It looks like Microsoft just can’t get a break with their new Windows 8 release. The highly publicized Windows 8 was received with much enthusiasm but consumers were soon disappointed with its usability. Though promising much, this version incorporated many changes which raised many public cries of outrage. Although Microsoft has been paying no heed to the matter, things have become rather frustrating for users.
With new problems being discovered at every turn, the company has to navigate through some rather hot water. Recently, Hispalinux, an association of Spanish open source software users have voiced concerns regarding Windows 8’s compatibility with Linux’s software. The group claims that Microsoft’s decision to incorporate a UEFI Secure Boot requires all operating systems to be signed before any booting can be done. This enables Windows 8 to function as an ‘obstruction mechanism’ against all non-Windows programs and systems which also include Linux.
The group alleges that this not only prevents the download and installation of any alternative operating system but it is also an act to cut down competition and was harmful towards the European software industry. The group further went on to argue that the limiting and less neutral nature of Windows 8 as well as the use of the UEFI Secure Boot as a control mechanism contributed towards making Windows 8 a technical barrier rather than a technical achievement.
The matter is made even more complicated by the fact that Windows has always been far more vulnerable towards viruses and malware as compared to other operating systems. However, Microsoft has launched a statement where they indicate that there are not many individuals who are disgruntled by this addition.
Microsoft remains firm in its belief that using the UEFI is the industry standard in Windows 8 and aims at providing users with computer security. Microsoft has also pointed out that this approach of using the UEFI Secure Boot was made public quite some time ago and no concerns were voiced at that point of development. Microsoft further stated that they were sure they were well within their rights in choosing to use the UEFI Secure Boost as a means of providing customer security.
Nonetheless, this statement has not managed to satisfy Hispalinux who have slapped on an antitrust complaint against Microsoft. The group is also actively calling consumers to boycott Windows 8 PCs until the UEFI Secure Boost problem is not rectified. Surprisingly, Microsoft is already in the European Commission’s ‘naughty list’ and not too long ago was subjected to a fine amounting to €561 million, earning it for violating an antitrust agreement regarding the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows.
However, it is not certain if the Commission will decide the matter in favor of Hispalinux. The Commission has stated that although they are aware of the security requirements of Windows 8, until there is solid evidence that could place Microsoft in violation of EU Competition rules based on the Windows 8 security requirements; they see no cause to take any action against Microsoft.
[Image via maximumpc]