Linus is right in principle but this is a real issue

Story: Torvalds blasts Howells, Garrett over secure boot Total Replies: 8
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Feb 27, 2013
11:06 AM EDT
First, colorful language or not, Linus is right in principle. This is stupid, it is bending over backwards for Microsoft, and there are workarounds. Having said that, Sam Varghese is absolutely right about kexec and hibernation. These are real issues and both home users and enterprise users are going to get very frustrated at best, and will flee at worst, if ordinary functionality like hibernation fails or if keys are revoked and their machines turn to bricks. This isn't just about a business model or being nice to Microsoft. This can have real consequences for Linux adoption as a whole, which is precisely what Microsoft wants.

Principle is one thing. Handing Microsoft a valid reason to drive people away from Linux is another.

Geez, I'm agreeing with Sam Varghese a lot lately.

Feb 27, 2013
6:56 PM EDT
@caitlyn As you know, the distributions can always supply their own custom kernels to ensure that they stay in sync with Microsoft. I doubt that key revocation will happen, not for a long time anyway.

But it is a pity that the companies which benefit from Linux and open source did not make a stand against this lunacy - Microsoft is in such a weak position as far as sales go that a revised version of Windows 8, called Windows Blue, is already in the works.

Feb 27, 2013
8:31 PM EDT
Yes, SV gave a pretty good overview, here...

I've seen several on this story -- only a few actually explain, let alone clarify the underlying issues, and all too many are simply just confusing, or all "OMG, Torvalds used strong language!" or worse, little more than "reality TV" summaries of the colourful quotes from the back-and-forth.


Feb 27, 2013
9:43 PM EDT
A poster at my favourite general Sci/tech site brought up a good point -- io avoid outright plagarization, I'll just quote the key parts:

kellygallen wrote:

Microsoft's keys are not exactly proven to be solid ground.

Has everyone forgotten that they had to revoke their keys because the Flames Virus used them as a backdoor?

Microsofts keys are the prime target for anyone who wants un-checked access to the vast majority of machines. Making all Windows and Linux systems the prize for hacking this key gives the mal-ware writers too focused of a target.

I think this is could be a real concern.


Feb 28, 2013
10:08 AM EDT
This is a major problem of building security into the hardware. The hardware is not the place to put security because it's not dynamic.

A lock is only good so long as the keys are controlled. When the same key will open any door, as the Ars Technica post makes clear, the "master key" becomes the ultimate target.

Security is like an ogre. Layers!

Feb 28, 2013
11:13 AM EDT
@Bernard Swiss: I agree completely and I am concerned.

@linuxwriter: In principle I agree with you that the commercial enterprise Linux vendors should have fought this. As a practical measure I'm not really sure they could. The problem with making a stand, if you're Red Hat or SUSE or Ubuntu, is that you risk alienating your core enterprise customers if there is a period where things don't work. That would only be to Microsoft's advantage. So long as the hardware vendors kowtow to every Microsoft whim the Linux vendors are stuck. Even Red Hat simply isn't large enough to force the issue. So, yes, it's lunacy at every possible level.

Regarding custom kernels, as you know Red Hat does that by default. The smaller players simply may not have the resources, let alone the community distributions. Regarding key revocation, you may be right. However, if Microsoft sees an opportunity to make life difficult for a competitor I have no doubt at all they will do so. I guess all I can say is my crystal ball just isn't working. I hope you're right but I'm not sure myself.

Feb 28, 2013
3:35 PM EDT
> if Microsoft sees an opportunity to make life difficult for a competitor I have no doubt at all they will do so.


Feb 28, 2013
6:58 PM EDT
> Ramen!

Actually, the Pastafarian meeting is down the street, about a block over...

Mar 02, 2013
9:47 PM EDT
Viva the FSM Bernard!

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