Microsoft may interfere with Linux on computers shipped with Windows 8

Matthew Garrett (Matthew Garrett), one of the developers of the Linux kernel of Red Hat, described in his blog, the possible problems faced by Linux users after upgrading motherboard manufacturers to use the interface instead of UEFI BIOS and operating system release, Windows 8.

Latest version of the specification UEFI, defining the interface interaction and PC operating systems include a description of the so-called “Safe Boot Protocol”, which prohibits downloading code if it was not signed by key stored in the ROM of the motherboard. The operating system also can send the firmware of the motherboard more trusted keys, or add some of the keys to the black list, banning the downloading of any drivers or malware.

The problem with this system is that the organization responsible for distributing the keys do not exist. Each manufacturer of your motherboard uses its own keys, so the only way to load the operating system on such a machine is getting OS distribution signed by the manufacturer. Driver writers must also sign a code or a key manufacturer of the motherboard, or - the developer of the operating system.

Further exacerbates the problem of the fact that Microsoft requires computer manufacturers, officially compatible with Windows 8 and supplied with the logo “Compatible with Windows 8″ mandatory option “Safe Boot”, which will lead to an actual inability to boot the alternate operating system on systems with Windows pre-installed 8. However, since the situation with the upcoming signing of code so far not fully understood, according to Garrett until the time for panic, but there is a cause for concern.

Garrett does not preclude the existence of a function to disable Safe Boot, but practice shows that the manufacturers firmware typically implement only the minimal necessary functionality in their code and do not include it in the functions that will need a very low percentage of users. In addition, there is another problem: even if the keys to form a digital signature will be provided, the signing can not boot Linux because it would violate the GPL.

21 September 2011

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