A tale of two operating systems

Needing-two-operating-systems asks: I recently had to purchase a new laptop and it came pre-loaded with Windows 8, UEFI, and Secure Boot enabled. I’ve spent about a week attempting to safely dual-boot Windows 8 with different distributions that claim to be Secure Boot compliant, such as Ubuntu 12.04.2, openSUSE 12.3, and Sabayon. My main hang-up has been that, even though I’d much rather have Linux on my laptop using all of the resources at its disposal as an installed operating system, there isn’t currently a definitive guide out there for dual-booting a pre-installed Windows 8 computer with these Secure Boot Linux systems, and of course most distributors neglect to send back-up media with new computers nowadays (Windows 8 takes up 16 GB just to back up in most cases!). So I guess my question is, why? Windows 8 has been out for almost a year now, there are a handful of Linux systems using a variety of ways of dealing with Secure Boot, signed Microsoft keys and shim in particular, so why isn’t there a really good guide, or guideline, out there for dual-booting? It’s really aggravating to be tied down to a buggy, bloated system like this, and I’d like my freedom of choice back.

DistroWatch answers: Two things come to mind. The first is that, once Secure Boot is disabled (and you will have to disable Secure boot on most computers to install a second operating system, even if the second operating system supports Secure Boot), setting up a dual-boot system with Windows 8 and a Linux distro will be just the same as setting up a dual-boot system with Windows XP or Windows 7. From the point of view of the Linux distribution it won’t matter what the “other” operating system is. You can use any guide which lays out the steps for dual-booting Linux with Windows.

The second issue is every OEM may have a slightly different implementation of UEFI and Secure Boot.

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