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Linux: Booting Via UEFI Can Brick Samsung Notebooks

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the like-openfirmware-only-it-sucks dept.

Bug 232

wehe writes "Heise News reports today some Samsung notebooks can be turned into a brick if booted just one time via UEFI into Linux. Even the firmware does not boot anymore. Some reports in the Ubuntu bug tracker system report that such notebooks can not be recovered without replacing the main board. Other Linux distributions may be affected as well. Kernel developers are discussing a change in the Samsung-laptop driver." It appears even Samsung is having trouble tracking down the problem (from the article): "According to Canonical's Steve Langasek, Samsung developers have been attempting to develop a firmware update to prevent the problem for several weeks. Langasek is advising users to start Ubuntu installation on Samsung notebooks from an up-to-date daily image, in which the Ubuntu development team has taken precautions to prevent the problem from arising. It is, however, not completely clear that these measures are sufficient."

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232 comments

Typical Samsung... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737685)

Trying their best to sabotage free software.

Re:Typical Samsung... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42737703)

yeah that's why they're not working on a fix and have written off the problem by blaming linux ... oh wait

dumbass

Re:Typical Samsung... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737743)

My paranoid self says that we haven't eliminated the possibility that the right hand doesn't know what the left one is doing.

People in those projects know their section only. People have snuck in nefarious code before. Maybe it's exactly as the project leader wants it. It's not a good possibility, but it hasn't been eliminated yet either.

no (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737843)

My paranoid self says that we haven't eliminated the possibility that the right hand doesn't know what the left one is doing.

People in those projects know their section only. People have snuck in nefarious code before. Maybe it's exactly as the project leader wants it. It's not a good possibility, but it hasn't been eliminated yet either.

No. Just no.

Re:Typical Samsung... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737911)

People in those projects know their section only. People have snuck in nefarious code before. Maybe it's exactly as the project leader wants it. It's not a good possibility, but it hasn't been eliminated yet either.

Off your meds again? Paranoid schizophrenia is serious.

Re:Typical Samsung... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737943)

Off your meds again? Paranoid schizophrenia is serious.

Good. Good. That what's we want you to think.

Re:Typical Samsung... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737991)

Or it could be that the project leader inserted such code because he was told to by his werewolf leaders to block the use of the laptop by occultist vampires, who due to their niche market, have to rely on rebranded Linux distros for their neffarious deeds. At the same time, they would be blocking use of the laptop by robot leagions by preventing them from installing an OS that doesn't give them nightmares. I don't know how the pirates (real pirates) fit into this.

The idea that Samsung is in control by werewolves, with Linux usability caught up in the perpetual war between werewolves, vampires, and robots, is not a good possibility, but it hasn't been entirely eliminated yet either.

Re:Typical Samsung... (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a year ago | (#42738705)

Next time you post something like this, please login first. That way I can mod you up, if I had mod points.

Re:Typical Samsung... (5, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | about a year ago | (#42738037)

Please.
When I first installed linux it was the powerpc version, that is, a port, on a powerbook, in 2002.
One kernel recompilation and wireless worked, sound worked, gigabit ethernet worked, radeon 3d worked (lots of frames too). Only thing missing, the faxmodem.

Logic says the intel version should have been simpler, because of the 10x-100x mindshare it had. When I switched to intel, not exotic models, it wasn't. In the following years, i had INCREASING difficulties with laptops. The broadcom driver, 3d needing proprietary drivers (and proprietary IMHO means more lockups, instead of more quality). Then with desktops (firmware for the network card, a blasphemy because common protocols for any os to speak to a network card are there at any level of hardware abstraction).

Now, bricking a machine needs something more than a bug, it needs a feature. It makes perfect sense commercially. Hardware makers might bicker about windows to get better deals, but they sure know that if the world switched to linux their sales would go down, for lack of artificial obsolescence represented by the OS/drivers/app upgrade cycle.

The fight for the desktop has begun. Valve, restricted boot, UEFI, ACPI... Buy wisely.

Re:Typical Samsung... (2)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#42738157)

but they sure know that if the world switched to linux their sales would go down, for lack of artificial obsolescence represented by the OS/drivers/app upgrade cycle.

On the other hand, people might upgrade their hardware more often if they could be assured their new hardware wouldn't come with Microsoft's latest abomination and a shit-ton of bloatware.

One thing we do know is that hardware manufacturers don't have the balls to try it. Properly, at least, rather than periodic token attempts.

Re:Typical Samsung... (3, Insightful)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | about a year ago | (#42739599)

On the other hand, people might upgrade their hardware more often if they could be assured their new hardware wouldn't come with Microsoft's latest abomination and a shit-ton of bloatware.

I highly doubt this. Most consumers still call their computer case the "CPU" and buy new computers when they don't have to because they don't realize Windows and their computer are different things. Basically, the average person looks at their computer like they would an advanced VCR.

The sad fact is, most people go out and buy new computers precisely because it has the newest version of Microsoft's abomination and all that bloatware which are marketed as features on the box and by the Best Buy droids. Computer manufactures know this, love it, and bank on it. It's how companies like Intel can get away with requiring a new goddamned socket every year (or less) and not have people storming their castle with pitchforks and torches. My parents don't care. Dell don't care either, because they're selling whole systems and not parts. Likewise, every time Microsoft come out with a new version of Windows, computer makers start seeing dollarsigns.

Re:Typical Samsung... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#42739607)

Logic says PowerPC is easier to support because there is far less hardware to worry about...
There are only a small number of powerbook models, with known wireless, ethernet, video chipsets etc. There are millions of x86 machines with an even wider range of possible peripherals, including often oem versions where the hardware is the same but small firmware differences cause compatibility problems etc, and problems where certain combinations of hardware simply don't work together.

Re:Typical Samsung... (4, Insightful)

Soluzar (1957050) | about a year ago | (#42737861)

Not sure what Samsung you're talking about. Some of the Samsung products I own incorporate free (really free, libre) software products in full compliance with the GPL. They seem to treat free/libre software as an ally, not an enemy.

Re:Typical Samsung... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738247)

yeah, to the tune of 500k a year to the linux foundation alone.

Re:Typical Samsung... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738559)

Plus $10/device to Microsoft to license all the patents Linux infringes on.

Re:Typical Samsung... (2)

Beetjebrak (545819) | about a year ago | (#42738647)

Which patents are those, exactly, and where is it proven that they are being infringed upon by Linux?

Re:Typical Samsung... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739013)

Their best selling smartphones use Android, which is not free software.

If they donate any money to GNU/Linux projects or other libre projects, they are just scamming and bribing the community.

Re:Typical Samsung... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738275)

Yea that makes sense. They're only the largest proponent of Linux on mobile devices in the world.

Get over yourself.

Re:Typical Samsung... (1, Interesting)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about a year ago | (#42738827)

Trying their best to sabotage free software.

I think you are referring to Microsoft. UEFI Secure Boot is their baby.

Re:Typical Samsung... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year ago | (#42739367)

I think you are referring to Microsoft. UEFI Secure Boot is their baby.

Except that it's not and that this bug doesn't appear to have anything to do with Secure Boot, just UEFI.

MS says: (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737721)

UEFI is working as intended.

Re:MS says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737771)

Indood! :-) FWIW, I will NEVER purchase a computer that is not certified "Linux Compatible", and guarantees that if I want, I can disable secure boot in the BIOS.

Re:MS says: (2)

Eirenarch (1099517) | about a year ago | (#42737909)

I don't think secure boot has anything to do with this.

Re:MS says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739361)

Sounds pretty secure to me....especially after booting Linux...

Re:MS says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737785)

Yes. It is successfully making people avoid Samsung laptops products like the plague.

Re:MS says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738121)

I've used Linux for ... almost a decade, not as a pro, just as a user, never had hardware that didn't work with it, or if it did happen, then it would only be a matter of time until the drivers would be available.
Samsung ... fucked up. I know I'm not being sensible, but I am never going to buy a Samsung laptop and advise people away from them.

Re:MS says: (3, Informative)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year ago | (#42738577)

I know I'm not being sensible, but Linux didn't run one of my games properly 10 years ago, it fck'd up and I will never use Linux and will advise people away from it. /sarc

Samsung is one of the best companies out there for quality and support. They made a mistake and are working to fix it. Hopefully they will learn from this lesson and put in some proper Linux tests before shipping.

People make mistakes, but only the truly good learn from those mistakes.

Re:MS says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738123)

Yes. It is successfully making people avoid Samsung laptops products like the plague.

"People" being "the unmarketable and economically insignificant audience trying to install Linux on their laptop", right?

Re:MS says: (1)

pmontra (738736) | about a year ago | (#42738293)

Not really. Content producers are going to be the only category of people still buying laptops a few years from now. Everybody else will be using tablets or phablets. Software developers are a fair share of them and so linux on the desktop will be more important than now.

Re:MS says: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738095)

You might be confusing UEFI with other firmware based software "features"... as Linux supported (U)EFI 2 years before MS did in server products, 8 years before MS did in desktop versions of OS, and 12 years before MS finally got aroudn to supporting it for 32 bit systems. The fact UEFI can include extra things like secure boot isn't a problem of UEFI, but of those that choose to include such an option. The BIOS interface was overdue for being updated/replaced

Re:MS says: (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42738497)

The BIOS interface was overdue for being updated/replaced

True. Unfortunately, UEFI was a step in the wrong direction. Yeah, the classic BIOS was older than dirt, limited, and saddled with a variety of quirks, oddities, and cruft from its years of genetic drift and backward compatibility.

However, because it sucked, there was a strong incentive not to try anything stupid with it, and to just boot the OS and GTFO. Instead of just cleaning up and rationalizing this basic firmware function, UEFI goes wildly in the opposite direction, to the point where the firmware is tantamount to a second OS; but still with all the fucked up weirdness that we know and love from BIOS features like ACPI...

Re:MS says: (1)

MoonFog (586818) | about a year ago | (#42738329)

I`m expecting mine back from service the coming few days. I guess I`m looking forward to hearing whether or not this is covered by the warranty..

Quality engineering (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year and a half ago | (#42737753)

Kernel developers are discussing a change in the samsung-laptop driver.

To be fair, they didn't realize anybody would actually implement the HCF instruction.

Re:Quality engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737841)

Oh those wily nerds and their obsession with things catching fire...

Good ol' glory days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737781)

Who said "Man, I long for the old days when installing Linux wasn't as easy as today and all Linux guys were knowledgeable enough" ??
Step to the front now and apologize to all Samsung users.

Fucking UEFI (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737797)

And the worst thing about the response is that it isn't "Oh shit, looks like locking down your computer to prevent piracy doesn't work, we'll get rid of UEFI and find a less intrusive solution", but it's "UEFI has bricked your computer, deal with it. We'll figure something out eventually."

First you can't unlock your phone, soon you won't be able to use whichever operating system you want, some games are unplayable because of DRM that detects hardware changes, some are unplayable because of always-online DRM, some DVDs don't work on older DVD players. We're "buying" something then being told when and how to use it.

If I own something I will use it any way I damn well please (as long as its not to hurt anyone or steal something, etc).

Re:Fucking UEFI (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738029)

Looks like you are confusing UEFI with secure boot stuff. BIOS was kind of a legacy mess, and it was about time the interface got updated. UEFI is that replacement. You can get a UEFI setup without the secure boot stuff.

Re:Fucking UEFI (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#42738639)

Looks like you are confusing UEFI with secure boot stuff. BIOS was kind of a legacy mess, and it was about time the interface got updated. UEFI is that replacement. You can get a UEFI setup without the secure boot stuff.

It's been around a number of years as well - you could buy PCs doing it for at least 7 years now.

Hell, most PCs built in the past 4-5 years ARE UEFI. They just are hardcoded to boot into the BIOS emulation and legacy boot.

Which begs the question - how does Apple boot Windows 8? Their UEFI doesn't support secure boot as OS X doesn't support it...

Re:Fucking UEFI (3, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year ago | (#42739433)

Which begs the question

No it doesn't.

how does Apple boot Windows 8?

The computers are Macintoshes. Apple is the company.

Their UEFI doesn't support secure boot as OS X doesn't support it...

Windows 8 doesn't require UEFI Secure Boot. It couldn't, since one of Microsoft's requirements is that users be able to disable Secure Boot. Having UEFI Secure Boot is a requirement places on the OEMs that ship computers with Windows 8, and Apple doesn't ship Macs preinstalled with Windows.

Re:Fucking UEFI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739423)

You can get a UEFI setup without the secure boot stuff.

Until Microsoft require Windows Boot in a couple of years.

The legacy BIOS was a heap of junk, but throwing the kitchen sink in there and creating a new BIOS that's pretty much an operating system in its own right was not a good solution for anyone other than vendors looking for lockin.

Re:Fucking UEFI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738063)

UEFI and secure boot are not the fucking same thing.

Bricked device (5, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | about a year ago | (#42737821)

Now THAT ladies and gentlemen, is a true brick. Not these smartphone soft-bricks that can be solved by a quick flash. you don't go home happy after a brick. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

I'd call that "fried" (4, Informative)

caveat (26803) | about a year ago | (#42738079)

Bricks can be fixed with JTAG; if you have to outright replace the hardware, that's fried, toasted, nuked. (How the HELL does software do something THAT bad, anyway? Even flashing a ROM for an entirely incorrect model on a smartphone is still technically reparable..)

Re:I'd call that "fried" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738581)

(How the HELL does software do something THAT bad, anyway?)

You've obviously never compiled XFree86 with -O3 on a PIII laptop.

Re:I'd call that "fried" (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#42739011)

Oh my god if I could mod this +10 informative.

Re:I'd call that "fried" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739397)

Requires soldering or board replacement: Bricked
Requires some wacky reset procedure and software load: Not bricked

Re:I'd call that "fried" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739503)

When I researched how to install CM9 on my Galaxy S2, it turns out that the flash chip is bad on most S2's. (most of them can be rooted, but some are too far gone. only a few does not have the broken chip.). you need to run a test-program first to find out if the flash chip will even survive. And even then, it's a gamble. And first you have to install some *other* than stock ROM to avoid it too. (for instance Siyah).

So possibly its a flaky hardware problem.

Re:I'd call that "fried" (3, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year ago | (#42739511)

Software can do it if it causes low-level data corruption in a component.

It's amazing how many things in modern systems have internal firmware these days. For example, any eMMC flash chip (found in many smartphones) has internal firmware that handles wear levelling algorithms and such.

Samsung's 2011 smarphones were rather notorious for containing eMMC chips that were not JEDEC compliant - if you issued a secure erase command to the chip, it had a very good chance of corrupting the wear leveller's internal state. This would render the eMMC chip mostly inoperable (this failure mode was nicknamed "Superbrick" for the fact that it couldn't be recovered via JTAG). If you corrupted the firmware itself somehow (which apparently happened more than 50% of the time if an attempt was made to update/reset it according to Samsung engineers...), it would render it fully inoperable and effectively dead.

Re:Bricked device (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#42738461)

A true brick is always the manufacturers fault. Software should never be able to do anything irreversible to hardware. If there's flashable firmware that could be corrupted, keep a ROM copy that can be used by setting a jumper. Anything less is pure negligence.

Re:Bricked device (1)

niiler (716140) | about a year ago | (#42738673)

I agree with you only...

It is a laptop... On many of my laptops, setting jumpers is only possible by taking the whole dang thing apart, and laptops are much harder to disassemble (correctly) than are desktops. On my old Toshiba Satellite, I have to strip it to the frame to get to the CMOS battery (which, in theory, will never go bad).

I just hope Samsung can figure this out. I was starting to like their products.

A little bias in the article (4, Informative)

Imagix (695350) | about a year ago | (#42737845)

The article spends four and a half paragraphs shouting how Linux has trashed the laptop and even states that "It does, however, only occur when Linux is booted using UEFI." But then right at the end it closes with "In addition to the samsung-laptop driver bug, there may be, it appears, other ways of messing up the hardware and firmware on some Samsung laptops to the extent that they will no longer boot." So, is it really the evil Linux that is fouling up Samsung's laptops, or is the the incompetent Samsung that allows the firmware on the motherboard to be fouled up so badly that it cannot be reflashed? (With regard to the replaced motherboard... I wonder if that is simply the easiest way to handle the warranty. Swap the motherboard, send it back to the customer, repair the "broken" motherboard later.)

Re:A little bias in the article (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42738217)

I'd guess that the developers tested it boots Windows correctly and assumed that would be good enough.

"One time"? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42737877)

Samsung notebooks can be turned into a brick if booted just one time

Why do people say "one time" when there's been a shorter word for it for hundreds of years? Damn Fugees...

Re:"One time"? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737963)

Samsung notebooks can be turned into a brick if booted just one time

Why do people say "one time" when there's been a shorter word for it for hundreds of years? Damn Fugees...

Why do people say "hundreds of years" when there's been a shorter word for it for centuries?

Re:"One time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738059)

Your point is basically good, but 'one time' is childish, and 'century' has more meanings than just 'a hundred years'. I have less of a problem with it than 'one time'.

Re:"One time"? (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | about a year ago | (#42738101)

Century doesn't have any extant meanings other than 'one hundred consecutive years' and 'the name of a font type.' Anything else long fell out of use.

Re:"One time"? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year ago | (#42738297)

Cricket scores.

Re:"One time"? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#42738451)

Nah.

cenÂtuÂry (snch-r)
n. pl. cenÂtuÂries
1. Abbr. C. or c. or cent.
a. A period of 100 years.
b. Each of the successive periods of 100 years before or since the advent of the Christian era.
2.
a. A unit of the Roman army originally consisting of 100 men.
b. One of the 193 electoral divisions of the Roman people.
3. A group of 100 things.

Re:"One time"? (1)

Lazere (2809091) | about a year ago | (#42739549)

Show me any one of those things besides "A period of 100 years." that is actually still used/understood by the public.

Re:"One time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739431)

100 mile bicycle ride.

Century Ride [wikipedia.org]

Re:"One time"? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year ago | (#42739471)

Did you run that assertion by a dictionary before making it?

Re:"One time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738319)

Your point is basically good, but 'one time' is childish, and 'century' has more meanings than just 'a hundred years'.

Oh, boy, the much-anticipated explanation for THAT oughta be hilarious...

At least, it'll be more hilarious than the implication that "one time" has more meanings than "century", which makes it worse.

Re:"One time"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738109)

Samsung notebooks can be turned into a brick if booted just one time

Why do people say "one time" when there's been a shorter word for it for hundreds of years? Damn Fugees...

Same reason they say "larger in size" or "blue in color".

Just think of it as akin to RAID redundancy but in language.

Re:"One time"? (2)

click2005 (921437) | about a year ago | (#42739079)

Anything that slows the the english language's inevitable progression into a type of text speak is a good thing.

Re:"One time"? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#42738139)

Why do people say "one time" when there's been a shorter word for it for hundreds of years? Damn Fugees...

Don't blame the Fugees. That's a Justin Bieber song.

Re:"One time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738945)

I blame band camp.

Re:"One time"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738427)

Why do people say "one time" when there's been a shorter word for it for hundreds of years? Damn Fugees...

So, how's that OCD therapy coming along?

Also: "several weeks"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42739557)

a firmware update to prevent the problem for several weeks

Well, that's pretty lame if I have to keep updating it every 2 weeks.

Just (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737879)

How will i know in the future, that when buying a new laptop my favorite Linux flavor will work on it?

Ah, brings back memories. (5, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | about a year ago | (#42737901)

The previous guy commenting about "sabotaging free software" got marked as a troll... But this is pretty similar to a major eMMC firmware bug present in many of Samsung's phones manufactured in 2011.

The eMMC flash chip is NOT JEDEC compliant, and the wear leveller can go out into la-la-land if you issue a secure erase command to the chip.

Starting with ICS, Google started performing eMMC erase when wiping data in recovery for privacy reasons. This would kill Samsung flash chips.

In the Galaxy Nexus, Google forced Samsung to fix the damn chip with an internal firmware update.

However, in other devices, Samsung worked around it in two ways:
1) Disabling MMC_CAP_ERASE in I9100 kernels for a while
2) Replacing secure erase with nonsecure erase and not documenting this anywhere

Without the assistance of an engineer from Google (whom Samsung later tried to silence as far as I can tell) providing critical information, the opensource community would have been fucked.

Eventually, Samsung claimed they were "working hard" on the issue in early June 2012 - http://www.xda-developers.com/android/samsung-diligently-working-towards-hardbrick-fix/ [xda-developers.com]

A month later, in early July, they added MMC_CAP_ERASE to I9100 kernels without providing even the slightest warning - Within a day, a pile of bricks showed up:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1756242 [xda-developers.com]

In late August/early September, they submitted a patch to the Linux kernel to work around the issue at a kernel level - It was merged to mainline on September 4.

In early October, they released an update for Sprint devices WITHOUT THE FIX. "testing takes time" is an invalid excuse, as the build date for Sprint FI27 was September 27, 2011 - Almost a MONTH after the patch had been mainlined. The patch is very easy to backport to their I9100 kernel source baseline, so there is no excuse for this.

As a result, I still get PMs on XDA once or twice a week due to people accidentally digging up userspace binaries that perform secure erase. This shouldn't be an issue, as it is the kernel's responsibility to protect hardware from getting damaged by userspace. Samsung's position was that it was an "open source problem" and hence refused to fix it in the end.

Now that the exynos-abuse vulnerability is known and an exploit has been published, it's not an open source problem any more - Anyone who has not yet received an update to patch the exynos-abuse hole is dependent on this planet, out of 7 billion people, not having a SINGLE asshat who decides they want to permanently destroy a few Samsung devices. Even if exynos-abuse is patched, as long as the kernel still allows secure erase commands through, any other privilege escalation exploits will endanger devices again. Despite this, Samsung released an update for Sprint devices (FL24) at the end of December 2012 that *did not contain any protection against this issue in the kernel*

So yeah, Samsung wishes free software would go away - they claim otherwise, and make promises that they care and are trying to fix things, but they never deliver on such promises. Actions speak louder than words, and Samsung's actions send a pretty clear message to open source software - "fuck off and die".

(I won't even go into Samsung's constant and incessant GPL violations here... But it's incredibly rare for any Samsung source drop to correspond to any existing firmware release for a given device. When asked about this inconsistency, Samsung will claim that the firmware that came preinstalled on the device you purchased on launch day at Best Buy is a "leak" and thus they do not need to provide source that matches it.)

Re:Ah, brings back memories. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42737985)

Someone needs to brick a ton of these devices. Let samsung get egg on their faces.

Re:Ah, brings back memories. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738257)

Yes, absolutely. Because the people using these devices would love nothing more than to suffer for our great cause.

Re:Ah, brings back memories. (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#42738367)

Buy it from Amazon or Walmart and you won't be losing anything. You tell them that the Samsung product is a pile of crap that ate itself. Your merchant will give you your money back without incident.

Non-problem solved.

Re:Ah, brings back memories. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738883)

My UEFI Samsung NP350E5C laptop, built November 24, 2012, 'appeared' to be bricked after installing Windows 7 (came with Win 8) and also appeared to be bricked when I installed Ubuntu. The setting in BIOS that needs to be changed is the boot order of the drives. The default is to boot to the '(UEFI) Drive 0', but selecting '(P) Drive 0' clears the problem. I am typing this message on my Samsung laptop. I need to see a video of the problem...I don't believe it. I though my laptop was bricked...but no, it was not. These laptops are pretty crappy though, no Caps lock/Num locks LED, only upgradeable to 8GB RAM, driver support, and support in general, is hit and miss. Samsung needs a few more years listening to laptop consumers before they have a worthwhile laptop product.

Wow (2)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year ago | (#42738107)

That makes Apple a FOSS leader....

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738313)

Guess what you get with a 'FOSS' OS?

Samsung'ed. Right up the ass.

You have to take the good with the (very, very) bad.

Sounds like a design issue to me (1)

AlphaZeta (1356887) | about a year ago | (#42737923)

This sounds like a design issue on Samsung's part. The firmware should not have been allowed to be altered to a state that the machines can no longer boot. Anyone remembers the notorious CIH virus back in the days? Now all you need is just a Ubuntu memory stick and you can render all those Samsung laptops inoperable...

even Samsung is having trouble tacking down the pr (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42737949)

"Even Samsung"? They're useless - months along and they're no closer to even acknowledging that there's cut and paste issue (hanging apps, randomly rebooting device) with their flagship Android phone, the Galaxy S3!

Disconcerting... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#42737953)

It seems as though there is something badly wrong with the at least some part of the design if a bug of this flavor is possible(much less happening for reasons that even the vendor hasn't nailed down yet).

There are reasons to update/modify the firmware responsible for the first stages of the boot process; but not all that often(especially on a PC-class device, which has tons of both RAM and persistent mass storage available, this isn't some cost-reduced embedded device where the OS has to scribble configuration information in whatever bits of the teeny flash chip that also stores the bootloader).

Can anybody enlighten me as to why (outside of a BIOS update) a situation would arise where the kernel needs to scribble over the motherboard firmware, or where the firmware would be doing anything sufficiently drastic to itself based on input from the kernel that it wouldn't be recoverable?

UEFI weakness? (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about a year ago | (#42737959)

Regardless of how this was (accidentally or not) triggered, is this a weakness in UEFI such that once one gains kernel-level access to the hardware, bricking a device that was booted using UEFI is trivial?

With BIOS laptops there usually was an emergency recovery mode where the BIOS reflashed itself from an image via USB floppy disk. Was an opportunity missed to make a similar setup mandatory in EUFI (but from a USB stick of course)?

Re:UEFI weakness? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738605)

Such options are available, and many desktop UEFI boards even explicitly advertise them. Asus Z77-Deluxe "Bios Flashback" for example is advertised as a way to "update your BIOS without a processor!", but is also capable of recovering from a bricked state.

Criminal (-1, Troll)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#42737999)

Some reports in the Ubuntu bug tracker system report that such notebooks can not be recovered without replacing the main board.

Microsoft is not only guilty of attempted hardware monopoly, but also willfully contributing to the e-waste problem; given that it's a notebook, most folks won't even try to replace the board (and it should just be a replaceable chip, but NOT ALLOWED), but will just throw the whole thing away. Criminal waste due to criminal greed. The EU needs to get their butts in gear and stop this garbage cold.

Re:Criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738091)

So you want all the ICs on a motherboard to be socketed? Say it with me: UEFI and Secure Boot are different things!

Re:Criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738971)

UEFI and Secure Boot are different things!

Except you can't have Windows Boot without UEFI. The traditional BIOS could not prevent you from running any OS you wanted to, without adding some easily avoidable hacks like looking for a specific signature in the boot block.

Re:Criminal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738225)

You know what should be criminal? Wild accusations without a speck of evidence other than hysterical frenzy.

What are you going to do when it turns out that Microsoft had no involvement in this flaw, nor any Microsoft system, and the fault is entirely Samsung's?

Oh wait, nothing, because you can just go on attacking Microsoft because Obama didn't give you a free phone that would cure your brain cancer while feeding you government cheese.

Don't worry though, the next time you cry wolf somebody will surely pay attention to you.

Re:Criminal (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#42738317)

Hmm, let's see who is behind UEFI, shall we? AMD, AMI, Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, Insyde, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Phoenix. Yup, Linux haters all. Obviously this is all Microsoft's fault.

Re:Criminal (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about a year ago | (#42738565)

I wish I have a mod point to bump you up

Re:Criminal (0)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#42738611)

Microsoft is the only PC OS vendor in that list and carries a lot of sway. So much, in fact, that secure boot was designed and implemented completely by them. They did it under the guise of the TCG, whose flag they've been waving for years. Secure boot is just a culmination of the vendor-biased security they've wanted.

Re:Criminal (2)

bws111 (1216812) | about a year ago | (#42738651)

And this has nothing at all to do with secure boot, so what is your point?

Re:Criminal (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#42739169)

My point was, quite simply, that Microsoft is the hard-charger behind the move towards secure boot. And they, more than anyone else in that list, hate Linux.

Re:Criminal (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about a year ago | (#42739277)

This article have nothing to do with secure boot.....

Re:Criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42738879)

Because Apple, HP and IBM don't have their own OS on some of their products...

Oh, you want to talk about secure boot now, I thought we were talking about UEFI.

Re:Criminal (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#42739195)

Because Apple, HP and IBM don't have their own OS on some of their products...

Apple doesn't distribute their OS to any other OEMs, and neither HP nor IBM's OSes matter in the context that Microsoft has heavily pushed secure boot in.

Certainly not just Ubuntu (2)

MoonFog (586818) | about a year ago | (#42738355)

Mine got bricked booting Fedora 18 XFCE..

Experienced First Hand on a Samsung Laptop (4, Informative)

SorcererX (818515) | about a year ago | (#42738503)

I tried to install Ubuntu 12.10 a few months ago, using the UEFI boot instead of the regular BIOS boot loading options on a Samsung laptop. The installer started, and all I got was a black screen. When I tried to turn it on again, all I got was a black screen. I assumed it was a hardware problem, and managed to get a replacement laptop. I then tried to do the same procedure again, and I also managed to brick the second laptop. Since the internal SSD is not serviceable, I was not able to resolve the issue, and Samsung was unable to help me in any way. I returned the second laptop, and then I disabled the ExpressCache from Windows before I wiped the system and installed Ubuntu Linux without using UEFI.

UFIA (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about a year ago | (#42739059)

UEFI: Microsoft's way of giving you a UFIA

Re:UFIA (1)

MoonFog (586818) | about a year ago | (#42739223)

To repeat what others have said; don`t confuse UEFI and secure boot. Although Microsoft is certainly pushing the secure boot bit, Intel were the masterminds behind UEFI.

Warranty? (1)

grumpy_old_grandpa (2634187) | about a year ago | (#42739469)

It seems that Samsung will have to take the blame for this; that is, they should have tested for this. As it stands, it should be considered a manufacturing fault on their part. So the question is now, will the unlucky owners of Samsung bricks have them replaced under warranty?
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