Fedora is shelling out $99 on Red Hat Fedora users' behalf to run the OS on Windows 8-certified computers to bypass Microsoft's new UEFI Secure Boot feature, according to Red Hat Linux developer Matthew Garrett. That, he said, is the best compromise the company could devise to ensure users could easily load Fedora on new PCs without giving itself an unfair edge over less-influential Linux vendors.
Red Hat's plans, as outlined in Garrett's personal blog, have generated considerable ire from members of the Linux community. In response to Garrett's post, critics have accused Red Hat of "selling out" to Microsoft in paying to access the company's signing service to allow users to run Fedora.
UEFI, which Microsoft touts as a more secure alternative to BIOS, requires an OS to furnish a digital key before it's loaded by the machine. UEFI blocks the operations of any programs or drivers unless they've been signed by the key, thus preventing malware from changing the boot-loading process. Microsoft is requiring hardware vendors to enable secure boot on any Windows 8-certified machine, which means each system will come preloaded with the necessary key to let the OS safely boot.
Garrett garnered fame back in September 2011 when he accused Microsoft of using its next-generation computing boot-loading technology to lock Linux and other OSes out of Windows 8-certified machines. But according to Garrett, Red Hat had limited alternatives in providing a way for users to boot Fedora on Windows 8 machines.
Option one was to produce a Fedora-specific key and encourage hardware vendors to incorporate it. Red Hat turned down this approach for two reasons, according to Garrett: First, the company determined "there was no realistic chance we could get all of them to carry it. That would mean going back to the bad old days of scouring compatibility lists before buying hardware, and that's fundamentally user-hostile," he wrote.