Two Ubuntu Linux versions can now work with Secure Boot

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After many months of painstaking effort, the problems caused by Microsoft's Windows 8 “Secure Boot” technology are finally being solved for Linux users.

We've already seen major distribution updates such as Fedora 18 include technology to enable booting on Windows 8 Secure Boot hardware, but only last week—after considerable delay—did the Linux Foundation release its Linux Foundation Secure Boot System, a Microsoft-signed mini bootloader for making that possible across the board.

Now, the capability is quickly spreading, and Ubuntu 12.04 Long Term Support (LTS)—a popular choice among business users—is the latest distro release to gain Secure Boot support.

Multiple problems fixed

As a quick recap, the cause of all this extra work is the fact that Windows 8 hardware comes with Secure Boot enabled in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), meaning that only operating systems with an appropriate digital signature will be able to boot.

Early on, Ubuntu, Fedora, and SUSE Linux began making plans for working around the problem, which has also drawn attention from the Free Software Foundation.

Ubuntu 12.10 “Quantal Quetzal” was the first release of Canonical's popular distribution to include a workaround for Secure Boot, but now—with the release yesterday of Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS—the “Precise Pangolin” Long Term Support version popular with business users has gained Secure Boot support as well.

“To help support a broader range of hardware, the 12.04.2 release adds an updated kernel and X stack for new installations on x86 architectures, and matches the ability of 12.10 to install on systems using UEFI firmware with Secure Boot enabled,” the official release announcement explains.

Based on the extended upstream stable release of the Linux kernel, the software also includes the workaround designed to help prevent the bricking problem that has been uncovered in some Samsung laptops.

Support through 2017

Offered with support through April 2017, Ubuntu Linux 12.04.2 is now available as a free download from the project site.

Users of Ubuntu 10.04 and 11.10 will be offered an automatic upgrade to 12.04.2 via the software's included Update Manager, but more upgrade details are available online.

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