Tuesday, October 25th 2011
The controversial new Secure Boot feature in Windows 8 has been covered here before, but now the Free Software Foundation have issued a public statement warning about likely restrictive implementation to lock out competition, pretty similar to the arguments currently being levelled against it. They are also giving people a voice to protest against this, in the form of a petition. They say quite fairly, that it can be used for good, if the option to use it is completely with the owner of the computer. However, it isn't much of a stretch to see that the option to disable it is likely to simply be removed from the user, thus locking out the competition, mainly Linux: This could be a feature deserving of the name, as long as the user is able to authorize the programs she wants to use, so she can run free software written and modified by herself or people she trusts. However, we are concerned that Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will implement these boot restrictions in a way that will prevent users from booting anything other than Windows. In this case, we are better off calling the technology Restricted Boot, since such a requirement would be a disastrous restriction on computer users and not a security feature at all. Click here to see the full public statement and sign the petition and here for a more detailed explanation of the issue by the FSF.