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Microsoft Taking Aggressive Steps Against Linux On ARM

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the justice-department-be-damned dept.

DRM 675

New submitter Microlith writes "Microsoft has updated their WHQL certification requirements for Windows 8, and placed specific restrictions on ARM platforms that will make it impossible to install non-Microsoft operating systems on ARM devices, and make it impossible to turn off or customize such security. Choice quotes from the certification include from page 116, section 20: 'On an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enabled' — which prevents users from customizing their security, and in section 21: 'Disabling Secure MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems' to prevent you from booting any other OSes."

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675 comments

MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On ARM (-1, Troll)

DavidSell (2552582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696666)

There, fixed the title for you. This is a security feature.

Even the article in the summary notes that this is about Windows Phone and ARM-based notebooks, and neither are where Microsoft has a monopoly on market share. So what about if you go out and pick one of the thousands other products that has Linux or Android to begin with? In turn Microsoft severaly increases protection about boot sector malware on devices.

The funny thing is that this is exactly what Linux users have been asking for. They have been bitching about bad security of Windows, and now that Microsoft takes good and required steps to improve it, they start bitching how the security features lock out Linux. What about thinking before opening your mouth in the future? And why not bitch at Apple for locking down OS X and iPhone's too?

The most important thing is - Microsoft's OS's have minimal market share on ARM-based device. There's thousands of devices with Linux and Android, just pick one of those.
Cheers,
David E. Sell

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696694)

The trick to being a good shill is to not have your diatribe prewritten to post as soon as the story goes from red to green.

It's a little too blatant otherwise.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696700)

And why not bitch at Apple for locking down OS X and iPhone's too?

But... WE DO BITCH AT APPLE FOR LOCKING DOWN OS X AND IPHONE TOO.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696770)

OS X doesn't stop you installing other operating systems. OS X even comes with a tool that will resize your existing partition, provide space for another OS, and Apple computers have a graphical boot menu out of the box for selecting the OS to boot.

I'm not sure about iOS devices. The older iPods didn't actively stop you from installing other operating systems (they just didn't support it, which is fair enough). If the new iPods / iPhones do lock the bootloader and prevent you from installing something else, then that would be something worth complaining about, although there are enough other reasons for wanting to avoid Apple's locked-down consumer product lines that it's probably quite low on the list.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Informative)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696888)

That's because Apple is a hardware company foremost. It works the other way with them. They don't want you installing their software on other hardware and work to prevent it. Microsoft is being forced into attacking linux on ARM in this way because they can't really compete against them any other way on that platform and they are desperate not to start losing market share even if they maintain their monopoly on pc architecture. MS knows that once linux really starts to take hold anywhere at all they are in danger everywhere.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2, Insightful)

tukang (1209392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696906)

True but to be fair Apple did this because when OSX first came out, it wasn't nearly as popular as it is now and there were a lot of windows only apps people wanted to run. That's the same reason they invested in boot camp - to make the transition from windows to OSX easier. If OSX had the lead market share like Windows does now, I'm not so sure Apple would be as accommodating. Just look at how locked down the iPhone is w/respect to having to get all your media through iTunes.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697004)

Bullshit. When OS X first came out, it only ran on PowerPC. It came with OpenFirmware, and which provided a graphical multiboot bootloader. When it was ported to Intel, Boot Camp was a separate download, now it's integrated.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696950)

If the new iPods / iPhones do lock the bootloader and prevent you from installing something else, then that would be something worth complaining about

They do. As do many (probably even the majority) of Android devices. And Symbian devices. And bloody well anything that runs on ARM! The number of locked ARM devices vastly outnumbers the number that are unlocked, or even have the ability to be officially unlocked. Should unlocked ARM devices be the norm? Yes. Is Microsoft's position the norm among every device and OS manufacturer? Also yes.

Also interesting to note is that the updated document specifically requires that UEFI Secure Boot settings can be modified by the end user, contrary to previous hooh-hah.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Insightful)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696846)

You are forgetting one of the 10 commandments of propaganda: If you repeat it enough times, people will believe it is true.

And, as a bonus, you'll slowly drive anyone that actually has some grasp of the truth slowly bat-shit crazy thanks to the gas lighting effect; which makes them, and therefor their position, unattractive.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697018)

You are forgetting one of the 10 commandments of propaganda. If you repeat it enough times, people will believe it is true.

It's good thing, then, that you are repeating this to him.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696704)

I don't understand if you're a troll, a shill, or simply an idiot. Microsoft is imposing this overly restrictive and anti-competitive measures on ARM hardware, in order for it to have WHQL certification, and you pretend to believe it is to stop malware? Really?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696748)

He is a shill. Despicable. Just look at the posting time of the article and his comment. This was obviously pre-written.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (-1, Troll)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696780)

It is nevertheless a valid comment. Microsoft doesn't have monopoly on ARM-based devices. On top of that, even Android manufacturers lock down their devices with similar technologies because it makes the devices secure. Why is Microsoft allowed to do the same, especially since it doesn't cause any monopoly issues?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696820)

This does not make the devices secure. Stop repeating that nonsense. Then, from your ID I deduce you are related to the shill.

Go away, you are not welcome here.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (-1, Troll)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696854)

Yes it does. Take for example Aluereon [wikipedia.org] family of malware that rewrites your boot sector and hides there.

In November 2010, the press reported that the rootkit has evolved to the point that it is able to bypass the mandatory kernel-mode driver signing requirement of 64-bit editions of Windows 7 by subverting the master boot record,[9] something that also makes it particularly resistant on all systems to detection and removal by anti-virus software.

No antivirus can do anything about it, and even if you re-install your OS, the malware gets re-installed too!

So how would you combat against Alureon and similar malware without protecting the core of your system where it attacks?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696916)

Is it too obvious to say:

Fix how it bypassed the mandatory kernel-mode driver signing requirements of 64-bit editions of Windows 7?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (-1, Troll)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697000)

Is it too obvious to say:

Fix how it bypassed the mandatory kernel-mode driver signing requirements of 64-bit editions of Windows 7?

IE., lock down boot sector! That is exactly how Alureon bypasses it, and that is what were discussing here!

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697040)

This has nothing to do with preventing the user from adding another OS key to their device. That is the thinly-veiled anti-competitive truth behind this. Also note that on x86, the user _is_ allowed to add another OS key. How is that?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696956)

No antivirus can do anything about it, and even if you re-install your OS, the malware gets re-installed too!

Last I used an MS-OS (DOS) bootsectorvirus was common, and so was antivirus that could handle that. What have happende? Have MS locked down the bootsector so only viruses can modify it and not the anti-virus or the OS? In that case this is an exelent example why this will NOT work....

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696978)

It does not make sense. You can always allow the user to add another key, and you can give clear warning when they do. Preventing the user from adding another key is not a security feature. Period.

But I guess you are paid to post this nonsense here.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (-1)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697034)

Microsoft's stance isn't any other from other ARM manufacturers and operating systems. Pretty much every ARM device is locked down, including iOS and most Android devices. It is the norm in ARM land. How is Microsoft suddenly more evil than others, WHEN EVERYONE DOES IT, INCLUDING GOOGLE AND APPLE?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696980)

If you were to *competently* wipe your disk (overwrite the whole device with 0's for instance) after infection and *then* reinstall the OS from known clean installation media, it would be just as gone as any other malware. No anticompetitive freedom-limiting MS crap required as it can be done for free with one of the many free software rescue media readily available online. Computers are complex devices. If you insist on using them: learn how they actually work, it'll save you from a lot of hassle down the line.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696990)

This option was available for decades as a feature of BIOSes only editable from the CMOS Setup menu. It is not a security feature, it does nothing to really protect against malware.

Also, if you reinstall your OS, the boot sector is overwritten, as the partitioning/formatting stage overwrites all the data there....

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696912)

Android manufacturers lock down their devices with similar technologies because it makes the devices secure

HTC and Sumsung, the two largest Android phone makers, both provide official methods to unlock the boot loader. Other manufacturers who lock and don't provide a simple way to unlock rightly tend to be criticised for it. I don't see why Microsoft should escape criticism either.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Insightful)

TheBlackMan (1458563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696708)

Sir, you are either paid propagandist, or you have no idea what you are talking about.
The security we (Linux users) always wanted was supposed to be on software level, not on hardware level.

Doing anything like this on hardware level is definately anti-competitive.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (-1, Troll)

DavidSell (2552582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696724)

It's only a problem if you hold a monopoly. Currently Linux and Android are more popular than Windows on ARM-based devices.

David

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696746)

...something about leveraging a monopoly to take over another sector...

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0, Troll)

DavidSell (2552582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696762)

How is Microsoft leveraging monopoly to take over another sector? Do you have proof of this? Are they saying that vendors would not be allowed to sell other Microsoft products if they don't help their ARM-based devices take over?

As far as I can see, they haven't been leveraging their monopoly to do anything. Simply by going to another market is not leveraging monopoly.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696840)

They are going to that other market with an explicitly anti-competitive strategy. Quite obvious. The thin veneer of lies used by you (and others with IDs suspiciously close to yours) cannot cover that.

Go away MS shill.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696772)

Leveraging your monopoly in one area to attempt to dominate another much? This is an attempt by Microsoft to use the power they have over hardware manufacturers and computer distributors via their Desktop PC monopoly to force out the current players in the Tablet market. Abuse of a monopoly position pure and simple.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696790)

Do you have any proof that they have abused that position with hardware manufacturers? Simply by going to another market is not leveraging monopoly.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696860)

MOSAID
. Pretty interesting how they *really* didn't want to answer the letters rogatory (international subpoenas).

But, you've already exposed your position, so that's useful.
.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

Lunaritian (2018246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696866)

Keep in mind that Microsoft is probably trying to get a monopoly with these measures.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697008)

It's an issue of consumer freedom to do with their devices as they see fit.

It's a problem. Period.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696720)

Microsoft's OS's have minimal market share on ARM-based device.

So now it will have a monopoly on all ARM-based devices marketed as capable of running Windows 8. Or does that mean that the "universal computer" is not universal anymore, and you will have to buy a MS-ARM machine to run Windows and a Linux-ARM to run Andoid?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696736)

This is a rather pathetic attempt at misdirection. Of course the strategy is to claim this is about malware. But guess what, when you look under the hood you find that it is not. There is absolutely no reason to block the installation of another OS, except direct anti-competitiveness. If it was just to prevent the user from easily open their system, there would be other options.

Your argument that there are other ARM devices is also completely bogus, and so obviously I am not even going to explain.

You are a Microsoft shill, nothing else.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696814)

No, the blocking down of install of others OS's is what is misdirection. There are many boot sector viruses in the wild and Microsoft has had tough time removing them. This is why bootloader needs to be protected. How many users will this affect on ARM-based devices. I would say pretty much no one, or 0.0001%. Most users don't even have ARM-based devices, and if they have, it is much more likely to be one that comes with Linux or Android.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696886)

Boot-loader protection and forbidding the device owner to disable said protection and booting another OS are quite obviously two very different things.

You really need to brush up on your skills, for a professional liar, you are pathetic.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (-1, Troll)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696920)

If user can disable it, then computer program can too. Nevertheless, it isn't even a problem because Linux and Android has majority of market share on ARM-based devices, so just choose them!

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (3, Insightful)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697036)

Incorrect. Look at measures on products like the Chromebook for example. I'd love to see how you bypass a user-configurable HARDWARE jumper/switch.

Lies, lies, lies. MS are always full of lies.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696904)

Providing a switch that is off by default is not allowed. That would not impact security if it was allowed.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696944)

The market for ARM based general purpose computers is quite small right now. Microsoft, being an 800 pound gorilla, could put some momentum behind it. Their influence on OEMs is likely a decent factor in why it's hard to find such a machine in the first place, given that ARM machines can't run Windows, and MS isn't too fond of a 'PC' that can't run Windows.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (2)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697024)

Oh gee, like the BIOS option that has been available for DECADES?

Seriously, do you really think that real IT professionals will buy into the whole BS about allegedly "improving security" when in many cases remote security on Microsoft's platforms has actually decreased over the years?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696890)

This is a rather pathetic attempt at misdirection. Of course the strategy is to claim this is about malware. But guess what, when you look under the hood you find that it is not. There is absolutely no reason to block the installation of another OS, except direct anti-competitiveness. If it was just to prevent the user from easily open their system, there would be other options.

In a perfect world, you would be able to run Windows without problems, and malware infected Windows wouldn't run. You would also be able to run for example Redhat Linux without problems, if Redhat bothered to handle the details with the device manufacturer. You would also be able to run any OS if you explicitly override your protection. Which in case of anything that looks like Windows would be stupid (anything that looks like Windows but isn't would be malware with 99% certainty), and in case of a Linux distribution you would take your chances, same as you do now.

So yes, the intent can only be anti-competitive. If or when Microsoft has so much market power that I can buy ARM computers running Windows but no ARM computers running anything else, then it would be illegal.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (5, Interesting)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696804)

There, fixed the title for you. This is a security feature.

The fact that you think that disabling "custom boot" on ARM makes Windows more secure is yet another indication that there is really no understanding of security in the Windows world. And Linux users haven't been "asking for" Microsoft to do anything; we don't really care. We just keep pointing out that Microsoft doesn't seem to understand security.

Microsoft's OS's have minimal market share on ARM-based device

Yes, the fact that Microsoft's operating systems are such a failure on ARM: Microsoft is in effect subsidizing hardware in order to give their operating system a chance in the market on ARM; without such subsidies, they wouldn't have a chance. But it is just those subsidies that make the hardware attractive for Linux. In contrast, iPhone and iPod are unattractive targets for alternative operating systems because iOS is successful and Apple charges a premium for their devices.

Locking down the boot loader in that way doesn't improve security and only has one conceivable purpose: to keep out other operating systems, and it is a necesssary part of an attempt by Microsoft to gain market share for their otherwise unattractive operating systems by subsidizing the hardware.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

antitithenai (2552442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696834)

There are many viruses in the wild that rewrite boot sector to hide and reinstall themselves even after OS re-install. How would you combat these if you can't lock down your boot sector?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696896)

The boot sector can be locked down by allowing the user to add keys manually. There is no need at all to tie it to a specific OS. Rather obvious and already in the spec.

Go away, nobody believes you.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

TuringCheck (1989202) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696922)

Locking the boot sequence is an option. A pre-boot environment (aka BIOS setup) can enable or disable such a feature as well as managing the signing keys. No post-boot program can alter the settings, a hardware reset followed by user interaction is required.

Such a feature can secure any operating system and would be under user's control.

Microsoft requires instead that their OS be the only one allowed on certified hardware platforms and take away any control from the user.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697044)

BIOS'es from years ago already have an MBR protection flag. I can turn that off when I install my own OS, turn it back on for day-to-day work. MS intends to take my control of this flag away from me. Not only for ARM, mind you, but also through UEFI SecureBoot on normal PC's. Boot sector infections can be wiped clean in minutes if you know your stuff, which you should if you intend to deal effectively with a malware infection in the first place.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696910)

They're trying to enforce a monopoly. If ARM know what's good for them, then they'll make it possible for other OS's to use them, otherwise ... well, just look how well (or bad) Windows does in the phone market.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696940)

The parent does bring up one valid point though: the tiny marketshare MS has in this market, and the plethora of devices out there for us to pick from makes Windows devices being locked down mostly irrelevant. I don't know how much MS intends to subsidize their devices, if that's even going to happen at all, but that doesn't seem like something sustainable and something that's going to last for a long time.

I do fear a (perhaps unrealistic) future where MS manages to use their Linux patent-suite to coerce manufacturers to increasingly make Windows-based products and we'll be in a situation where our choices aren't as big as they are now. I'd like to still be able to pick decent hardware and have the freedom to install what I want.

Until recently it seemed like the popular Android devices were also doomed to remain locked and be dependant on various hacks and exploits to be able to install custom ROMs, but I'm glad some manufacturers finally opened those up, I hope this is a trend that continues.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696954)

Umm... Microsoft doesn't have any marketshare in ARM tablets because the only version of Windows that supports ARM hasn't been released yet!

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696816)

What about thinking before opening your mouth in the future? And why not bitch at Apple for locking down OS X and iPhone's too?

Have you met /.?

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696830)

If it would have had been only a security feature, there would be an SD-card in the device storing encryption keys for approved OS software manufactures. The SD-card could in this case be made read only and if the user wants to disable any tampering, he could glue it in the slot. A user could add additional approved keys (even his own keys) by placing the card with write enabled in another machine.

In this case, it would have only been about security. As it stands now the MS rules is to lock out competitors from the market.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696848)

Just take a look at this goon's entire posting history.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696908)

And look at the IDs of the first poster and antitithenai (2552442). About 150 difference. These are PR whores that will do anything for a buck.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (4, Funny)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696862)

Rubbish.

If it was about preventing malware on ARM it would allow installation of any operating system [i]except[/i] windows.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696942)

There, fixed the title for you. This is a security feature. The funny thing is that this is exactly what Linux users have been asking for. They have been bitching about bad security of Windows, and now that Microsoft takes good and required steps to improve it, they start bitching how the security features lock out Linux. What about thinking before opening your mouth in the future? And why not bitch at Apple for locking down OS X and iPhone's too?

Users want "security features" that protect them from evil, not "security features" that protect evil from them.

Microsoft is scared that the shiny hardware that is required to run Windows will be bought and used to run (faster) with another OS. This has very little to do with protecting Users against anything but a lot to do with limiting user's options.

Re:MS Taking Aggressive Steps Against MALWARE On A (1)

MrNthDegree (2429298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696972)

How is this a security feature? Boot sector locking has been an option on x86 devices for decades, with the option of override from CMOS Setup Utility. None of those protections actually worked back then and they still won't today....

Sounds anti-competitve to me (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696672)

As much as i hate to say it, time to get the Feds involved, again.

Forget piddly sanctions, or even a "breakup". Shut them down once and for all.

Re:Sounds anti-competitve to me (5, Insightful)

Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696786)

As much as i hate to say it, time to get the Feds involved, again.

Forget piddly sanctions, or even a "breakup". Shut them down once and for all.

If true....

  1. They don't care - they happily paid the fines for not separating IE.
  2. There's US jobs on the line. (amongst all those work visas)

I haven't had a chance to check the story fully yet - I read the MS pdf - but it doesn't actually say those measure will be applied to all devices. Being able to lock it, and locking it by default are not the same thing.

I suspect the story is true, and that MS will pull a security excuse - they've already managed to convince a lot of people that the internet is the OS, and that Google has the monopoly. And I've never seen any changes in the traditional MS approach to doing business - still no set price for their products and underhand incentives (and disincentives). Maybe if they pull the Sony/Apple appliance excuse the regulators (many of whom MS have hired since their last slap on the wrist) will look the other way.

As the Chinese would say "we live in interesting times".

Re:Sounds anti-competitve to me (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38697006)

Apple/iOS too? Android manufacturers that still lock down their devices too?

I don't disagree with the idea that people should buy hardware and be able to install whatever the hell they want, but let's be fair here, this isn't something unique what Microsoft is doing here.. If there is going to be some sort of involvement by the government, I'd prefer for there to just be a general law where hardware should not restrict what kind of user-facing software is allowed to run on it, rather than targeting specific companies for being anti-competitive - which I think should only ever be done in the case of monopolies, which doesn't really apply to Microsoft in the mobile marketspace.

Well... (-1)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696676)

Looks like a pretty good reason not to buy windows 8. I don't need an OS to nanny my hardware and/or software. If I wanted that, I'd just buy a mac.

Re:Well... (2)

Bruce McBruce (791094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696714)

A reason not to buy Windows 8? How about the fact that Win 7 is just now picking up real steam, works great and doesn't need an Ubuntu-style Metro layer over the top of it to make it an excellent OS?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696718)

In the time from when this is posted to when you replied there is no way you read the article. Thanks for that. You never planned on buying Windows 8 in the first place. You just want to make this look like the reason why. That makes you an astroturfer.

Re:Well... (1)

idbeholda (2405958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696742)

Dude, the article's not even a page long, and you seem to assume that I've never heard of UEFI, Windows 8, or a mobile device. Why not just make a coherent argument in the first place, instead of making groundless supposition?

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696798)

I never planned on buying Windows 8, but I was interested in some of the hardware designed for Windows 8, because it is likely to be a bit more standardised in terms of core hardware than the wide range of generic ARM stuff, so it would be more interesting for running other operating systems. If hardware makers disable the ability to run other operating systems, that makes their devices less interesting to me. Fortunately, there will almost certainly be 100 chinese ODMs who don't bother to lock down their products for every big brand maker that does.

They're asking to be sued. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696688)

If there was anything that could be clearly labelled as anti-competitive and monopolistic in nature, this is it.

Good luck to them (haha, I kid).

They don't want another N900. (4, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696698)

MS is fine with all those junk-grade tablets, just that they don't want something like the N900 to pop up. They were able to kill that by all-but acquiring Nokia and making sure Elop would kill the N9.

So take your "not target market" or "find a device that suits you" complaints and stuff them, tyvm.

Time for another slapdown (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696706)

Seems these criminals have forgotten the last lesson in not behaving anti-competitively already. Time to fine them a few billions to make them remember.

Re:Time for another slapdown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696868)

They never had any intention of learning that lesson in the first place. Companies like MS just pay the fines and keep on with their anti-competitive ways. If they get sued again, so be it, just pay that fine too. Not like any of the fines are enough to actually hurt them, so it's still more profitable to not change.

How is this not anti-competitive? (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696788)

Making it impossible to dual-boot your ARM device. Security for the boot sector is one thing, making it impossible to install another OS by choice is something else.

Par for the course... (5, Interesting)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697016)

There are plenty of phone/tablet devices with measures to explicitly prevent other OSes from being put in place. Telling is that the 'OS' in PC world is considered software and in the phone/tablet world they have sucessfully got people calling it 'firmware'. This market is trying to blur the division between the platform and the OS to significant success. Every 'OS' vendor is expected to compete by getting a partner to release hardware around the OS. That means less room for startups or grass-roots OS creation, only certain Android hardware devices are a viable target.

That market is a plethora of monolithic devices with no configurability in hardware or software. This is a huge step back from the state of x86 systems where so much is socketed and mixing and matching is possible by the consumer thanks to rigorous standards in place to make it all possible. The 'primary' targeted OS runs as well as the primary OS on any of these devices, and while an alternative OS may fail to integrate properly with the device (Linux-Vendor ACPI was a sore spot for eternity, better now), the user can make the tradeoffs if they choose.

How many heads does Microsoft have? (3, Interesting)

Windwraith (932426) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696802)

News about Microsoft can get conflicting, on one day you get a massive push for right stuff like open source and other good practices, and then you get stuff like this that sounds like the Microsoft of old.

I am wondering, how many divisions exist within Microsoft? I mean divisions capable of giving such conflictive news. I can't help but feel a part (probably formed of younger staff or management) is trying to do the right thing while other part (probably formed of old-school people from the times of anti-trust) is adhering to their old self. If this were to be the case, I hope the former ends up having more control of the company, really. I kinda hate to have to hate Microsoft at this point.

Entirely predictable (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696808)

I think it was obvious that when they were talking of protecting the bootloader that they were talking about tablet style devices.

On one level you can hardly blame them - if you buy a Windows device, on what basis should you expect it to run something else. But on another level, why should they care if someone does? I doubt they subsidize the devices, and I'm certain that they or the manufacturer could put whatever legalese they liked on use of the device to refuse to replace them if they were bricked through unauthorised use.

Re:Entirely predictable (5, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696964)

>> if you buy a Windows device

What is a windows device exactly? Microsoft marketing dept have invented this concept that Windows is somehow hardware. Its not. Windows is an OS. No more.

I buy computers (not Windows devices, or apple devices). I need them to do the things I want. Its my property. I can and should be able to do what I like with it.

Short Corporate Memory (2)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696810)

Microsoft managed to escape being dismembered by having politicians do what they wanted,
The legal process needs revisiting. The same sort of charges can be brought. Perhaps, if found guilty, this time it could be concluded properly with the criminal being punished and prevented from committing the same crimes yet again.

Re:Short Corporate Memory (5, Insightful)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696968)

They are in despair. They are too late in mobile market. They start to understand that, but they still have this strong hand mentality. They tried it with Windows Mobile - nope, didn't worked. They are tried with lot of different concepts - also wasted. Now the same with ARM notebooks/tablets.

They don't understand that it is too late. People has seen tomorrow without Microsoft. Tablet competition is very strong out there. What is your killer feature? Office? Who needs that? Email, web - it's all there, it's everywhere.

grrrr (1, Interesting)

topgun966 (1377185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696824)

On the surface, yes this is MSFT being douches. But they do have sound reasoning if you hear it out. MSFT is sick and tired of being thought of a virus/malware ridding os. They are being aggressive. By locking down the EFI (new bios) that will prevent boot sector viruses. This is going to be the same for x86. There is a easy work around. DONT BUY A PRE-BUILT COMPUTER. I am avid Linux and Windows user. Try looking at it from their perspective and be a little more objective.

Re:grrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38696930)

You seem to forget that you are buying the operating system and quite frankly you should be able to do what you want with it. After all there are NO restrictions on what you do with your TV or even your car. How DARE micro$oft dictate to us how we use a product that we buy. Who do they think they are, douche bags and leeches are things that spring to my mind. Why anyone in their right mind would seriously want to buy their product I really can't understand. Added to which why is IE still permitted to remain with their operating system. Along with, why can't we buy a computer, not an apple, without their bloatware installed on it, which you pay for and are given NO choice in the matter?

Re:grrrr (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696934)

Are you really that naive? Boot-sector viruses are not that common. If you have a reasonable secure OS you can just prevent the virus access to it. There is absolutely no reason to prevent booting of another OS, requiring the user to add another key manually is quite enough. And all this is quite clear and known to MS.

Re:grrrr (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696946)

You don't really get it, do you? By default, in standard mode, EFI will be locked down as it supposed to be. But as a user you could switch to other mode where you can still boot from other OSes and devices. This would require actually switching something, not turning it on automatically every time virus needs it.

It is abusing of monopoly loud and clear.

Re:grrrr (1)

topgun966 (1377185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696992)

Sure, and exploits in Windows malware can do the same to inject a virus into the MBR. That's what they want to stop. Hence, do not buy a prebuilt computer. This will only effect those. Just build you're own.

Re:grrrr (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697042)

Boot sector viruses are not so much the problem these days... the biggest problem is the software side. They didn't even need or use root/administrator privileges. they just run at user level, compromise their data and information, send out spam and all other things. Sure, they know it's more trivial to remove those bits of malware, but so too is installing it, so they'll clean it (maybe!) and then drive by and get some more.

Simple Solution (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696828)

Tablet makers offer ARM tablets without WHQL Certification preloaded with Linux or Android.

I mean they don't need to install Windows 8 on the things when there's perfectly good alternatives around, and it seems like adhering to a document more than 150 pages long is a time wasting PITA when you can simply go to a competitor and be done with it.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696948)

Most probably they will not unless there is a real strong push from Linux buyer, and even then...
The ARM pc makers are ODMs who also make PCs, so basically it is enough that microsoft offers "marketing compensations" based on numbers of units shipped to make sure that the ODMs will again become a Microsoft only shop.
As long as the majority of users do not care about their freedom and prefer "comfort" to freedom, we are f***d & s**d

Re:Simple Solution (3, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696952)

Tablet makers offer ARM tablets without WHQL Certification preloaded with Linux or Android.

They dont even have to be preloaded with either. They can be preloaded with Windows 8 .. just not WHQL certified.

WHQL certification means something only when upgrading to a new version of Windows is a selling point... for instance when Vista was just around the corner many manufacturers started selling computers certified to run Vista, even though it wasnt available yet...

..there was a big stink about that too, because Intel's shitty integrated video got certified but was incapable of the glitzy shit Vista promoted (we all remember that, right?)

We are talking about if the manufacturer can legally put a sticker on the box, not their capability to install Windows 8.

Re:Simple Solution (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696958)

People will buy the device with the logo, not knowing that they do not get control over it.

Re:Simple Solution (4, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696976)

Not playing nice with MS means that they get bum deals on licenses for Windows machines, which major OEMs are selling.

Microsoft doesn't get it... (4, Interesting)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696970)

I've been using Windows for a long time. I do not like Windows. Other's agree with me, people who use Windows do not like Windows. People who use Windows like the software they run on Windows.

Microsoft thinks that people LOVE Windows. That's why they created Windows CE, and that was a massive failure. People want to run their x86 software on the computer, and last time I checked Windows 8 ARM can not run x86 software, so your software collection is junk all of a sudden.

If you give most people a choice between Linux vs Windows, they will choose Windows. If you give them a choice between Windows that wont run their apps, and Linux that wont run their apps but at least already has a large library of software, then they will Choose Linux.

Re:Microsoft doesn't get it... (2)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697038)

I'll bet that Microsoft already have realised that and already have a "working" solution (think x86 emulator + WINE-like layer) waiting in the wings so everyone can run (slowly) win86 binaries on ARM from day 1.

here comes another round of litigation (4, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38696988)

Microsoft will get dragged through the courts for anti-competitive behaviour once again. You'd think they'd have learnt their lesson from the whole IE bundling thing that cost them very serious money.

Even if the US gov is corrupt enough to let this slide, there's no way Microsoft will get away with this in the EU or anywhere else.

Not to praise the devil but (0)

hessian (467078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38697026)

This could be an innocent move. Microsoft does not want you booting any other OS that could circumvent Windows security.

I mean, isn't this how we all fix our Windows machines now, namely booting a live CD and then mounting the NTFS drive so we can fix it directly?

For Microsoft to claim these devices are secure (an impossible boast, yet one business and government want to hear) they need to close this loophole.

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