Microsoft's initial boot security for Windows 8 made it hard to start other operating systems on Windows 8 machines, but the company has worked out a way for Linux and other OSes to clear the secure boot sequence on such devices.

The secure boot, called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), requires a key for the boot firmware to hand off to the operating system, the idea being to make sure the operating system isn't corrupt.

Microsoft's initial UEFI implementation was restrictive by making it difficult for non-Windows operating systems to get their keys included in the firmware, says Tim Burke, vice president of Linux engineering for Red Hat. But that's all been cleared up with some cooperation among interested parties, he says.

Now the keys can be registered via Microsoft key signing and registry services for $99. That way participating vendors can get their keys accepted by the machines so their OSes will boot. "I'm certainly not a huge UEFI fan, but at the same time I see why you might want to have signed bootup etc," Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds is quoted as saying in the ZDNet Linux and Open Source blog. "And if it's only $99 to get a key for Fedora, I don't see what the huge deal is."