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It's pretty simple. If you buy a retail, consumer PC with Windows 8 from any vendor, not just HP, you're pretty much stuck with Windows 8. Moral of the story: Unless Windows 8 is really what you want--God knows why--don't buy PCs with Windows 8. 
If you buy a Windows 8-powered HP consumer PC, or from any other PC vendor, you'll get no help from them if you decide you'd rather have Windows 7. And Linux? Forget about it!
Dan Ramos's profile photoAndrew Palm's profile photoLuis Felipe Abad Guzmán's profile photoJim Gorman's profile photo
And when has this NOT been true, with any PC?
You don't think the virus writers will figure out how to defeat this in about 5 minutes?

Look for Windows XP (bootleg version) as an instant install over the Internet.  The Chinese and Russians probably are already ready for it.
+Lee Keels Installing Linux is easy with a Win 7 PC. Looks like at least Ubuntu and Fedora will be installable on Win 8 machines.
+R. Scott Kimsey The others are working on it. SUSE will probably adopt the Fedora shim approach. I presume Mint and the other Ubuntu-based offerings will follow Canonical's lead.  I should really check in with everyone and see where the various distros are. 
+Steven Vaughan-Nichols Dilemma for me. I actually like Win 8 better than Win 7, but on my laptop I only use it for Netflix and a little bit of work. My preferred Linux distros are not Ubuntu or Fedora, so the question is whether I want to be limited to those two. I really don't! 

EDIT: Ah...thanks for the additional info. I'll keep an eye on your column as things progress.
I don't give two craps about Linux, and who cares about "support" from the manufacturer.  The real issue is Windows 7 drivers for hardware that shipped with Windows 8.
It will be no less a mess than it has been in the past.   The hardware makers contract out with fly-by-night companies to produce these drivers and they have very little interest in supporting customers from two or more years ago.

That's why some of us hate Windows (and IOS for that matter).   It's a treadmill.   And you are on it.  Keep buying stuff, or get off.
So ironically ... it will be easier to put Linux on Mac's now??? :-))
I am very disappointed with HP. It seems that HP isn't giving its customers the option of manually disabling UEFI. 

Seriously, I did not expect that a big corporation like HP had refused to be a leader and, instead, had become a follower of Microsoft and its Linux harassing practices.

Currently I am using a HP Pavilion PC that runs Ubuntu Linux, and I am happy with that combination. However, if HP keeps on harassing Linux users I will look for another PC maker.

Given the currently HP is struggling to not becoming an irrelevant player, I wonder why it is making new enemies. Hey, Ms. Whitman, don't you see that HP has already enough troubles? HP, Ms. Whitman, it is not only the next PC that I will buy and use at home. It might be also next hardware - desktop and laptop computers, servers, printers... - that my employer can buy; maybe, HP, you don't realize that we, the IT guys, have some influence on purchase decisions and that, in fact, sometimes we are directly asked about what to buy.
you should care about Linux +Lee Keels if you use the internet your using LINUX!
+Diego Alberto Arias Prado Are some manufacturers going to give the option to disable SecureBoot in the BIOS? Seems like that might be an answer, then. Go with those manufacturers.
+Brian Hunt I use a toilet too, but I know nothing of plumbing and have no need to.
+Lee Keels And now imagine that the flush handle is locked? You can't use it the way you want because the manufacturer has completely other ideas on how to use that flush handle than you. Wouldn't you then all of a sudden be interested to learn how to replace that stupid handle so the toilet flushes the way you want...? Bingo, there you go.
I use Linux and can plumb.  It is a nice diversion from IT.  +Lee Keels   I think the issue now is who owns the PC you paid for.  Its like Home Depot has a key from the toilet manufacturer to open the lid.  If they think you are flushing too often, they limit the number of times you can access it daily.

If you don't think that can happen with a computer with "secure boot", places like South Korea limit the time computer games can be available.
+R. Scott Kimsey Well, Microsoft says that a computer with the option to disable SecureBoot in the BIOS is acceptable. However, Microsoft can discretionally refuse to sell Windows OS licenceses to any particular computer manufacturer. The implications are damn obvious.
Yeeiii let's all embrace as much ignorance as possible like +Lee Keels! I know notin' bout notin' and I don't need to
Go one better don't buy any PC that is certified for Windows 8. No need. Any machine runs an operating system. There is no need to support a restricted boot machine. That will make this issue go away fast or put pc makers who cave to a monopolist out of business. 
+Steven Vaughan-Nichols: you're suggesting Linux is blocked on account of UEFI?  When there are keys available from, as I recall, Red Hat, SuSE, Cannonical, and the Linux Foundation itself?  I haven't played with this on certified hardware, but suspect that this should be a surmountable problem.

OTOH: it would be a phenomenal message to the hardware vendors if consumers returned devices in droves on account of hassles.  I'd strongly applaud this.
+Lee Keels And when all the toilet companies impose restrictions on how many times you can flush? 
Don't forget to add that if you buy a device with Windows 8, that most of the "apps" that ship with it, are advertising supported.  Yes, ads in your apps that you paid for!

Think about that.  Would you like to check your stocks for the day, & see an ad for...oh...I don't know...Summer's Eve??  0_o
or u can just chand the os...duh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Vendors never provided help with Linux anyway! Fortunately, there's an abundance of help found elsewhere...
yeah its called the internet/google... i wish there were more features to duckduckgo
BS. aside from UEFI secure boot things are the same now. you have to restore it to windows 7 even if you installed linux to get support. there will still be drivers for win7 as they are still selling the win7 mashicne. additionally here they also sell SUSE preloaded maschine (you can buy just one if you want to) and Ubuntu will also be on some. i don't need so much software support from them (appart for their tools) than i need hardware&spares. and their waranty is usually short anyway. bottom line i do not see much difference to current state and it does seem logical to me that if computer came preloaded with win8 that they suport win8. don't want win8? buy one with no-os installed or with linux preinstalled.
i dont think the fuckin tards or vendors even know what linux is
thank u gregor..i know wallmart was selling laptops with ubuntu on them. thats y computers are so expensive cuz of the damn os/windows.
Will H
Thanks for spreading the word. Many dont realize the bios is locked to Windows 8.
Why is this a surprise though? Linux and FreeBSD work perfectly on my MacBook Pro as well, but what do you think they'd say at an Apple Store if I asked them to install it for me?

I guess that's why we have small independent consultants, vendors and OEMs like System76 to fill that role.
I haven't been following what's been happening with BIOS for some years now. +Will H , do you mean the BIOS is literally locked in some cryptographic way to boot nothing but Windows 8? +Gregor Gorjan , is that what you meant by UEFI secure boot, and is that new to machines shipped with Windows 8?
OEMs wanted tablets that Couldn't run windows so they used ARM chips. Microsoft may lose market share of PCs if they try to lock out Linux. Disk drives are cheap. Usb3 drives can be booted...
When mom calls and says her computer is trying to sell her Viagra again, explain politely to her that HP sold her her a PC that is set up for Microsoft's latest dazzling offering, and she needs to talk to New Delhi. You are only able to support computers that will boot from a rescue Linux disk.

Give her the email contact for HP, and tell her to let them have it with both barrels.

Then, offer to build her a system from scratch with the aid of Tigerdirect and their bare-bones offerings.

+Edward Morbius I'm suggesting that, thanks to UEFI, it's now harder to install Linux on a Windows 8 PC than it ever was on any previous generation of Windows PC. The Fedora/Ubuntu solutions are works in progress. 
+Drazenko Djuricic Modern Macs, as you probably know, are also trouble to install Linux on. That said, yes, it's harder to go from Win 8 to Linux than on any other PC. 
+Ron Enderland Why TigerDirect/CompUSA?  I've had much better experience with NewEgg.

Plus I don't think major OEM's will lock PC's in the SMB/Enterprise sections of their website.  It is the place to purchase systems without OS.
Ability to install Linux is a deal breaker for me on my upcoming laptop purchase. I'll look for a manufacturer that lets me disable secureboot. 
+James Schweitzer Potatoes/potahtoes ;-)

I've been using TD for ten years, I've been nothing but happy with them. But I like newegg too, they're choice #2.

Hope you're right about the OEM's. But I suspect they will be required to kiss that big fat BLAMMER a$$ to get the prices they need to stay competitive.
anyone know when the KDE spark tablet is going to be available in stores??????  i cant wait its gunna b pretty sick!!
+R. Scott Kimsey if I was in the laptop market, I'd be checking out the Linux-only models online. Of course, i use XP on my older one for hardware-only Windows needs, but on my work laptop that I've had for three months, I haven't used Windows 7 for anything. I think I'm ready to take the tax-free laptop plunge next time, meself. :-)
+sudo bash Don't hold your breath. It's now called the Vivaldi Tablet, and they've have a lot of problems getting it into production. They thought they'd be shipping in July. By Sept. they announced it wasn't happening and now... we don't know. is its current site, but it doesn't appear to being updated in a timely fashion. 
+Ron Enderland I've seen some of those, though the ones I've seen are overpriced. The problem is, for work I need to have access to Windows from time to time on my laptop, even though it isn't that frequent.
Windows 8 is sweet. I recommend trying it out. I love it.
+Steven Cancel I think it is better than Windows 7 and really don't see a reason not to upgrade if you like Win 7. But Linux is what I like most, so the option of going with a dual-boot setup is an important one for me.
Is this a revelation for anyone, or even news?  When have you EVER been able to buy a PC with a specific OS installed, then gone to the manufacturer to tell them you want a different (given there are a few exceptions over the years)?

Love the "God knows why" comment.  Probably because its the latest OS, it still works fine, and like it or not what a vast majority of people will use.
+Ed Stockman The problem is that HP says buy Windows 8. They don't let you preinstall 7. Ergo, you don't buy an OS, decide you don't like it, and ask for another. HP says if you want 7, deal with MS yerself.

HP, in other words, sucks. :-)
Just take your Win 8 device (non-RT version) and install Classic Shell for free. Win 7/Win 8 problem solved. Computer improved. Doesn't help with respect to linux issue :)
+Ron Enderland  I think you miss my is this different than every other generation of Windows OS, and every single manufacturer?  If you bought  a machine with Windows 98, you got windows 98 and couldn't ask to switch to 95 (you'd do it yourself if you wanted the).  Same for winwos ME vs NT, Vista vs XP, or whatever switch someone might want.

When has there ever, at any point, been a "try and switch if you want" concept with any paid OS?

It's not like HP is refusing to sell Windows 7 systems; they're just stating the (normal) boiler plate warning that's always been in existence to my knowledge.

There are plenty of reasons to say HP sucks...let's actually use a real one.
The only off-the-shelf PC I have ever purchased is the Acer Aspire One during that brief period where Linux was an option. Every other PC has been built from components. I don't see that changing any time soon.
+Ed Stockman With all due respect, I think you miss my point.

I'm not dissing the idea that if you buy an OS, decide you don't like it, and tell the company you want another installed flawlessly  == stupid.

I'm saying that PC company that says you can only buy Windows 8 even though Windows 7 is still state-of-the-art == despicable.
It is good in way. It is time people take sides. Fence sitters will be kicked to hell on the other side or showered with love on FOSS side !
I had no trouble installing Red Hat Linux on my W530.  I had to change a BIOS setting to allow it to boot normally rather than the "lock-up" mode of Windows 8.  Using a USB stick, it took about 15 minutes to install Linux and have a working system.
+Rekkie Ballard yeah, UEFI on a PC is pretty easily bypassable now. But it makes discount-priced Surface RT's worthless, as very few have managed to get past the more restrictive UEFI on those. BTW, as I understand it, Redhat was actually given the clearance to boot from via UEFI, many in the community weren't happy that they chose to deal with the devil. ;-)
Keep in mind that Linux users have been buying Windows machines and installing Linux on them since 1991.  There are many legal advantages to doing so.  For example, purchasing a machine that has Windows preinstalled means you are licenced for Windows.  Linux users can install Linux and then install Windows in a virtual machine such as a VMWare image or KVM image and have the best of both worlds.

Tablets are a different story.  Most manufacturers offer Linux (Android) tablets or Windows tablets, and the design is such that the Android tablets are unable to run Windows and vice versa.  This is to prevent Microsoft from claiming that 10% of the Android tablets are really running Windows and the OEM now has the option of paying full price ($300+) for Windows on 10% of their inventory or a deeply discounted price ($10-$30) per device for 110% of their inventory, with the provision that Windows MUST be installed on each machine they produce before it is shipped.  This is what happened in the NetBook/OLPC market.

The ARM chip was used for Android tablets to make it impossible to install Windows 7 on them.  When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 tablets for the ARM chips, manufacturers wanted to make sure that Windows 8 could not be loaded onto the Android devices.  Microsoft wanted to be sure that the Windows 8 devices couldn't be loaded with Linux.

The strategy may have backfired, since Windows8 tablets are not as popular as expected, and Android tablets are still the largest percentage of new device sales.

Apple's devices are the most profitable, Antroids are also very profitable, but Windows 8 price erosion and excessive hardware requirements have made profits a bit "iffy".
+Rekkie Ballard I'm pretty sure Microsoft says that your license is for the hardware. I believe they say that you must purchase another license for the vm. I don't give a rat's Ballmer myself, I use the same oem xp install on a dozen different machines. But just pointing out that Microsoft makes it effectively impossible to stay 100% legal. Who cares. 
Actually, your windows license says you can only use Windows on that device. Microsoft tried to add a clause forbidding VMs but PC makers and corporate customers made it clear that if they bought Windows with the machine they expected to be able to use Windows as a VM. Otherwise they would start selling/ordering machines with NO operating system, install Linux themselves and Microsoft might not be installed at all.

Letting customers use Windows VMs kept Microsoft in the marketplace. 
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