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Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Taking Over the BIOS 989

Posted by michael
from the bios-ain't-done-till-linux-won't-run dept.
dtjohnson writes "According to this story, Microsoft has entered into an agreement with BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies to integrate the BIOS with Windows. This has the potential to turn PCs into Windows-only machines and also could result in widespread incorporation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology into new PCs. It looks like Microsoft is beginning to flex their marketplace monopoly muscles again, after taking a couple of years off."
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Microsoft Taking Over the BIOS

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  • Looks like we need to start checking to be sure our next motherboard's flash can be reprogrammed with LinuxBIOS [linuxbios.org].
    • it would be nicer if it was standard(to not have 'ms bios')..

      as for mobo manufacturers, boy was i glad one day when i was setting up my friends new computer that the cd that came with the mobo was selfbootable with freedos, so that i could get the sata drivers out from it.. since i couldn't remember if there was some way to get(winxp) it to load drivers during the initial setup phase(so that i could install to the drive that was connected to the sata drive).)

      though i'm a bit surprised why on earth would p
    • How long? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pan T. Hose (707794) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:29PM (#7129104) Homepage Journal
      One only has to wonder how long before TCPA chip will refuse to load Linux BIOS loading only "trusted" Windows BIOS which will of course never load "untrusted" GNU OS. Truely scary perspective especially considering the fact that back in 1997 we all thought The Right to Read [google.pl] was a huge overexeggaration. I think it is time to renew my EFF membership. I believe everyone should do that instead of just complaining on Slashdot.
      • Re:How long? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by clem (5683)
        Seems to me that such a step on Phoenix's part will only guarantee themselves a smaller percentage of the market.

        The number of beige boxes that are sold to be Linux servers is not a trivial number. If you're Michael Dell, are you going to sell boxes that can't be installed with Linux?

        Even if Dell doesn't offer the greatest support for Linux, they know in their hearts that a good portion of those boxes are getting fresh installs of Linux once the reach their destination. Microsoft can merely bend marke
  • bleh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:40PM (#7128653)
    so now the bios wont be reliable either?
  • by placeclicker (709182) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:42PM (#7128671) Journal
    Basic Insecure Operating System ?
  • by FreeLinux (555387) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:42PM (#7128672)
    Now, I will not even require an OS in order to contract and spread viruses and worms.

    It's only a matter of time before Microsoft's superior technology inovators develop a compression algorythm that will allow them to stuff all of Windows XP/2003 into the BIOS chip. Then they will really have a lock on the PC industry.
  • Alternative (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawkin (165588) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:44PM (#7128701)
    Say hello to Linux on PPC. Or, for that matter, some BSD flavor on PPC. Speaking of BSD, there's always the Mac OSX option.
  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:44PM (#7128703)
    I feel compelled to point out that there's nothing in the article SAYING the bios would prevent other OSes from being installed. Nor, from the description, there is no reason it would have to happen, unless it was deliberately implemented.

    MicroSoft is undoubtedly up to no good with this, but we don't need to go Chicken Little without a little more evidence...

    • Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it...
    • by rossz (67331) <ogre.geekbiker@net> on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:49PM (#7128763) Homepage Journal
      With any other company I would hold off before passing judgement. However, Microsoft's long history of abuses makes it only natural to assume they WILL implement a windows-only BIOS. I'll take this one step further. Expect a future version of Windows to REQUIRE this BIOS, giving Microsoft an even tighter lock on the market.
      • by MongooseCN (139203) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:11PM (#7128977) Homepage
        Next you're going to tell me Microsoft made something called a 'winmodem' that only worked on windows. Sheesh don't get worked up thinking so much. I just sit back and let Clippy tell me what to do.
      • by sheldon (2322)
        I'm seriously trying to remember the last time I was on slashdot, read one of the chicken little "Microsoft is going to cause the sky to fall!" stories and it turned out to be true.

        Hmm... Been reading since 1997 and can't think of a single instance.

        Looks like someone has a bad track record, and it isn't Microsoft.
    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:59PM (#7128872)
      You forget that this is Slashdot. If Microsoft does ANYTHING, no matter how good it may be, the people here will accuse them of doing it for some nefarious purpose.

      Microsoft Cures Cancer
      Posted by michael on Friday October 03, @06:38PM
      from the You-know-they're-evil-just-admit-it dept.

      Anonymous Coward writes "Microsoft researchers have discovered the cure for cancer, and MS is paying for any cancer patient's medical treatment" Micro$oft is up to their same old tricks - this time exploiting the sick and feeble to further their own agenda. Have they no shame?

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
      • by RevMike (632002) <revMike AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:30PM (#7129116) Journal
        Microsoft Cures Cancer
        Posted by michael on Friday October 03, @06:38PM
        from the You-know-they're-evil-just-admit-it dept.
        Anonymous Coward writes "Microsoft researchers have discovered the cure for cancer, and MS is paying for any cancer patient's medical treatment" Micro$oft is up to their same old tricks - this time exploiting the sick and feeble to further their own agenda. Have they no shame?
        Well, actually, Micro$oft wouldn't exactly cure cancer, they'd put it into remission for two or three years. You'd have to purchase new and "improved" treatments each time it came out of remission, in order to live for a few more years.

        Oh, and they wouldn't be paying for the initial treatments out of the goodness of their hearts, but treatment would be funded by vouchers given to victims in prior settlments of court cases against MS.

    • by kfg (145172) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:18PM (#7129028)
      Hey Honey?

      Yeah, that Dahmer character has invited us over for dinner.

      I know, I know. But that doesn't mean he's going to eat us.

      This time could be different.

      KFG
  • Apple is Different (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Balthisar (649688) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:49PM (#7128765) Homepage
    Apple has no BIOS on a chip anyware. Yes, there's Open Firmware, which is an open standard -- you're NOT locked into any type of control by Apple. You can run Linux on them. You have full control. THAT'S how it's different than Apple.

    Oh, you mean the old "Apple ROMs"? That's been ancient history for at least four years, maybe more. There's no more Mac ToolBox on ROM -- it's all loaded into memory from the hard drive.

    I am very, very concerned about this move. I run Linux on my Intel box with the current motherboard. Anyone got a good supply of fast PPC motherboards? I could do Linux that way, I guess....
  • by zeekiorage (545864) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:53PM (#7128805)

    Right at the end of the article you will notice that the users will have an option to turn off the DRM...

    Phoenix said the DRM-enabled CME was not part of Microsoft's NGSCB, but that the technology was complementary. The CME would allow PC makers to embed digital rights management directly into the hardware, though they would have the option of allowing users to turn it off.
    • by DunbarTheInept (764) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:03PM (#7128913) Homepage

      [...]
      have the option of allowing users to turn it off.

      Unless *large number* of users do this, it won't help. Because what will happen is that more and more you will find media that refuses to run unless you have it turned on, and so your choice will be to leave it turned on, or never display any media again. And no amount of explaining the situation to the public will ever work. You'll say, "This sucks because it means I have to run only approved Windows software and I don't even want to run Windows" - and people will hear "Hi, I'm into piracy." And in the battle of public opinion, you can't beat the 500 pound elephant willing to lie.
    • For a while... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sleepingsquirrel (587025) * <Greg@Buchholz.sleepingsquirrel@org> on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:51PM (#7129275) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, DRM will be optional for a while. But when 90% of users are switched over to Windows2007, then banks will start to require DRM enabled computers to do your financial transactions over the web (balance transfers, checking the mortage status, etc.). Then the Powers-That-Be(TM) will decide that in order to crack down on terrorists, all on-line banking transactions will have to use a computer with DRM (and it just so happens that all transactions will also be simulatneously logged on IRS computers). Then on-line retailers will get in the act. First the Amazon's and E-Bay's will start to require it to reduce fraud. Then the banks will stiff-arm *all* merchants to only allow credit card transactions from DRM enabled machines. Of course on-line bill paying will go the same way. And now since the majority of people have these computers, other web-site operators will start to think "What kind of 'hacker' is visiting my site without a properly 'secured' browser? And what kind of data mining can I do now that I have a guarenteed identity behind the computer that I can sell to someone else!" So as more companies start to jump on the bandwagon, Grandma complains, "Some ladies in my knitting circle can't see my blog!" So the blogging software companies have to also incorporate DRM. Finally, the only people left using non DRM computer will be linux enthusiasts and criminals/terrorists. And since these two groups are about equal in size it'll be about a 50% chance that any web-surfer using a non-DRM computer is a criminal. Finally, DRM will be mandated by law and all objectors will be (secretly) rounded up and quitely disposed of (via the Patriot VI Act). So I know that I sleep sound at night knowing that DRM is *optional*.
  • by MrCaseyB (200218) * <casey_slash AT luxedit DOT com> on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:56PM (#7128838) Homepage Journal
    Is there a definitive point in time, a single event that started this all?

    DRM this, RIAA that, MPAA my freakin head is spinning. When did DRM become so damn vital to companies like these? Was it napster that freaked everyone?

    Because of all this crap, A friends ISP got shut down because someone complained to his upstream provider that one of his users was sharing software, no warning, no proof, no due process...crazy.

    I spend $6000 on an HDTV last year that is already obsolete because it doesnt have the flavor of the month DVI copyrite protection connector. Hey man, check out this bad ass new DVD player that upconverts to 1080i, oh what you dont have DVI with HDCP, oh im sorry youre fucked. We had the 15pin RGB connector, then component video, then firewire, then DVI, then DVI with HDCP, and now we have HDMI. make up your freakin minds.

    Or how about a cd I bought that would play in my high end REGA Jupiter cd player because it had copywrite protection.

    I upgraded my video card and had to reactivate Windows XP on my workstation at work. What a pain in the a$$ I paid for the windows license.

    This shit makes physically ill to the point where I want to start firebombing some of these companies.

    I obviously blame these corporations and industry groups, but what started it all? Why are they so convinced that anyone using a computer is out to ruin them.

    Why am I being affected by all this crap, I dont fileshare, I dont rip CDs for friend, I dont steal cable. Im a somewhat honest consumer, why am I getting nailed with all this crap that really isnt going to make ANY dent in actual piracy?

    Are you listening to me Microsoft, RIAA, MPAA, Sony, Adobe, Disney and all you other fuckers. You cant stop piracy, all youre doing is driving me freakin nutts, and Im your paying customer!!!

    • by FractusMan (711004) * on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:00PM (#7129349)
      There was no specific event, no. It has been happening ever since people found ways to pirate music/software. First software, I believe. It's been getting more and more important for companies to protect their products. First came CD keys for online play. People came up with CD key generators. Why? It's not to fight back against The Man, it's cause they want free software. Copyprotection right on the CD itself. Protection emulators (www.daemontools.org, I believe, is a good one, or any other disc image emulator). Again, it's not so you can emulate your favorite CD without having to switch CDs. The main purpose is so you can have a virtual CD of a game/program you may or may not own. It's an unspoken truth. The same with those game cracks you'll download. In the .nfo files, that little disclaimer that makes the software pirates seem like reasonable guys by saying "Buy the software! We did!" Yeah, and then you gave it away for free along with detailed instructions on how to make sure this illegal copy works. Great way to support the developers. More protections came up, more people helped crack them. I mean, there are good crackers and there are bad crackers. Good crackers are like Ritz and President's Choice. Bad crackers are those guys who make it harder for software creators of any sort to make money. So, it seems a pretty natural progression from my point of view. The "Man" is saying, "Okay, you want to play hardball, we'll play hardball." Bang, DRM comes into play. The same as always, it's the few ruining it for the many. Of course, it's not all one sided. Bad business practices, muscle flexing of niche markets, unneccesary distrust of the public... They're all factors too. But do NOT fool yourself into thinking DRM was purely some kind of evil scheme to Get Your Money.
      • RANT... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by qtp (461286)
        do NOT fool yourself into thinking DRM was purely some kind of evil scheme to Get Your Money.

        I agree that it did not start there, but it has rapidly become obvious that it now is more about getting all of the money (yours, mine, everyone elses).

        Regional encoding does not stop piracy, neither does encrypting DVDs. People just copy them with the encryption entact and they play on your regular DVD player. The "regional" thing is about wanting to control who sells DVD decryption tech along with the players
      • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday October 04, 2003 @02:00AM (#7130908) Homepage
        First software, I believe. It's been getting more and more important for companies to protect their products. First came CD keys for online play. People came up with CD key generators.

        Uh first came online CD keys? Try again. Floppys with bad sectors (King's Quest anyone), hardware dongles, serial numbers, sheets printed in unreasonable colors, I've got a full binder of stuff you needed to run a game in the old days. In fact, the scaling back to a simple CD key is because they finally figured out it wasn't effective and it pissed off your legitimate customers.

        I use Daemon Tools also on my own, legitimately purchased CDs. If necessary I get the required crack so I don't have to look for the damn CD (if you knew my room, you wouldn't question why). Personally I see it as the last left-over of a time past. True central online services like MMORPGs or the UT2003 central server require CD keys, but for those I consider it part of the ToS for connecting to them, not a copy protection, at least not an effective one.

        I recently went back to Windows 2000 from XP. Why? Because when I copied my XP installation from my 120GB disk to my new 160GB disk, XP freaked totally and mentally. Couldn't get to a reactivation screen, nothing. Wouldn't allow me to install over either, just wierd errors. I can pretty safely say, it'll be a cold day in hell before XP or any future XP-line OS ends up on my disk ever again. By the time Windows 2000 is EoL'd, it'll be Linux. Tried using the Red Hat server in the corner as desktop, now if only I didn't miss my Windows apps that much...

        Morale is: Pirates will manage to pirate it. Do not piss off your customers in the futile process.

        Kjella
    • by buckminster (170559) on Friday October 03, 2003 @09:08PM (#7129672) Homepage
      Let me get this straight, you've got the money to drop $6k on a HDTV and now you're in the mood to start firebombing companies?

      Ladies and gentlemen, the revolution has begun.

      • Well wouldn't you if you had just spent $6k on a TV that's not compatable anymore?

        That's why I won't be buying into HDTV anytime soon.

        HDTV and the legislation that needlessly forced it onto an uninterested public is the biggest scam in the past 25 years. All of those companies are "advised" our government on HDTV 20 years ago are a bunch of criminals. Of course nobody goes to jail for white-collar crime. Download an MP3 on the other hand...
      • ...and now you're in the mood to start firebombing companies?
        Isn't it ironic that Slashdot just posted information on building your own mortar [slashdot.org]?
  • by TheRealStyro (233246) on Friday October 03, 2003 @06:56PM (#7128843) Homepage
    For DRM to have any measure of success, both hardware and software must be closely joined. A software only DRM solution will fail due to the ability to take the storage media to another software (OS). A hardware DRM solution would work, but updating for new file formats would allow a back-door for hackers.

    Taking over the BIOS should be just one step toward implementing a total DRM solution. The next step is securing storage media - maybe a 'smart' drive that handles file interaction for the OS and whose internals are hidden (for example - OS/user doesn't need to know/control format on drive).
  • Some thoughts... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jugalator (259273) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:03PM (#7128910) Journal
    "The BIOS would also allow better control of unauthorised devices connected to a system, Microsoft said."

    Why is a protection against "unauthorized devices" suddenly necessary on BIOS-level? Has anyone even been victim of a device that should really have been "unauthorized" (whatever that means in this case) that has been connected to a PC? It sounds like they're talking about hardware, and that's what's puzzling me. Are Microsoft telling us that future devices might be set as "unauthorized" because they don't fulfill Microsoft's demands and standards for an authorized device, or what?

    Are Microsoft's customers saying "we should be able to protect ourself against unauthorized hardware" (I'm not hearing anyone), or are Microsoft just trying to shove a new feature down their throats because they need it for their plans?

    "Phoenix's Core System Software (CSS) is a next-generation BIOS with a more sophisticated integration of operating system and hardware, for example making it easier for system administrators to remotely monitor the hardware configurations of their systems."

    As with all computer software, complexity increases the chance of bugs and often also security exploits. How can Microsoft and Phoenix assure these "enhancements" to the BIOS don't do this? They can't? Well, then we might have an interesting future with really messy exploits ahead (with potential for viruses to gain direct hardware access and control), and also BIOS crashes due to the added complexity.
    • Unauthorized Devices (Score:3, Informative)

      by cyberformer (257332)
      Unauthorized devices means two different things:

      1. Hardware that isn't approved by Microsoft. A Lexmark printer is currently "protected" against third-party ink cartridges by an encryption scheme (which, in the US, is in turn protected by the DMCA). This will allow Microsoft to do the same with every component in a PC. You won't actually need to buy all your hardware from Microsoft, of course, but hardware manufacturers will need to obtain MS's (expensive) authorization. To prevent a backlash against a hug
    • Perhaps they want to stop things like this program [highcriteria.com] that installs a VxD audio recorder. It installs itself as a sound card makes all the DRM you have useless.

      Load encrypted file, Verify Rights, Decrypt Audio Stream, send result to sound card which saves it straight to Wav, MP3 or Ogg. Thank you very much.

      Actually this is why I bought it. I consider it a very nice audio conversion program that works with all formats. Better then SoX [sf.net]!
  • by BladeMelbourne (518866) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:04PM (#7128914)
    The BORG are coming!

    Your BIOS will be assimilated. Resistance is futile!

    Next Microsoft will be selling cube shaped PCs with eerie green lights illuminating it. We must stop the collective from growing.

  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:19PM (#7129032)
    I can hear it now. On trying to install Linux, "I'm sorry Dave, but I can't let you do that"
  • by Junta (36770) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:21PM (#7129048)
    Maybe a few years ago, this would be frightening, but as it stands, it is far too late to fear the PC industry being locked into Windows. Even if you think the home user base is unimportant, IBM, Dell, HPaq, Sun, Racksaver, and others have a significant investment in Linux in particular, and even if MS managed to get all the current independent motherboard companies on board for this, most any of those players would easily overcome it to keep the Linux revenue stream going.

    You have Clustering, server farms, web hosting, and a not so insignificant workstation and desktop market that is heavily leaning in the direction of linux (dominating the first three, and making very serious inroads into workstations and power user desktops). That's a whole lot of revenue for the likes of the big companies to just shrug and give up at Microsoft's whim.
  • by LesPaul75 (571752) on Friday October 03, 2003 @07:41PM (#7129189) Journal
    Here it is!

    F000:E05B call check_for_linux
    F000:E061 jc do_error_beep_and_halt
    F000:E063 nop
    F000:E064 nop
    F000:E065 nop
    F000:E066 int 19
    All kidding aside... I write BIOS code for a living, and this scares the crap out of me. What Microsoft wants is to basically eliminate the BIOS, except for the jump to the OS code (the "int 19" above). Windows already does just about everything that we do in the BIOS, like PCI device enumeration, etc...

    No doubt, this would make Microsoft's life a lot more simple, but I think it would give them too much control -- way too much. DRM would just be the start of it.

    I wonder what the EFI proponents (Intel) think about this deal...
  • by TyrranzzX (617713) on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:02PM (#7129365) Journal
    I'm a PC maker, MS comes to me with deals.

    ***MS gives a discount if they only install Windows on all their machines and refuses to sell any without OS's on them** Ok, I can deal with that, there aren't any alternatives right now and if they come up in the future, we can always renegotiate.

    (Competition is completly decimated as all the large manufacturers do this)

    *Bigger discount if you don't include the CD or documentation.* Sounds good to me.

    (More money for redmond.)

    *We'll also give you a discount on microsoft brand keyboards and mice which you can rebrand and we'll sell them to you for cheaper than you normally make them. We'll also give you a great discount on office if you promise not to carry anything else* Sounds good.

    (Gets your company locked into microsoft products even more.)

    *All of your machines require this BIOS in order to run windows, we'll give you another discount if you install them.* Sure, I can go with that, more money for me, w00p. I can always pull out of the agreement later.

    (More lockin to windows products, now you've got to change your company somewhat in order to throw them in. At first it's inexpensive, they give a discount, and after a year or 3, they jack up the prices)

    *Windows now requires that you use these cheap, fritz chipped celeron processors.* Sure, I spose I can since all my stuff is based off of windows anyway and at this point changing my company will cost millions.

    (Microsoft now implements DRM on computers and a lot of bullshit like changing the hardware config requires a call-in to microsoft, opening your files from a different OS is more difficult, etc.)

    *Windows will only work with windows-based chipsets, which only we sell and lisence now, they're cheaper than other motherboards.* Er..ok...sure I guess. Makes sense, and the corperate people like it so ok.

    (At this point, microsoft will eliminate the motherboard market, giving them control over everything prettymuch. Processers can be dealt with, but motherboards can't. They at this point start eliminating manufacturers 1 by 1, accusing them of bogus bullshit and infringing on their patents on the motherboards now proprietary buses)

    *The motherboards can now only run microsoft parts in a microsoft case. You need to buy microsoft parts and microsoft cases, but unfortunatly, they'll cost you 5 times as much as it costs us.) Fsck...where's linux? Where's unlocked fritz'd processors? Motherboard manufacturers? Help meee...

    (Microsoft now has complete control over the PC market. And since they have so much more control, they become even more powerful and eventually take control over world goverments since windows is running on everything. They use blackops to take over the goverment using nazi-like tactics, accept they just assassinate anyone who they don't like and twist the media their own uses)

    Hackers, at this point, being driven far underground and forced to be a very militant breed (think gattica), exploit bugs in the now somewhat secure Microsoft windows systems which are a modified version of linux in order to eat and live and help their communities. The roaming poor people, unable to find food or shelter and thrown out into the streets because all of the manufacturing and distrobution is done by robots and machines(Think of all the chain stores becoming automated), turn to these hackers for help and education. The black market thrives throughout an underground wireless network which uses wireless devices long ago banned by the goverment. Hackers are persecuted as is thought crime.

    The normal people live as slaves in archeologies and are never allowed to go outside but are terrified of all the violent evil people who regularily kill cops and hurt people, a war is regularily burning overseas with china or some other distant country. In 2-3 generations, the archeologies have become full of loyal sheep, while the hackers have become extremly hard
  • Come on, guys.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PetiePooo (606423) on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:03PM (#7129375)
    If Windows can run faster and have better control over the hardware with this BIOS, then Linux can as well.

    Come on, guys.. this is Slashdot! Are you forgetting that a very large pool of very bright individuals read this forum? Phoenix will release the specs for this new BIOS, the kernel hackers will develop a patch to support it, and before you know it, the same benefits that Windows O/Ss gain from it will be found in Linux as well. Minus the DRM, of course.. although I wouldn't be surprised to see that as a patch either.

    If MS can benefit from this, so can Linux. The only way that wouldn't be true is if the specs are not public, or are licensed under a RAND license that precludes OSS participation and nobody wants to foot the bill on our behalf. Or if Phoenix tries a DMCA ploy of some sort. I can't picture them charging a license fee for using it when they can more easily enforce an outright fee for the supporting MB installation. Even so, I wouldn't be surprised to see it reverse engineered. Look at WinModems and their rise of functionality under Linux..

    ---
    er.. um.. excuse me. I meant GNU/Linux.
    • Re:Come on, guys.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tony (765) on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:10PM (#7129401) Journal
      Look at WinModems and their rise of functionality under Linux..

      Excellent example. Look how long it took Linux to provide even rudimentary support for WinModems. There are still patent issues surrounding WinModem drivers. If even one part of this deal includes patented "technology," Linux will be locked out.

      This *is* a dire issue, one that will require intense scrutiny. MS desires complete control of everyone's computing; this is clear both from statements made in the past, and actions leading into the future. If there isn't active and vigorous opposition, they will get everything they want.

      At the moment, they are looking at methods of locking Linux out. In the past, they have tried hidden, proprietary software, marketting, and outright lies (which is, I guess, marketting); as this hasn't been too successful, they *will* try to lock Linux out using legal means. (That is, patents.)
  • by KC7GR (473279) on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:11PM (#7129415) Homepage Journal
    There's also AMI. [megatrends.com] Also, I really have to wonder if machines with locked-in BIOS sets are going to suffer the same fate as DIVX discs, Microsoft's "Bob," and all the other weird ideas that litter the technology graveyards.

    Speaking for myself, I can say with confidence that I would NEVER, under ANY conditions, buy a system that's been locked up as the article describes. I will NOT tolerate some megalomaniacal company telling me what OS I can or cannot run on a system that I buy/own.

    The good news is that a move like this could certainly be a shot in the arm for the used computer industry, considering all the systems that are pre-DRM/pre-BIOS insanity/etc.

  • Your honor, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SlimFastForYou (578183) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .namelosnok.> on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:12PM (#7129416) Journal
    Microsoft is clearly not a monopoly on the PC market. Why, what... with compeditors like....... err

  • DMCA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlimFastForYou (578183) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .namelosnok.> on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:21PM (#7129463) Journal
    I can see all the thick-skulled cops now..

    "Sonny, you clearly circumvented technological security mechanisms by using illegal software (MS didn't give it a run-license) to install Linux. You clearly broke the law and now it's federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison for you. Don't drop the soap, sucker! I despise scum like you."

    I hope people will keep in mind what legislation of technology does when they whine to their congressmen about spam. When you beg the government to make certain emails illegal, they have to define "illegal email". Now are you sure you would like the US Congress to define "illegal email" _for you_?
  • by Bruha (412869) on Friday October 03, 2003 @08:22PM (#7129465) Homepage Journal
    "Microsoft said integration should mean simpler and more reliable computers."

    I cant believe in the face of every virus MS has been responsible for spreading or allowing to spread due to crappy code they think a BIOS with MS system calls in it wont be a problem.

    I can see the next ms.blaster worm that wipes your bios requireing you to replace the ROM.
    • I can see the next ms.blaster worm that wipes your bios requireing you to replace the ROM

      This has already happened [stiller.com]!

      Thankfully the person it happened to had two machines with the exact same ABit motherboard. He took out the BIOS from the good machine, used it to boot the dead one. Once it was running he put the bad BIOS back and re-flashed it.

      I didn't think it would work, but the machine is going great now. Well, until the capacitors starting blowing up ... but that's another story ... :)

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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