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Author Topic: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops  (Read 2329 times)

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Offline VinDSL

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Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts the BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops

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Following reports of BIOS corruption on a number of Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba laptops, Canonical is now discouraging users from downloading Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" from its website.

The bug, which is labeled "critical" by the team behind Ubuntu, can cripple the BIOS on over 20 devices, as acknowledged in this report. This issue also affects other versions of the popular Linux-based distribution, including the older Ubuntu 16.04 "Xenial Xerus" -- in the "OEM" and "HWE-EDGE" packages.

SOURCE: https://goo.gl/6d9B75




SOURCE: https://goo.gl/21wyH4
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 03:02:14 pm by VinDSL, Reason: Updated Title »

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Oops! Not good

Offline PCNetSpec

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Yeah there's messages on all Ubuntu 17.10 (and flavour) download pages telling people with Lenovo and Acer systems not to download it.

And Ubuntu are promising a "respin" of their ISO's soon.
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Do you think it would be necessary to avoid any particular kernel down the road?

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Offline PCNetSpec

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Yeah, stay away from hwe-edge for now if you have a Lenovo, Toshiba, or Acer .. but by the time we roll onto 4.13 this should all be sorted.

[EDIT]

Here's as good of an example as any I've seen why a rolling release model, or offering a "do-release-upgrade" path is IMHO not a good idea .. both offer scope for breakage and lull the user into a false sense of security where they may not back up their data first.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 06:31:39 am by PCNetSpec »
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Thanks, appreciated
I've actually moved my daughter's system over to 4.13.0-19 last week, but she's on a HP... so, probably safe. I was thinking about doing the same with my PM7, but didn't had the time.

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At the end of the day Canonical (and by extension Linux) are catching the flak for this, but it's really a hardware/firmware bug .. there should be NO way software can kill hardware, if it can IMHO it's ALWAYS a hardware issue.

This should be being fixed by Lenovo, Toshiba, and Acer not Ubuntu .. otherwise malicious code authors will leverage the BIOS vulnerability.
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Totally agree! Building good hardware should always be step one but, ...

Offline PCNetSpec

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Weirdly nobody seems to be laying blame at Insyde's door, yet an Insyde BIOS and the Intel SPI driver seem to be common denominators.

Even if the Intel SPI driver is involved IMHO it's still a BIOS bug .. as I said software shouldn't be able to kill hardware, PERIOD.

This all very reminiscent of the early UEFi implementations by Samsung being corruptible .. which was also eventually shown as a BIOS bug, not a Linux one:
https://www.bit-tech.net/news/tech/software/linux-samsung-deaths-2/1/

If ANY software can kill hardware, it's the hardware that's at fault... the software just exposed that fault.

{EDIT]

So much for UEFI making us all safer eh ?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2017, 07:57:25 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline VinDSL

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I added myself to the 'Notified of all changes' bug mail on LP, last night.



I'll keep an eye on it.  ;)

Offline VinDSL

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Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2017, 10:32:30 am »
Starting to see certain Dell Inspiron models popping up in the bugs mailing list now ...  :'(

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2017, 10:43:31 am »
I'm pretty sure I've seen a few Dells mentioned in other places, but I'm also pretty sure it was mentioned that the Dells can be recovered .. the Dell BIOS recovery procedure is said to make the BIOS writeable again.
(don't take that as gospel though .. I'm just repeating what I've read, I have zero inside knowledge)
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Offline christianvl

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Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2017, 08:10:36 pm »
I'm pretty sure I've seen a few Dells mentioned in other places, but I'm also pretty sure it was mentioned that the Dells can be recovered .. the Dell BIOS recovery procedure is said to make the BIOS writeable again.
(don't take that as gospel though .. I'm just repeating what I've read, I have zero inside knowledge)
I've chosen a Dell computer because they're one of the few companies that sell computers with Ubuntu pre-installed. I just thought that hardware support would be way easier. Maybe that's related to an easier bios recovery? Thankfully I've never had that kind of trouble.

Nevertheless, I totally agree with you, unless you really know what you're doing and you can spare your computer (or either have the time to troubleshoot), you should go for a point release distro, most likely a LTS one.

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Offline VinDSL

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Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2017, 02:57:12 pm »
Lots of activity in bugs. Getting new mail every hour.

Here's an interesting one - has the ring of truth. Might come in handy.

Caveat emptor ...

Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
I reanimated my Acer TravelMate B113.

My story:
I had Xubuntu 17.10. Once an update was installed (some apps + kernel),
after reboot OS stopped to work. I tried to load from USB using 17.10 (twice)
and 17.04 (twice). Both OS from the same flash drive. No luck. I want to mention
that I was able to change+save settings in BIOS.

Few days ago someone above wrote that he put a hdd from damaged laptop
to normal one, reinstalled OS and moved hdd back to the damaged laptop.
I decided to do the same. I installed Xubuntu 17.04, put hdd back to
damaged laptop. At this point (before loading a freshly installed OS)
for some reason I decided to turn off in BIOS everything possible (usb,
camera, Ethernet, wifi, etc), saved BIOS changes, rebooted and OS
worked! I rebooted again, turn everything on in BIOS, reboot... still
works. As I already have Xubuntu 17.04 on USB (this is the same flash
drive as I mentioned at the beginning), I decided to try to load from
it... mysteriously, but it worked.

As for now, I can not say whether my problem has any relation to this
topic as I thought earlier, but my problem definitely occurred right
after update (and possibly due to kernel update).
[close]

Feedback ...

Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
#275
Very similar procedure I have shared with few of other Lenovo forum
members (and few others from here). Sadly, did not receive feedback
or some were not able to follow my instructions.

Key was to force BIOS recognizing changes by replacing hard drive. My
trick was to have same partitions map but other drive (so the
partitions' IDs are the same but the hardware vendor different) and that
(in my opinion) was causing BIOS to self unlock.
[close]
« Last Edit: December 24, 2017, 04:29:07 pm by VinDSL, Reason: Addendum »

Offline PCNetSpec

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There's a lot of people laying ANY issue in 17.10 at the door of this Intel SPI driver / BIOS bug...

As this guy was able to change settings in his BIOS I think he's one of them.
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