The Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and Canonical have all registered discontent with Microsoft's new mandate that if OEMs want "Designed for Windows 8" certification, Secure Boot must be turned on by default. Microsoft's chosen implementation of the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) helps prevent boot loader attacks but also complicates matters for Linux: computers with the sticker will not be able to Secure Boot into the OS without help from OEMs. Microsoft has addressed these concerns by pointing to the Developer Preview tablet given away at the BUILD conference last month, which included the option to disable Secure Boot. However, using the feature in conjunction with Linux instead of having to do away with the security benefits to dual-boot is not yet on the horizon.
Here the Linux Foundation comes in, recommending that PCs be shipped in Setup Mode and that Secure Boot be implemented in a compatible manner with Linux. Meanwhile, Red Hat and Canonical teamed up for a white paper that suggests that hardware manufacturers should include an option to either add a list of approved software or make it easier to turn off Secure Boot entirely. To cap matters off, Dell and HP have made statements saying that they have always been committed to offering users choice in operating systems. If the rest of the major OEMs follow suit this issue will be resolved well before Windows 8 is released, a result that will reassure the Linux community, but might also leave them wondering what all the fuss was about.