Linux on a Microsoft Surface is highly unlikely

The Open Sauce community apparently licked its collective lips when Microsoft put out its Surface tablet.

The theory was that while the Surface was built by the hated enema of all Open Saucers it was based around the ARM chip. Therefore it should be easy to free from its closed source shackles and install with Linux goodness.

If they succeeded, then there would be an attractive bit of hardware running Linux.

According to Linux expert Matthew Garrett, the problem was that the Surface had locked-down firmware that will only run signed binaries. Normally ARM chips do not have it, and it was run  using an existing standard (UEFI Secure Boot).

Writing in his bog, Vole provides a signing service for UEFI binaries, the thought was that all you need to do to get around this restriction would be to take the existing Linux bootloader, signing it and then booting.

However, it appears that Microsoft already thought of that one. Vole’s signing service signs binaries using a different key to the one used to sign Windows, and the Surface doesn’t carry that key.

To get Linux to run on the Surface, a developer would have to find a flaw in the firmware and using that to run arbitrary code.

This should cause the same problems with x86, Garrett wrote, but Microsoft does not enforce it mostly because it would mean that any third party expansion hardware will then fail. With x86 PCIe or Expresscard slots need to have this key.

It seems that Open Saucers are a bit shocked by the fact that Microsoft has done its closed source walled garden of delights rather well with the Surface.