Earlier this month, Red Hat revealed how it will allow its Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora OS builds to run on a Windows 8 x86-based PC with Microsoft's Secure Boot system. According to Red Hat, "Microsoft will provide keys for Windows and Red Hat will provide keys for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora. Similarly other distributions can participate at a nominal cost of $99 USD - allowing them to register their own keys for distribution to system firmware vendors."
It was a solution that even received support from Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. Now another Linux OS company, Canonical, has revealed its own plans to offer the Ubuntu Linux system so it can run on Windows 8 on a dual boot system.
PCWorld.com reports that Canonical has published a set of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) requirements for PC makers. In a post on the Ubuntu website, team member Steve Langasek stated, " ... we've generated an Ubuntu signing key for use with UEFI. The private half of this key will be stored securely on our Launchpad infrastructure, which will be responsible for signing boot loader images and distributing them in the Ubuntu archive."
Unlike Red Hat, Canonical won't offer a signing service for Ubuntu Linux. In his own blog post, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth stated, "We've been working to provide an alternative to the Microsoft key, so that the entire free software ecosystem is not dependent on Microsoft's goodwill for access to modern PC hardware."
He ended his post with a bit of a slam against the Secure Boot concept, saying, "Secure Boot retains flaws in its design that will ultimately mandate that Microsoft's key is on every PC (because of core UEFI driver signing). That, and the inability of Secure Boot to support multiple signatures on critical elements means that options are limited but we continue to seek a better result."