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Is Microsoft Ditching Linux? (Guest Post)

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.

Author Bio:
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.

4 comments… add one
  • Johnson Yip September 28, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I think this won’t be an end to Linux, the big players in the Linux desktop system manufacturer market like System76 , Dell, and other companies will most likely have less competition from Windows strictly computer makers like HP, Lenovo, and Acer who mainly make Windows based desktop, or laptop computers, and make no or very few Linux desktops. The price of lowend laptops and desktop which can run Linux at a decent speed will also be more affordable if more people are willing to buy lowend laptops and desktops without UEFI to install Linux.

    This could also mean virtualization of Linux on Windows 8 would be more popular like how Parallels is so popular on the Mac for virtualizing Windows 7, and XP. Linux based operating like Ubuntu Linux which has a Windows Ubuntu Installer which runs Ubuntu on a virtual drive like virtual machines also might rise in popularity if they are compatible with Windows 8.

    But, I feel Linux will be the primary operating system for Tablets, lowend laptops, and desktops like Google Chrome Android Tablets, Google Android Smartphones, and Chrome OS Netbooks are based on Linux, so Linux will always have a place in the Lowend, and mobile niche computing product category.

  • I can’t imagine that this will happen. Surely we make the choice on these features NOT Microsoft?!

  • Johnson Yip October 1, 2011, 4:17 pm

    Indeed, I think there should be choices for people to dual boot their computer, and install Linux along side Windows 8, or just wipe Windows 8 off the drive to install Linux. I think the open source community will probably write a program to make it possible to dual boot Windows 8 and Linux at the same time similar to Apple’s bootcamp dual booting software, but the boot selector for Windows and Linux would be free like GRUB for Linux since selling software to run open source software might be frowned upon by the open source community. Maybe GRUB bootloader will eventually work on the new Windows 8 motherboards and BIOS.

  • website design perth February 4, 2012, 10:48 am

    Thanks for this! It’s very well written and comprehensive, I’m a regular reader

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