Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Free Software Foundation Campaigning to Stop UEFI SecureBoot

The Free Software Foundation is on an offensive against restricted boot systems and is busy appealing for donations and pledge in the form of signatures in a bid to stop systems such as the UEFI SecureBoot from being adopted on a large-scale basis and becoming a norm in the future.
The FSF, through an appeal on its website, is requesting users to sign a pledge titled "Stand up for your freedom to install free software" that they won’t be purchasing or recommending for purchase any such system that is SecureBoot enabled or some other form of restricted boot techniques. The FSF has managed to receive, as of this writing, over 41,000 signatures. Organizations like the Debian, Edoceo, Zando, Wreathe and many others have also showed their support for the campaign.
The Foundation acknowledges that SecureBoot, if implemented correctly, will help protect systems from malware and other such threats. But, it believes that Microsoft and other hardware manufacturers will implement boot restrictions thus preventing users from installing other operating systems. “...we are concerned that Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will implement these boot restrictions in a way that will prevent users from booting anything other than Windows”,reads the appeal.

Beyond the signatures, FSF is also asking individuals to come forward and donate $50 USD (minimum) for the cause of stopping the SecureBoot. “We need to raise $350,000 by January 31st to help us amplify your voices in 2013. Please, donate today to help us turn up the volume”, notes the campaign page. You can find more information on the campaign here.
SecureBoot has received a lot of criticism from various open source organizations. Promoters of Linux such as the Linux Foundation have already started working towards coming up with ways to make Linux work on UEFI enabled hardware. The Linux Foundation recently released a minimal UEFI SecureBoot preloader that will enable users to install Linux distributions on SecureBoot hardware.