Home Business IT Open Source Debian undecided on method for secure boot

The Debian GNU/Linux project has yet to decide on the method whereby it will ensure that the Linux distribution it produces can boot on computers that are certified for Windows 8.

Hardware that fits this description is required by Microsoft to enable secure booting through the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, a replacement for the existing BIOS.

The companies behind commercial Linux distributions Red Hat, Ubuntu and SUSE announced some time back how they would tackle the problem.

And a couple of days ago, the Linux Foundation announced a software workaround which any operating system could incorporate to disable secure boot and use hardware that is certified for Windows 8.

Developers from Debian, the second biggest free software project, held a discussion in July (thread) during their annual conference about the implications of secure boot and the developments to that point in time.

However, while work on the next release, version 7.0 or Wheezy, is well advanced, the project is yet to decide on the method of dealing with secure boot.

A Debian spokesperson told iTWire: "The Debian Project is in the final stages of producing the next software release, Debian 7.0. We have added support for booting on UEFI BIOS systems, and the beta 3 release of the installer which is due out in the next few days supports this.

"However, due to the late stage of the release process, and the uncertainty in the community around the correct implementation for Secure Boot, we are not committing to a single solution at this stage.

"Once there is further clarity on how Secure Boot will be implemented in practice, the Debian Project will be providing a method to allow users to choose a free and open operating system."

Windows 8 is due for release on October 26. The Debian project, which has more than 1000 developers spread all over the world, produces a distribution that arguably has the best package management system among Linux distributions,

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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.

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