Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Daily Review #5: Linux Lock out, Three to Drop Windows Phone?

The Daily Review - 22nd September 2011
Photo © Dave Willman |

Linux To Be Locked out By Microsoft?

UPDATE: 18 hours after I posted this report Steven Sinofskystatement on his blog giving Tony Mangefeste a chance to explain the reality of Windows use of UEFI Booting. Bottom line: those who want to install Linux don't need to worry. The Secure Boot option should be disable-able (is that a word?) from the hardware BIOS.

Linux developers are worried that Windows 8 may be attempting to lock them out.

In a post on UEFI Booting Matthew Garrett points out that UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot permits one or more signing keys to be installed into a system firmware and that once enabled, it prevents executables or drivers from being loaded unless they're signed by one of these keys.

The real point, as Matthew explains, is that a system that ships with only OEM and Microsoft keys will not boot a generic copy of Linux.

Matthew's post was quickly picked up by the Linux community and the technical press. Even though Garrett explained that he thought "there is no need to panic yet", this was not a view shared by Professor Ross Anderson at Cambridge University.

In a post in The Register's follow-on story Secure Boot Firmware Linux Exclusion Fears he was quoted as saying he believed this would violate EU competition law.

In a rallying call to fight the initiative, the Professor said "The extension of Microsoft’s OS monopoly to hardware would be a disaster, with increased lock-in, decreased consumer choice and lack of space to innovate. It is clearly unlawful and must not succeed."

It was not a call that Microsoft appeared to be listening to. The company maintained its usual silence, as Mary Jo Foley pointed out in her article Will Windows 8 Block Users from Dual Booting Linux? Microsoft Won't Say.

Foley uses the piece to point out that Microsoft are being even more uncommunicative than ever where anything to do with Windows 8 is concerned. "The Windows team’s decision not to comment on this report is an example of the new communication strategy that Microsoft seems to be instituting with Windows 8: Clarification on any Windows 8 topic — not only features and policies that are still unannounced, but also those that already have been disclosed publicly — apparently will not be provided by anyone from Microsoft in an official capacity.

No change there then!

Microsoft inaction on Windows 8 Misinformation

Three to Drop Windows Phone?

About a week ago, Steve Ballmer admitted that Windows Phones weren't selling well, but said that he wasn't worried.

He might be a bit more worried now!

There were hopes that the new 7.5 release ('Mango') would help put the phone back on track, and the silence over the likely release date of Mango at Build was broken yesterday when the Windows Phone Team announced that Mango would ship "within a week or two".

Good news.

But seemingly not quite good enough for the UK's Three network.

Shortly after the announcement, the company's Twitter account posted the tweet "There has been a decision made not to go with Window 7 phones. This phone is just no longer in our range."

In fact it looks like the message was intended as a direct message to a single recipient whose Twitter id also appeared in the tweet.

When the message was quickly re-tweeted Three were quick to contact those doing the re-tweeting (including me) with the message "That was a typo - There has NOT been any decision made about ranging windows 7 phones."

Errrm.... OK?!?!

Funny thing is that if you go to the Three store and do a search on Windows Phone, guess what you find? They say a picture speaks a thousand words. So here's a picture...

Three search for 'Windows Phone' reveals 0 Results

Today's "News" Links

OK Read! Microsoft Patents Its Windows 8 Picture Password Feature (Tom Warren, WinRumours)
The patent behind the new Windows 8 Picture Password feature. Anybody else think this is just a gimmick that actually makes things a lot LESS secure?
OK Read! Microsoft announces Windows Phone 7.5 'Mango' to Release in Two Weeks (Microsoft)
Many were surprised there was no Windows Phone news at Build. That news was released yesterday. Mango ships in a couple of weeks!

Today's "Opinion Piece" Links

Must Read! Why Silverlight Was Destined to Fail, and My Time as One of its Custodians (Scott Barnes)
The controversial former Silverlight product manager reminisces about his time at Microsoft. It's a VERY long read, and one that should probably have stayed in a private diary (Imagine if we were all so candid about some of the companies we've worked for!) But it gives a fascinating insight into how things work inside Microsoft, and how the Silverlight product was handled.
Good Read! Don't Worry Silverlight, You'll Always Have Me (Jose Fajardo)
Almost the opposite of Scott's post, fellow Antipodean Jose describes his personal journey through 4 years of Silverlight, illustrated with lots of nice eye candy.F
Good Read! Adobe to Ship Flash 11 and AIR 3, Repositions Flash vs HTML 5 (Tim Anderson)
Good analysis of recent Adobe announcements.
Good Read! Finding Apps in Windows 8 (Tim Anderson)
There were a LOT of tweets yesterday complaining about how hard it was to find anything, especially apps, with the new Windows 8 Metro interface. So Tim's article with advice to "Just Type" is extremely timely.
Good Read! There is a need for only 5 Metro-Style Apps in the World (Doug Seven)
Telerik's Doug Seven things there's a reason no Line Of Business apps are included in the shipping Windows 8 and that it's because it's not the right environment. Ambrose Little from Infragistics thinks this is "incredibly short sighted and lacking in imagination". I agree with him.
Good Read! Metro Doesn't Mean the Immediate Death of .NET (Ness Software Product Blogs)
Todd Anglin thinks Build's emphasis on Metro has given people the wrong impression about the future of .NET. He might have a point!
Good Read! The Case for Going Metro-Only on ARM (John Gruber, Daring Fireball)
It's still not clear what will or won't run on an ARM device, thanks to the fog of confusion coming out of Seattle, but John thinks the worst case scenario (Metro-only apps) could be a good thing!
Good Read! Windows RunTime: Timeline of Influences (Filip Shakun)
Filip shows how complicated the Windows 8 'Marketechture' slide would have been if it had realistically reflected the timeline of different influences.
Good Read! Analyzing Windows 8 and WinRT (Steve Smith)
Yet another of those Build Conference announcement analysis posts. Nothing new here, but it's nicely written and formatted so if you're just catching up this might be a good place to start.
Good Read! Back from Build (Mike Taulty, Microsoft)
Everyone's most respected Microsoft UK evangelist explains why he WON'T be blogging much about Windows 8. Apparently he'd rather write code. Heh Mike: you CAN blog about the code you write you know!
Good Read! When Should You Use Metro (Version 2)? (Todd Anglin, Telerik)
Telerik's Todd Anglin has updated his popular 'When Should You Use Metro?' flowchart. It's got quite a bit bigger!
Good Read! UEFI Secure Booting (Matthew Garrett)
Matthew is worried about the implications of Windows 8 for Linux installations. "A system that ships with only OEM and Microsoft keys will not boot a generic copy of Linux.", he says. The story was followed up by The Register in a move that many on Twitter saw as "Microsoft up to its usual dirty tricks"
Good Read! Will Windows 8 Block Users From Dual-Booting Linux? Microsoft Won't Say (Mary Jo Foley, Ziff-Davies)
Great background information to the Linux story. But the bigger story is Microsoft's refusal to provide information about Windows 8 other than what was divulged at Build. "An increasing amount of misinformation about #win8 is circulating. MS is doing little or nothing to correct it." she points out.
Good Read! Windows 8, Metro and the Linux Desktop (Datamation)
This one ISN'T about the Linux lockout, but about how the state of Linux UX, and how Windows 8 announcements might mean the introduction of a Metro-like interface on Linux rather than something more original.
Good Read! Microsoft Windows 8: What it Means for .NET and Silverlight Developers (Michael K Campbell, Dev Pro Connections)
More analysis of Build: Too much hype. Windows 8: A Tale of Two Shells, and how developers still don't know what it means for their skills.
OK! Raising the Right PropertyChanged with C# 5's CallerInfo Attributes (Rob Fonseca-Ensor)
Rob speculates about what the new CallerInfo attribute might mean for messy magic string PropertyChanged implementations.
OK! How Windows 8 Makes Booting Up Pretty for the First time in PC History (Sam Biddle, Gizmodo)
No more messy DOS "eye murder", thanks to the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) that's been implemented in Windows 8.

Today's "Technical" Links

Bookmark It! Enabling Frame Rate Counters for XAML Applications in Windows 8 (Michael Crump)
Useful post on how to measure performance of your XAML app under Windows 8. Doesn't work for Javascript apps apparently :-P
Good Read! Windows 8 Applications and JSON Data (Andrej Tozon)
WebClient is gone in Metro-land so Andrej walks through some new classes, using Flickr photo retrieval to illustrate his example
OK! Visual Studio 11 IDE Improvements (Adil Mughal)
Want to know what's been improved in the Windows 8 version of the Visual Studio IDE? This short, sharp look shows some of the highlights.
OK! Windows 8 In Depth Part 3: Windows Explorer (Whitson Gordon, Life Hacker)
All the cool stuff in Explorer's new Ribbon Bar.

Fast and fluid News

Don't forget that all the latest Windows 8 Metro links are posted in 'real time' on the Fast and fluid Twitter account.
The Fast and Fluid Podcast, covering all things Windows 8 related, will be launched later this month.

The Fast and Fluid Podcast, covering all things Windows 8 related, will be launched later this month.

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