Planning to buy a computer with a Windows 8 sticker, think again! Microsoft has said that Windows 8 will ship with a so-called UEFI Secure Boot, a replacement of the old BIOS. This will hurt Linux distributions that don’t have the resources to sign everything to meet Microsoft’s unilaterally imposed security regime. Microsoft use this requirement to make it extremely difficult for users to install alternative operating systems.

Mathew Garrett of Redhat has said that they will pay Verisign: “The $99 goes to Verisign, not Microsoft – once paid you can sign as many binaries as you want, but it’s cheaper than any realistic alternative would have been. It ensures compatibility with as wide a range of hardware as possible and it avoids Fedora having any special privileges over other Linux distributions.” Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/1daju)

It seems that hardware shipping with the Windows 8 sticker will have the UEFI restrictions enabled and the only way around those restrictions are to upload a new firmware or add your own security key. Microsoft’s intention with UEFI Secure Boot is to only allow trusted software to interact with PC hardware, including bootloaders and drivers.

Free Software Foundation has started a campaign against this: “We urge 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. You can support this campaign by signing this petition.