I find that pretty silly, and I don't see a real reason why they didn't just make the machine dual-boot both Windows and Android. If users want Android apps inside Windows, they can download Bluestacks themselves. So the only explanation is that Microsoft is coercing manufacturers into not allowing Android or other OS's alongside Windows.
If they are doing this now, and more Linux vendors start asking for Microsoft's "permission" to boot their OS on the Windows machines with UEFI, what's to stop Microsoft from denying a UEFI license to someone who's starting to become a "real" competitor to Windows (like Android is, in some cases)? What if Ubuntu gets to 10% market share in the next 5 years, and keeps growing? Will they keep giving Canonical the UEFI license? What's guaranteeing that they will, if they are already banning Android from the Windows RT machines?
The expectation and Microsoft's fear was that manufacturers would take the marketing money (i.e. the Win8 subsidy) that Microsoft is paying out the wazoo and hedge OS bets by also including Android. Acer and Asus don't care what OS they run so long as it keeps them in the race against Apple. They're happy to let Microsoft pay them money to market their devices if it means they have to include "apps" (and in this case app := OS).
Microsoft wasn't willing to subsidize devices that run Android because it views Android as a competitor rather than an enemy-of-my-enemy. Given Apple's clear cost advantage, it would have been interesting to see such a Android+Win8+subsidy bet play out. Microsoft might have been able to dislodge marketshare enough during the year that Microsoft comes out ahead next year with SP1. Alas, the business case will slightly less interesting.
Everyone thought something that everyone else knew wouldn't happen from about 6 months? That article you submitted is from January.
Also, do you have any references to everyone thinking Asus's big announcement will be an Windows RT/Android hybrid?
A more open question is whether any of the existing Linux vendors will be doing this. Fedora is willing to use Microsoft's signing service for x86 because users will be able to disable the feature or enrol their own keys. We're not willing to do that for ARM because users won't have that freedom and so wouldn't be able to replace components like the kernel.
The Market Economics Fairy predicts that they will not given the limited number of people who are interested in dual booting a tablet and the diversity of device configurations likely to be manufactured.
edit: I'm sorry to see the child comment downvoted. I am under the impression that user key enrollment is disallowed, but I'm actually not seeing an mechanism by which Microsoft can prevent the signature of ARM based bootloaders.
That having been said, I don't completely understand ARM devices to know if it's plausible to sign an ARM bootloader with the MS key.
edit2: The person y'all downvoted is the guy who wrote the blogpost outlining the Fedora way of handling this issue: http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/12368.html
Edit: Right, user key enrolment is impossible on the ARM devices, but we've had no indication that the signing service will be restricted to x86-only.
I don't see the point in these decisions to expend likely a lot of time, effort, and money eliminating edge cases.
Not that it would be likely, but I'm sure Microsoft would want to stave off any chance of that happening in the early days of the platform.
It looks like ARM has gotten some virtualization extensions recently, but I still have my doubts as to how pleasant the experience would be on sub 1.5GHz processors.
It seems quite short-sighted, too, as I see ARM as being a viable laptop platform in the life of windows 8, but MS are restricting it to 'device' status.
Also, we've known this for a long time now.
The only apps that will be cross-platform will be WinRT/Metro based ones.
And Android, iOS and OSX are all waiting in line for my attention before I consider learning modern Windows development again. I sincerely hope that, if I wait long enough, I won't need to ;-)
That said, rumor has it that the next version of Windows Phone will not be Silverlight (though XAML and Silverlight are fairly similar), but based on WinRT.
Is this true? The code is cross-platform, but I was under the impression that the executable was not. You still need to compile the app for both X86 and ARM.
Google has already contributed core for some current Ivy Bridge chipsets. It would be nice if coreboot received more testing and development from a broader audience.
I work for a VAR. Our preferred vendor was one of the first to market with motherboards that expressly supported Coreboot. We're supporters of OSS, and so are our customers, so we figured that they'd be popular.
We sold only a handful over about two years. Our competitors didn't seem to have much more success, as our vendor didn't continue the experiment into the following motherboard generations.
You are right, but if we had an easily installable coreboot we could just ignore whatever comes with the computer and just flash coreboot over the existing firmware.
This is basically what Linux people have been doing with Windows in the past twenty years: see that Windows is preinstalled, boot a CD, overwrite the partition table, install distro. But this was possible because in most cases the distro you chose was ready to be installed on a whatever computer you had; the same cannot be said of coreboot.
No, you couldn't. The move to secure boot means that firmware updates are signed, because otherwise you could disable secure boot simply by pushing out a fake firmware update.
Does this mean that flashrom will no longer be usable? Not even on boards that allow disabling secure boot?
These devices are not multipurpose devices, they are built for a specific purpose and tailormade for that and nothing else. It is not in any sense equivalent to desktop/laptop-computers. Which is kind of apparent considering the limitations that Windows Phone, Android and iOS amount to.
Since Microsoft have expressed that secure boot must be optional on x86 it is quite easy to justify this rationally without resorting to the popular "typical evil Microsoft tactics" argument.
>> "These devices are not multipurpose devices".
These devices have chips which can run any algorithm you write. They are not hammers, or even calculators. They are computers. They also have GPS, motion sensors, cameras, and microphones. They are multipurpose enough to make phone calls, play games, run maps, and even power satellites: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/spheres_smart...
>> Since Microsoft have expressed that secure boot must be optional on x86 it is quite easy to justify this rationally...
Why does doing the right thing in once place give them license to do the wrong thing in another?
I appreciate the security value of secure boot, but ONLY as far as its purpose is to serve the customer. Which means the customer must be able to disable it.
I appreciate the security value of secure boot, but ONLY as far as its purpose is to serve the customer. Which means the customer must be able to disable it.
If you can disable it it doesn't serve the customer, because the customer is incompetent and would gladly disable it in exchange for a picture of a cat.
You don't buy a computer, you buy an android/windows/iOS device. Just as you don't buy a computer when you buy an Xbox360 or an PS3 - and because you haven't bought a computer you shouldn't really have any problems with the manufacturer locking you in. Oh, but you wanted a computer? Then buy a computer! Sigh.
I never said I agreed with Microsoft, but it is a rational decision (a rational decision that Apple and pretty much all Android and WP manufacturers have made) that fits well withing the concept of all popular mobile OS's, if you don't buy into that then I guess your only bet is maemo/meego, because you surely don't run WP/android/iOS, right?
Using your argument, if I wrap my desktop PC in a cardboard box with holes for air inlet, air exhaust, and the power cable, and call it a heater, it's no longer a computer, despite having all the bits inside that a computer would have.
I'd much rather decide for myself what something "is", based on what it's actually made of, rather than what the manufacturer wants it to be.
It is commercially unviable to sell it to someone third as that, but if you managed that feat, it would be a bit strange if this person then came to you: "You sold me this electric heater, but I looked into it and it is warmed by an especially hot Intel CPU. So I decided it is a PC and despite you are being in the heater-selling-business I want you to not void my warranty when I reflash the firmware so I can install Windows XP to play Solitaire in long cold winter nights."
That's a different issue. I support the manufacturer saying "we won't guarantee our computer-as-heater will work if you change the software."
What I don't support is "we have have made it legally/physically/cryptographically impossible for you to use the thing you bought however you want to."
If I sell you a watermelon, I'll guarantee its freshness. I'll not guarantee its fitness as a boat anchor, but if you want to try that, go right ahead.
I'm not arguing that the intent of a thing is its identity - the manufacturers are, and if you buy into that then, well, you buy into that.
Just because I buy a device from Manufacturer X does not mean that said device is and only can be what the manufacturer intended. When I own a device, I have the freedom to tinker with that device, including making that device do something it was never intended to do. That is what I as a hacker love about computing machines: they are what I make them when I reprogram them.
But that doesn't mean that the manufacturer have to play ball and make it easy for you.
Also, when we as consumers chose the iPhone we at the same said that we don't care the slightest about being able to do what we want with our devices, from a hacker perspective the future isn't looking bright and that is our fault since we buy crap.
So in all honestly, no matter how bad it sucks. We deserve it.
Let's see what's in a computer: CPU, RAM, storage, input, output, software. What's in a smartphone? CPU, RAM, storage, input, output, software. Absent manufacturer lockdown or inane laws like the DMCA saying otherwise, they are literally, physically the same things in a different package.
Finally, what does it take for a thing to run Linux? 32-bit CPU, MMU, RAM, storage, input, output. A PS3, a phone, a router, a TiVo -- they all have all those things, and all of them can run Linux. They are all computers.
Is a car a physical thing?
Yes, you can call it a computer but you could also call it a heap of atoms - both statements are true, but they are pretty much both just as useless to describe what an android device really is.
Again, my clock, my fridge and my washing machine has a CPU, RAM, storage, input, output and software. By the same argument they are literally and physically the same thing in a different package - which of course is true, but also so very very wrong.
I disagree -- knowing something is a computer is knowing that it can be virtually infinitely repurposed. "Computer" is an entirely different kind of thing from anything else, regardless of the form it takes.
[quoted from another post] You guys are completely missing my point.
Don't mistake disagreement for obtuseness.
Also, this thread is too long already, but I wanted to mention the philosophies that seem to be driving our respective arguments: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism vs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deontology
Smartphones and tablets are more powerful than any PC 15-20 years ago. Were those just appliances too?
I think you're trying to justify anti-competitive behavior by making a distinction where there isn't one.
Yes, there are a lot of exceptions - routers that you can install alternative OS's on, I've installed OpenWRT and DD-WRT myself. But that's beside the point. Just because linux run on arm and my router has a arm cpu doesn't mean I can run linux on it.
I bought a router and I got a router. Then I installed something else on it and I could just as well have been using it to control the curtains in my bedroom instead - and I have every right to do that. Just as the manufacturer has the right to secure their product and in effect lock me out of that ability.
Now, if I had bought a computer that would be in a completely different ball game. But now I bought a router and the manufacturer of that router has no obligation not trying make my life a living hell for even attempting to control my curtains with it.
really? You would have no objections to the router manufacturer trying to make your life a "living hell"?
For the most part manufacturers don't really care about people re purposing their devices for other goals unless it potentially leaves them legally liable for something (e.g a children's toy with small parts being repurposed as food).
People naturally re-purpose things all the time, for example using a bank note to do cocaine , an AOL CD as a coaster , a newspaper or deodorant to kill a wasp etc etc.
In fact a huge amount of human innovation comes from taking an existing thing and using it for something else, going back as far as the original hunters who took tree branches and used them to kill dinner.
The critical thing about computers is that their entire reason for existence is to be repurposed, a computer on it's own is useless.
What we in the software industry are in the business of doing is finding ways to repurpose computers and their entire appeal is that this is so easily done.
I would hate to live in a world where everything has one discreet purpose regardless of it's physical abilities, for example imagine having to purchase a separate TV for every channel you wish to watch.
My long-term concern is that this will no longer be possible.
And people still jailbreak/root their devices for numerous reasons. If you buy something, you should be able to do what you want with it. Just because it's designed for one thing doesn't mean it can't do others.
Other counter examples: Boot2Gecko (runs well & generally demoed on a Samsung Galaxy S2), Ubuntu for Android, ASUS Transformers running various Linux distributions, ...
What really bothers me is that ARM-based laptops come under this crud. I have really wanted a modern day replacement for the Psion. Something that gets great battery life and has a decent keyboard. I also want to run a BSD (probably Open), so that is really going to make it a pain.
I don't see any reason to separate out tablets and laptops when talking about dual booting, OS concerns, etc. A tablet is just a laptop with a touch screen and optional rather than mandatory keyboard.
Now personally I love general purpose hardware, because purposes change, and the software on the device should be able to change with it. I don't think a laptop would be viable for me unless I could change the software. You might bring up phones, but there is a reason for that. They used to be embedded systems, designed for a single purpose (and usable only for that purpose). These days they are general purpose devices that also make phone calls (even if this single purpose drives many design decisions).
I've also done crazy things like install an alternate firmware on my router, why, because it gave me more features. This is why I like general purpose devices, and my freedom to change their software to suit my the specific purposes I want. Tablets aren't fundamentally different from a computer, they just have a different skin.
Usage patterns. A laptop is just a mobile general purpose computer, to restrict it by restricting say it's OS, you have removed the general purpose nature of the device and this is a loss of functionality.
A tablet on the other hand is an appliance. It has more in common with your toaster, microwave, refrigerator or your DVD player. It is intended to basically do one thing and hopefully do it well. Just like no one really complains that you can't toast bread with a refrigerator, having a tablet sort of locked to one OS isn't exactly that strange of a proposal.
Laptops have a long tradition of multiple OSes giving a pretty good experience and being open to multiple OSes.
Microsoft isn't known for playing nice & allowing competitors to compete fairly. So yes there will be choice, but relying on that as a justification is pretty risky imo. Esp considering MS's standard MO and history.
(I'm not being snarky)
We also have the right to make waves and be loud about the abusive, monopolistic behavior of Microsoft and Apple. http://jailbreakingisnotacrime.org
In this sense the political fight is for our freedom, not a restriction of their sales. If they do sell crippled devices, we'll just do everything we can to make that crippling public, including jailbreaking the devices to show that the emperor(s) have no clothes: DRM is a logical impossibility except through security by obscurity which is no security at all when the person trying to get in (jailbreak the device) has complete physical control over it.
No one has a guaranteed right to profit (the economic kind of profits).
That's not exactly what the grand-grandparent was saying, and I'm not against what he says; I just wanted to add my comment (which I thought would be downvote to oblivion, but funnily, has now a double-digit vote count!!)
Not when they have the market power to influence the market in a manner that restricts the freedoms of everybody else.
I get that ideally everybody should be allowed to do what they want, but that approach is no good when you're dealing with a company that effectively has a monopoly.
This is not true, I have Ubuntu on my MacBook Pro.
If a company wants to enhance competition between its hardware partners and a hardware choice to the public, they should be forced to not license it on their own terms?
That's an interesting interpretation of "enhancing".
Does this act enhance the competition in the tablet market? Serious question.
rubs his Lumia 710 affectionately
Apple make this stuff hard and fiddly (and, on iOS devices, mildly dangerous). Microsoft are making it impossible, if I've understood correctly.
Is there really a way to install Android on iPhone 4/4S or the iPad?
Then why aren't a whole bunch of people doing it? Because no one really cares about dual booting a personal device and the associated headaches with keeping things in sync?
Topic discussed previously on Hacker News:
Upshot: If you don't care that your hardware is certified, you don't have to implement secure boot in the way Microsoft requires for certification. You will probably have a few technical challenges, however.
No, upshot is that for ARM you can't get Windows at all (certified or not) if you allow other operating systems to boot.
The article conflates the two: "a document that regulates licensing (certification) (pg. 116): "
But Microsoft is clear: "The new Windows Hardware Certification Program (formerly known as the Windows Logo program) makes it easier to certify your hardware for Windows 8. Use the requirements to build and certify your Windows-compatible devices, systems, and filter drivers across all Windows platforms."
"Partners will provide WOA PCs as integrated, end-to-end products that include hardware, firmware, and Windows on ARM software. Windows on ARM software will not be sold or distributed independent of a new WOA PC, just as you would expect from a consumer electronics device that relies on unique and integrated pairings of hardware and software"
Many existing customers effectively do not own what they already have; their systems have been infested with malware and crapplications.
Locked-down bootstraps are the least-bad of a very bad lot of approaches available for dealing with the changes in the user base, and with the increasingly less-experienced and less-DIY users for modern systems.
Security attacks are only getting more subtle, complex and sophisticated. The Microsoft Terminal Server-derived Microsoft code-signing digital certificates is a recent example of the complexity of the environment.
How do you deal with these changes in attacks and with the changes in the user base otherwise, given the numbers of systems out there, and the changes in the knowledge and experience of the user base?
Do any of us like these locked-down bootstraps? Emphatically, no. So figure out another way to ensure this security, get yourself patent or three (and yes, software patents are issued for far too many years) and get yourself rich by solving this problem.
If you can boot from external media, then generally you can dual boot. Someone may have to show you how to prepare media for booting, but it's quite easy once you have been shown. Today's PC's all seem to have good support for booting from external media. Are we going to see this removed in ARM devices?
You do not have to shop for devices that have an "open" bootloader. You have to shop for devices that can boot from external media. (For today's PC's, that's quite easy.) If you have a device that can boot from external media, we can show how to do the rest.
The only way to stop unethical behavior is to punish them. The Library of Congress already ruled that this behavior is unethical, now manufacturers need to be pressured.
I do however see disparity with general opinion and what is right, which is slightly worrying, hence the original point.
DRM/content licensing was cited by Asus as a reason to ship their Android products with locked bootloaders. I assume the same applies to Microsoft.
Windows really took off because of this practice. Vendors would license it based upon total PCs sold, regardless of if they even had windows installed or the customers wanted it. It was so effective that the competition dried up and died in a remarkably short time. This was competition from IBM, you could lump some others in with it BeOS and maybe some early Linux but Big Blue had their ass handed to them which was remarkable. At the time there are a lot more (maybe, maybe not, it seemed like there were a lot more) tier 2 type vendors: name companies with support and such.
I'd argue MS doesn't know how to build market share other than with subsidies or lock-ins and that's what this is. If devs don't pick up Win8 pretty quickly, that ARM tablet isn't going to look so great, why wouldn't you want to try Android with its piles of apps? Then it puts the vendors in a very interesting bind, you have to pick which platform to support, a market leader (Android) or a product from a market leader in a different market. I don't remember the results of the anti-trust but I could see how this is designed to do the same thing but is different enough.
A handful of motherboards now come with 2 BIOS, I think I have an Asus mb with one that you can "tweak" and overclock and then like a failsafe backup. Something like that, maybe with a hardware jumper setting seems like the real solution for your vendors, but that adds some cost. Either that or Win8 just flops, industry wide, that seems like it might be the better solution. There will be win8 tablets at Walmart and Target and such though and million of less technical folks will buy them. I suspect dual boot is dead forever unless someone certifies some sort of kexec like application.
Also, all of this pretty much stops new linux penetration, which is a horrible thing.