uefi

Chinese enthusiasts are serving global Thinkpad fans by making modern motherboards that fit in classic chassis from the Golden Age of the Thinkpad

After Lenovo bought out IBM's Thinkpad business, they began to tinker with the classic and famously immutable laptop designs: in small ways at first, and then in much larger ones. I buy a new Thinkpad every year (I promised myself a new laptop every year as a dividend from the savings when I stopped smoking) and the first decade's worth were practically perfect: they ran various GNU/Linux flavors without a hitch, the hard-drives were swappable in two minutes by removing a single screw, and the keyboard could be replaced without any tools in less than a minute. Read the rest “Chinese enthusiasts are serving global Thinkpad fans by making modern motherboards that fit in classic chassis from the Golden Age of the Thinkpad”

Apple's new bootloader won't let you install GNU/Linux -- Updated

Locking bootloaders with trusted computing is an important step towards protecting users from some of the most devastating malware attacks: by allowing the user to verify their computing environment, trusted computing can prevent compromises to operating systems and other low-level parts of their computer's operating environment. Read the rest “Apple's new bootloader won't let you install GNU/Linux -- Updated”

Free PDF book includes amazing satellite shots of protected places

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies has released a free PDF anthology of images of earth's protected wonders, like development right up to the edge of New Zealand’s Mount Egmont National Park. Read the rest “Free PDF book includes amazing satellite shots of protected places”

Proof-of-concept firmware worm targets Apple computers

It's like Bad USB, with extra Thunderbolt badness: Web-based attacks can insert undetectable malicious software into a Mac's UEFI/BIOS, which spreads to other machines by infecting Thunderbolt and USB devices. Read the rest “Proof-of-concept firmware worm targets Apple computers”

Get the new Wilco album 'Star Wars' for free

In case you missed it, Wilco is offering its ninth album Star Wars free on iTunes and Amazon for a limited time. Read the rest “Get the new Wilco album 'Star Wars' for free”

Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes

Microsoft has announced a relaxation of its "Secure Boot" guidelines for OEMs, allowing companies to sell computers pre-loaded with Windows 10 that will refuse to boot any non-Microsoft OS. Read the rest “Windows 10 announcement: certified hardware can lock out competing OSes”

Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide 2013

Here's a guide to the charities the Boingers support in our own annual giving. As always, please add the causes and charities you give to in the comments below!

Electronic Frontier Foundation Could there be a year that's more relevant to the EFF? As Edward Snowden has made abundantly clear, there is a titantic, historic battle underway to determine whether the Internet is there to liberate us or to enslave us. EFF's on the right side of history, and I figure giving them all I can afford is a cheap hedge against the NSA's version of the future. —CD

Creative Commons CC continues to make a difference -- this year, they released the 4.0 version of their flexible licenses, a major milestone. More than anyone else, CC has reframed the way we talk about creativity and copyright in the Internet era, providing practical, easy-to-use tools to make it possible for creators and audiences to work together in a shared mission of creating and enjoying culture.—CD Read the rest “Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide 2013”

Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide, 2012 edition

Here's a guide to the charities the Boingers support in our own annual giving. As always, please add the causes and charities you give to in the comments below!

Electronic Frontier Foundation There's never been a time when EFF's mission was more important: everything we do today involves the Internet; everything we do tomorrow will require it. No one stretches a dollar further and gets more done than EFF. They've been at it since 1990, and have been at the forefront of practically every significant online rights battle through the whole era of the Internet's rise to prominence. The world I want my kid to grow up in needs EFF in it. —CD

Creative Commons CC celebrated its tenth birthday (!) this year, a remarkable milestone from a remarkable organization. More than anyone else, CC has reframed the way we talk about creativity and copyright in the Internet era, providing practical, easy-to-use tools to make it possible for creators and audiences to work together in a shared mission of creating and enjoying culture.—CD Read the rest “Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide, 2012 edition”

Lockdown: free/open OS maker pays Microsoft ransom for the right to boot on users' computers

A quiet announcement from the Fedora Linux community signals a titanic shift in the way that the computer market will work from now on, and a major threat to free/open operating systems. Microsoft and several PC vendors have teamed up to ensure that only operating systems bearing Microsoft's cryptographic signature will be able to boot on their hardware, meaning that unless Microsoft has blessed your favorite flavor of GNU/Linux or BSD, you won't be able to just install it on your machine, or boot to it from a USB stick or CD to try it out. There is a work-around for some systems involving a finicky and highly technical override process, but all that means is that installing proprietary software is easy and installing free/open software is hard.

This is a major reversal. For many years now, free/open OSes have been by far the easiest to install on most hardware. For example, I have installed Ubuntu on a variety of machines by just sticking in a USB stick and turning them on. Because the OS and its apps are free, and because there are no finicky vendor relationships to manage, it Just Works. On some of those machines, installing a Windows OS fresh from a shrinkwrapped box was literally impossible -- you had to order a special manufacturer's version with all the right drivers to handle external CD drives or docking stations or what-have-you. And the free/open drivers also handled things like 3G USB adapters better than the official drivers (not least because they didn't insist on drawing a huge "WELCOME TO $SOME_STUPID_PHONE_COMPANY" box on the screen every time you connected to the Internet.)

At issue is a new facility called UEFI, which allows a computer's bootloader to distinguish between different operating systems by examining their cryptographic signatures. Read the rest “Lockdown: free/open OS maker pays Microsoft ransom for the right to boot on users' computers”

British admin for download links database may be first extradited to US for copyright charges

No British citizen has ever been extradited to the United States for a copyright offense. But Richard O'Dwyer, the 23-year-old college student who ran TV Shack, may become the first.

As I understand it, the charges aren't that his (very popular) site actually hosted the copyrighted content, but that it served as a directory of links to other servers online where those downloads could be found.

Torrentfreak has more on the legal battle. The lawyer for accused hacker Gary McKinnon, whom the US would also like to extradite for prosecution, is representing O'Dwyer. They lost their first round in the extradition case today, and have 14 days to appeal. Read the rest “British admin for download links database may be first extradited to US for copyright charges”

Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide, 2011 edition

It's time again for Boing Boing's guide the charities we support in our annual giving. As always, please add the causes and charities you give to in the comments below!

Electronic Frontier Foundation The EFF's mission has never been more important: as laws like SOPA are rammed through Congress, as bloggers around the world are arrested and tortured with the collusion of American network-surveillance companies, and as the FBI's unconstitutional, warrantless use of surveillance technology like GPS bugs comes to light, EFF is poised to be center-stage in the fight for a free and open world with a free and open Internet. —CD

Creative Commons Creative Commons has permeated my life in a thousand ways -- on Boing Boing and in my writing, Creative Commons is responsible for how I get the job done and how I get paid for it. CC's advocacy of a nuanced, intelligent position on creativity and sharing changes the lives of creators, educators, scientists, scholars, and kids, all over the world. —CD Read the rest “Boing Boing Charitable Giving Guide, 2011 edition”

Linux Foundation memo: how to make a computer that doesn't lock out GNU/Linux

UEFI is a new hardware standard nominally aimed at stopping malicious software, but it could also make it illegal to replace Windows or MacOS with GNU/Linux on your computer. The Linux Foundation has written a technical memo for hardware vendors explaining how they can ship PCs that still protect users from malware, without putting them in legal jeopardy for running free operating systems:

The recommendations can be summarized as follows: All platforms that enable UEFI secure boot should ship in setup mode where the owner has

control over which platform key (PK) is installed. It should also be possible for the owner to return a system to setup mode in the future if needed. • The initial bootstrap of an operating system should detect a platform in the setup mode, install its own key-exchange key (KEK), and install a platform key to enable secure boot. • A firmware-based mechanism should be established to allow a platform owner to add new key-exchange keys to a system running in secure mode so that dual-boot systems can be set up. • A firmware-based mechanism for easy booting of removable media.

• At some future time, an operating-system- and vendor-neutral certificate authority should be established to issue KEKs for third-party hardware and software vendors.

Making UEFI Secure Boot Work With Open Platforms

(via /.) Read the rest “Linux Foundation memo: how to make a computer that doesn't lock out GNU/Linux”

Anti-malware hardware has the potential to make it illegal and impossible to choose to run Linux

It's been years since the idea of "trusted computing" was first mooted -- a hardware layer for PCs that can verify that your OS matches the version the vendor created. At the time, TC advocates proposed that this would be most useful for thwarting malicious software, like rootkits, that compromise user privacy and security.

But from the start, civil liberties people have worried that there was a danger that TC could be used to lock hardware to specific vendors' operating systems, and prevent you from, for example, tossing out Windows and installing GNU/Linux on your PC.

The latest iteration of Trusted Computing is called "UEFI," and boards are starting to ship with UEFI hardware that can prevent the machine from loading altered operating systems. This would be a great boon to users -- if the PC vendors supplied the keys necessary to unlock the UEFI module and load your own OS. That way, UEFI could verify the integrity of any OS you chose to run.

But PC vendors -- either out of laziness or some more sinister motive -- may choose not to release those keys, and as a result, PC hardware could enter the market that is technically capable of running GNU/Linux, but which will not allow you to run any OS other than Windows.

What's more, UEFI may fall into the category of "effective access control for a copyrighted work," which means that breaking it would be illegal under the DMCA -- in other words, it could be illegal to choose to run any OS other than the one that the hardware vendor supplied. Read the rest “Anti-malware hardware has the potential to make it illegal and impossible to choose to run Linux”

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