Steven has a good look at what a pain in the ass it is to install Linux on a Windows 8 computer. The ridiculous “secure boot” is an obvious attempt by Microsoft to kill Linux on the desktop.
Microsoft has announced that if computer makers wish to distribute machines with the Windows 8 compatibility logo, they will have to implement a measure called “Secure Boot.” However, it is currently up for grabs whether this technology will live up to its name, or will instead earn the name Restricted Boot.
Please add your name to the following statement, to show computer manufacturers, governments, and Microsoft that you care about this freedom and will work to protect it.
We, the undersigned, urge all computer makers implementing UEFI’s so-called “Secure Boot” to do it in a way that allows free software operating systems to be installed. To respect user freedom and truly protect user security, manufacturers must either allow computer owners to disable the boot restrictions, or provide a sure-fire way for them to install and run a free software operating system of their choice. We commit that we will neither purchase nor recommend computers that strip users of this critical freedom, and we will actively urge people in our communities to avoid such jailed systems.
A Futile Gesture and Bad PR
It’s not going to work though as more and more people become aware of it. The key, as mentioned by the FSF quote in the article is to avoid buying computers that do not allow owners to disable “secure boot” or otherwise allow them to install Linux (or any other operating system of their choice).
It’s also causing even more disgust and dislike of Microsoft as a company. You have to wonder at how they could be so ignorant of how they are perceived among consumers. Or perhaps they simply don’t care? I suspect that the billions from their Windows and Office monopolies have insulated them from worrying about pissing people off.
We’ll see how long that arrogance and complacency lasts as things are changing in the computing world with the huge shift to mobile devices.
Microsoft’s Pettiness and Poor Strategy
All of this makes me wonder about how utterly petty Microsoft is, given that Linux hasn’t been a big threat on the desktop. Given how badly Microsoft has performed over the last ten years (the stock has been utterly forgettable), you’d think they’d have much more important fish to fry.
Google and Apple have both been killing Microsoft in the mobile arena. Very few people care about Windows Phone 8, or Microsoft’s lame attempts at tablets. Even Oprah tweeted about the Surface tablet from an iPad! The shift to mobile devices has largely passed by Microsoft by, despite them having had more than ten years to get mobile right.
And yet Microsoft has chosen to expend some of its energy on “secure boot” in a lame attempt to screw over people who prefer Linux or other operating systems to Windows. Maybe they had a clue back before Windows 8 was released? It hasn’t exactly been burning up the sales charts, with most Windows users I know being determined to stick with Windows 7.
Think Before You Buy a Computer
Anyway, be careful what kind of computer you buy in 2013. Make sure you can disable “secure boot” or otherwise install any operating system of your choice. Don’t reward computer makers with your dollars if they go along with Microsoft’s blatant attempt to discourage people from moving away from Windows.
In the end, Microsoft’s attack on Linux will fail. Nobody wants to return to the dark days when Redmond ruled the word of desktop computing with an iron fist.
Been there, done that and we’re not going back.
What’s your take on Microsoft and “secure boot?” Do you think Linux will survive? Tell me in the comments.