Peppermint OS Community Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: VinDSL on December 22, 2017, 12:25:04 am

Title: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 22, 2017, 12:25:04 am
Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts the BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops

Quote
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


(http://vindsl.com/images/VinDSL-Opera Snapshot_2017-12-21_221626_bugs.launchpad.net.png)

SOURCE: https://goo.gl/21wyH4
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: pin on December 22, 2017, 03:54:50 am
Oops! Not good
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 22, 2017, 06:13:32 am
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.
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: pin on December 22, 2017, 06:20:42 am
@PCNetSpec
Do you think it would be necessary to avoid any particular kernel down the road?

Skickat från min SM-G900F via Tapatalk

Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 22, 2017, 06:23:48 am
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.
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: pin on December 22, 2017, 06:27:47 am
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.

Skickat från min SM-G900F via Tapatalk

Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 22, 2017, 06:38:34 am
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.
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: pin on December 22, 2017, 07:38:13 am
Totally agree! Building good hardware should always be step one but, ...
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 22, 2017, 07:50:06 am
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 ?
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 22, 2017, 11:06:04 am
I added myself to the 'Notified of all changes' bug mail on LP, last night.

(http://vindsl.com/images/VinDSL-Opera Snapshot_2017-12-22_090121_bugs.launchpad.net.png)

I'll keep an eye on it.  ;)
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 23, 2017, 10:32:30 am
Starting to see certain Dell Inspiron models popping up in the bugs mailing list now ...  :'(
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec 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)
Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: christianvl 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.

Enviado de meu Quantum Fly usando Tapatalk

Title: Re: Oh Oh - Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba and Acer laptops
Post by: VinDSL 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]
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 24, 2017, 04:32:43 pm
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.
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 27, 2017, 03:21:35 pm
Here's a plausible theory (and repudiation of the current thinking)  ...  :)


Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
I think the reason why 4.14.x works is because of commit 9d63f17661e2 ("spi-nor: intel-spi: Fix broken software sequencing codes").

The current theory is that for certain serial flashes (those with SPI_NOR_HAS_LOCK set in drivers/mtd/spi-nor/spi-nor.c) Linux SPI-NOR core wants to clear the status register (SR) in addition to reading the chip JEDEC ID. This is done to make sure protection bits (BP0, BP1 and BP2) are cleared.

The sequence looks like this:

  WREN (write enable)
  WRSR with 0 (write status register)

However, the intel-spi driver had an off-by-one bug that causes it to write two bytes instead of one. So the above sequence actually looks like:

  WREN (write enable)
  WRSR with 0, X (write status register)

Where X is something that is in FDATA[1] FIFO. Most likely this is part of the just read chip JEDEC ID. Now, WRSR command is weird in a sense that it allows writing both the status register and the control register even though there are separate commands to read them. If the Xabove has bit 6 set we end up writing this to the control register which means that we have:

 SR=0x00 CR=0x40 (CR value can be something else but bit 6 needs to be set)

Because BP0, BP1 and BP2 in SR are 0 and CMP in CR is 1, this means that the whole chip becomes read-only (CMP complements BP0, BP1 and BP2) and this prevents the BIOS from saving settings anymore.

The off-by-one bug was already fixed in the mainline kernel by commit 9d63f17661e2 ("spi-nor: intel-spi: Fix broken software sequencing codes") in September.
[close]
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 27, 2017, 07:41:15 pm
Cool, hopefully they're getting closer to the bottom now.
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 30, 2017, 04:37:37 pm
Here's an odd one for ya. Probably just a coinkydink, but who knows ...

I had a hell of a time getting my 32bit circa 2004 Peppermint/Ubu test machine booted. I hadn't started it in a couple of weeks.

Figured out, my CMOS was scrambled - wouldn't boot - couldn't save changes to BIOS, blah, blah, blah. Sound familiar?  :-\

After a couple of hours or trial and error, I finally got to the login screen. First thing I did was:

Code: [Select]
Commit Log for Thu Dec 28 10:13:52 2017
Upgraded the following packages:
linux-generic-hwe-16.04-edge (4.13.0.19.26) to 4.13.0.22.28
linux-headers-generic-hwe-16.04-edge (4.13.0.19.26) to 4.13.0.22.28
linux-image-generic-hwe-16.04-edge (4.13.0.19.26) to 4.13.0.22.28

That worked a treat, so I subsequently decided to play it say (judging by the mail lists) and install the Linux 4.14.10 mainline kernel.

Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
╭─vindsl@Boogaloo-6 ~ 
╰─➤  inxi -Fxz
System:    Host: Boogaloo-6 Kernel: 4.14.10-041410-generic i686 (32 bit gcc: 7.2.0)
           Desktop: N/A Distro: Peppermint Seven
Machine:   Mobo: N/A model: Canterwood
           Bios: Phoenix v: 6.00 PG date: 04/09/2004
CPU:       Single core Intel Pentium 4 (-HT-) cache: 2048 KB
           flags: (pae sse sse2) bmips: 6815
           clock speeds: max: 3407 MHz 1: 3407 MHz 2: 3407 MHz
Graphics:  Card: NVIDIA G73 [GeForce 7600 GT] bus-ID: 01:00.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: nouveau (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1920x1080@60.00hz
           GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on NV4B
           GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 17.0.7 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 82801EB/ER (ICH5/ICH5R) AC'97 Audio Controller
           driver: snd_intel8x0 ports: d800 dc00 bus-ID: 00:1f.5
           Sound: ALSA v: k4.14.10-041410-generic
Network:   Card-1: Intel 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet Controller
           driver: e1000 v: 7.3.21-k8-NAPI port: a000 bus-ID: 02:01.0
           IF: enp2s1 state: down mac: <filter>
           Card-2: Lite-On LNE100TX
           driver: tulip v: 1.1.15 port: 9400 bus-ID: 03:0c.0
           IF: enp3s12 state: unknown speed: N/A duplex: N/A mac: <filter>
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 1000.2GB (12.8% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: SAMSUNG_HD103SJ size: 1000.2GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 120G used: 4.5G (4%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda8
           ID-2: /home size: 612G used: 115G (20%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda9
RAID:      No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 53.5C mobo: N/A gpu: 47.0
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 159 Uptime: 44 min Memory: 532.4/2012.8MB
           Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: N/A
           Client: Shell (zsh 5.1.1) inxi: 2.2.35
[close]

Anyway, gotta love Linux. The old girl lives to fight another day  8)

(http://vindsl.com/images/VinDSL_Screenshot_2017-12-30_14:02:23.png)
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on December 30, 2017, 05:10:56 pm
Yeah running hwe-edge 4.13 kernel at the moment probably isn't wise.
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 31, 2017, 12:08:52 am
Theoretically, the issue was fixed in Kernel Version 4.13.0-21

Of course, I had 4.13.0.19 sitting there, like a ticking time bomb ... 

Maybe I should file a bug for all the DFI LanParty PRO875B rev B1  (2004) users out there. LoL!  :D
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: pin on December 31, 2017, 02:31:23 am
Good to know that!! Totally unaware of this, I've actually moved my daughter's system over to 4.13.0-21 yesterday

Skickat från min SM-G900F via Tapatalk

Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: VinDSL on December 31, 2017, 06:45:23 pm
Good to know that!! Totally unaware of this, I've actually moved my daughter's system over to 4.13.0-21 yesterday

Confirmation ...  ;)


Spoiler (click here to view / hide)
** Description changed:

  Description: An update to linux kernel on Ubuntu 17.10 that enabled the
  intel-spi-* drivers made Insyde BIOS unusable. Main issues were Settings
  being not stored, USB Boot impossible and EFI entries read-only.
 
  Fix: The issue was fixed in Kernel Version 4.13.0-21. But previous
  affected machines still suffered from a broken BIOS.
 
  Repair: Boot Linux and Install Kernel Version 4.14.9. Reboot into Linux
  and BIOS should be restored to a working state.
 
  ---
 
  Test Case: Fix has been verified by our HWE team on affected hardware.
 
  Regression Potential: Minimal, it's unlikely anyone is actually doing
  anything which requires this driver.
 
  ---

<SNIP>
[close]
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on January 01, 2018, 11:13:06 am
Oh that's cool .. 4.14.9 fixes already broken systems .. glad they found a fix :)
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: pin on January 01, 2018, 11:17:07 am
Yeah! That's cool...
Looked in Synaptic today, but 4.14 is not available. Guess if one needs it, it would have to be compiled from source

Skickat från min SM-G900F via Tapatalk

Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on January 01, 2018, 11:38:00 am
I'm assuming you could manually download/install it precompiled from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA
http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.14.9/
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: pin on January 01, 2018, 11:40:52 am
Duh !!
Obviously...

Skickat från min SM-G900F via Tapatalk

Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: Slim.Fatz on January 02, 2018, 04:24:14 am
Hi pin,

Yes, what PCNetSpec suggested works fine -- at least on the machines on which I have tried this.

Regards,

-- Slim
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: zebedeeboss on January 02, 2018, 05:30:37 am
I'm assuming you could manually download/install it precompiled from the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA
http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.14.9/
Hi All

but before doing so I assume you have to unload current proprietary drivers - reboot to nouveau - load the new kernel - reboot and then re-install proprietary drivers assuming all is working well...

Regards Zeb...
Title: Re: Ubuntu 17.10 corrupts BIOS on some Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, and now Dell laptops
Post by: PCNetSpec on January 02, 2018, 05:55:58 am
Yes Zeb that would be advisable.

That said, there no need to do this in Peppermint unless you've switched to the hwe-edge kernel track or have manually installed the 4.13 kernel some other way .. our default kernel is not affected.