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Microsoft’s attack on Linux: The hardware way

Microsoft restricts Linux on ARM

Microsoft restricts Linux on ARM

Microsoft did it again! This time by putting the gun on shoulders of ARM hardware makers. Their hatred for Linux is not a new issue, they have always been figuring out ways to edge out Linux. It has been in news that, Microsoft wishes ARM hardware manufacturers to make it impossible disabling UEFI secure boot feature which is required by Windows 8.

What is secure boot?

Secure boot is a scheme that checks all the stages of booting cryptographically maintaining the integrity of code under execution. It restricts the malicious or unauthorized software from running.

A Walkthrough

Later in the last year, Microsoft stated that secure boot would be required in order to boot Windows 8. Secure boot, as mentioned above, keeps ‘keys’ by itself inside the system. These keys are required if a software needs to run, Operating systems included. If the operating system is not ‘signed’ by a respective key, it cannot boot!

Microsoft is totally using secure boot the wrong way, with the prime intention of locking out Linux. Microsoft made crystal clear instructions for vendors:

MANDATORY: Disabling Secure MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems.

Which is in contrast to statement they made it on their blog:

Who is in control?
At the end of the day, the customer is in control of their PC. Microsoft’s philosophy is to provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves.

How the customer is in control if he is not allowed to disable features on the device he paid for! If it goes on this way, Linux users would be ‘forced’ to buy a Windows license which is so not fair.

3 thoughts on “Microsoft’s attack on Linux: The hardware way

  1. passer by

    I think you are missing the point here, the ARM devices would be mostly tablets, and its not that uncommon for tablet makers to make sure only their specified operating system run on their device. Many android tablets also have a locked bootloader,

  2. Arnab Bose

    Given that I have options, I’m not buying a laptop with secure boot.

  3. Lennart Regebro

    Linux users are *already* forced to buy a Windows license, because it’s always included in the price. Secure boot in MS recommendations however, makes it *impossible to install anything else but Windows on that machine!* If you want to run Linux on these devices, you have to run it inside a virtual machine under Windows.

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