There are a lot of rumors swirling around right now about what’s going to happen with Linux when Windows 8 hits the scene. A lot of those rumors are centralizing around Linux not being supported by the new Windows 8. So is there something to the hype, or will Linux keep on existing?
As of right now, there has been no official announcement made that Linux is on the outs. But in the blog Building Windows 8 (a Microsoft blog) Steven Sinofsky, the president of the Microsoft Windows division, says, “Microsoft supports OEMs having the flexibility to decide who manages security certificates and how to allow customers to import and manage those certificates, and manage secure boot. We believe it is important to support this flexibility to the OEMs and to allow our customers to decide how they want to manage their systems”. He later says, “OEMs are free to choose how to enable this support and can further customize the parameters as described above in an effort to deliver unique value propositions to their customers…”
So, in layman’s terms, what does that mean? It means that the new security feature included with the Windows 8 operating system may block the ability to use Linux on it. This new security feature is referred to as Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and is said to lead to eight-second boot times, something that is a significantly faster upgrade from before.
That’s not to say that Linux is without options when it comes to tailoring itself to fit in with the new Windows 8, though. Since the UEFI requires that vendor keys be signed by the vendor, they could release signed copies of the operating system to comply with this measure. But that in itself requires jumping over several other hurdles which may make the switch not worth it.
“There’s no indication that Microsoft will prevent vendors from providing firmware support for disabling this feature and running unsigned code. However, experience indicates that many firmware vendors and OEMs are interested in providing only the minimum of firmware functionality required for their market. It’s almost certainly the case that some systems will ship with the option of disabling this. It’s probably not worth panicking yet. But it is worth being concerned,” Matthew Garrett, a mobile Linux developer at Red Hat, wrote in a recent blog post.
Since no concrete statements have been made as to the fate of the Linux and Windows 8 relationship, Linux lovers will just have to wait to see how it plays out. In the meantime, though, if you’re set on using Linux it might not be a bad idea to start checking out other systems that are sure to continue utilizing it.
Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to: katecroston.croston09 @ gmail.com.