UEFI Secure Boot

Mike Jeays mike.jeays at rogers.com
Tue Jul 9 01:04:08 UTC 2013

On Tue, 9 Jul 2013 02:31:40 +0200
Polytropon <freebsd at edvax.de> wrote:

> On Mon, 8 Jul 2013 16:21:28 +0000 (UTC), jb wrote:
> > I hope FreeBSD (and other OSs) luminaries, devs and users will find a way not 
> > to harm themselves.
> A massive problem I (personally) have is that with Restricted Boot
> (this is what "Secure Boot" basically is) you are no longer able
> to _ignore_ MICROS~1 and their products. A restrictive boot loader
> mechanism that requires signed and confirmed keys, handled by a
> major offender of free decisions and a healthy market - no thanks.
> What prevents MICROS~1 from revoking keys of a possible competitor?
> Or from messing with the specs just that things start breaking?
> Don't get me wrong: I don't even argument that a mechanism where
> a competitor requires you to pay money to run _your_ software
> instead of _their_ software sounds horribly wrong. This approach
> will introduce a philosophical or even legal context to the
> technical problem.
> I see interesting chances in UEFI per se. It can be called a kind
> of "micro-OS" which can be rich on features that could also be
> useful. But history has shown that if such an infrastructure is
> provided, it will lead to bloated, insecure and incompatible
> implementations quickly, and the worst, it will happen at a very
> low level. This is simly dangerous.
> Regarding UEFI + Restricted Boot: To obtain MICROS~1's sticker of
> approval for hardware, vendors need to implement those features.
> Even worse, on _specific_ platforms, they are not allowed to make
> it possible to _remove_ those features, so "on by default" is
> required - if I remember correctly (Intel vs. ARM architectures).
> As you see, I try to ignore this whole topic as I am not interested
> in using it. In the past, this has been possible. When building a
> new system, buying a blank disk and _no_ "Windows" was particularly
> easy. For systems that already came with some "Windows" preinstalled,
> simply deleting the partition was a solution; install FreeBSD boot
> mechanism, initialize disk, and be done. No more dealing with what
> MICROS~1 seems to insist is "normal". When _their_ product decisions
> make _me_ invest time to find a way to remove and ignore them, I
> feel offended.
> I would like to see a way UEFI hardware, with or without Restricted
> Boot, can be used with FreeBSD _without_ involving the "good will"
> of MICROS~1. But as they have already gotten their fingers everywhere,
> this doesn't seem to happen all too soon... :-(
> -- 
> Polytropon
> Magdeburg, Germany
> Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
> Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...
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If I have understood correctly, it is quite easy to disable secure boot on
most current machines; it is just an option in the UEFI setup.

The real danger is machines where it cannot be disabled. This includes some
recent HP machines; whether by design or incompetence I cannot say. These
are the real danger to non-Microsoft operating systems, and the free software
movement needs to fight tooth and nail against them. I can all too easily
see them proliferating in the marketplace, perhaps secretly 'encouraged' by

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