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The Courts Australia Windows Hardware Linux

Australian Users Petitioning Against Windows 8 Secure Boot 386

In his first accepted submission, lukemartinez sends in an excerpt from a ZDNet article on continuing developments about Microsoft's UEFI secure boot requirements: "The Linux Australia community began petitioning the ACCC this week after Microsoft aired plans to mandate the enabling of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface's secure boot feature for devices bearing the 'Designed for Windows 8' logo. This means that any software or hardware that is to run on the firmware will need to be signed by Microsoft or the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to be able to execute. This would make it impossible to install alternative operating systems like Linux..." Delimeter has further information on the petititions, and Matthew Garret recently posted a follow-up to Microsoft's response to the concerns about secure boot, calling them out on their misinformation.
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Australian Users Petitioning Against Windows 8 Secure Boot

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  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @09:45AM (#37538982)

    Doesn't this only affect OEM stuff, in which case, who cares.

    WTF are you talking about? It will affect any PC that you want to load another OS on.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @09:49AM (#37539038) Journal

    Anyone who wants to repurpose an OEM computer. Anyone who doesn't want to pay extra for jailbroken motherboards. Anyone who thinks people should own their property, instead of being beholden to the manufacturer.

    That's who.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @09:53AM (#37539096) Homepage

    Uh... "OEM" is pretty much every PC maker. And that's thing isn't it? In the case of Dell, you can be sure that consumer models will have their UEFI locked to Windows and the business models will still be allowed to run Windows XP - Windows 7 by disabling this feature. But as for being able to install new keys for other OSes? I'm going to simply doubt it because once that code is made available, you can expect malware to make use of it as well.

    And here's the thing. In order to get better security, you pretty much HAVE to stop people from being able to do stupid things. It is precisely the user doing stupid things which is the most significant source and cause of security problems on PCs today. You can disable and limit things all day long, but in order for users/consumers to be able to make use of their stuff, they frequently need to disable security features as applications publishers and others are not always on board with security strategies. And let's be frank -- Microsoft hasn't been strongly security focused in the past. And the result of this past means a lot of old applications expect to live in a less secure environment. (And it's not like we haven't seen this in countless other ways such as a persisting need for MSIE6 because their browser was broken by design and applications written for it will not work with other browsers... lock-in worked for a while but was not considerate of the future.)

    Is there an alternative approach? Can you allow users to do stupid things and maintain security? If there is a way, it has escaped my imagination.

  • Re:secure boot?? (Score:3, Informative)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @09:58AM (#37539148)

    Secure boot prevents those other malwares from subverting the boot process.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?