While it’s not surprising, it is disappointing that Microsoft has officially announced that ARM devices running Windows 8 will have locked bootloaders preventing anything but Windows 8 from being run on said devices.
This is especially irritating for would-be WoA (Windows on ARM) device hackers since the general hardware certification requirements for Windows 8 devices outlines a custom secure boot mode via UEFI that allows developers to enable alternative operating systems. But this custom secure boot mode is forbidden on WoA devices:
On an ARM system, it is forbidden to enable Custom Mode. Only Standard Mode may be enable.
Disabling Secure [Boot] MUST NOT be possible on ARM systems.
This is nothing new, however. Many smartphone and tablets have locked bootloaders, some of which have been successfully unlocked by the hacking community. It’s just an extra layer of security that needs to be addressed, if hackers want to “liberate” the WoA devices. It’s just frustrating when the restriction only applies to WoA devices, even though Microsoft does claim that, ”Microsoft’s philosophy is to provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves.” Hackers reading between the lines don’t see this the same way Microsoft does.