Since the first release of Fedora, users took pride in escaping the clutches of Microsoft and having more control over their operating system. There has always been a cult following of programmers and community members that enjoyed the freedom that Fedora allowed. However, that is changing as Fedora will be obtaining a digital signature from Microsoft.
What is the Digital Signature For?
The next generation of computing hardware uses Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, which requires a digital key from the operating system in order to run. This means in order for an operating system to be run on hardware that is using UEFI, which is growing in popularity among manufacturers, a digital key must be provided during boot or the OS won’t be allowed to boot on the hardware.
For freely distributed operating systems like Fedora, this creates a problem. As Fedora is an open source operating system, downloadable and installable by anyone, there is no digital signature. More advanced Fedora users are able to ignore the request for a digital signature by altering the firmware settings, however, Fedora has spent the past decade creating distributions that are intended for less knowledgeable users. Ignoring the signature would prohibit the common users from being able to use Fedora operating systems easily.
The Deal with Microsoft:
Even though Linux looked at other options for creating a work around, none of them were sufficient. The fix would either slow down the boot process, cost too much to purchase their own keys, or take too much time and money to produce their own keys. This would render smaller distributions useless as the cost would be too much for them to cover.
The logical and most cost effective solution is to pay Microsoft to sign binary release of their distribution. It will cost $99 per release of Fedora for the digital signature by Microsoft. As Fedora releases only twice a year, $200 is a lot less than the millions of dollars it would cost to purchase or produce their own signatures.
This will allow Fedora to create a bootloader that will give the digital signature to the firmware, and allow the standard bootloader to take over and boot the operating system. This will all happen seamlessly and the boot time will only be slightly delayed. This was the only acceptable option for Fedoras release of Fedora 18, set to release in November.
As security tightens on computer hardware, open-source operating systems like Fedora will be met with hurdles. Fedora will continue to jump the hurdles and find the best solution to allow Linux users the same quality and control they have counted on for years.
Author Bio:- Jeremy Thompson is a writer and open-source supporter who suggests you Download Fedora if you are looking for a free feature rich OS.