Home Microsoft Says No to Disabling UEFI Secure Boot on ARM

Microsoft Says No to Disabling UEFI Secure Boot on ARM

Remember last year when questions arose about Microsoft’s policies on UEFI secure boot on Windows 8? Microsoft’s response, or lack thereof, was that “OEMs are free to choose” how or whether to enable turning off secure boot on systems shipping Windows 8. It appears, however, OEMs may not be as free to choose if they’re shipping ARM hardware.

Glyn Moody points out a clause from Microsoft’s Hardware Certification Requirements for Windows 8 on page 116, that says “Disabling Secure MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems.”

I’d hoped to get some clarification from Microsoft, but no such luck. I contacted Microsoft’s PR firm this morning and was told “we have nothing more to share about UEFI at this time.”

Moody paints this as a Microsoft vs. Linux situation, but does Microsoft really need to worry about Linux on tablets and phones? Perhaps there’s a contingent that would try to boot Maemo, MeeGo, Tizen or whatever it’s called this week, but in large enough numbers to threaten Microsoft? It seems doubtful.

So why prevent disabling secure boot? Aside from a reflexive lockdown on tablets and phones, you’ve got me. Microsoft won’t have the same kind of problems with copyright infringement on ARM devices it has on x86/AMD64 computers. If you buy a tablet or phone running Windows 8, you’ve already paid for Windows, right?

Here’s hoping Microsoft will have a change of heart about the requirements for Windows 8 before we start seeing a bunch of ARM devices that can boot nothing but approved images of Windows 8.

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