Microsoft requiring Secure Boot for ARM devices, hamstringing Linux

2012-Jan-17 | Tags: microsoftsecurity

Linux on ARMMicrosoft is planning to require ARM-based devices carrying the Windows 8 logo use Secure Boot, making it difficult or impossible to install Linux or other operating systems.

As Windows 8 gets closer to reality, more details of Microsoft’s make-it-or-break-it effort to translate its desktop computing success to ARM-driven tablets are emerging. First, Microsoft revealed that ARM-based Windows 8 devices won”t be able to run legacy Windows software—it’ll be the Metro way, or the highway. Now, Microsoft’s Windows 8 hardware certification requirements reveal another restriction: Microsoft plans to require ARM-based Windows 8 devices use UEFI secure booting technology, dubbed Secure Boot. Although the requirement is likely intended to protect consumers from firmware attacks and prevent so-called jailbreaks of ARM-based Windows 8 tablets, it will also make it difficult or impossible for owners to use the hardware with non-Windows operating systems, like Linux.

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Linux on ARM