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Windows RT ARM laptops and secure boot

July 06, 2012 — BarryK
There are very interesting developments afoot. I was most intrigued when I first learned that MS was porting Windows to the ARM architecture. Now we are about to see the outcome.

MS plan to bring out a tablet with plastic keyboard, called "Surface tablet":

Toshiba also have a ARM RT laptop with touch screen and keyboard:

Of course, as we would expect, MS will do whatever they legally can to restrict competition. So what about this "secure boot" thing?

It seems that Ubuntu, Red Hat and Fedora are going to be able to get around the secure boot problem:, what do we do? It is a great shame that there is no open reference design ARM computer, like there was back in the early days of the IBM PC. An opportunity missed perhaps. If the Windows RT laptops/tablets become the "reference designs", we will want to be able to boot Puppy on them too.

They look like they might be very nice, the kind of laptop that I would like to own.


Username: Dougal
As far as I understand the latest info was that users will be able to unlock the bootloader/add keys of their own. Fedora are using a minimal bootloader/shim that will be signed by MS: (see also this: ) RE: reference design, MS actually have very strict rules on what HW the Win8 ARM devices contain... and each OEM is allowed only two devices, so their HW support is obviously limited to those (interestingly, with Win8 MS have moved to using the same kernel on phones as on other devices -- like Linux...). And another dirty MS trick, they're forcing OEMs to bundle Office on ARM devices:

Username: Dougal
"RE: a solution like Fedora/Ubuntu, you could also pay Verizon $90 to get the shim signed with the MS key, but using it means that everything _after_ it also has to be signed with your key -- kernel, modules etc. -- as that's how UEFI secure boot works (this also means not being able to use the Nvidia and ATI binary modules). So the normal solution is just to have the user unlock the bootloader.

i like these:
Username: puppy_apprentice
"Efika ARM Smartbook (189.00 EUR): Bodhi works on Efika Yeeloong MIPS Notebook (200$) Stallman choice

Android rules
Username: bigpup
"Do not have the references at the moment, but I have seen news articles that state a lot of OEM's are going to stick with Android for tablets and not use Windows 8. Biggest reasons given are price of Windows 8 and the fact that Windows is going to produce their own tablet in direct competition to OEM's.

Windows Arm - Fatdog64-600
Username: kirk
" I wonder if MS can be successful on ARM since they'll break binary compatibility with their other OSs and there's established competition already. The secure boot could pose problems, I understand you can turn it off or generate your own keys, but that may be too much for your average user or someone who just wants to try out Linux. Also, James and My self announced Fatdog64-600 here: P.S. ibiblio seems to be out of space on /public/distributions. I put in a help ticket.

HAL 9000 = Win8
Username: Ted Dog
"Was watching [u]2001: A Space Odyssey [/u] this morning and noticed how much the computer interface looked like win8..... :doh:

Re: Whatever they LEGALLY can?
Username: Dewbie
"[b]Microsoft’s history of anticompetitive behaviour and consumer harm[/b] [i]Microsoft’s conduct over the last two decades has demonstrated Microsoft’s willingness and ability to engage in unlawful conduct to protect and extend its core monopolies. This conduct has caused real harm to consumers, who continue to pay high prices and use lower quality products than would have prevailed in a competitive market. This paper aims to help developers, consumer groups, and government authorities better to understand Microsoft’s history of anticompetitive conduct and to recognise its current and future misconduct at an early stage in order to intervene to prevent Microsoft from using tactics other than competition on the merits. For more information:[/i]

Fixed link
Username: Dewbie
" (I always test links before posting, but in this case, there's no preview option.)

Thanks Barry for this
Username: GCMartin
"This is a great post for Puppy strategy as user marketing is changing rapidly. If we continue to look past our noses just a bit, we can see the junction points we'll need to position ourselves for. Which I could say more, but, it doesn't take much to see where technology is going and what capacity we'll have at our fingertips. Oh, thanks Barry for that touch-screen system tip. Perfect and it shares your insight to. Great topic to open our eyes.

Secure boot
Username: steev
"We should be fine on x86 since secure boot can be disabled on that platform. Not looking forward to the Windows RT devices, though. I hope they fail and devices like Google's nexus 7 tablet succeed. Windows RT devices are going to be too locked down, not allowing other operating systems or even a proper Firefox port

security code time out
Username: aarf
"after all this time i figure out how to get past the loss of all my typing here on mobile. open a new tab and copy over what i typed. change to new security code. wont work on my phone because it wont copy text though.

Tags: general