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Microsoft confirms UEFI fears, locks down ARM devices (softwarefreedom.org)
254 points by zoowar on Jan 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 131 comments



First, tihs document is about HW Certification. You can ship an ARM-based system that doesn't follow these rules, just won't be certified by MS -- much like many Android devices aren't Google certified.

Furthermore, MS actually bent over backwards on x86 and required for certification that the option to disable secure boot be provided (they could have been silent on this issue):

"Enable/Disable Secure Boot. On non-ARM systems, it is required to implement the ability to disable Secure Boot via firmware setup. A physically present user must be allowed to disable Secure Boot via firmware setup without possession of PKpriv."

I'd wait for MS's response on ARM. They've taken some interesting architectural approaches with their current ARM implementation (striped and actually secure SD cards). There may be architectural reasons for this. Or it could be that there are security issues with it, given that UEFI on ARM is pretty new.

But in any case, if this is important to an OEM they can simply not get HW certification. This doesn't block anyone from actually installing Windows 8 on ARM on machines w/o this capability.


It appears that ARM devices can fallover to legacy BIOS mode to support non UEFI OS's.

From page 109 of windows8-hardware-cert-requirements-system.pdf:

  System.Fundamentals.Firmware.UEFIDefaultBoot 

  Target Feature: System.Fundamentals.Firmware 

  Title:  All client systems must be able to boot into UEFI
   boot mode and attempt to boot into this 
   mode by default 

  Applicable OS Versions: 
    Windows 8 Client x86 
    Windows 8 Client x64 
    Windows 8 Client ARM 
    Windows 8 Server x64 
    Windows Server 2008 Release 2 x64 

  Description: 
  The System firmware must be able to achieve UEFI mode
  boot by default. Such a system may also 
  support fallback to legacy BIOS mode boot for deploying 
  OS images which do not support UEFI, if the 
  user explicitly selects that option in the pre-boot UEFI BIOS menu. 
  This requirement is If Implemented for Server systems and applies
   only if a Server system is UEFI capable.


There's no BIOS on ARM. BIOS is x86-only.


It's "legacy Bios mode."

I believe that implementation requirements for legacy BIOS mode are not part of the certification.

And in any event, it is likely that the BIOS Boot Specification (BBS) could be used to provide for unique hardware requirements during booting.


I seriously doubt that legacy BIOS will support ARM.


Agreed on rest of the points, but Windows 8 on ARM is more like Windows Phone in the sense that you can't ship an ARM based system like you can with x86. You need a special license, there will be no OEM or user installable versions of Windows 8 ARM.


Based on this you could make a case about this being an antitrust violation as they are tying one product (which is a monopoly in one arena) to another product in an arena which isn't a monopoly.


What about MSDN? I suspect it will be on there as likely the only legal way for a user to install it.


Why would it need to be available on MSDN? Windows Phone ROMs are not on there. There will be emulators for developers.


Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly in the tablet or phone markets. Heck, it's barely a market participant. If Apple doesn't have to let people install Windows on an iPad, then the same should apply to Microsoft. This time, there's no "but there's a monopoly and the rules are different for monopolies" excuse.


I think the point here is that Microsoft is requiring additional restrictions that Android does not - when they both use the same handset hardware.

Why should we give Microsoft a pass? Because they're the underdog? No. Android is not 100% open (e.g. binary-only kernel modules for proprietary hardware, Google not releasing honeycomb, ...) But that's no excuse for Microsoft to use cryptography against the customer.

Microsoft must face the ill-will it generated this way, including the ill-will toward its attempts to mandate UEFI Secure Boot on the PC. This move on the ARM platform will be used (by me and others) to demonstrate that the UEFI Secure Boot requirement on the PC cannot be accepted.


Plenty of android devices have a bootloader that is just as locked down as the windows 8 ARM requirements.


They're not locked down by Google.


so what, that does not change the reality of the situation for the people that buy the devices.

EDIT: I am a device user, not a hardware OEM, like im certain most of the posters here are, to users of the device it really does not matter at all WHO is forcing the lockdown, the fact that it happens is the issue. Not sure why that very obvious point garners downvotes.


It very much changes the issue. That is not an OS developer requiring third-party hardware OEMs prevent loading another OS as part of their licensing agreement.

This is fairly specific anti-competitive behaviour, it's not an issue of locking devices in general.


@dangrossman

you've just made exactly the point vena was making: "it only prevents the end users from doing things." Using OEM requirements for Windows-certified ARM devices is very similar to the bundling requirements Microsoft was convicted of in US v Microsoft.

Also, what you're suggesting with "The OEM can have two versions of every tablet/phone" places the costs on the OEM, where margins are razor thin. Be fair - put the burden on Microsoft to stop creating artificial barriers to entry.

In addition, Microsoft responded in US v Microsoft (1998) to the requirement to unbundle IE by offering to "offer manufacturers a choice: one version of Windows that was obsolete, or another that did not work properly." Now is it fair to offer OEMs this same choice -- ship with Windows 7 or deliberately break the device so it cannot boot properly? I don't believe that's fair.


How about you try iOS where you can't even install a competing browser, forget about one being bundled. Why is that legal?

Because Windows was deemed a monopoly in the late 1990s. Since Win32 programs won't even run on ARM tablets, I fail to see how what you point out is relevant at all.

>Also, what you're suggesting with "The OEM can have two versions of every tablet/phone" places the costs on the OEM, where margins are razor thin. Be fair - put the burden on Microsoft to stop creating artificial barriers to entry.

There are a zillion tablets out that run Android and some of them can run Ubuntu too. What artificial barriers to entry are you talking about? OEMs needn't even pay a licensing fee unlike with Windows, thus they can be cheaper. Microsoft is already burdened by that.


Just because Apple is more evil than Microsoft does not me we should give Microsoft a free pass. This is exactly the sort of detrimental behavior everybody except Apple/Microsoft would be better off without.


There are two different "we"s here. There's "we" as in constituents of a government this article wants to regulate this activity, then there's "we" as in potential consumers of these products. I'm merely arguing that, unlike this blog/article/whatever, we should not be pushing government to deny Microsoft's right to enter into agreements with manufacturers to make secure boot a requirement for certain Windows-certified devices. The other "we" can make moral judgements of the practice, I have no problem with that.


Since Win32 programs won't even run on ARM tablets

Actually, they will if they are recompiled to target WindowsARM: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8254846/does-windows-8-ar...

Also, .NET applications will run on ARM.


This doesn't prevent the OEMs from doing anything, it only prevents the end users from doing things. The OEM can have two versions of every tablet/phone they make, one that's Windows-certified with UEFI and another identical one that's not Windows-certified that they can offer with Android, Linux, or whatever. All this agreement says is that you can't sell Windows on a device that can be flashed with a different OS afterwards.

So this creates devices sold with Microsoft software that can only run Microsoft software. It does not stop anyone from selling devices with other operating systems, even the same manufacturers with identical hardware. Should Microsoft not be allowed to offer these computers? If consumers don't like it they can vote with their dollars and buy the Android/Ubuntu/WebOS tablet -- they just can't buy the Windows one then delete Windows and install Ubuntu.


But we're not talking about just phones and tablets...

"[...] yesterday, Qualcomm announced plans to produce Windows 8 tablets and ultrabook-style laptops built around its ARM-based Snapdragon processors"

Those will be locked out as well.

This is exactly what Cory Doctorow was talking about in his article the other day about "the war on general purpose computing" - (http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html)


But it's still not a monopoly. If you want your ultrabook to run Linux, buy an x86 where you can disable secure mode. If you want an ARM, then Microsoft deserves the same treatment as the others. If Apple can lock its iPad, the same applies to Microsoft.


Sorry, that war was fought and lost won with the iPhone and iPad.

If anything, Microsoft is better in the sense that it offers more share of the app cost to the developers and also doesn't charge tithes like Apple does on content.


> Sorry, that war was fought and lost won with the iPhone and iPad.

No, not really. There's still a long way to go.

And Microsoft's revenue sharing model vs Apple's doesn't have much to do with that.


This is part of why I bought an HP Touchpad when it wasn't on the fire sale, and a Palm Pre+ before that. The Palm folks (even at HP now) not only don't care that you're hacking their device, they actually actively encourage it. They've gone out of their way to provide an "oh shit" button for when you've completely frazzled the bootloader and nothing else works. The Touchpad runs webOS, Android, and Ubuntu, and HP/Palm doesn't give a shit.

Now that their OS is open source, too, I'd love to see the rise of HP/Palm in the hacker community. They're not just accepting of hackers, they actively encourage it in all aspects.


"If anything, Microsoft is better in the sense that it offers more share of the app cost to the developers and also doesn't charge tithes like Apple does on content."

These are just value propositions from an also ran.

Apple takes a cut on sales because that's what store's do. If I sell cereal to a supermarket and you walk in and buy a box, the store does not give me all of that money. Why? Because the store worked hard to get that customer to walk in. Similarly Apple worked hard to make ITMS and App Store work, bringing millions of customers to the apps and music. And no one calls the supermarket's cut a tithe either.

Why support MS because they came later, copied the successful innovation and undercut it by a few %? Supporting the company doing the innovating seems like a better path to incentivizing other companies to innovate new products and markets instead of just copying what's successful.


>Apple takes a cut on sales because that's what store's do. If I sell cereal to a supermarket and you walk in and buy a box, the store does not give me all of that money. Why? Because the store worked hard to get that customer to walk in. Similarly Apple worked hard to make ITMS and App Store work, bringing millions of customers to the apps and music. And no one calls the supermarket's cut a tithe either.

The tithe reference is to the content, not the cut of the cost of an app, which Apple neither hosts nor delivers, but takes a 30% cut of.

Eg. http://blog.readability.com/2011/02/an-open-letter-to-apple/

Also, why can't your argument extend to ISPs? They have done all the hard work getting the customer, why shouldn't they be able to charge YouTube for allowing them to show ads to their customers?


they do charge YouTube, it's just hidden in the ISP to ISP agreements.


(yet)


Apple manufacturers both the hardware and the software and then sell it, there is no 3rd party involved in this transaction.

Microsoft builds the OS and licenses it to a manufacture, they build the device and sell it. At least 3 parties involved.

Microsoft's requirements need to be met to be able to license Windows 8 for tablets. Microsoft is forcing manufacturers to lock down their devices or else they aren't allowed to use Windows 8.

Google licenses the Android source code/platform/name whatever, and a manufacturer builds the devices. The manufacturer chooses to lock down the boot loader.

Google doesn't make any requirements on the manufacturers to lock their devices down.

That is where the difference lies. Microsoft is being bad here because they are forcing something on its manufacturers that its manufacturers may not have wanted to implement.

I don't see why Apple should have to let people install Windows on an iPad, or for that matter even make it easy for people to do so if they pleased. I don't see why manufacturers should have to let people flash whatever firmware they want to their device. But I do see why Microsoft shouldn't be telling manufacturers that the manufacturers customers can't flash their device if they so pleased.


So it's bad for Microsoft to force rules onto the manufacturers, but not for the manufacturers to force rules onto the consumers? How come?

In my opinion, both are bad. No, the manufacturers shouldn't have to make it easy (or make any effort at all) to help consumers install other OSs, but locking up the devices on purpose is no better than what MS is doing.


Instead carriers require that all phones be locked. Different causes, but the same result.


> Google doesn't make any requirements on the manufacturers to lock their devices down.

But they do. Google has many requirements and if you don't meet them, you won't be licensed the Google apps. That's the same thing Microsoft is doing here. You can choose to make a tablet that doesn't meet their requirements, you just can't sell it with Windows if you do so.

Microsoft isn't preventing anyone from making products or selling tablets running other operating systems... just that the ones they sell with Windows can't be re-flashed.


There is no requirement from Google to build a device that the customer can't change at will after they purchase it. The manufacturers themselves have locked the boot-loaders not at the will of Google.


Exactly.

Add to that the fact that Google releases the Android source code. Manufacturers do produce Android derivatives (e.g. Kindle Fire) by removing the Google branding. And HTC just relented by unlocking their bootloaders, providing at least one data point that customers do want the ability to load their own OS.

Must we relearn the lessons from the PC all over again?


Actually there is, sort of. The new Asus Transformer Prime comes with an encrypted signed boot loader. They will give you a tool to allow it to boot unsigned code, but according to Asus, this will cause you to lose the ability to view Google Videos (as per Google requirements).


They don't expect manufacturers to lock down the devices. Their flagship devices, which are supposed to set the bar for other Android phones, are deliberately not locked down to set an example.


"They don't expect manufacturers to lock down the devices."

He's not saying they do. No one is saying they do. That is the very definition of a straw man argument.

Dan Grossman is saying Google has a host of other compliance requirements. Why does Microsoft compliance requirement X cross some terrible line that Google and Apple requirements W, Y and Z don't?


Because MS compliance requirement X is deliberately anti-consumer, anti open-source, and openly hostile to users using their hardware as they see fit?


"deliberately anti-consumer"

This requirement negatively affects a rounding error of consumers that will probably be able to circumvent the restriction anyway.

Googles forcing G+ & Gmail apps onto a vast majority of users that don't use those platforms is arguably a bigger consumer problem. But nobody cares and rightfully so. The impact is minimal in both cases.

Beyond the negative effect there's a tangible security gain here that is probably a bigger deal for many more customers then are inconvenienced by the locked bootloader.

"anti open-source"

Microsoft is not the EFF and has no mandate to be pro-open source. Google's failure to release the Android development branch, roadmap, the honeycomb delay and their compatibility tests aren't anti-open source?


Awesome, I'm glad we're on the new HN where we downvote things we disagree with. Google doesn't have a compliance requirement of "prevent users from running another OS". MS does. That pretty clearly crosses a line that none of the Google requirements do.


"Google doesn't have a compliance requirement of "prevent users from running another OS". MS does. That pretty clearly crosses a line that none of the Google requirements do."

The fact that things are different is not in and of itself a real argument. All you're doing is restating what Microsoft's requirement is and attaching your conclusion ("this crosses the line") but you haven't actually shown this.

"none of the Google requirements do"

Can't use another OS: Sky's falling!

Can't use another location service: Who cares right?

A number of Google requirements are secret so how can we confidently say none of them cross the line?


Your argument seems to assume that I think it is okay for Apple to do what they do... Let me put it this way:

1) Two wrongs do not make a right.

2) Both are worthy of criticism.

3) What Apple does is off topic anyway. This discussion is about Microsoft.


The argument is about how it is illegal, and the SFLC complaining to governments to fix this. If they force MS to license their software to any OEM, they should similarly force Apple to license Mac OS X to Psystar and also unlock the iPhone and iPad's bootloaders.


It's not about forcing companies to license their software; it's about forcing companies to allow unlocking of the bootloader, thus forcing them to compete on features rather than antifeatures (consumer lock-in).

Locked bootloaders on general purpose computing devices are bad news for consumers and for innovation in general. Just imagine how the PC landscape would have evolved without clones. I'd be more than happy to see government intervention in cases like these.


It's anti-consumer. Who cares if it's legal?


I've been a Microsoft fanboy for a long time, and I've been speaking out about the Secure Boot brouhaha because there was effectively no evidence that they were actually attempting to lock anyone out, but this is simply inexcusable. Sad.


You can't seriously be surprised by this. Microsoft can't be trusted until their desktop monopoly is destroyed. I guess the US vs Microsoft is 14 years old this year. Maybe we've all forgotten how Microsoft destroyed all other PC OS'es and how Windows wouldn't run without Internet Explorer; Microsoft claimed it was part of the OS and there was no way to remove it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft

"Microsoft's true anticompetitive clout was in the rebates it offered to OEMs preventing other operating systems from getting a foothold in the market"

It shouldn't be a PC vs Mac world today. It should be PC, Mac, BeOS, OS/2, Linux, etc.


> It shouldn't be a PC vs Mac world today. It should be PC, Mac, BeOS, OS/2, Linux, etc.

There are a number of small, niche systems around the world that few people know about. When something gets broad popularity it is natural to see only a few systems get the cake, the cream of the cake and the cherry on it while the others get the crumbs. "He who has more, gets more" if you know the saying.

In the 80s you had a free market situation with personal computers and litterally hundred of brands to choose from. All incompatible. And only a few brands made it through the years, with the IBM PC standard getting the first place.

Fast Market growth favors big players.


Fast Market growth favors big players.

The current OS landscape has little to do with the size of the players, and everything to do with back-room deals between Microsoft and OEMs to e.g. prevent OEMs from loading BeOS on their systems.


I'm sorry, but this is Amiga syndrome.

Beyond all else, you know why BeOS isn't loaded on systems today? Because it didn't run Windows software. You can assert that Microsoft certainly did not help it along with its OEM deals, but BeOS didn't do itself any favors along the way at any point.


BeOS had an agreement with Hitachi to distribute BeOS on some of their systems. Microsoft also had an agreement with Hitachi (and others?) that prevented Hitachi from displaying an operating system selection menu on boot. That is why we do not have BeOS today, and is only one example of the countless times Microsoft underhandedly and illegally (as determined by courts on multiple continents) harmed consumers and competitors.

Read the first page of this: http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/1584.pdf

Relevant section:

  The BeOS is bundled with the machine and is already pre-installed
  on the hard drive.  As shipped from the factory, your FLORA Prius
  will NOT boot the BeOS...
Edited to add: We can never tell what would have happened to these competing systems without Microsoft's manipulation of the market, but Microsoft's involvement in their demise is a historically and legally documented fact.


I do not deny that there is probably some foul play on Microsoft's part, but there was also a time when Microsoft was just a player among others and made it to be the one preferred by the enterprises, and then the general public.

I don't think BeOS would have got very far even if there was no deals against it. After all, there was no massive support from publishers to develop for it, and an OS without software remains a small, niche market. Windows was already huge at the time.

Now, I agree there are probably better OSes out there (either Linux distributions or others) but it all boils down to "what is the platform people develop for". Mass acceptance requires your OS to be able to run enterprise applications, modern games, and to run flawlessly (or at least without major issues) on a good range of hardware. It is very difficult to pull this off unless you have a great amount of ressources nowadays.


>It shouldn't be a PC vs Mac world today.

I thought we were living in a post-PC world? Restricting Microsoft here would unfairly advantage Apple's continuing monopoly of tablets.


Apple doesn't have a monopoly on tablets and Google doesn't have a monopoly on search, but people always throw them out as such.

Microsoft, however, has the monopolies (plural).

Btw, here are the numbers to prove that the iPad is not a monopoly.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/dec/25/ipad-tablet...

Wouldn't it be great if Windows only had a 65%-70% market share?


The install base is what matters, not sales numbers for a short time period.

>Google doesn't have a monopoly on search,

Maybe you would like to look at a few real world numbers like these ones:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3458947


I doubt if Microsoft would agree with your search numbers. Can you provide some accepted industry source? At any rate, if you want to switch search engines, it's trivial:

http://duckduckgo.com/

http://bing.com/

http://yahoo.com/

Let me know how easy it is to get enterprise to switch off the Office document formats or off of Windows.

As for tablets, sales do matter. The Kindle Fire sold around 5.5 million units. Android will be a strong player.


That prospect doesn't bother anyone. Apple can be twice as restrictive as Microsoft, and people will still be raising a fuss over what MS does.

How do we know? Well, it's happening right now.


It bothers me.

Our reservations about Apple should mirror those about Microsoft. Good design and UX are not excuses to be complacent. I highly suggest watching Cory Doctorow's recent 28c3 talk on "The Coming War on General Computation": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUEvRyemKSg


> I've been speaking out about the Secure Boot brouhaha because there was effectively no evidence that they were actually attempting to lock anyone out

No evidence, just history. Lots and lots of history.


I may be missing something, but it doesn't sound like an OEM is prevented from including additional keys, from say cannonical and redhat, or even simply an OEM key that is used to sign a generic boot loader like grub.


Meaning this is still much more open than the iPad.


Damn it, I was so sure that 2012 would be The Year of Linux on the Desktop. And now this!

Kidding aside, there will always be IPhones/Playstations, which need to be jail broken and there will be proper computers. If anything, this UEFI lockdown will make it easier to find appropriate hardware for your Linux box/server, since all that Windows-centric gaming stuff will be sold locked down only.


Well, this piece of news certainly just killed my "Windows 8 App" project. Even though I really do like Microsoft's tech, I just cannot support this type of behavior in any way. Maybe with mono I'll at least be able to salvage the server side parts and target Android based devices instead.


From my reading of the restrictions it appears that the restriction is only on adding new keys to the boot ROM. So makers could ship arm computers with appropriate linux keys in the ROM already, and still be compatible with the WIndows 8 requirements.


That would have to be a public key then. Which is just like allowing no key.


The article is a blog post about a blog post about a blog post.

The Windows 8 hardware certification requirements comprise three documents and more than 1000 pages. They are available here [warning license agreement required]:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windows/hardware/hh748188


The moral of the story is, don't buy a windows phone if you want to reflash it.


Or an arm-based ultrabook.


Or an x86-based laptop with UEFI Secure Boot*

* Windows 8 logo compliance still requires UEFI Secure Boot. This won't affect desktops as quickly but laptops come with minimal BIOS options. Managing keys to install another OS will be omitted by many laptop manufacturers.


Is it too much to ask to read the linked article? Please.

>For non-ARM systems, Microsoft requires that Custom Mode be enabled


Yes, I read it. Did you?

Microsoft is requiring Custom Mode not even be _present_ on some of its Windows 8 platforms. How long until they "let it slide" on the rest?

You may be determined to let Microsoft do whatever they please with the hardware you rightfully purchased. That doesn't mean I have to let them.


Related: Don't sign an expensive OEM deal with Microsoft if they're going to lock you in to what could be a Windows Phone 7 type disaster.

A smart OEM would avoid certification, instead focusing on making a product that could run Linux, or Android, or whatever WebOS becomes, instead of getting locked to a sinking ship.

The reason people are drawn to Windows is because their x86 software from the 1990s still works. How many apps are going to work on ARM out of the box?


Vendor lockout is not the worst part.

I'd worry much more about the executive branch.

http://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/139791 http://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/4957


And that's how Microsoft killed ARM based netbooks, ultrabooks, tablets, etc that could potentially run Linux because most OEMs will want to have them licensed for use with Windows 8.

Can we rehash all the dozen posts about this from months ago when people swore up on down that Microsoft wasn't going to do... well, what the rest of us expect at this point?


"Can we rehash all the dozen posts about this from months ago when people swore up on down that Microsoft wasn't going to do... well, what the rest of us expect at this point?"

This is almost the worst part of it for me. Those people get to play "the voice of reason" at the time, but they don't receive any of the deserved ridicule when their fantasy world doesn't pan out.


It's almost as if being Right On The Internet doesn't mean anything in the real world!


More like: "It's almost as if being right doesn't mean anything", but yeah.


The people that "deserved ridicule when their fantasy world doesn't pan out" are the paranoid folks that claimed that MS is banning booting Linux on PCs. Microsoft updated the requirements so that OEMs are REQUIRED to provide an option to disable secure boot on PCs. Here we are talking about Post-PC devices that won't even run the legacy x86 code that Windows has a dominance in.


"Here we are talking about Post-PC devices"

Oh, so we are only talking about the proclaimed future of personal computing then? I guess it's perfectly fine then!

No. Anti-consumerism deserves condemnation, no matter how you try to spin it.


The discussion months ago was about x86, I believe. According to the article, "For non-ARM systems, Microsoft requires that Custom Mode be enabled".

I suspect that it will turn out that Microsoft knows that Apple and Android have built a possibly insurmountable lead on ARM and so will be subsidizing the hardware that ships with Windows 8 in order to lower the price to the consumer to try to buy market share. For obvious reasons they would not want people who want an Android tablet to see an Android tablet for, say, $400, and a Windows 8 tablet from the same manufacturer with identical hardware specs for $300 (because of Microsoft's subsidy) that they could buy and then put Android on.


I thought most of the discussion last time was about x86; I've never heard of UEFI for ARM and I suspect most haven't either.


Now I'm curious to find the old revision of this document, but the linked article seems (to me) to imply that the new no-uefi-secure-exemptions provision was added to an existing discussion of UEFI/ARM. I could be wrong, and I'm not sure the distinction matters significantly, the discussion here on HN was pretty clearly in regard to Microsoft's intentions with UEFI and whether it was about being anti-competitive or truly for security.


So, no running Windows under Linux VM ->no Windows for me.


>And that's how Microsoft killed ARM based netbooks, ultrabooks, tablets, etc that could potentially run Linux because most OEMs will want to have them licensed for use with Windows 8.

Why is it Microsoft's responsibility to make Linux run on the hardware that runs their software? What is your stance on Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire etc.? Why shouldn't they be able to secure their OS against jailbreaking and malware just like Apple does?

If they're forced to not have restriction by the government, I propose that the government force Apple and other vendors to open up their hardware, so that Windows 8 and Linux can run on them.

>Can we rehash all the dozen posts about this from months ago when people swore up on down that Microsoft wasn't going to do... well, what the rest of us expect at this point?

I believe they were referring to x86 machines, not ARM.


"make Linux run" You mean: "not prevent Linux from running"

But hey, to address what seems to be your point... Lets have a reality check. Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. So quick to forget...


Microsoft is nowhere close to being a monopoly on ARM tablets. x86 programs(that make MS dominant on PCs) won't even run on Windows 8 ARM tablets. You seem to have misspelled Apple.


You seem to be under the continued delusion that if I criticism one, then I must support the other.


>Why is it Microsoft's responsibility to make Linux run on the hardware that runs their software? What is your stance on Nook Tablet, Kindle Fire etc.?

I disapprove of Android vendors locking their bootloaders as well. However, this is an entirely different landscape. Microsoft's penetration on laptops and netbooks means that they have the ability to block out competing operating systems unless OEMs (that have to negotiate contracts with Microsoft) go out of their way to provide a different model with a differently implemented UEFI. Considering the number of manufacturers selling Linux computers now, that seems unlikely.

Regardless, I even granted that there isn't a business reason for them to be friendly to competing operation systems, it's just disappointing to see them resorting to this. I have to wonder if it's in part because of how far behind they are in terms of phones/tablets.

>I believe they were referring to x86 machines, not ARM.

Does it matter? The conversations that were playing out were discussing Microsoft's intentions wrt to UEFI.


According to the article, "For non-ARM systems, Microsoft requires that Custom Mode be enabled." It seems incredibly likely that OEMs will "go out of their way to provide a different model with a differently implemented UEFI."

I'd imagine it does matter which architecture was being discussed.


>Microsoft's penetration on laptops and netbooks means that they have the ability to block out competing operating systems

ARM laptops and netbooks and PCs won't run x86 apps, so I fail to see how MS's penetration will allow them to block out competing operating systems.

>Regardless, I even granted that there isn't a business reason for them to be friendly to competing operation systems, it's just disappointing to see them resorting to this. I have to wonder if it's in part because of how far behind they are in terms of phones/tablets.

Their strategy seems to be to subsidize the licensing cost of the OS by selling Metro apps from the Windows Marketplace. This model will get into trouble if the user loads Android on it. Anyway this is the same model that Amazon, B&N and to some extent Apple uses.


ARM laptops and netbooks and PCs won't run x86 apps, so I fail to see how MS's penetration will allow them to block out competing operating systems.

The ability to run x86 apps is irrelevant. Full-fledged Linux desktop distributions have been available for ARM desktops, laptops, nettops, etc. for a long time. Microsoft is entering this existing market with a product that anticompetitively excludes Linux from the market by preventing users from upgrading their OS (as has been traditionally available on Microsoft-targeted computing platforms) through the same kind of license agreements with OEMs that got them into trouble with Be.

Their strategy seems to be to subsidize the licensing cost of the OS by selling Metro apps from the Windows Marketplace. This model will get into trouble if the user loads Android on it. Anyway this is the same model that Amazon, B&N and to some extent Apple uses.

It is not the responsibility of users and OS vendors to preserve the flawed business model of their competitors. Microsoft's competitors shouldn't be forced out of the operating system market just because Microsoft wants to sell its own licenses below "cost" (whatever that means for something that has virtually no cost to duplicate).


>The ability to run x86 apps is irrelevant

It is very relevant. Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

>Full-fledged Linux desktop distributions have been available for ARM desktops, laptops, nettops, etc. for a long time. Microsoft is entering this existing market with a product that anticompetitively excludes Linux from the market by preventing users from upgrading their OS (as has been traditionally available on Microsoft-targeted computing platforms) through the same kind of license agreements with OEMs that got them into trouble with Be.

Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader? Can Microsoft claim they're being anti-competitively blocked for shipping an OS for the iPad? How is it legal for the Kindle Fire and Nook to ship with locked bootloaders?

>It is not the responsibility of users and OS vendors to preserve the flawed business model of their competitors. Microsoft's competitors shouldn't be forced out of the operating system market just because Microsoft wants to sell its own licenses below "cost" (whatever that means for something that has virtually no cost to duplicate).

Similarly, Microsoft should be allowed to sell the software they create on their own terms.

No cost to duplicate doesn't mean there was no cost to create it. Or do you propose that the first copy cost $5 billion and then the rest are freely reproduced and distributed?


> Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

Because the restrictions placed on Microsoft were a reaction to several anti-competitive business practices in which MS was effectively forcing OEMs to prop up a Windows+IE monopoly. OEMs were not allowed to remove IE, and as previously noted in US v MS, were often not allowed to install any other browser. OEMs were charged more for Windows licenses were they to offer any machine without Windows as well as mandating OEMs pay fees for each computer sold whether or not it was sold with Windows pre-installed in order to retain their license. This along with market pressure induced OEMs to focus production on Windows-only offerings, creating an anti-competitive environment in the larger, general-use OS market.

To the second point and this...

> Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader?

Apple is the OEM. As far as iOS devices are concerned, they own the lot. I presume you didn't intend for them to be included here, but for their x86 devices (iMac, etc), you can install any compatible OS you want.

> How is it legal for the Kindle Fire and Nook to ship with locked bootloaders?

Simply put, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are not in the OS business. They don't stand to gain an unfair advantage from excluding another OS from their device and they are not forcing a third-party business to act on their behalf to support such an advantage. IMHO, Amazon is more likely to find trouble in areas such as their redirection of requests to market.android.com to their own app store though they still let you side-load apps and download them directly through the browser.


Which makes the licensing of Android phones even more ironic. MS is using the patent system to do to phone manufacturers what MS did to PC manufacturers decades ago.


It is very relevant. Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

I'm not European, so I'm not very well informed on their approach to antitrust issues, but my guess would be that either they just haven't gotten enough complaints about/gotten around to prosecuting Apple, or Apple's lack of a monopoly in their respective market gives them greater leeway.

I could imagine them saying, "It's not the processor that's relevant. It's whether something can be classified as a computer or an appliance." Would you say that a Linux- or BeOS- or OS/2-based PC should be treated differently from the same PC running Windows, just because it can't run "x86" [Windows] apps?

Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader? Can Microsoft claim they're being anti-competitively blocked for shipping an OS for the iPad? How is it legal for the Kindle Fire and Nook to ship with locked bootloaders?

So far the phone/"giant phone" tablet and netbook/tablet PC/desktop markets have been treated differently. With traditional forms of computing, there is a greater expectation of flexibility of the system. Maybe that will change to the point where consumers expect to be able to install their own OS on a smartphone as well, and I for one hope it does.

Similarly, Microsoft should be allowed to sell the software they create on their own terms.

I agree, so long as those terms don't include explicit or de facto exclusions of their competitors from the market. What we're discussing now is exactly such an exclusion.

No cost to duplicate doesn't mean there was no cost to create it. Or do you propose that the first copy cost $5 billion and then the rest are freely reproduced and distributed?

I'm fully aware of the separate costs of creation versus distribution. I am a hardware/software startup founder myself. My point is that Microsoft needs to figure out how to make money without anticompetitively excluding others from the market. Their decision to sell anything below their actual costs is simply not my problem as a consumer, nor should it be any government's problem.


From memory when I read one of Microsoft's yearly filings on Edgar that the windows OS unit reported a 89% profit margin or something similar.


Apple doesn't have a monopoly in any market except, arguably, MP3 players. The rules are necessarily different for companies that have monopolies.


>Can you tell why the EU requires Windows to display a browser selection box on first boot to Europeans, but is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

Your information is very old. The App Store has approved third-party web browsers for over three year now.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/01/third-party-web-br...

>Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader?

It is. Don't confuse "anti-competitive" with "illegal." If you want the DoJ to pursue an anti-trust case against Apple, you're free to push for that. The market realities will make it a hard sell.


Third party web browsers are still required to either use the system WebKit or run all scripts remotely (like Opera Mini) - Firefox wouldn't be allowed, for example.


Why is it not anti-competitive for Apple to ship their hardware with a completely locked bootloader?

Because there is a large market for non-iOS based phones.

The market for non-Windows based laptops is much, much smaller (basically OS X).


>Because there is a large market for non-iOS based phones

What about tablets?

>The market for non-Windows based laptops is much, much smaller (basically OS X).

ARM laptops are way different. For starters, they wont run any programs that run on other laptops.


What about tablets?

Q4 2011 tablet numbers: 11.1m iPad/6m Android (including Kindle Fire and Nook)[1]

ARM laptops are way different. For starters, they wont run any programs that run on other laptops.

.NET programs will run fine. Win32 programs can be recompiles with a WinARM target (the Win32 APIs still exist in ARM Windows[2])

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/dec/25/ipad-tablet...

[2] http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8254846/does-windows-8-ar...



I think it is pretty reasonable to assume the parent meant "they wont run any Windows programs that run on other Windows laptops"

As I noted in my reply, he's mostly wrong about that too.


> is okay with iOS totally BANNING the use of non-Safari browser engines?

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opera-mini-web-browser/id3637...


Sorry, that's not a browser, it can't even run Javascript. It is basically a web proxy.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opera_Mini Unlike ordinary web browsers, Opera Mini fetches all content through a proxy server that reformats web pages into a format more suitable for small screens.[32] A page is compressed, then delivered to the phone in a markup language called OBML (Opera Binary Markup Language).

Browsers like Firefox and Opera Mobile are explicity banned by Apple.


It is a browser. It is a poor browser, but it's a browser.

FUD elsewhere.


Not to mention the XBox.


Many Linux operating systems have been fully operation on ARM for some time.

Besides, this issue is much larger. What happens when Windows 9 comes out and is signed with a different set of keys. Obsolescence is now even easier for OEMs and Microsoft to "let" happen.


I think this is wrong.


iPad has or had a monopoly in the tablet market, but where are/were the cries for an open bootloader? Where were the complaints to governments?

Motorola and HTC phones/tablets ship with locked bootloaders while leveraging the hard work of F/OSS developers for free. Not to mention the Nook tablet/Kindle Fire which ship with a locked bootloader who get a free pass.

Note that this will be the same set of people who will slag Microsoft for malware getting into the system and will recommend switching away from Windows because it is insecure.

How about forcing Apple to allow users to load alternate OSes like Windows 8 or Android on the iPad?


I'm not sure what you've been reading that I haven't, but I've seen plenty anti-Apple and anti-Amazon and anti-X cries precisely because of their lock-in attempts. From what I've read, the fact that Microsoft keeps doing it just means they won't learn their lesson, and Apple et al. doing it just means they're more evil than Microsoft in this respect. It's also a warning flag that as much as MS tries to win over the OSS crowd they still have some issues to work out.

The law getting involved and being applied arbitrarily or just to MS though is very silly.


> I've seen plenty anti-Apple and anti-Amazon and anti-X cries precisely because of their lock-in attempts.

As an X Window System developer, I often get confused when people use "X" as a placeholder. I thought, "but X doesn't lock people in...".


People have hacked iPads and iPhones to run Android. And nobody actually uses it because there is no hardware back button, etc.

When hardware and software are a cohesive unit it's hard to run something generic on the hardware, or run the software on some other hardware. That is not the case for Windows, Linux, and Android, which is why people feel differently about that ecosystem.


People have hacked iPads and iPhones to run Android. And nobody actually uses it because there is no hardware back button, etc.

That must explain the lack of penetration of Android tablets! (They have no back button either)


Do they have a home button? I'm sure the answer varies but in general you need the hardware and software to agree on some things. That is my point. Even if the software is flexible such as Android 4 that will display the buttons if necessary, or use hardware buttons if they are available.

AFAIK Android was basically unusable on iOS hardware, using the sleep/wake button in an odd way and other things that do not work well.


Do they have a home button?

Nope. Only volume and on/off. At least that's what the Galaxy Tab has. As you pointed out, new versions of Android allow emulating whatever buttons the device doesn't have on screen. And the newest phones basically don't have any, relying entirely on the screen.

AFAIK Android was basically unusable on iOS hardware, using the sleep/wake button in an odd way and other things that do not work well.

This sounds like the port was botched. Nothing you said explains why it couldn't work. In fact the oppposite: you've already illustrated the button layout is irrelevant.


Windows 8 ARM tablets won't have back, home or menu buttons either.


iPad was developed by a single company. Apple built the hardware and software. Apple didn't force a manufacturer through licensing terms to lock down the bootloader to stop the manufacturers customers from loading an alternate OS.

The thing that people don't like is the fact that Microsoft is saying through their licensing agreements with a manufacturer that they have to lock the boot loader down so that the manufacturers customers (Asus, HTC, Samsung customers) are not allowed to load an alternate OS.


Apple produces their own hardware, and the various locked Android devices are not being locked down by Google.


Let's revisit this in a year and see. My prediction is at that point Google will be producing the most locked down Android devices. Motorola's we-will-prevent-you-from-needing-support practices shoehorn perfectly with Google's we-don't-do-support practices. It's a marriage made in heaven.


>Apple produces their own hardware

Samsung and Foxconn and a lot of other suppliers make the hardware. Apple does not own the factories.


That's irrelevant. Apple sells you the hardware; when you buy an iPad, you are buying an iPad, not a tablet computer that happens to be bundled with iOS. There is no expectation that you can use it as a general purpose computer.

When I buy laptop, I am buying a computer. Full stop. If the vendor wants to bundle an OS, great, but I expect to be able to change it. It's far more offensive not to be able to run Linux on a mainstream laptop than not to be able to run Windows on an iPad.


>When I buy laptop, I am buying a computer. Full stop. If the vendor wants to bundle an OS, great, but I expect to be able to change it.

Maybe it's time to change your expectations? Why is Microsoft liable for your expectations? Why not only buy laptops that meet your expectations?

>It's far more offensive not to be able to run Linux on a mainstream laptop than not to be able to run Windows on an iPad.

ARM laptops are nowhere close to mainstream. They cannot run any Win32 applications. MS is starting from zero here.


"MS is starting from zero here."

No. Microsoft is starting at one hundred eight billion.


Samsung is the factory contractor for the A5, Apple designed it and Apple owns it outright. Foxconn assembles Apple products and provides some off-the-shelf parts. Apple does not levy such licensing restrictions against another company's own product to run only Apple software.


For the purposes of this argument, they do. Apple is the client; they buy the manufacturing.

Whereas with Microsoft, the factories are the clients of Microsoft OS's.


And here I was starting to believe that other article about a calmer gentler Ballmer.


Oh no, 0.0001% of all tablets sold this year may end up boot locked due to this. Assuming there's nothing more to the story. Let's panic.




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