Linux Australia Community Moves Forward with Opposition to Microsoft's Secure Booting

by Sam Dean - Sep. 28, 2011Comments (0)

As reported here yesterday, the Linux community in Australia is increasingly unhappy with Microsoft's effort to implement a specification called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) that some contend could make it impossible to run Linux on Windows 8 PCs. In response to complaints about the brouhaha, Microsoft officials responded with an extensive post that explains exactly what kinds of flexibility UEFI will offer. Many OStatic readers find the post from Microsoft to reach dubious conclusions, and now Linux Australia members are officially petitioning regulators, with reports coming in that they may have a case.

ZDNet reports:

"The Linux Australia community began petitioning the ACCC this week after Microsoft aired plans to mandate the enabling of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface's (UEFI) secure boot feature for devices bearing the "Designed for Windows 8" logo... This would make it impossible to install alternative operating systems like Linux, or even older versions of Windows, if OEMs didn't bundle the secure keys with new operating system releases, allow users a facility to update the secure key list or allow the secure boot feature to be disabled in the firmware options."

The ZDNet story also quotes a reported response from Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission:

"Broadly speaking, exclusive dealing occurs when one person trading with another imposes some restrictions on the other's freedom to choose with whom, in what or where they deal....The situation you described may raise issues of exclusive dealing, but it is unclear from the details provided whether it would be likely to meet the competition test described."

The comments closely echo competition-related thought's posted by one OStatic reader in response to our original post on this issue:

"I would not worry too much about this. I don't think Google would stand by and watch OEMs shut out other operating systems. Also, if by buying one product you are required to buy another, is this not a form of "tying" which is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act? I am not a lawyer but any OEM that tries to shut out other OSs while partnering with Microsoft is asking for a visit from the DOJ."

Could the whole debate between Microsoft and the Linux community end up being settled by regulators? That is emerging as a possibility. In the meantime, most OStatic readers seem to take the issue quite seriously, as seen in the comments here.




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