long queues in front of computer repair shops with computers that no longer boot.

TC paranoia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466596)

If history teaches us anything, this is exactly like the trusted computing paranoia of years ago. You can still install Linux on today's computer, right?

They're not *that* evil (5, Informative)

Netshroud (1856624) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466604)

Microsoft said they're trying to figure out how to allow users to dual-boot. In the //build/ video discussing the new Windows 8 boot process, the presenter said they were trying to figure out how to keep boot secure but still allow users to boot into Windows 7, since Windows 7 doesn't support this. And if it works for Windows 7, it'll probably work for Linux.

The key comes from the MANUFACTURER, not MS (4, Informative)

davide marney (231845) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466630)

MS wants to take advantage of UEFI, which has obvious benefits. Chromebooks work the same way, but we don't read any heated /. articles about it because Google is charmed and MS is "evil".

It is up to the device manufacturers to figure out a way to let the end-user ultimately take control of their own PCs. They could do that Chromebooks style -- a hardware switch -- or by distributing the key in a secure manner, such as mailing it to the owner's registered home address. Consumers who care about this issue should look for this feature in whatever device they purchase. What's all the fuss?

Re:The key comes from the MANUFACTURER, not MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37466704)

What I see happening is a cheaper price to vendors who lock the OS to the hardware with no user controls, and we'll have to pay a premium for more flexible motherboards. Of course, everyone will want the new "certified" locked-down hardware with all the shiny hologram stickers all over it.

As for the best news of all; (2)

wertigon (1204486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466650)

Windows will be very hard to pirate properly now.

Why is this great news?

Because now people who can't pirate will switch to Linux instead! :D

They could try... (1)

mitashki (1116893) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466676)

Certainly the big proprietary OS guys could choose a path which will lock out the rest for their advantage. However I'm positive I will be able to choose my PC components and my OS in the future same way as now. We're not afraid of where we're going We're just afraid of where we've been

excuse (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466684)

Just like in the real world, security is a very convenient excuse for trampling over people's freedoms. While I don't doubt that eventually there will be some technical ways to circumvent this, it will be yet another barrier for "normal" people to try Linux. How many people would bother if you can't even boot a Linux live CD without having to flip a setting in the BIOS which will likely have some very scary security warnings about not doing so?

Fix'd (0)

Berg0r (2451966) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466714)

"How manufacturers/retailers Can Lock non-stock-OSs Off PCs, that are sold with UEFI" But because this is /., this is OBVIOUSLEH!!!11 Microsofts fault, because they're requiring UEFI, thereby driving forward actual use of it, because at the moment, the majority of PCs still has a BIOS. But god beware, if TEH EVIL MS actually supports something new! How could they?! They're Microsoft, so there has to be something evil about it, even if you've got to pull your reasoning straight out of your buttocks.

Work around? (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 3 years ago | (#37466724)

Why not have a GNU key which Windows will never trust as part of the firmware?

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