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Microsoft locking out other Operating Systems from Windows 8

You may have heard about it already. Microsoft plans to lock out other operating systems from Windows 8, that means Linux, other Open Source operating systems, Mac OS and others.

Microsoft claims they’re not going to lock out other operating systems with the introduction of Windows 8, but it seems like they  are not telling the truth… Here’s an extract from Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Certification Requirements for Windows 8 client and server systems found on page 116 that will Windows 8 Secure Boot can be disabled:

on Intel systems, “Disabling Secure [Boot] must not be possible on ARM systems.”

According to Aaron Williamson, a lawyer with the Software Freedom Law Center an organization that provides pro-bono legal services to developers of Free and open-source software, Microsoft has wasted no time in effectively banning most alternative operating systems on ARM-based devices that ship with Windows 8.

Microsoft is going to do it with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) to block all other operating systems from Windows 8 machines. UEFI is a replacement to BIOS, and it is used ti set up your computer and make it ready to boot.

Here’s some more information from ZDNET service:

In short, Microsoft insists that any Windows 8 ARM-powered device can not be rebooted or rooted with the user’s choice of operating system. And you thought rooting some Android phones was troublesome!

It doesn’t have to be this way. As Williamson points out UEFI’s secure boot isn’t meant to be used to block user’s choice. In addition, the Linux Foundation has explained in detail how UEFI secure boot could be implemented by Microsoft so that freedom of choice would be preserved.

Microsoft isn’t listening. The Linux Foundation made its proposal in October; Microsoft published its document in December. As Williamson said, “It is clear now that opportunism, not philosophy, is guiding Microsoft’s secure boot policy.”

Let’s not allow that to happen, guys!

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