Thanks to Mary Jo Foley, we now know that in the name of “security,” Microsoft will be trying to use UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) to block Linux, older versions of Windows, and other alternative operating systems from booting on Windows 8 PCs. Thanks Microsoft we appreciate it.
In a new Microsoft blog, Building Windows 8, by Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s president of the Windows division, Linux isn’t mentioned, and he tries to place the blame on the UEFI security protocol. Behind all his dodging, the facts are that Microsoft UEFI secure boot is requirement for Windows 8 certification and that, while “OEMs [original equipment manufacturers) are free to choose how to enable this support,” they still have to have it. In turn, that will make it harder for OEMs to support alternative operating systems and, if the OEM does bow down to Microsoft’s demands, it will make it almost impossible for end-users to run Linux, older versions of Windows, or other alternative operating systems on Windows 8 certified PCs.
In short, if Microsoft has its way, all Windows 8 PCs will be even more locked into their pre-installed operating systems than Macs are into Mac OS X. Indeed, a better comparison would be how phone companies lock you into their smartphone operating systems. Just like them the Windows 8 PC you buy in 2013 will be permanently locked into Windows 8. And, like smartphones, only expert firmware hackers will be able to switch out operating systems or even enable dual-booting operating systems.