Linux Heavyweights Develop Secure Boot Strategy

Canonical and Red Hat have issued a joint statement regarding Microsoft’s plan to make UEFI Secure Boot a requirement of Windows 8. Simultaneously, The Linux Foundation has issued a similar statement.

We first covered this issue in September.

The joint Red Hat and Canonical statement opens with an assessment of the situation:

The UEFI specification for secure boot does not define who controls the boot restrictions on UEFI platforms, leaving the platform implementer in control of the exact security model. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s recommended implementation of secure boot removes control of the system from the hardware owner, and may prevent open source operating systems from functioning. The Windows 8 requirement for secure boot will pressure OEMs to implement secure boot in this fashion.

We believe that restrictions that prevent users from exercising full control over their hardware is not in the best interest of those users, and works against the spirit of open source software in general.

It's a fair assessment of the situation. It's worth noting that the language used in both documents is reasonable and doesn't go out of its way to demonize Microsoft. Both documents outline the difficulties that will be caused to Linux adoption in general by the proposed measures. They also highlight some of the benefits of EUFI and secure boot, and I got the impression that all three organizations have accepted that Secure Boot is an inevitable development in some form.

The Canonical/Red Hat document concludes with three proposals:

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