Microsoft has announced that if computer makers wish to distribute machines with the Windows 8 compatibility logo, they will have to implement a measure called “Secure Boot.” However, it is currently up for grabs whether this technology will live up to its name, or will instead earn the name Restricted Boot…Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will implement these boot restrictions in a way that will prevent users from booting anything other than Windows. In this case, we are better off calling the technology Restricted Boot, since such a requirement would be a disastrous restriction on computer users and not a security feature at all.
We, the undersigned, urge all computer makers implementing UEFI’s so-called “Secure Boot” to do it in a way that allows free software operating systems to be installed. To respect user freedom and truly protect user security, manufacturers must either allow computer owners to disable the boot restrictions, or provide a sure-fire way for them to install and run a free software operating system of their choice. We commit that we will neither purchase nor recommend computers that strip users of this critical freedom, and we will actively urge people in our communities to avoid such jailed systems.
Canonical and Red Hat propose a different solution in their whitepaper, one that provides users with both the security afforded by Secure Boot, but also allows the addition of additional software and OSes – such as Linux – to the approval list. This would, it’s hoped, allow users to run both Windows 8 and Linux, be it installed or on live media, on a PC with Secure Boot enabled.
Further still, the white paper suggests that PCs ship with a user-friendly interface for disabling/enabling secure boot altogether.
What? That’s not enough for you? Well, remember Microsoft acquired Skype?
“It appears Microsoft’s Skype Division is cracking down on reverse-engineering of the Skype client. Skype recently rolled out a new set of APIs for integration into other desktop applications, but they have issued multiple DMCA takedown notices to a researcher publishing open-source code to send Skype messages.” via Slashdot
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