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You are here: Home Campaigns Secure Boot vs Restricted Boot Stand up for your freedom to install free software

Stand up for your freedom to install free software

by Joshua Gay Contributions Published on Oct 11, 2011 04:55 PM

The following is a public statement, open for signing. For more background, please read our more detailed explanation of the issue at http://fsf.org/campaigns/secure-boot-vs-restricted-boot.

Microsoft has announced that if computer makers wish to distribute machines with the Windows 8 compatibility logo, they will have to implement a measure called "Secure Boot." However, it is currently up for grabs whether this technology will live up to its name, or will instead earn the name Restricted Boot.

When done correctly, "Secure Boot" is designed to protect against malware by preventing computers from loading unauthorized binary programs when booting. In practice, this means that computers implementing it won't boot unauthorized operating systems -- including initially authorized systems that have been modified without being re-approved.

This could be a feature deserving of the name, as long as the user is able to authorize the programs she wants to use, so she can run free software written and modified by herself or people she trusts. However, we are concerned that Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will implement these boot restrictions in a way that will prevent users from booting anything other than Windows. In this case, we are better off calling the technology Restricted Boot, since such a requirement would be a disastrous restriction on computer users and not a security feature at all.

Please add your name to the following statement, to show computer manufacturers, governments, and Microsoft that you care about this freedom and will work to protect it.

We, the undersigned, urge all computer makers implementing UEFI's so-called "Secure Boot" to do it in a way that allows free software operating systems to be installed. To respect user freedom and truly protect user security, manufacturers must either allow computer owners to disable the boot restrictions, or provide a sure-fire way for them to install and run a free software operating system of their choice. We commit that we will neither purchase nor recommend computers that strip users of this critical freedom, and we will actively urge people in our communities to avoid such jailed systems.

This is a public statement and your name will be made public after you click the link in the verification email. We will not publish or share your email address with any party outside the FSF. See our privacy policy for more information.

You can see a list of all verified signers.

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