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Ubuntu's Laptop Killing Bug Fixed

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the safe-power-saving dept.

Bug 271

jeevesbond writes "Back in October of 2007 we discussed a bug that would dramatically shorten the life of laptops using Ubuntu. Ubuntu users will be glad to know that a fix has finally been released for Ubuntu versions 9.04, 8.10 and 8.04 (LTS). However, as this fix is not yet in the update repositories, anyone wishing to test it should follow these instructions for enabling the 'proposed' repository. Report your results on the original bug report. Happy testing!"

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271 comments

Ubuntu bug development (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501795)

Cracks are visible on the exterior of a settled suburban house in a lower middle-class neighborhood outside of Detroit. During the day, the house is mostly quiet save the occasional noise of babies' cries competing with shrill, high-pitched female voices. At night, the music of a handful of artists known as the "Three T's" - Tupac Shakur, Too Short, and Trick Daddy - blares from the domicile with aging blue-gray paint and bars on all of its windows. It is impossible to see into the house from outside because all of the windows are covered with aluminum foil. One window was broken but promptly taped together with the duct tape in the distinctive tell-tale pattern of brownian motion.

The interior of the house is barren save the sparse arrangement of old, unmatched furniture purchased(or, more likely, stolen) from an inner-city thrift shop; the centerpiece of it all being the stained, chintzy sofa peppered with the burns of marijuana and tobacco cigarettes. The place as a whole appears to be only a temporary living space, yet its inhabitants have lived here consistently for about ten years. The stench of dirty diapers, burned cooking oil, and the by-products of a metabolism so powerful it could fuel the outrunning of gazelles or a successful fistfight against 4 police officers at once permeates the entire home.

It may be mentioned in passing that this house's inhabitants are an assortment of African men, women, and children who live and sleep in intervals diametrically opposite to those of each other so that each inhabitant's productivity is maximized -- everybody in the house has their own role in a setup strikingly similar to the Smurfs' villiage or some other Socialist paradise.

A circular design of red, yellow, and brown was painted on the wall -- "Krylon on drywall" being the medium -- by the teenage male who is but one part of the small collective known as the Ubuntu developers.

The adult males do the brunt of the work. One bedroom of the house, the master bedroom, is the development studio. The whole outfit is the brainchild of Marcus Ubuntu, first-generation African immigrant who studied computer science at the university of Zimbabwe before fleeing the armed rebellion. At his left sit Reggie Omoko, associate programmer; and at his right sit Shawn James, graphic designer(it should be noted here that Shawn is the one who designed and painted the Ubuntu logo, reportedly gleaning Ubuntu's artistic inspiration from the color scheme and the shape of various public toilets).

The 2 women of the house serve as breeders and foragers, collecting the welfare and child support money and then buying copious amounts of food, drink, and dope in support of operations. The children of the house, in turn, support the women, though it is difficult to determine how exactly many children are in the house as they come and go as they please with some leaving permanently, some returning days or even years later.

The primary tools of this trade are an assortment of cutting-edge but stolen laptop and desktop computers. The Ubuntu operating system is coded in object-oriented C, a language Marcus developed at university because he didn't know that somebody had already invented C++. Years of crack and malt liquor-fueled hard work have transformed Ubuntu from a meager startup into the world's most popular open-source operating system.

Re:Ubuntu bug development (2, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501853)

Anti-climactic. What happens to those pesky cracks in the walls?

Re:Ubuntu bug development (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501943)

Marcus smokes all of the crack in the walls and goes on a rampage after discovering a bug in his OS causes his laptop to die.

He shoots everybody in the house before beginning an armed standoff with the SWAT team, then kills 3 cops(one in full riot gear) before a sniper in a police helicopter shoots the gun out of his hand. Stunned but unharmed, Marcus then slips and falls off the roof into his unkempt wading pool before he is transanally disemboweled [nih.gov] by the pool's drain.

Re:Ubuntu bug development (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502285)

Hello, and think about your breathing.

Yes that's right, think about your breathing. Why you might ask? Well it's simple!

Your brain usually takes care of breathing for you, but whenever you remember this, you must manually breathe! If you don't you will die.

There are also many variations of this. For example, think about:

Blinking!

Swallowing saliva!

How your feet feel in your socks!

Your parents having hot sweaty sex!

In conclusion, the think about your breathing troll is simply unbeatable. These 4 words can be thrown randomly into article text trolls, into sigs, into anything, and once seen, will force the victim to take care of his breathing manually! This goes far beyond the simple annoying or insulting trolls of yesteryear.

In fact, by even responding to this troll, you are proving that it has claimed another victim -- You!

Flamebait story (4, Interesting)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501799)

Considering this was a fault of the manufacturers, this story is pure and total flamebait. Just don't bother feeding the trolls; don't reply.

Re:Flamebait story (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26501841)

Okay

Agreed (2, Funny)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501843)

Que the stories of laptop hard drives failing before their time and rebuttals and blame shifting from about 200 people, mingled with "in soviet Russia, hard drive crashes you!" jokes and ordered lists that feature question marks and profit.

Oh, and probably a hot grits joke or two.

Re:Agreed (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502011)

Here, let me fix that for you:

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these short-lived laptops!

Re:Agreed (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502069)

Que the stories of laptop hard drives failing before their time and rebuttals and blame shifting from about 200 people, mingled with "in soviet Russia, hard drive crashes you!" jokes and ordered lists that feature question marks and profit.

Oh, and probably a hot grits joke or two.

And don't forget to queue the spelling/grammar Nazi's.

Re:Agreed (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502103)

And don't forget to queue the spelling/grammar Nazi's.

And don't forget to cue the spelling/grammar Nazis.

Fixed it for ya.

Or you could que the queue of spelling/grammar... (2, Funny)

pentalive (449155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502413)

Depends on if he wants to give them a hint, or have them form a line.

Re:Or you could que the queue of spelling/grammar. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502545)

Perhaps he wants to give them a hint that they should form a line, so that they formed a queue on cue.

Hmmm... Q on Q... that sounds like some weird Star Trek porn or something.

Re:Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502673)

Fixed it for ya.

Thanks, but it wasn't broken.
I _was_ going for an orderly line of Nazis.

(Just glad I posted anon. those mod-Nazis are brutal today ;-)

Re:Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502963)

There's a line of people waiting to correct him.

Re:Flamebait story (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501871)

Strange that no other distro suffered from it though.

I could hear my laptop clicking away quite horribly before I applied a manual fix, whether it was an ubuntu bug or not, it was a problem for laptop owners running Ubuntu.

Re:Flamebait story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26501897)

Dammit my laptop crashes hard (pci bus FAIL or hard drive fail) everytime i move it, i was hopping to blame canonical instead of my poor choice of laptop.

Oh well atleast everytime it recovers from a hard drive fail (or atleast lets me finish what im doing while it fails), i can be reassured by the fact windows would have bluescreened as soon as its primary harddrive is lost

Only for who think the world has to be perfect (0, Flamebait)

microbee (682094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502013)

Hardware is buggy. BIOS is buggy. Drivers are buggy.

That doesn't matter one bit.

As an operating system and integrator, the whole system has to work. There are tons of quirks in Linux Kernel to work around BIOS and hardware bugs, because it's simply the reality you have to face. If you can't handle non-perfect hardware or firmware, then you don't make operating systems.

Re:Only for who think the world has to be perfect (5, Funny)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502321)

If you can't handle non-perfect hardware or firmware, then you don't make operating systems.

I don't know, quite a few companies in the past have made a pretty successful run of it.

Re:Only for who think the world has to be perfect (5, Insightful)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502397)

Obviously. But the story's still flamebait. Want a non-flamebait title? "Ubuntu Workaround for Laptop-Killing BIOS Bug Released". See the difference? Subtle but important.

Re:Only for who think the world has to be perfect (3, Insightful)

blazerw (47739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502833)

"Ubuntu Workaround for Laptop-Killing BIOS Bug Released"

That title's not quite right. The bug points to a workaround that has existed since the bug was initially reported. Maybe this title: "With new update, Ubuntu make Laptop-Killing BIOS bug workaround automatic".

Re:Only for who think the world has to be perfect (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26503213)

Bullshit. If this had been Vista or Windows 7 you wouldn't be saying "it's the hardware vendor's fault".

Brainwashed freetards.

Re:Only for who think the world has to be perfect (4, Insightful)

zullnero (833754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502575)

How can this be modded "insightful"? When systems break down that run other OS's, the hardware or drivers are typically blamed. That's fair territory. But when it's Linux, the double standard kicks in and it's the OS's fault? If the hardware manufacturers aren't supplying proper workarounds or fixes, or aren't even providing the source for their BIOS/Drivers/whatever to the folks who are apparently now expected to fix it, then how the hell are they supposed to make it all work? Magic wands? Insightful my ass. I'd mod this "ignorant".

Re:Only for who think the world has to be perfect (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502905)

...the hardware or drivers are typically blamed. That's fair territory. But when it's Linux, the double standard kicks in and it's the OS's fault?

Considering drivers are generally part of the Linux kernel, it is fair to blame the OS at times. Also note that it is a hell of a lot easier to patch software than hardware, so a responsible OS will issue workarounds where needed. Certainly the hardware manufacturers should be more helpful, but you can't just say "eh, we know of a problem but since we didn't cause it we won't attempt to resolve the issue" if you want to be taken seriously.

Hello (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26501863)

Hello, I am your laptop's hard drive.

Boing, boing. Fwlishshklik. GUNTZ!

(Sound effects courtesy of Don Martin.)

Hey Ubuntu fans! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26501885)

It's time for some more delicious kool-aid! Drink up!

As per "Flamebait Story" (5, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26501887)

Well, one can squarely blame the HD manufacturers (look at the Seagate disaster) and say they need to fix their hardware.

However, when your stuff doesnt work, regardless who's fault it is, it's still broken. And in cases like Ubuntu vs Windows: it'll work in Windows and not work in Ubuntu. Who do you think the user will fault?

ObUserStory: I bought a T61 Thinkpad. Worked fine in Windows, and not so well in Ubuntu. What didnt work? The right side USB ports. If I was a regular user, I'd remove Ubuntu and put Windows back on. However, Im stubborn... and know that Linux shouldnt go disabling ports at seemingly random. Turns out, it was a ACPI bios bug that did so :( So a BIOS update did the trick and fixed everything.

So yes, it may be a manufacturers fault, but that's not where the blame gets placed all the time..

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (5, Insightful)

friedman101 (618627) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502017)

I never begrudged Ubuntu (or Linux in general) for having a bug related to a problem that was largely the fault of the hardware manufacturer. What did piss me off, however, was the fact that a bug that affected most new laptops and threatened to shorten their lifetimes dramatically wasn't plastered all over ubuntu.com in huge red font. We'd have never given Microsoft this much leeway.

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (5, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502199)

As per defense of Ubuntu and others, the e1000 module was blacklisted until a proper kernel patch could be applied to all versions.

Without the blacklist, the e1000 firmware could be overwritten. Intel provided no safeguards to prevent said occurrence, so destruction of hardware was imminent. Far as I can tell, the Windows driver still has this bug.

And I remember the Mandrake CD-drive killer sequence. Samne damn problem: unguarded firmware update commands. Instead, these commands are legit commands, but were re-used as a firmware update.

Now, how much of these drive killer and card killer commands are also on Windows, but we suspect them as other occurrences, like ESD, lightning, or power surges?

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (3, Informative)

jadedoto (1242580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502205)

Yea, my ASUS g1sn has a BIOS bug that ASUS won't be fixing in the forseeable future, where it maps memory addresses wrong so if I get all 4GB of RAM in here, I can't install my nVidia drivers in Linux (it works in Windows, but Linux trusts the computer more).

Really makes you wish hardware manufacturers would step it up.

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (1)

lukas.mach (999732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502357)

Hardware will always have bugs and they always will be hard to fix. It's the OSes that should step up and act more like error correcting codes. Windows already kinda work like that - by being a monstrous pile of ugly hacks, it naturally gained resistance from relying on something external actually working.

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (5, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502401)

Wrong.

When using Windows as an example, the developers do not understand how Windows works. They only can understand by extensive testing in their labs. Linux, on the other hand, can identify what piece of code the offense is made, and fix it.

The collection of bugs in Windows makes it that much harder when there's a bluescreen, general hardware crash, or other really bad things. As far as we know, these bugs that exist in Ubuntu, Mandrake and others still exist as some sort of weird failure domain of certain celestial events on Windows. When they happen, there's hundreds of environmental variables set to trigger the device_killer.

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (2, Insightful)

lukas.mach (999732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502511)

You're writing "Wrong", but what you say isn't really in conflict with what I wrote. Yes, it's easier for a given developer to fix a bug in Linux software or in kernel/driver. Yes it's easier for them to achieve the perfect state where everything works according to specification/protocol. But when the ethernet card decides for no particular reason to send 1101 instead of 1100 every once in a couple of kBs, it's going to be a bigger deal in a cleanly designed system than in a self-repairing pile of junk.

Given that these kind of bugs will be corrected only when the manufacturers will sell more than say 25% of it's hardware to Linux clients, I humbly predict that these bugs will be fixe in approximately infinity years.

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502777)

Well, there is a way to patch the kernel so that it works. I just got over compiling my kernels when I left gentoo. In any event, turning an OS into a pile of ugly hacks decreases efficiency and stability. It should be a balance of OS and hardware, the hardware does it's job, and the OS it's job, and they should be able to interface with certain standards...

Re:As per "Flamebait Story" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502481)

This must be fixed on newer machines. I have a T61 and the right side ports worked with Ubuntu 8.04/8.10 out of the box.

fire5t (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26501947)

Up my toYs. I'm *BSD is dying Y3t used to. SHIT ON

It was not a bug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502003)

Those laptops were using ReiserFS.

Re:It was not a bug! (4, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502053)

Those laptops were using ReiserFS.

Ostensibly, yes. In reality, those laptops had been making much more use of ReiserFS's best friend. I heard they even planned to run off with him.

Only Ubuntu? (2, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502007)

And since Ubuntu = Linux and Linux = Ubuntu, it is Linux's fault, right?

Or was this issue specific to Ubuntu and not other distros? (Yes, believe it or not, there ARE other distros; although it is hard to tell since so many stories and postings say "Ubuntu" in place of the word "Linux" or "Linux distribution")

Re:Only Ubuntu? (2, Funny)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502173)

That's GNU/Linux. Or did you mean some other Linux?

Re:Only Ubuntu? (1)

lukas.mach (999732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502301)

> That's GNU/Linux.

Yeah, I'm sure that the GNU stuff around the kernel (like bash and Gnome) has really big influence on the settings energy saving levels of hardware.

Re:Only Ubuntu? (3, Insightful)

Erpo (237853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502515)

(Yes, believe it or not, there ARE other distros; although it is hard to tell since so many stories and postings say "Ubuntu" in place of the word "Linux" or "Linux distribution")

Isn't it great? I can't wait until the days of users asking, "So I should try Linux. Which distro should I use?" and getting useless or contradictory answers are long forgotten.

Re:Only Ubuntu? (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502625)

Yes, choice, variety, and competition are horrible things aren't they? Certainly we should have all been stuck with only SLS Linux or perhaps only Redhat Linux..... hell, why even have Linux at all; why couldn't the status quo of MS-Windows or MS-DOS sufficed?

There were distros just as good (or better in different ways) before Ubuntu existed. There are distros just as good (or better in different ways) than Ubuntu now. There will probably be other distros later- maybe of which will be just as good or better, too.

The practice of generally substituting the word "Ubuntu" for "Linux" in postings, comments, stories, etc, is not only annoying, it is insulting to the many thousands of people who have contributed to Linux (GNU/Linux) and all the non-Ubuntu distributions.

Only Ubuntu? DVR and many other embedded devices! (1)

Ux64 (1187075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26503133)

It's not only Ubuntu or Linux. It's operating system independent issue. I have my DVR (Using it's own OS), which used to put HD in sleep every 15 seconds. When I changed other HD problem went away. So it's not about operating system at all. It's about HD manufacturer setting strange (too much too low) default values for drive.

Did somebody (really?) forget that HD drives are being used in many other systems than dektop / laptop computers, using Linux or Windows?

No need to enable "proposed" updates (5, Informative)

Nicopa (87617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502055)

The fix is already included in the accepted updates:

acpi-support (0.114-0intrepid1) intrepid-proposed; urgency=low

    * {ac,battery,resume,start}.d/90-hdparm.sh: don't just check whether
        laptop-mode is configured to control the drives, also check whether
        laptop-mode itself is *enabled*. Finally closes LP: #59695.

  -- Steve Langasek Mon, 05 Jan 2009 10:50:10 +0000

Just run apt-get update && apt-get install acpi-support.

Re:No need to enable "proposed" updates (5, Funny)

plaiddragon (20154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502095)

Just run apt-get update && apt-get install acpi-support.

What? apt-get it yourself.

sudo apt-get update && apt-get install acpi-support.

Okay.

Re:No need to enable "proposed" updates (5, Informative)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502487)

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install acpi-support

That's better

misleading (4, Insightful)

bytor4232 (304582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502089)

The title and article summary is misleading. It shortens the life of the hard drive, not the laptop itself. Hard drives are cheap, and on most laptops as easy to swap out as the battery with screwdriver in hand.

Its not like Ubuntu is killing the motherboard or screen, its the Hard Drive.

Re:misleading (2, Insightful)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502211)

Hard drives are cheap

While that may be true, my time isn't. Getting the lappy set up and restored from backup > 0.

Re:misleading (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502895)

While that may be true, my time isn't. Getting the lappy set up and restored from backup > 0.

What, you don't store all your data in THE CLOUD? n00b

Re:misleading (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26503011)

Real programmers don't make backups. They post their code on the Net and let the world mirror it.

-- Linus Torvalds (paraphrased)

Is it? An EeePC owner ponders.... (1, Insightful)

bornagainpenguin (1209106) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502325)

What if the user has an ASUS EeePC, or other netbook like device with SSD hard disk or even a regular platter based hard disk in a incredibly difficult to reach location? This could still prove to be a laptop killer for many users and it is incredibly dishonest to pretend any differently. Oh and before anyone gets any ideas, look at my username, understand that this is being posted from Ubuntu Hardy Heron and I am quite happy with my Linux experience. I just don't think its fair to pretend this is any less serious than it actually is.

--bornagainpenguin

Re:Is it? An EeePC owner ponders.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502485)

This BIOS bug wouldn't effect an SSD, How about you RTFA before making uninformed flame-bait comments like that one.

Re:Is it? An EeePC owner ponders.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502495)

SSDs arn't affected by this bug - they don't have moving heads.

Re:misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502617)

Hard drives are cheap

But the data on most of them is not, and most average users do not back up the contents of their laptop. I think you missed that point a bit!

hmm. (5, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502117)

Does it bother anyone that Ubuntu, the community's duly annointed challenger to Microsoft hegemony, had an outstanding bug for fourteen months whose effect was to damage hardware? That's pretty terrible.

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502189)

How did this happen when everyone has access to the source code? Who's checking the code? Anyone? I have my doubts!

Re:hmm. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502243)

yeah, that's pretty bad. You have to give points to M$ here because they typically don't let things like this happen.

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502259)

It's one of those things where no fucking knew what was going on. Yeah and I shouldn't undermine the seriousness of the shit but this didn't effect all laptops, just some with certain HDDs.

Re:hmm. (4, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502291)

When Ubuntu is competing against an OS which has been a vector for millions of computers to be compromised over the last 10+ years and has caused untold billions of dollars of damage and wasted billions of hours of people's time, I think it's not a bad track record.

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502855)

I don't know what you run on your computer, but I've never had a single piece of malware on Windows since 1997. It hasn't lost me any data either. I'm far more concerned with the OS not killing my hard drive, thank you very much. I'm so glad I've stuck to Windows and now Mac rather than messing around with Ubuntu.

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26503219)

Come off it.

I recently had too much of Ubuntu's "get-in-the-way-of-what-the-user-is-doing" and its stupid lack of packages (Opera, ngspice) and installed Arch Linux. It's phenomenal. I would really like to see Ubuntu compete once Shuttleworth's cash reserves deplete. It's mainly propped by marketing. It offers basically fancy artwork over Debian. Nothing more.

In contrast, other distributions get by with much more up-to-date programs and a higher level of quality.

Simply compare Ubuntu's broken KDE 4 packages (read lmn's insightful comments for a more eloquent and technical description) to Arch's or even Gentoo's.

Ubuntu takes forever to boot up. Whatever happened to that much-hyped Upstart? It's hardly adopted at all.

Mod me as troll if you want, but I've been using Ubuntu since 5.10, and have kept trying to convince myself that Ubuntu on the desktop is the best Linux distributions have to offer. I've had a lot of in-depth experience helping deliver developers work through bugs in the d-i installer, time skew issues, wireless problems, and the list goes on and on. I've tried and I've tried, but at a certain point you have to ask yourself if you're contributing to something that's actually improving on a whole and based on a certain definition of improvement, I concluded it isn't.

To continue to defend Ubuntu's flaws and somehow champion it as the symbol of Linux distributions is unacceptable. If it was considered mediocre, I wouldn't have anything against it, but honestly it's not that special.

Re:hmm. (0, Offtopic)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502497)

Does it bother anyone that Ubuntu, the community's duly annointed challenger to Microsoft hegemony

No, Ubuntu is the flavor of the week. One time, it was Debian, another time it was Red Hat, another time it was Fedora, another time it was Mandrake, another time it was Gentoo.

I don't quite know where the bandwagon effect starts, but when a new distro becomes popular it's all people talk about for a year or two, but something else new comes along and big groups of people flock to it.

LK

Re:hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502875)

You're right. MSFT would never announce a bug like that until after it was fixed. Estimated time between "discovery" and fix at Microsoft ... -7 months.

More Linux Zealotry (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502121)

This is ridiculous. I've been running Ubuntu all this time and didn't know about this. I now have to check my install and see if I'm affected.

It may be time to stop dual booting, reclaim Vista Business' HD space, and run an Ubuntu vm.

If this were Windows messing up people's hard drives, you would all be all over it. But since it's Ubuntu, it's the hardware makers' fault.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (3, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502221)

Trolling again on slashdot are we Mr. Gates? If you had been paying attention, you would have known about it, since it was all [digg.com] over [wordpress.com] the internet [ubuntuforums.org] when it happened.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502237)

For something that was all over the internet, it took an awfully long time to fix.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502247)

I see you have a "thinker" and a "prover," too. Enjoy ur worldview.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502317)

It's true that this issue was largely commented here and in Ubuntu forums, but people doesn't have to be looking daily for that kind of nasty bugs: at least the operating system should display a warning pointing to the corresponding forums in order to apply the lot of suggested workarounds.

Sadly, Ubuntu didn't care to advise me after installing 7.10, reinstalling 8.04 nor 8.10.

How I "detected" the bug in my Dell Vostro? just because the weird sound of the hard disk heads; of course this happens only if you are in a silent environment and have some experience "listening" hard disks.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502295)

Reading the posts prior to yours, it seems like most people are saying that Ubuntu really should have fixed this or worked around it, and that there's no excuse.

But it's much easier to jump straight to the conclusion, isn't it? Facts do tend to get in the way...

Re:More Linux Zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502323)

Shut up already.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502355)

>if this were Windows messing up people's hard drives, you would all be all over it

Who does that 'YOU' refer to?

Do you really think it are the same people? Haven't you realised by now that there are windows-trolls, linux-zealots, apple-masturbationists and sane people?

I don't blame Microsoft for the crapware vendors install. I don't blame Ubuntu for not magically working around bugs in undocumented hardware.

You, on the other hand. Want to make this Ubuntu's fault, because linux-trolls would make it Microsoft fault it this happened on windows.

So, guess which of the four categories you belong to?

Hello, Mr. Microsoft-Troll.

Actually it is M$ fault (4, Insightful)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502405)

well, in a way. The problem is that the drive makers optimized their power saving algorithms for Windows disk access patterns - as you would expect them to since it is 85% of the market. And they didn't provide knobs to twist for other OSes - including new, more efficient versions of Windows.

The irony is that Linux runs afoul of the hard drive power saving tuning because it is too efficient. The gaps between disk accesses are too long, and trigger a head unload while the OS is still active.

The best fix would be to twist a knob to adjust the inactivity timer - but that isn't available. So the simplest fix is to disable power saving on the disk - fine for laptops used as portable desktops. To keep drive power saving without unloading/loading the heads constantly, you have to configure "laptop mode", which uses memory to cache reads/collect writes so as to provide something like 30 minutes between disk accesses for typical word processing/browsing activities.

I've thought about writing a background process (in python or your favorite script language) that monitors iostat - and reads a raw sector every 9 seconds to keep the disk from thinking we are inactive. At the same time, we have our own Linux oriented inactivity timer, and stop reading the raw sectors when the system is truly inactive (other than our own reads).

Re:More Linux Zealotry (1)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26503207)

While I agree that it took quite a while to fix, there were temporary fixes posted all over the internet that corrected the problem. Perhaps they could have been publicised, but the users were quickly on the problem. I don't see this as a hardware problem. The original bug report stated that it was a problem with Ubuntu parking/unparking the disk too often. Doesn't sound like a hardware issue to me.

Re:More Linux Zealotry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26503393)

Please go back and read the posts above yours that have been modded up.

I'll sum everything up for you:

  • It's a hardware problem.
  • The risk was of killing the hard-drive only, nothing else.
  • The driver was blacklisted so it would not have killed your hardware anyway.
  • The bug still exists in Windows so really you're not any better off there (in fact you're probably worse off because all a virus would have to do is send a couple commands to your hard-drive to permanently kill it).

It's a problem with the hardware because they are reusing legitimate commands to modify the firmware. If any random software were to send these commands then your firmware could be fucked up thus "killing" the drive. Bad design.

Having extremely sturdy notebooks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502279)

I run Ubuntu since 6.something on 3 notebooks and all it killed was one drive (refurbished). The new drive (and all old ones) are still 'alive'.
Glad to know something is fixed, but I cannot confirm that bug at all.

More incompatibility than just this (1, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502455)

Just in the last two days I've tried to install three versions of Ubuntu on a Toshiba Satellite laptop, and every attempt failed with a blank screen of death in the middle of the process. I tried 7.1, 8.04, and the latest nightly build (first two Desktop versions, the latter Alternate of course). This is an old laptop from 2001, a model 1805-S203, so there's no cutting-edge hardware that should be causing a problem, yet the installs failed spectacularly.

By contrast, BOTH Windows 2000 and MEPIS Linux version 7 were able to install.

I have to tell you, this has shaken my confidence in open source operating systems quite a bit.

Re:More incompatibility than just this (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502789)

"I have to tell you, this has shaken my confidence in open source operating systems quite a bit."

Mepis worked. It is an underrated distro and there is probably no reason not to keep it.

Distro churning to find out what suits your needs is easy (yay for live CDs!) and was normal up until very recently.

Re:More incompatibility than just this (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502797)

I've tried numerous versions of Windows on my PPC Mac, all of which have failed miserably. It's shaken my faith in installing an OS onto hardware it was not developed for.

Like Windows and every other OS, you've got no guarantee that Linux will work if you've got no guarantee it'll work. Try buying specific hardware that is advertised to work with Linux. Companies out there - even as mainstream as Dell - sell Linux-based computers. Those boxen don't have such problems.

Re:More incompatibility than just this (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26503031)

I might just do that, if I could afford a new laptop. I only have this one because it was a hand-me-down.

OTOH, I have a decades-old hatred of brand-name computer systems, because I've seen ALL the proprietary lock-in stunts the manufacturers pull. I respect the "value added" when they mass-produce a cookie-cutter box for which they only have to do the configuration work once and then replicate that stable configuration ad infinitum; if they could add that value and stop there, that would be awesome... but they don't. The value removed by their proprietary stunts cancels out for me most of the value added by the mass production aspect.

If I were to buy a "brand name" box at all, it would be one of the least proprietary types, like the eMachines brand or similar, though even that brand and company is now owned by Gateway, IIRC.

Re:More incompatibility than just this (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26503283)

If you want a not-so-mainstream computer that'll be guaranteed to work with Ubuntu, take a look at system 76 [system76.com]

I can't personally vouch for them, but the few things I've heard have all been good.

laptop != hard drive (3, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502719)

Oh wait, it's kdawson.

It shortens the life of your HD, not the laptop itself, you chimp.

Re:laptop != hard drive (1)

sholsinger (1131365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502953)

Unfortunately the majority of the Windows users(I mean) fanboys have already jumped on this and exclaimed, "See!?!?!?! I _told_ you Linux was bad for you!"

I, for one, am gald... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502849)

...that this age old bug is fi

Debian still affected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26502857)

Is Debian still affected? The Ubuntu bug says:

For jaunty, this issue is addressed in acpi-support 0.115.

TEST CASE

1. With acpi-support 0.109 (hardy) or 0.114 (intrepid) installed...

In Debian, acpi-support is 0.109 for even unstable.

Fixed by default in Intrepid (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26502937)

I'm running 8.10 on a Dell Latitude D620, and the default settings already have one of the workarounds implemented. The laptop-mode-tools package workaround mentioned at Ubuntu's wiki [ubuntu.com] has already been implemented. Lower the FUD meters.

What about SSDs? (1)

wisenboi (1154441) | more than 5 years ago | (#26503165)

Does this bug also affect solid state drives, or just traditional drives with more moving parts?
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