If you buy Microsoft’s explanation for the company requiring a version of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) on PCs that can run Windows 8, it’s there to protect users from next-generation malware. If you think that’s the only reason for the UEFI to be in there, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The UEFI requirement is also there to block Linux and other alternative operating systems from booting on Windows 8 PCs. In response to this open-source operating system threat, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has started a petition to urge original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s to give people a way to easily opt out of Microsoft’s Windows 8 UEFI cage.
The FSF fears, with reason, that Microsoft will make it difficult, if not impossible, for end-users to install other operating systems, such as Ubuntu 11.10 on Windows 8 systems. So it is that the FSF is asking users to “Stand up for your freedom to install free software” by signing a petition asking that UEFI be installed on Windows 8 systems in a way that will allow users to install Linux or other alternative open-source operating systems such as FreeBSD or OpenIndana, the successor operating system to OpenSolaris.
Specifically, the FSF is urging “all computer makers implementing UEFI’s so-called ‘Secure Boot’ to do it in a way that allows free software operating systems to be installed. To respect user freedom and truly protect user security, manufacturers must either allow computer owners to disable the boot restrictions, or provide a sure-fire way for them to install and run a free software operating system of their choice. We commit that we will neither purchase nor recommend computers that strip users of this critical freedom, and we will actively urge people in our communities to avoid such jailed systems.”