Thursday, 22 September 2011

In before the lock

Here we go again. Microsoft is known for pushing for dubious technologies to take over the world. One of those is this idea of "trusted computing" (implying that we ought to trust Microsoft). They were once pushing this TPM chip idea, and was planning to include ungodly DRM into Windows Vista (thankfully, they backed up from that). Now they're coming back with another "initiative" - lock down the boot process.

Now, i can understand the need for "trusted computing" in some environments. You might want to have locked down machines in government organizations or secure environments such as military computers. You might want your computer to prevent you from running anything that isn't blessed from high above. But what does it have to do with us, ordinary users? I want to run whatever the fuck i want on my computer! No matter what these people think, i will rip CD's and DVD's, i will share my music and videos with my friends, i will run whatever software i want to run, and i will boot any operating system i choose to boot, regardless of what Microsoft, MPAA/RIAA and other idiots think about that.

But what does it have to do with "secure boot"? Well, you see, the "trusted computing" is legacy entertainment industry's wet dream, allowing whole new level of DRM that is not easy to avoid. Again, i can see DRM being a valid technique in protected environments and generally in some niche markets, but it's got nothing to do with us, consumers. If Microsoft chooses to lock everything down instead of properly securing their OS, it shouldn't be my problem. As one of the commenters on Ars Technica has pointed out, this is Microsoft basically admitting that no, we can't secure the OS enough to prevent userspace from taking over the bootloader, so we will lock everything down instead. Brilliant approach.

I can see the general trend towards locking everything down. We are losing our freedom and control over the hardware for some fancy bells and whistles. You know what? Computer is a tool. It should not tell me what to do.

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