*countable infinities only

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at srcf.ucam.org
Mon Jun 18 16:05:14 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 11:40:01AM -0400, Jay Sulzberger wrote:

> But here are two headers of my argument: If we do not defend the
> ground on which free software lives and grows, we will shortly
> have no free software.  Part of the ground is that we need ask no
> permission of Microsoft, nor anybody else, to convenienetly use
> any services provided by the hardware, services which under your
> proposed plan will only be conveniently available to Microsoft.

The only way to avoid asking permission of anyone is for secure boot to 
be disabled by default on all hardware. The problem with that is that 
vendors *want* secure boot. Some vendors are unhappy that Microsoft 
required that users be able to disable it on x86. So this isn't a 
Microsoft problem - it's an industry problem.

So what would a solution look like? Since vendors want secure boot, we 
would obviously need to force the vendors to change their mind. There 
are two entities that are capable of doing so:

1) Microsoft. If Microsoft changed the Windows 8 requirements such that 
vendors *must* leave secure boot disabled by default we'd be fine. But 
then we'd be beholden to Microsoft again, and they could change their 
mind in future. Given what you've said, it sounds like you don't like 
this option.

2) Government. If a large enough set of national governments required 
that secure boot be disabled by default then we could assume that 
arbitrary hardware would work out of the box. It's unclear to me which 
laws you think the vendors would be breaking, but I'm not a lawyer.

Microsoft may have started this movement, but they're not the only 
relevant entity in favour of it.
Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at srcf.ucam.org

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