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Changes to UFEI Firmware Specifications Could Prevent Windows 8 Users from Installing Another OS

A new report reveals that Microsoft’s forthcoming operating system Windows 8 could block users from installing “unauthorised” OS platforms such as Linux or FreeBSD on their PCs.

Additional reports have surfaced following the news of possible changes to the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware specifications. The proposed changes, if implemented, would prevent the installation of any OS, which is not certified by a trusted authority.

Microsoft is pushing these proposed changes to the authorities, so as to, reduce the competition by weeding out companies like Linux.

“This impacts both software and hardware vendors. An OS vendor cannot boot their software on a system unless it's signed with a key that's included in the system firmware,” tech blogger Matthew Garrett explains (opens in new tab).

“A hardware vendor cannot run their hardware inside the EFI environment unless their drivers are signed with a key that's included in the system firmware,” he added.

It is still unknown if the proposed changes will go into effect, especially when the core-idea may be a violation of the existing EU competition law.