Secure start-up features for computers running the Windows 8 operating system constitute an anti-competitive technological prison', says the Spanish association Hispalinux, which represents 8,000 users and developers of the GNU/Linux operating system. Hispalinux lodged a complaint against Microsoft with the European Commission on 27 March, accusing the computer giant of abusing its dominant position.

According to the association: 'Windows 8 imposes a partnership between Microsoft and equipment manufacturers regarding start-up features, and therefore gives Microsoft control. It creates an obstruction mechanism which prevents the installation of an operating system other than Windows 8.'

Microsoft requires manufacturers to install the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) secure boot' mechanism, which replaces the traditional BIOS (Basic Input Output System),aon all computers running Windows 8. UEFI improves the security of a PC at start-up, since it only authorises the launch of operational systems with a certified digital certificate. It makes it almosta impossible to launch a computer using another system - either another version of Windows or a Linux system.

There have been several challenges to this system since the release of Windows 8. The global association for the promotion of free software, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has launched a petition against this system, accusing it of...

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