Microsoft's bootloader. How will this effect Mint?

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Microsoft's bootloader. How will this effect Mint?

Postby Goz » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:52 pm

I'm sure you have been hearing about this. I'm wondering what happens to Mint when this becomes the law of the computer world?

In the approach Fedora chose, the organization would pay US$99 to have Microsoft sign the binary release of the Fedora distribution. Although the cost for the certificates would be less than $200 a year for Fedora's twice-a-year release schedule, it still hands control of Fedora over to Microsoft, however nominally. With the key, the machine can check if the binary version of the distribution is identical to the one submitted to the key signer. Fedora engineers would then develop a bootloader -- a small program that loads the operating system when the computer is powered on -- that would provide the required Microsoft key to the hardware and then hand over operations to the standard bootloader.
Think of Windows 10 as Hotel California for computers.

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Re: Microsoft's bootloader. How will this effect Mint?

Postby srs5694 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:03 pm

See this thread. (I'm sure there are others here, too; but this one is active.)

In short, the worst-case scenario, at least in the short-to-medium term (Windows 8's lifetime) is that users will need to disable a firmware option or find a way to sign their Mint boot loaders and add a signing key to their firmware to install Mint. The first option will definitely be possible on x86-64 hardware, and I'm pretty sure the second one will, too. It's entirely possible that Mint will follow Fedora's lead and get its own boot loaders signed, which will make this easier for end users, albeit at the cost of disabling a few features that are mostly of interest to developers and advanced users.

The long-term prospects are more troubling; the industry is moving toward a "walled garden" model of software distribution, and the way the walls are being constructed lays the foundation for placing further restrictions on users' ability to install Linux on commodity hardware. It's too early to tell how this will play out, though.

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