Senin, 16 Januari 2012

People in Closed Source Houses Shouldn't Throw Stones

I wrote a post late last year when all the news first started being posted (pretty much everywhere) about the Windows 8 "secure boot" support. Well folks, the open source news media is at it again - Microsoft has announced they are doing exactly what we thought they would - they are implementing secure boot on Windows 8 ARM devices. There have been various blogs and even decent open source websites posting foolish notions such as:


or


I say these notions are foolish because they imply that Microsoft is doing something that isn't already being done.

Do these people have any idea how many Linux based ARM devices don't allow dual booting? Do they have any idea how many Linux based ARM devices exist, were even if you can dual boot them they lack hardware functionality in alternative operating systems due to closed source drivers?

Before you tar and feather me for not jumping on the Microsoft bashing bandwagon - please stop and count the number of ARM devices you've tried to install an alternative operating system (such as Debian) on. Personally, the number of different pieces of hardware I've worked with is into the double digits now. Do you know how many devices I've managed to get full functionality out of?  

Exactly one. 

Thats right, until I'd recently started working with the Genesi Smartbook alternative operating systems were always crippled on the various ARM devices I owned. If you can prove me wrong here - really, please do! I would love to have more ARM devices that I can run Linux on fully.

So maybe, just maybe, the open source news media needs to stop and take a deep breath and realise that the ARM platform as a whole is a giant mess with regards to software freedom. Microsoft isn't doing anything new here - they are simply following in the footsteps of companies everywhere of creating locked down mobile devices. So please, if you are going to continue calling out Microsoft as the ARM anti-christ please be sure to include all those other companies involved with ARM that also hate software freedom.

~Jeff Hoogland

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