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new uefi bios

This is a discussion on new uefi bios within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; So I have heard the new uefi BIOS could lock out Linux. How true is this. I ask this question ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Annonymous's Avatar
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    new uefi bios

    So I have heard the new uefi BIOS could lock out Linux. How true is this. I ask this question because I wanted to update my BIOS but I am a tad bit scared to do so because of this.

    I hate MS Windows and would be devestated if I were to get stuck with that piece of crap OS and its awefullness!

    No seriously. Can anyone shine some light on this?

  2. #2
    Registered User manasij7479's Avatar
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    Not totally locked out, afaik.. but you'd need some hacks, ranging from simple to kludgy depending on the hardware maker, to get Linux to boot.

    Just buy devices which support coreboot. (I'm planning that for my next upgrade)
    Supported Motherboards - coreboot
    Manasij Mukherjee | gcc-4.8.2 @Arch Linux
    Slow and Steady wins the race... if and only if :
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    2.The fast and unsteady suddenly falls asleep while running !



  3. #3
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I really don't see the "UEFI" "secure boot" nonsense lasting very long.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I know a lot of hackers who are salivating over the possibility of being first to trump a key.

    I'm betting on the hackers.

    As for the question though, for whatever system you are buying make sure that it doesn't have the "Windows 8" logo from the logo program. If it does, it may be impossible to get going with anything else. And as always, if possible, see what other users have experienced.

    Soma
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    Quote Originally Posted by manasij7479 View Post
    Just buy devices which support coreboot. (I'm planning that for my next upgrade)
    Supported Motherboards - coreboot
    Most of the motherboards and processors that support coreboot date back to the late 90s. I'm not sure such hardware would qualify as an upgrade for many people.

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomotap View Post
    I really don't see the "UEFI" "secure boot" nonsense lasting very long.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but I know a lot of hackers who are salivating over the possibility of being first to trump a key.

    I'm betting on the hackers.

    As for the question though, for whatever system you are buying make sure that it doesn't have the "Windows 8" logo from the logo program. If it does, it may be impossible to get going with anything else. And as always, if possible, see what other users have experienced.
    I suspect UEFI "secure boot" will survive. There is a lot of commercial pressure applied to motherboard manufacturers to support such things, by some very big commercial players. Some of the reasons are good (reducing vulnerabilities) and some are bad (enhancing monopolist vendor lock-in).

    The real question is whether there is enough business to justify hardware manufacturers providing options to disable "secure boot". That will come down to whether it makes sense from a business perspective - will there be enough customers who want the option to disable "secure boot" to make it profitable, in the face of push-back from some big commercial players?

    Let's face it: folks who want to go away from the high volume operating systems towards the low volume operating systems (linux, etc) are a relative minority. That is why the monopolists have established their position - and the motivation is exactly the same as that of publishers and producers who are are campaigning for SOPA and the like. That motivation is maintaining market share, and maximising profits by maximising spend by consumers on their products. The two ways to increase spend by consumers, in the long term, is to repeatedly grow prices to a point that won't cause consumers to balk, and getting them to pay again (either for new products to replace obsolete products, or for continuing usage of existing products) as often as possible.

    Hackers might well erode the advantage of that over time, but hackers are not among the majority of computer illiterate folks who would prefer to buy a shrink-wrapped product over tinkering to configure an open-source one. And the monopolists have a huge head start, and resources to resist. And the majority of consumers will remain complacent, for as long as they can afford to pay (and as long as there is social pressure to continue doing so)
    Annonymous likes this.
    Right 98% of the time, and don't care about the other 3%.

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    Registered User Annonymous's Avatar
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    Being a dedicated Linux lover/user and MSW hater, this greatly concerns me! I am praying this does not get a firm grasp on the computer industry and stick.

    Should I stock up on parts and software now?

    For now, my main concern would be if I were to upgrade my BIOS tonight, would I have to worry about being locked out of Linux? Ive been wanting to for the last few nights. Is this just a software thing or is the new UEFI more than just software? Software is one thing but if the new UEFI involves the hardware of the computers as well. That's a whole different story!

    Again, as of now can I upgrade my BIOS for Compaq with no troubles/worries? Where does Compaq stand as of now, future as well?
    Last edited by Annonymous; 05-12-2012 at 07:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User manasij7479's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    Most of the motherboards and processors that support coreboot date back to the late 90s. I'm not sure such hardware would qualify as an upgrade for many people.
    Sorry.
    I didn't see that the list was outdated..!
    However, the reason I know about coreboot are some interesting news articles.
    coreboot - Google Search
    Manasij Mukherjee | gcc-4.8.2 @Arch Linux
    Slow and Steady wins the race... if and only if :
    1.None of the other participants are fast and steady.
    2.The fast and unsteady suddenly falls asleep while running !



  7. #7
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Let's face it: folks who want to go away from the high volume operating systems towards the low volume operating systems (linux, etc) are a relative minority.
    I wasn't very clear.

    I'm not saying the concept of "secure boot" will not survive. The concept should survive as it is a very good idea. It could be a fine layer eventually.

    I'm saying the implementation Microsoft wants will not survive. (The implementation Annonymous is worried about.) The implementation that gives vendors a way to isolate and "lock in" customers from the world by never signing updates. (The EU commission will certainly take a dim view.) The implementation that only technically requires x86 to remove keys. The implementation where ARM machines "MUST NOT" be allowed to disable "secure boot". (I'm not adding that emphasis by the way. Microsoft did.)

    It only takes one vendor key leak to allow a bootstrap "malware" loader to be developed that can hit every system signed by that same key. This isn't even something that be easily patched. I wasn't talking about a hack providing a benefit to the computer savvy. I was talking about a hit that would go a long way in convincing people that "secure boot" isn't magic as it is being played.

    The server industry isn't so small. (Microsoft uses "GNU/Linux" to drive some of their own hardware.) I don't see vendors participating in the logo program for the new 64 core ARM servers because it would prevent running unsigned "GNU/Linux" kernels, binary drivers, and "FUSE" which are problematic.

    Most people will at some point want to install a driver that isn't signed even on "Windows". Under the logic of the terms an unsigned driver can never be loaded. Venders are slow to get certification, and Microsoft is slow to sign off.

    There aren't nearly so many pushing for "secure boot" as interpreted by the "Microsoft Windows 8 Logo Program" as you may think. The majority (especially embedded manufactures) are pushing for a different beast entirely.

    Soma

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    I can see companies like redhat, suse, canonical, etc. offering a version of their respective flavors of linux with UEFI support - for a fee. I suspect that the companies building OEM parts for the DIY computer crowd (like me) will continue to offer UEFI-free or UEFI-optional motherboards and other hardware, simply because they know that a significant portion of their business likely comes from people using open source operating systems.

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