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Fedora Linux 18 Will Boot on UEFI Hardware with Microsoft's Help

Red Hat Microsoft UEFIFrom the 'Strange Bedfellows' files:

We've known for some time that Microsoft has been pushing hardware vendors for Secure UEFI as part of Windows 8. The tl;dr version of UEFI is that it's secure encryption on the physical hardware at the pre-boot layer. Basically in order to boot the hardware will have to have a secure key.

The problem with that is that it won't easily allow people to load Linux.

So what's a Linux vendor to do?

Red Hat's Fedora Linux has a solution and it's not one that is entirely satisfactory. Fedora will $BUY$ a key via Microsoft that will enable it to run. This is the solution now being offered up by Fedora developer Matthew Garret (and his blog post has fantastic details about the whole concept and the deliberation)

The key costs $99 and the funds go to VeriSign (though hardware signing is done via Microsoft).

The problem of course is that Fedora will perhaps be tied to Microsoft's Secure UEFI efforts in order to enable Linux on new hardware. The bigger problem would be if Secure UEFI wasn't dealt with and Linux wouldn't run on new hardware at all.

I respect Garrett's position, though I have another solution.

Don't buy, UEFI Windows 8 hardware. Seriously. Why pay the Microsoft tax? Build your own machine, motherboards from computer stores (newegg etc) will have lots of options and you won't need to bother with the Window 8 pre-load either.

The larger question of course is when it comes to server hardware - will Fedora's corporate sponsor Red Hat capitulate as well? Server hardware (arguably equally as important to secure) doesn't seem to be stuck on the same Secure UEFI approach that Microsoft is ramming down hardware vendor throats for Windows 8. When it comes to Servers, Red Hat can and does influence hardware vendors.

Garrett notes that Red Hat could potentially have influenced hardware vendors for UEFI here too, but that would have still left other distros exposed. I don't know, personally I would have like to have seen the hardware vendors come to terms with the reality that there is more than one desktop operating system.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.