Trusted computing – there’s a place for it. Somewhere.

There’s been a lot of talk recently about “Trusted Computing” and UEFI secure booting.
I share the concern of most of the critics, on the grounds that when I buy my desktop PC then it is only me who decides what software runs on it.
On the other side of the discussion, will be the many companies and other organisations who (rightly) want to control what happens with their computing hardware.
There’s no need to fear UEFI.
If I’m considering buying a UEFI-enabled computer system, the first question I will ask the seller is does it allow Secure Boot to be disabled, under the user’s control? If the answer is any thing other than “Yes” then there’s no sale. Easy peasy.

 

I’m quite flexible on the subject of computer operating systems. I recognise that the idea of Microsoft’s next consumer OS having a secure boot process is (in principle) great[1]. At the same time I also give equal merit to the idea that I can (and do) use some flavour of Linux on my personal computer.

I’m not going to sit here all smug and say Linux is bullet-proof[2], but my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps I’m biased, but I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to clean-up Microsoft boxes due to malware infections[3].

[1] It would help the average non-technical user a lot.
[2] There are Linux viruses and malware. Thankfully they are very rare (like their hosts), and patches and new kernels are available very quickly to limit their spread.
[3] I have done this many times (gladly) for family and friends, to the point where I recommend Linux over anything else for a simple web-browsing machine for a beginner or non-technical user.

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One Response to “Trusted computing – there’s a place for it. Somewhere.”

  1. barrowbiker Says:

    The Linux Foundation releases a statement on this subject:

    https://www.linuxfoundation.org/publications/making-uefi-secure-boot-work-with-open-platforms

    I’ve only skimmed through their statement, but my initial impression is that it is a very sensible and forward-thinking solution.

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