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 Will Windows 8 block users from dual-booting Linux? Microsoft won't say

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PostSubject: Will Windows 8 block users from dual-booting Linux? Microsoft won't say   Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:28 am





By Mary Jo Foley | September 21, 2011, 12:05pm PDT


Summary: Some
are concerned that Microsoft’s coming Windows 8 secure-boot
technologies and policies could result in users being unable to
dual-boot Linux alongside Windows 8. Microsoft officials aren’t
commenting on whether the worries are unfounded or grounded.




There’s a report circulating — originating with a Red Hat employee — that says [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on their PCs.

True or false? Well-grounded or unfounded? Microsoft execs will not comment — which is leading many to assume it’s true.

Matthew Garrett, a power management and mobile Linux developer at Red Hat, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. He explained how the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) technology and [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
— outlined in a new blog post on the “Building Windows 8″ blog this
week — potentially could thwart those who want to dual boot Linux and
Windows 8 on their Windows 8 machines.

Garrett’s conclusion: “It’s probably not worth panicking yet. But it is worth being concerned.”

Microsoft officials have said — via [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], along with the aforementioned blog post — all that they are going to say on the topic.

Here’s what Microsoft has said, re: its secure boot plans for Windows 8. These tidbits are from the previously mentioned [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]:


  • All firmware and software in the boot process must be signed by a trusted Certificate Authority (CA)
  • Required for Windows 8 client
  • Does not require a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
  • Reduces the likelihood of bootkits, rootkits and ransomware

Another slide from the same talk:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

(click on slide to enlarge)

Garrett’s interpretation of Microsoft’s shared information on the topic:

“Microsoft requires that machines conforming to the
Windows 8 logo program and running a client version of Windows 8 ship
with secure boot enabled. The two alternatives here are for Windows to
be signed with a Microsoft key and for the public part of that key to be
included with all systems, or alternatively for each OEM to include
their own key and sign the pre-installed versions of Windows. The second
approach would make it impossible to run boxed copies of Windows on
Windows logo hardware, and also impossible to install new versions of
Windows unless your OEM provided a new signed copy. The former seems
more likely.

“A system that ships with only OEM and Microsoft keys will not boot a generic copy of Linux.”
I can’t resist a rant here: The Windows team’s decision not to
comment on this report is an example of the new communication strategy
that Microsoft seems to be instituting with Windows 8: Clarification on
any Windows 8 topic — not only features and policies that are still
unannounced, but also those that already have been disclosed publicly —
apparently will not be provided by anyone from Microsoft in an official
capacity. The result: An increasing amount of misinformation about
Windows 8 is circulating, and Microsoft is doing little or nothing to
correct it.

I understand Microsoft’s increased desire for secrecy around its Windows plans, something [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].
(I haven’t always agreed with the goal, especially when it results in
FUD for customers attempting to make rational buying decisions or
OEM/ISV partners attempting to build products that work with Windows.)
But allowing wrong information to go unchecked in the name of wanting to
control the message and the way it is delivered seems like bad business
to me….

Back on topic: Does anyone out there have any more to share (in an
official capacity or not) about whether you think the new Windows 8
secure boot technologies and policies will block users from dual-booting
Linux? Ars Technica’s take: “Ultimately, the Windows 8 changes aren’t
likely to wipe out Linux dual-boot scenarios, but [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].” Other opinions?

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