The Free Software Foundation recently launched somewhat of a campaign against Microsoft’s intents to make use of UEFI SecureBoot on its Windows 8 PCs. It has now been learned Microsoft indeed has plans of locking down Windows 8 ARM machines so that they won’t be able to run any other OS.
This has now been found to be true specifically in the case of Windows 8 ARM PCs. On non-ARM machines, Microsoft had vowed that it would be implementing two SecureBoot modes: a Standard Mode and a Custom Mode.
In the Standard Mode, a user can’t run any other operating system but the one that has been shipped with the hardware itself. In Custom Mode, however, a user can run another operating system of his liking.
According to Aaron Williamson, a lawyer, “On an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enabled.” Williamson states that this has been clearly enacted in the certification requirements that Microsoft has penned down and hopes would overlook the use of SecureBoot.
So such users who use non-ARM Windows 8 machines may be safe from the necessity of running no other operating system; yet, the same can’t be said of any users who endeavor to run a SecureBoot enabled Windows 8 ARM machine.
Microsoft must reconsider its rather draconian intent of locking down ARM machines with Windows 8. Any such measure which deny a user the right to decide the operating system of his or her machine is utterly absurd and thus, must be discarded.