Black Hole Boot

“Secure Boot” isn’t particularly secure but it does tend to make it harder to escape the Wintel monopoly. According to Matthew Garrett: “the Windows 8 setup environment doesn’t offer that reboot icon. Turn on a brand new Windows 8 system and you have two choices – agree to the Windows 8 license, or power the machine off. The only way to get into the firmware menu is to either agree to the Windows 8 license or to disassemble the machine enough that you can unplug the hard drive and force the system to fall back to offering the boot menu.

I’m firmly of the opinion that there are benefits to Secure Boot. I’m also in favour of setups like Fast Boot. But I don’t believe that anyone should be forced to agree to a EULA purely in order to be able to boot their own choice of OS on a system that they’ve already purchased.”

see mjg59 | Secure Boot isn't the only problem facing Linux on Windows 8 hardware

Well, at least those machines bearing “8” aren’t taking over the world as earlier versions did. That makes the problem of Black Hole Booting smaller. Expect a lot of folks to return PCs they can’t use if their intention was to install GNU/Linux. When are retailers going to demand open hardware on PCs?

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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17 Responses to Black Hole Boot

  1. Ted wrote something about mobile uses not using servers, “Do I really have to explain such a simple point?”

    Gee. All this time I looked upon hundreds of millions of smart-thingies being sold annually as thin clients of the web servers out there… People don’t carry around the server. They carry around the thin client. More often then not the thin client run */Linux on ARM because batteries last longer that way.

  2. oiaohm says:

    Ted more than a few have the option to choose with or without Windows Embedded.

  3. Ted says:

    Do I really have to explain such a simple point?

    Anyone wanting a mobile computer will not want a 1U server under their arm as they walk into a meeting.

    “There are wireless notebook thin clients”.

    Yes there are. More than a few run Windows Embedded and use Intel processors – the dreaded Wintel again. And they’re not exactly cheap, either.

  4. Ted wrote, “I’m sure a 1U server is going to go down a treat in the notebook market.”

    Sure they are. There are wireless notebook thin clients that love dense servers like blades and 1U things. A single 1U server can easily serve more than 100 thin clients in some cases. It’s a very economical architecture.

  5. Ted says:

    “No one with any sense would by a “PC” today when Intel is selling (wholesale) 6 core Xeon servers”

    I’m sure a 1U server is going to go down a treat in the notebook market.

  6. ram says:

    All the pain/trouble/disadvantages of UEFI are reasons for people to buy very much more powerful “servers” directly from the manufacturer. And that is exactly what they are doing! Oh, and those “servers” don’t run Microsoft 8, they are designed for Linux.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Maou Sadao really everyone Windows and Linux users should demand that a standard OS free method to enter firmware. Linux and Windows both can get broken that they are not usable. Any OS can get broken and not usable so unable to set the flag to enter firmware.

    So windows users should leave on shelf the Windows machines that don’t support holding the power button for 5 seconds to enter fireware.

    This is not a Linux only issue. There are really machines that should be just rejected by everyone. Problem is lack of education of end users means end users will not ask the question of how do I enter the firmware without booting windows.

    Basically its a key feature missing. Linux vs Microsoft users don’t help resolve it. Upsetting Linux users over having to pay a Licence they don’t want will get extra volume in complaints.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Mats Hagglund once Windows 8 machines get to recycling stage UEFI will not be a major issue. Since ripping a hard-drive out is not a problem. Its while the warranty hold.

    UEFI design does provide some security advantages. The big problem is key management. Linux users don’t particularly like having to have anything signed by a third party they are not using.

    Maou Sadao the issue I talked about does not apply to all machines. Some machines you can force enter the EFI bios by simply holding the power butting in for 5 seconds. Now this would be highly nice if it was in the EFI spec. There would be no major risk to Windows users of being forced to return to vendor and pay for virus repair if this was the case.

    –Why don’t you simply buy computers where they’re offered without an OS and are known to be fully compatible with Linux?–
    1) How fast do we need the machine.
    2) Are we planing to reuse that License inside Virtual machine.

    Yes just because a person Main OS is Linux does not mean they don’t want Windows as well.

    –Again, there ARE enough stores that sell them. Apparently the clowns of Linux are not willing to put their money where their mouths are. Will buying such computers be more costly?–

    Cost is the final arguement to end users.

    Developers like Matthew Garrett have another reason. Its a bit hard to develop drivers for new types of hardware without access to the hardware. Maou Sadao if it was possible to order all types of hardware without OS he and other developers would not have problems.

    Maou Sadao you have to remember Linux developers did not get there foot hold on arm and most of the embedded by using hardware they were allowed to access. That fort hold came about because people were cracking devices and getting hardware support in the process.

    So part of Linux natural development is breaking secured platforms. Like the cheapest way to get a powerpc to test some code on is crack a xbox360. The cheapest way to get a cell process chip to test some code on it crack a play-station 3. Neither chip appears in desktop machines any more.

    Maou Sadao and yes Linux users have been buying more and more hardware on mass OS Less. Its has been as SDK platform makers have been selling there platforms to general public more and more instead of requiring special contract to get access to the hardware.

    UEFI is just another annoyance.

  9. Mats Hagglund says:

    There is another interesting thing looming behind this secure boot issue: aftermarket of Windows 8 machines might not be good at all. Computer without UEFI might be more valuable than those of “one choice”.

  10. Bob Parker says:

    As I do from time to time, the other day I checked out the Windows offerings on PCs and laptops at Big C Extra supermarket in Chiang Mai Thailand. Windows 8 and 7 were dead heated at exactly zero each. Of course some of these devices will end up having Windows installed after purchase but many of them will end up with Ubuntu on them, because it’s cheap, readily obtainable, and more than adequate for the majority of computer users needs.

  11. Maou Sadao says:

    Why don’t you simply buy computers where they’re offered without an OS and are known to be fully compatible with Linux? Again, there ARE enough stores that sell them. Apparently the clowns of Linux are not willing to put their money where their mouths are. Will buying such computers be more costly? Hell, yeah! Early adoption always is.

    OEMs won’t be persuaded by your constant complaining, they’ll be persuaded by hard facts — like people starting to buy computers without an OS in masses where they’re available. All this bull about Linux being held back by not appearing on retail shelves due to a Microsoft conspiracy is simply nothing else but pure FUD.

    You want to change something? Then do something instead of making excuses.

  12. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson really don’t worry about Linux users being locked out because people like Maou Sadao will argue we are the minority. Reality the Majority are screwed as well and idiots like Maou Sadao miss it.

    Maou Sadao ok first thing you as a Windows user has bought one of these machines. Its got virus infected. So no longer boots windows but there is enough boot loader left that the bios does not straight up drop to failure mode. Machine is under warranty so you are not allowed to remove the hard-drive. Your warranty does not cover virus infection. So your OEM now can bill you what ever they see fit. Reason you cannot go to a third party and get it fixed since they cannot fix it without opening the machine and voiding warranty.

    Robert Pogson the answer why OEM have done this is that it profitable to them with all the MS windows suckers finding themselves have to pay what ever the OEM want for virus repair or voiding warranty so OEM does not have to repair the machine when other parties break because the tech that opened the machine must of broke them. Either way OEM wins consumer loses.

    Really it would not have been hard to put a mayday button on machine to force bios entry.

    The reality is the Linux users who will buy else where will be the least hurt. Its the poor Windows users who are really going to suffer.

  13. oiaohm wrote, “So now you have to remove the harddrive to fix. Great forget simple fixing.”

    I consider the value of M$’s OS to an end-user as negative. This kind of lock-out makes it more so. Why didn’t OEMs just say “NO!” to this crippling of their hardware?

  14. Maou Sadao wrote, “Those folks (all 0.01 percent of them) can just buy PCs without Windows.”

    There are none on my local retail shelves.

    Why persist in claiming adoption of GNU/Linux is tiny/insignificant when it is clearly mainstream these days? On every type of computer it is used by millions.

  15. Maou Sadao says:

    Expect a lot of folks to return PCs they can’t use if their intention was to install GNU/Linux.

    Those folks (all 0.01 percent of them) can just buy PCs without Windows.

    When are retailers going to demand open hardware on PCs?

    When are retailers banning customers shopping for Linux from their stores? It’d be the right thing to do. Linux users should buy their hardware elsewhere. I heard there are stores that sell computers without an OS.

  16. ram says:

    No one with any sense would by a “PC” today when Intel is selling (wholesale) 6 core Xeon servers, complete, for under $1000. Now those run Linux!

  17. oiaohm says:

    This brings its own problem.

    What happens if Windows install gets virus damaged. So now you have to remove the harddrive to fix. Great forget simple fixing.

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