>> Manufacturers are free to produce hardware not intended for Windows 8 use that isn't locked down. <<
So we agree that if MS are allowed to make this anti-competitive demand on hardware manufacturers, software freedom will be taken away on any computer that ships with Windows 8. So far, so good.
But, you say, people can just buy other hardware. What about the significant portion of people who can't afford new hardware, and make do with 2nd hand computers? What about the fact that millions of ex-Windows computers are currently reconditioned using GNU/ Linux, computers which would otherwise be heading straight for landfill?
For that matter, what about the fact that every Windows I ever used needed to be reinstalled at least once a year, like changing the oil in a car. Will that even be possible with Windows 8 and restricted boot? Will it be possible for the second owner? The third? What happens when Windows inevitably falls over?
Just to be clear, the Linux kernel supports UEFI (just as it supports Mac PowerPC firmware), and other free code OS will follow suit. Let's be clear: I'm not against UEFI, any more than I'm against BIOS. Ideally, I'd like to see open firmware replace both, but UEFI is not the problem. The problem is the "restricted boot" option in UEFI.
To quote IT World:
"The problem is Microsoft's other requirement for any Windows 8-certified client: the system must support Secure Booting. This hardened boot means that 'all firmware and software in the boot process must be signed by a trusted Certificate Authority."http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstr ... ecure-boot
For those who struggle with the technical jargon in articles about this issue, here's a familiar metaphor. If you imagine your computer as a house. UEFI Restricted Boot is like not being able to renovate your house without going through Gates Architects who designed the house, and letting them design the renovation and decide everything about it for you. Or finding a building company who has managed to get through an obfuscated process that involves getting a license certificate from Gates Architects or the original builder of the house.
Think I'm exaggerating? Keep in mind that an increasing number of everyday appliances contain internet-capable computers, currently cell phones and digital tvs but the range is growing - especially as IPv6 comes onstream, opening up massive new address space. Imagine your car or your house is sold to you with a Microsoft OS and restricted boot in place. Still don't think this matters?http://www.dlna.org/
Hopefully, the success of Android and the abject failure of Windows Mobile tells us that the writing is on the wall for the empire. Hopefully, hardware manufacturers will have the stones to tell MS where to stick their restricted boot, and either keep shipping older versions of Windows (for as long as they're supported by MS) or ideally, start shipping with free code OS. Hopefully, restricted boot will go the way of the "Trusted Computing" platform where MS proposed to limit and change the software you can install, and the files you can store, as Amazon does with Kindle. This is why it's important that millions of people sign the FSF's statement that they will not buy crippled hardware. Hopefully, the hardware makers will listen. That's a lot of "hopefully", but I got a lot of hope
If all that fails, it's up to the MakerSpaces, and non-profit hardware manufacturers like OLPC and RasberryPi:http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs
Hope floats ;P