A Spanish association of Linux users today accused Microsoft of anti-competitive practices, charging that Windows 8's Secure Boot blocks users from installing rival operating systems on new PCs.
Hispalinux, which represents some 8,000 open-source users and developers in Spain, lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission, the EU's antitrust agency, early Tuesday, the group said in a blog post.
The association accused Microsoft of "obstruction," "unfair competition" and "irreparable damage to the European software industry" by locking new PCs to Windows 8 through the operating system's Secure Boot feature.
UEFI, or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, is a replacement for the older BIOS boot technology built into PCs. UEFI is designed to protect PCs against some forms of malware, notably rootkits, by requiring a trusted key before booting the operating system.
Secure Boot is Microsoft's label for UEFI support in Windows 8; the company requires the new firmware to run the five-month-old OS, and provides the necessary key to computer makers, or OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). That effectively blocks non-Microsoft operating systems -- Linux, primarily -- from running on new Windows 8 machines without keys of their own or software tweaks.
The biggest Linux distributors -- including SUSE, Fedora and Canonical -- have come up with work-arounds of their own to deal with UEFI and Windows 8's. Small or home-built Linux distributions, however, have been locked out of those solutions, and have balked at the $50 one-time fee that Microsoft charges for a key.
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/ ... _complaint