Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Locking Out Linux

I use and prefer free software, including several variations on GNU/Linux. This article suggests that operating system vendors may request (or demand) that the next version of Trusted Computing, the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, be used by hardware manufacturers to lock out any OS other than the one shipped with a system board, and that acting to bypass it would be a violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. This one, by a Red Hat dev, has more technical and better information.

Could it happen? Certainly. Microsoft makes most of their OS sales to system manufacturers like Sony, Dell, HP, and Gateway. In fact, people are more likely to buy new hardware to handle the latest version of Windows than because their computers no longer do everything they want. Will it happen? I don't know. IIRC, Microsoft has been slapped down in court for trying to prevent people from using their computers as they wish, and suits to end this would almost surely cite that precedent.

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