There’s been some controversy since September of last year. It seems that Microsoft, while unsure if it’s intentional or not, is going to make it quite difficult for people to install Linux on a computer that comes with Windows 8.
Basically, it comes down to a process called UEFI secure booting. Hardware makers must have it enabled in order to qualify for a “Designed For Windows 8” logo. The technology prevents operating systems from booting that are not signed by a trusted certificate authority.
This means that in order for Linux to be installed on a “Designed For Windows 8” PC, one would have to figure out a workaround in order to make it happen and that means your choice of what to install, may be quite limited.
The technical lingo from a Red Hat engineer:
“Now, obviously, we could provide signed versions of Linux. This poses several problems. Firstly, we’d need a non-GPL bootloader. Grub 2 is released under the GPLv3, which explicitly requires that we provide the signing keys. Grub is under GPLv2 which lacks the explicit requirement for keys, but it could be argued that the requirement for the scripts used to control compilation includes that.”
“It’s a grey area, and exploiting it would be a pretty good show of bad faith. Secondly, in the near future the design of the kernel will mean that the kernel itself is part of the bootloader. This means that kernels will also have to be signed. Making it impossible for users or developers to build their own kernels is not practical. Finally, if we self-sign, it’s still necessary to get our keys included by every OEM.”
A big problem for Linux enthusiasts out there. With the launch of Windows 8 being a bit away, hopefully a fix can be found.