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Posts tagged as “secure boot”

Red Hat & Ubuntu’s UEFI Solutions Not Good For FOSS

The FOSS community is understandably upset with both Red Hat and Ubuntu for their planned ways of implementing UEFI Secure Boot. Indeed, both companies plans are unacceptable for a variety of reasons. Free software isn’t free if it requires permission from an outside source before it can be loaded onto a new or used computer. This is true even if the permission comes from a well-meaning bureaucratic regulatory agency. It’s doubly true if that permission must come from a self-serving monopoly with an anti-FOSS history, like Microsoft.

In early June, Red Hat came under fire from the FOSS press for their way of getting around Secure Boot. Their solution, which will also be used by Fedora, involves joining Microsoft’s developer program in order to obtain a key to be used to load a “shim” bootloader which will then load GRUB. In a post on Red Hat’s web site explaining the move, Tim Burke, Vice President of Linux Engineering, seemed to be dismissing these critics in a terse two sentence paragraph near the end of the post:

UEFI Plans & Workarounds, Skype Invokes DMCA, Microsoft’s Samba Code

Friday FOSS Week in Review

Here we go, Friday FOSS Week in Review, Special Tuesday Edition. I’ve got to find a way to schedule my time better so I can stay on deadline. This coming Friday’s going to be difficult, as I have a dentist appointment and FWIR can’t really be written in advance, so expect it to be published on Saturday – but I’m still hoping for Friday. In the meantime, I’m working on adjusting my schedule so this column will be published in a more timely fashion in the future. Like on Fridays, when its supposed to be.

That’s the bad news. The good news, at least for us news hounds, is that last week there were quite a few items of interest for the FOSS community. At least I found them to be items of interest. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

UEFI Secure Boot Gets Complicated

There were a ton of articles written about UEFI and Secure Boot last week, and the more I read about possible workarounds to allow the average Linux distro to boot on Windows 8 certified machines, the more confused I get. This bothers me, because if I’m confused what does that mean about the person who’s never dealt with anything other than Windows, DOS or one of the Apple OSes, who might be getting ready to make that first leap into the Linux world?

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Secure Boot: What’s Microsoft’s Agenda?

Secure boot is the sort of security solution Microsoft loves. Back in the days when Windows was even less secure than it is now, one of their security solutions was to have software vetted and signed. Although this might have helped enterprise customers a bit, it did little to make the home user more secure, as any software would still install normally after clicking through an “are you sure” warning. If this scheme did anything, it hurt small vendors who couldn’t afford to go through the process of having their software approved by Redmond.

Secure boot is the same sort of scheme, except this time there’s no “are you sure” screen to click through. If a user is trying to install an operating system (or even run one from a live CD) on a machine with secure boot enabled, that operating system will have to have unlock keys to enable hardware devices. These keys are provided to the creator of the operating system at the whim of the hardware makers.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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