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Microsoft Operating Systems Security Unix Windows BSD

FreeBSD Team Begins Work On Booting On UEFI-Enabled Systems 248

Posted by timothy
from the is-a-shim-a-shame? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD project has begun the process of making it possible for the operating system to run alongside Windows 8 on a computer which has secure boot enabled." Linux distros have taken to using a minimal loader, signed by Microsoft, to enable booting on UEFI systems with secure boot. "Indeed we will likely take the Linux shim loader, put our own key in it, and then ask Microsoft to sign it," says developer Marshall McKusick in the linked IT Wire article. "Since Microsoft will have already vetted the shim loader code, we hope that there will be little trouble getting them to sign our version for us."
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FreeBSD Team Begins Work On Booting On UEFI-Enabled Systems

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  • Re:Well I'll be... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @01:08AM (#44151333)

    Hahahahaha. The rich and poor are equally prohibited from sleeping under bridges... Free-market ideology induced brain damage at its best. Or was this sarcasm? Then I am sorry.

  • Re:Well I'll be... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by recoiledsnake (879048) on Monday July 01, 2013 @01:31AM (#44151403)

    You could start a signing company now, and if people trust you, they will add your keys, and you may even get traction from the OEMs. Nothing in secure boot prevents that except that no one wants to create a signing organization because they don't want to be bothered. In face Secure Boot MS Spec requires OEMs to enable users to add their own keys or even remove Microsoft's if they don't trust it.

  • Re:Well I'll be... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @01:53AM (#44151463)

    And whoops, you just lost your license to distribute OEM Windows copies. How unfortunate. But that would never ever happen, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @01:57AM (#44151473)

    Conceptually, if the user has access physical access to the computer and the ability to plug shit in, your security is already gone.

    Conceptually, 99.99% of computer users don't even need this kind of security in the first place, so why is it being forced on 100% of the new computers?

    Conceptually UEFI won't stop a single virus which 100% of computer users face daily, and that IS a problem.

    UEFI serves one and only one purpose. It makes it 'easier' to just continue using Windows and more difficult to use any other system.

    Linux doesn't need UEFI. Nobody needs UEFI.

    Stopped shilling lipstick on a pig.

  • by gavron (1300111) on Monday July 01, 2013 @02:20AM (#44151551)

    MS has the LICENSE to use BSD code.

    They don't owe BSD anything.

    Next time you're thinking of whether to license YOUR code using GPL or using something
    that allows MS to use your stuff and give nothing back in return... remember this.

    Ehud

  • Re:Well I'll be... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday July 01, 2013 @03:28AM (#44151749)

    you just lost your license to distribute OEM Windows copies.

    No you didn't...

    ..you just lost Windows Certification.

    Another way to lose Windows Certification is not allowing the end user to disable Secure Boot.

    In other words, Windows Certification actually protects your rights.

  • Re:Useless EFI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nukenerd (172703) on Monday July 01, 2013 @04:18AM (#44151905)

    I don't see much of a problem - it only affects people who wants to dual boot and that is totally last century. Boot Linux and run Windows in a VM.

    It is not to do with dual boot, it is to do with booting anything at all. This is a motherboard chip feature. Booting from a live CD will be impossible, and even if you wipe your HD, trying to install anything else will be impossible - if Secure Boot is enabled.

    You can disable Secure Boot (FTTB, but I suspect MS will hope to clobber even that in the not too distant future), and I will myself. But it will deter people from trying out Linux tentatively and perhaps liking it. That's how I started, and MS hate people doing that.

  • Re:haven't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Monday July 01, 2013 @04:32AM (#44151957)

    Absolutely. Both Apple and Microsoft have long recognized that free operating systems are the biggest threat to their business models. Operating systems do not offer enough ways to stay ahead of competition by innovation, once the basic needs are fulfilled new features become mere gimmicks that might be nice to have but are not essential (see history of OS X).

    Both Apple and Microsoft have a well-recorded history of anti-competitive business behavior and have in the past tried by all means to keep the application barrier up. In the 90s Java and Web-browsers were the biggest threats and they successfully averted these by tricky anti-competitive behavior. SCO tried to sue free operating systems out of existence and failed (so far, bogus patent law can change that and new law suits are in the drawer), now GNU/Linux has matured so well that it has become intolerable to Microsoft and Apple. Bear in mind that you can run many Windows programs in Wine already and that GNU/Linux has reached a certain usability threshold putting it roughly on a par with Windows XP in terms of software that end-consumers actually need (and GNU/Linux is much more stable).

    The sole and only purpose of the current secure boot specification is to be the entry ticket to completely locked-down machines with completely locked-down whitelisted software that is only runnable and distributable by obtaining a key from Microsoft or Apple respectively and only with their blessings. That's the long-term goal.

    The current, more modest goal is to make it hard for end-users to install another OS and hard to set up dual boot systems. Microsoft will then urge (=blackmail) hardware makers to produce more consumer boards that can run only Windows, and Apple will start to make their manufacturers produce OSX-only boards, while at the meantime urging manufacturers to sell more expensive motherboards that are not locked down so they can still claim they allow competition. For Microsoft, this is particularly important, because they need to make money with Windows and the "windows tax" is annoying more and more people. So they want to make sure that a board that runs GNU/Linux or BSD systems is more expensive (a 'pro feature', so to say) than a consumer board that only runs Windows plus the OEM fee for Windows. Microsoft is very desperate to keep their huge share of the dwindling desktop market, because they have already lost the mobile market.

    This might all sound exaggerated to you now, but the fact is that these companies plan far more ahead than some people might think.

Innovation is hard to schedule. -- Dan Fylstra

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