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19 October 2011, 12:32

FSF warns of Windows 8 Secure Boot

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FSF logo The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has launched a campaign that calls on hardware manufacturers to build Windows 8 PCs in such a way that PC owners can install any software on their computers. Microsoft plans only to certify PCs as being compatible with Windows 8 if they support the Secure Boot UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) feature. Secure Boot blocks the launching of unsigned bootloaders which, Linux developer Matthew Garrett fears, may prevent consumers from installing Linux onto their systems.

Microsoft has passed the buck to the hardware manufacturers, saying that the Secure Boot specification does allow unsigned operating systems to start if this is supported by the UEFI firmware. This is what the FSF is campaigning about: if the firmware doesn't allow an operating system other than the pre-installed one to be booted, says the FSF, this drastically curtails the user's freedom to decide which software to run on their PCs. In the FSF's opinion, this turns Secure Boot into "Restricted Boot". Users who want to support the campaign can sign the FSF's campaign statement.

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