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.

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.

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. — Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

ZaReason: a computer company with freedom built in

For the past couple of months, I've been playing with a laptop from ZaReason, a small, GNU/Linux-based system builder founded in Oakland, CA (though it has expanded to New Zealand). ZaReason's deal is that they build computers themselves, using components that are guaranteed to have free and open drivers, and pre-install your favorite free/open operating system at the factory. — Read the rest

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. — Read the rest