Home Business IT Open Source Means of testing 'secure' boot on Linux developed

A Linux kernel developer has put together the necessary bits and pieces for simulating the process of secure boot on a virtual machine, thus giving GNU/Linux distributions a way of understanding how the process takes place.

James Bottomley, who is the chairman of the Linux Foundation's technical advisory board, has based his work on the open source Tianocore project, which is released by Intel and is based on the company's Unified Extensible Firmware Interface specification.

Bottomley's work will help smaller GNU/Linux distributions as they try to come up with ways to ensure that their operating systems will work with hardware that is built to support Windows 8. This is because it is very difficult right now to obtain hardware that supports secure boot.

Exactly how hardware manufacturers will implement secure boot is not known either.

Microsoft specified last year that all PCs which are certified as working with Windows 8 have to include a secure boot process. This means that such hardware will not run alternative operating systems.

Secure boot means that an operating system will need to include a signed key from Microsoft in order to boot. Microsoft has said that it will be possible to turn off secure boot on x86 systems but has yet to specify how this will be implemented.

At least two Linux distributions to make such hardware usable by Linux users. Red Hat and Canonical have released details about how they intend to go about tackling the problem.


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.