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Microsoft has asked Lenovo to make it harder to boot Linux on their computers.

obviously I know some really cool people who work at Microsoft but it's very funny to me that people have been harping on us FOSS types for not instantly forgiving them for 20 years of malice, and now we've got this. [1]

when Microsoft is asking manufacturers to prevent people from booting other OSes and not communicating as to why, they are positioning themselves as the enemy. it's that simple. if they want to be trusted by Linux users, they need to earn that trust.

we're about 2y away, by my estimation, from living in a bizarro world where x86 PCs are less open to free desktops than ARM Macs.


@tindall i dont know why but the "microsoft ❤️ open source" thing has been scarily successful and a lot of people are actually convinced that microsoft is "good now and cares about users more than profit"

then every time microsoft does something like this they act surprised as if "how were we supposed to know?" when people have been warning them for years and they have been ignoring it

@AgathaSorceress it's a gaslighting tactic in the true original use of the term. we who were harmed, or remember our predecessors being harmed, are essentially being told that we're imagining things, while the people who harmed us are able to benefit from our work without consequences

@tindall @AgathaSorceress Yeah I mean. I called it out as another EEE tactic when it first happened but got shouted down lol

@tindall @AgathaSorceress Like - hmm, I wonder. This company that wrote a fuckload of memos in the late 90s about how they were going to lose to open source and linux in general, a company has a history of doing FUD and if that fails, EEE. Has stopped doing FUD, and is suddenly embracing open source software and linux? hmmmmm. hmmm I wonder what is going on heree

@alexandria @AgathaSorceress yep! "Noooo it's not EEE they just ❤️ open source"

I genuinely hate the people at Microsoft who decided to do this.

@tindall @alexandria from my experience its especially common among dotnet devs who really like the "but they switched CEOs! the new one is good and wont do EEE anymore!! they truly love open source!! look they contributed to the linux kernel!" excuse

@tindall @alexandria the worst part being that microsoft's biggest contribution to linux is creating WSL, which is essentially "we made it so you can use linux on windows so you can stop using full linux now"

@AgathaSorceress @tindall @alexandria and don't forget Azure! which is… running Linux on Hyper-V… so, i guess kind of the same

but there's also their Kubernetes offering (and involvement) which is probably the best way to run your Google like infrastructure, since… Google won't sell you (useful) support… even if you… paid for it

@AgathaSorceress @meena @tindall @alexandria kubernetes is a google offering, not MS (sorry if that’s what you intended!)

@mood @AgathaSorceress @tindall @alexandria Kubernetes is a Google invention, but it's FLOSS, and MS' offering is probably one of the best supported by actual real engineers

@AgathaSorceress @tindall @alexandria

"OS/2 had a chicken-and-egg problem. Its best selling point was its compatibility with MS-DOS and Windows applications. However, this meant few developers took the time to write OS/2-native apps. So, why run OS/2 at all?"

Many devs out there are too young to remember how MS killed OS/2

@tindall @AgathaSorceress I think it's really hard for people to not anthropomorphize corporations; but they aren't people, they are systems. good people can and do exist inside if those systems. Sometimes they are able to rock the system back and forth, at great personal stress and exhaustion, from the inside and shake loose some resources toward something good.

Maybe some queer employees get a pride initiative going; maybe someone is able to get their job to divest from ChildLaborCo™️. Maybe someone can make the case to their boss that open-source is good, actually;

But at the end of the day, these systems are paperclip maximizers, but for profits. They have one, singular goal, and absolutely no consideration is given to anything else in pursuit of that goal unless it endangers that goal.... over the next quarter or two.

This is how you can have a corporation that can do rainbow shit all June and really mean it; and at the same time donate money to queerphobic politicians and ALSO really mean it.

Anyway. The point is, you can't trust these COs. Maximize what good you can extract from them, but don't loose sight of the fact that they are going to steamroll your whole family if it comes down to it.

@rgegriff @tindall @AgathaSorceress they also aren’t usually coherent in their decision making, especially Microsoft. The people running GitHub aren’t the same people making Lenovo lock down their bootloaders

@rgegriff @tindall @AgathaSorceress still gotta remember that corporate profit is theft though. Even at their best gotta remember that they’re stealing your labor and your time

@tindall this happened with vscode and intentionally crashing their extensions in open source builds, this happened with the recent minecraft microsoft account migrations and moderation features, and now this, and yet every single time people act as if nobody could've predicted that this would happen


@tindall shouldn't that be illegal by antitrust laws?

@ulPa @tindall Presumably, yes, but you have to realize that MS is not like other corps. MS is structured for corruption & under-handed tactics. Recall that MS knowingly sold o365 licenses to school districts in Africa that didn’t even have computers in a scheme where they gave a kickback to their accomplices in the school districts. MS has no limits. The SEC mysteriously failed to investigate.

@ulPa illegal != doesn't happen. the us govt has essentially given up.

@tindall they’re doing this for “security” and yet they also made Windows the only option

@tindall so did Google and yet arm/x86 Chromebooks can run non Google oses. Microsoft is just a shittier company than Google somehow.

@tindall I happen to have a Venn diagram on-hand showing the intersection between /cool people/ and /Microsoft & their people/.

(btw, the link you posted is a Tor-hostile Cloudflare site)

@tindall harder? You just have to enable third party boot keys. Those lenovo laptops even have an option to ship with fedora or Ubuntu.

I dont see this making installing Linux any harder as many people who install Linux already disable secure boot.

@krolden people already complain that it is too many steps. tons of research shows that every additional click, even on the web, massively reduces how many people complete the task.

@tindall its right in the firmware setup next to the secure boot settings. If you got a new laptop would you not be customizing other uefi settings as well? I am no fan of more MS crap baked into firmware, but this seems to be a lot of outrage over very small issues. If you're really concerned over stuff like this then stick with open hardware/firmware.

Has anyone bought this thinkpad with the preinstalled Linux option? Does it ship with third party keys/secure boot enabled?

@krolden @tindall They are likely Trail Ballooning with the new restriction. Gauge the industry’s reaction, keep what they can get away with, walk back what they can’t. The walls have to be erected little by little.

@krolden @tindall Yeah but just because it's in the firmware settings doesn't mean people will see it.

Before this crap, you didn't have to poke around in there when installing a new OS (AFAWK). Now you do.

@krolden @tindall I bought a Lenovo Thinkpad back in the day when it had an option to ship with Linux. Mine came with Opensuse pre-installed. But those days ended like over 5 yrs ago, iirc. Lenovo quit the linux option yrs ago. And if they take an action to make it hard or impossible to install linux, you should boycott them. Even if it’s circumventable, do the right thing and vote with your money.

@bojkotiMalbona @tindall

Operating System**

Windows® 11 Pro 64

Windows 11 Home 64

Windows 11 DG Windows 10 Pro 64

Fedora Linux


Ubuntu Linux

No operating system

@krolden @tindall If I were in the market, the back & forth between Lenovo supporting linux and abandoning it would put me off. If you buy one, most certainly you should insist that it is *delivered with linux factory pre-installed*. This is the only way to get reassurance that all the advertised components function on linux.

@tindall @krolden I’d never use Microsnot Winblows, but if I did I would still insist on linux being installed at the factory to then have reassurance that the device works on both platforms (because you can always expect their hardware to be Windows supported).

@krolden @tindall I would be willing to bet that for the kind of user likely to be installing Linux, that extra step does not really act as much discouragement.

@ianbetteridge @krolden for people who already use it, yes. But it helps prevent the market share from growing!

@krolden @tindall It wouldn't bother me now, but if was my first go at trying Linux, and suddenly I have to understand boot keys or disable secure boot (I thought it was meant to be more secure!) I can see that just not happening.

Obviously I can't disagree with the people saying it won't discourage the people that don't get discouraged by that sort of thing. Lot of different kinds of people in the world though!

@derwinmcgeary @tindall 90% of the time you have to disable secure boot anyway.

@krolden @tindall some people are afraid even entering the BIOS.
This is harder to them.
There's no reason people would need to "activate" keys for Linux and not Windows.
Windows shouldn't get a privilege, certainly not because it's more mainstream.


make no mistake: Microsoft *never* stopped being the enemy (well, one of them).

@tindall It's also comical that anyone could even defend MS for things like this at all. What possible legitimate reason could they have for this? It's just straight up anti-competitiveness. Not to mention how pathetic it makes them look considering they feel the need to do things like this even when linux desktop marketshare is so tiny.

As long as Microsoft is allowed to keep it's desktop monopoly, this kind of shit will continue.


Can you be more hyperbolic?

From the 3rd paragraph in the linked blog post in your original post:

“Secured-core” is a term used to describe machines that meet a certain set of Microsoft requirements around firmware security, and by and large it’s a good thing - devices that meet these requirements are resilient against a whole bunch of potential attacks in the early boot process.


You're making it sound like Microsoft is attempting to strong-arm Lenovo not to allow Linux to be able to be installed on any of their laptops when we're talking about 1 or 2 SKUs out of their entire product inventory.

@gme you're projecting. I did not imply strong-arming or "any of their laptops".

@gme you've screenshotted my post and circled some areas in color. Not exactly a compelling argument.

@tindall I actually don't really care about OS, as long as there are browser and libreoffice. But having an open source OS is also a good idea ❤️

@rohmatsb I'm happy for you, I guess? That's not really relevant to the discussion.

@rohmatsb @tindall if you don’t control it, you don’t own it. You should want the freedom to have products you buy serve your best interests and under your control. It doesn’t matter which OS you prefer. What matters is having /choice/. You may one day become an advanced user who then insists on dumping Windows, or you might want to sell your hardware to someone who needs linux.

Fortunately, there are (until when?) alternative computer makers like MNT (Germany) and their Reform.
It can boot a Debian.

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