In the final analysis, if you don't like windows or how it operates.... don't buy it.It is amazing how many problems would be solved if people followed this philosophy.
Would that it were that simple.But in this case, those who don't like Windows enough to look for an alternative OS are in the distinct minority.
What I worry about is that the classic 'open' PC platform disappears completely once Microsoft starts setting up lock-in deals with hardware manufacturers.
Look at it this way: If somebody like Gateway or Acer is offered Windows 8 (OEM edition) at $35-$50 per unit if they go with UEFI and Secure Boot (with the argument it improves security for the end-user and cuts down on support costs for the PC manufacturers and Microsoft) or $80-$100 per unit if they don't - care to hazard a guess as to which way it's going to go?
In the case of companies like Dell, who manufacture their own mobos, it's an even easier decision since they're not dictating to another manufacturer. It's an in-house decision. And 98+% of their PC business is Windows. (Try buying one without Windows installed if you don't believe it. It's possible. For some models. But it's not easy.) But there is nothing stopping Dell from locking out the end-user from making changes to Secure Boot. All they need to do is clearly inform the customer their machine will only run Windows 8 (or a later OS) from Microsoft. It can be purely Dell's decision (since Microsoft doesn't "require" it - nudge-nudge, wink-wink
) which therefor isn't illegal unless a court decides otherwise. And with all the competition out there in PC land, the courts won't.
The real problem with this is that there could easily come a time when taking your money elsewhere won't be an option. Because there won't be anyplace else
to take it unless you start manufacturing your own hardware. (Although there's a chance somebody like Ubuntu might since they're already talking about tablets. Ah...cancel that. Ubuntu's on the tablet/Unity bandwagon so completely they're getting just as bad as the other guys. So they probably wouldn't mind seeing the PITA open desktop environment go away either. )
It's very similar to the problem corporate ownership of TV networks causes for their news desks. The mothership trolls would never censor what their news affiliates chose to report. Nor would they ever so much as hint at what stories an editor should or shouldn't run. They won't whisper so much as a single word. Nor would they want to. Because they know that cultivating low-key paranoia in an employee is much more effective since it leads to self-policing.
Let's imagine an editor for the 6 o'clock news called Ellen. Ellen is very aware of who
she ultimately works for. And she knows that if she pushes things too far, or in the wrong direction, somebody someplace "high up" might suddenly take an interest in her career.
She's also smart enough to know any reprisals will be extremely oblique and impossible to prove. So she (since she is
very smart) decides to self-censor herself and pull some punches with the news. She'll call it exercising editorial judgement, responsibility, and restraint. And it will be impossible to prove otherwise. And maybe, after a few years, she'll even believe it.
And that is exactly what has happened with network news reporting in the last decade.
Going back to PC hardware manufacturers, if they're in a position of staying on the good side of Microsoft by no longer supporting a miniscule portion of their former market, it doesn't take much thought as to which way to jump. There's nothing forcing them to leave their Secure Boot options user accessible. And as long as they're not being forced ('forced' being a relative thing here) by Microsoft, there's no violation of US law. Especially since US anti-monopoly laws aren't designed to encourage competition or protect specific players in a given market. US antitrust regulations do not prevent the eventual formation of what is called a "natural monopoly." They're only there to prevent the 800lb. gorillas from using their influence alone
to illegally compete. And illegal competitive practices are often extremely tough to prove under US law.
So to loop back - yes, you can vote with your wallet.
But only up to a point where there are actual choices. Once the choices are gone (through machination or natural attrition) your only 'choice' is to buy what you really don't want - or do without completely.
And, in this new world we're building for ourselves, not owning some form of computer is rapidly becoming a non-option as well.