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Implications of hardware constraints within upcoming Windows 11 on Linux usage and adoption.
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g000h 1 Jul
I've been noticing various news stories and youtube videos talking about the new Windows 11 developer preview, and how it stipulates certain CPU models, having a working TPM unit, and Secure Boot enabled on your motherboard.

Some of the technical journalists have already manipulated the Windows 11 preview, so that it will install and work on older hardware, with non-working TPM, without Secure-Boot, and even work on Legacy boot mode (rather the UEFI). It appears that TPM and the other requirements are actually things that *Microsoft* wants to be activated, even if they aren't actually necessary for the operating system to work.

Microsoft usually does things like this, for the purpose of benefiting themselves. When Windows 10 came out, Microsoft were pushing for Secure-Boot on all new computer motherboards which was somewhat detrimental to Linux (at that time). The Linux community managed to turn it around though, and now many Linux distributions will happily install onto Secure-Boot hardware.

With TPM (Trusted Platform Module) acting as a microcontroller for performing cryptographic operations, I am wondering what implications there might be for Linux. Here's a few thoughts of my own:

- TPM can be used by the OS as an unique identifier for a computer, and so it can be used with the Windows' data telemetry to follow the hardware around (even if the OS gets wiped and reinstalled).

- Insistence on TPM, etc will stop older computers from installing or "upgrading" to Windows 11. This will force people to either seek an alternative OS (could be good for Linux) for that machine, or ditch that machine and buy a new one.

- TPM could be used for driver and software signing, and could potentially lock-down Windows more than it is now. By locking down, I mean that the current 'freedoms' that people enjoy today could be more limited with future Windows.

Does anyone have more thoughts on this? Will this be good or bad for Linux?
damarrin 1 Jul
It all matters not a whit. Those who can’t upgrade will stay on win10 or buy new hardware.
Sigbjorn 2 Jul
Among Windows users, I believe the vast majority of them don't care or are even aware of those things. And among the few who complain, the vast majority of them will keep using Windows. I've heard people complain about Windows for more than two decades now and they still use it, whatever their reasons. Some might even be good reasons!

So, like @damarrin above, I don't think it will change anything. But I'd be glad to be wrong.
yeah I mean sometimes I wonder is it the DIY build-your-own-PC market that big? I know it is big, but how many computers do hardware stores like Dell, Compaq, Lenovo, IBM, etc, sell? I think those vendors might even dwarf the DIY market because remember that they have contracts with the public and militar sector?. So TPM will be forced down the throat of windows users nothing will change.
Also remember that before the pandemic the desktop Pc market was in decline, and the laptop/notebook market was getting bigger.
What I mean it that majority of people won't disable those things in the bios.

otoh I remember that the intel classmates had a TPM module, the government here bought millons for students. It totally makes sense in the case of the public sector since they can track down if a PC has been stolen from the government and they can completely disable it, not just windows but they can hardware lock the BIOS so it doesn't boot up anymore.

Also I think that TPM is totally not supported by the likes of coreboot right?

Also I'm a bit confused why are they saying that they won't support Ryzen 1 for example? I thought that the TPM module was a chip on the motherboard like the Nuvoton, not embedded into the CPU.

Last edited by The_Aquabat on 2 July 2021 at 9:48 am UTC
Quoting: g000hto follow the hardware around (even if the OS gets wiped and reinstalled).

they don't need TPM to do that, they already do that I know because now windows licenses are tied to your hardware ID's and modifying your PC hardware can sometimes invalidate your license... It happened to me with windows 7. I had to call MS to revalidate the license and explain them what I was doing.
g000h 2 Jul
Quoting: The_Aquabat
Quoting: g000hto follow the hardware around (even if the OS gets wiped and reinstalled).

they don't need TPM to do that, they already do that I know because now windows licenses are tied to your hardware ID's and modifying your PC hardware can sometimes invalidate your license... It happened to me with windows 7. I had to call MS to revalidate the license and explain them what I was doing.

Well, the fact that you change a piece of hardware in the machine and Windows thinks that you've copied/moved the OS to a new machine suggests to me that the existing hardware identification is somewhat flawed. For instance, if you update the firmware on a PC motherboard it could think you've changed the motherboard. The TPM identity is a bit more fixed-in-stone.

I was more interested in potential upsides and downsides of the new requirements (TPM, etc) going forwards and how that is likely to affect Linux into the future. For instance would having TPM, Secure-Boot and UEFI forced onto every future motherboard (i.e. no Legacy Boot being available) cause issues for Linux distributions? Would it prevent individuals from being able to roll their own Linux?

I was a little surprised that Microsoft is already announcing end of life for Windows 10, sometime in October 2025. There isn't long for these changes to begin affecting us.

Last edited by g000h on 2 July 2021 at 1:07 pm UTC
I'm sure there will be ways to use this hardware on Linux. TPM has existed for years now it is not new... And let's not forget that mayority of servers run Linux. AFAIK secureboot was only a problem in some surface laptops and a handful others very few·
kaiman 2 Jul
Quoting: g000hI was more interested in potential upsides and downsides of the new requirements (TPM, etc) going forwards and how that is likely to affect Linux into the future.

I was more under the impression that the TPM was a requirement for OEMs that want to pre-install Windows 11 and not so much one for upgrading/installing Windows 11 on your own old hardware. Same with the CPU requirements. So I don't think it will have a great effect in the near future.

I hope I'm not wrong, because the last thing I need right now is all these Windows users rushing out to buy new hardware to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

Whatever the truth may be, I don't think it will affect Linux in a big way. Those happy with Windows 10 will likely be happy with Windows 11 too, if not more so. Those stuck with Windows for some reason or other will continue to be stuck. And if I were to get new hardware now it will sport some extra tiny bits of silicon (though I think TPMs are pretty standard already) that may or may not have a useful application under Linux.
Liam Dawe 2 Jul
Well, for us it means not much. Linux won't and doesn't require it and it's not something that will actually change things for us. Not even remotely worried about it, don't care really.

For Windows users, a lot will complain and stick to Windows 10. I don't believe it will actually do anything for Linux. You might see a few switch over but it will be in small numbers.
razing32 3 Jul
Quoting: Liam DaweWell, for us it means not much. Linux won't and doesn't require it and it's not something that will actually change things for us. Not even remotely worried about it, don't care really.

For Windows users, a lot will complain and stick to Windows 10. I don't believe it will actually do anything for Linux. You might see a few switch over but it will be in small numbers.

Those small numbers are how i got here.
Switched over when i saw the telemetry driven abomination that was Win 10
dvd 3 Jul
Quoting: Liam DaweWell, for us it means not much. Linux won't and doesn't require it and it's not something that will actually change things for us. Not even remotely worried about it, don't care really.

For Windows users, a lot will complain and stick to Windows 10. I don't believe it will actually do anything for Linux. You might see a few switch over but it will be in small numbers.

I have similar experience. Several of my relatives have installed linux on their older/newer machines. The trend with the problems is that they have some kind of issue with windows or how it works at least once a month. The only issues they had on linux is getting some of those big multifunction printer/scanner/fax devices working. Even with those the last HP device i installed for them was smooth sailing and didn't break on OS updates. But they still use Windows even in cases where their games and their browser experience is superior on the other OS. I think it will take linux coming preinstalled in a good chunk of computers and a good number of years before adoption can take off to double digits. And of course community effort, since that's all random people can do to drive it.
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