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BIOS-Approved PCI Cards For Laptops

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the to-benefit-the-consumer dept.

Portables 482

derek_farn writes "First there were printers that would would only work with vendor annointed ink cartridges; now we have laptops that will only boot with vendor annointed PCI cards. Keeping a list of approved PCI cards in the bios is one way of ensuring that customers renew their maintenance contracts. How else are they going to be able to plug in a PCI card released after the last BIOS update?" My HP laptop is several years old; can anyone confirm this?

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Confirm? (5, Funny)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737901)


My HP laptop is several years old; can anyone confirm this?

How should we know? It's your laptop.

:-)

Re:Confirm? (1)

redJag (662818) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738003)

it's a trick question.. just say yes (although it's also a good idea to turn and run, he may be clinically insane).

Re:Confirm? (0, Offtopic)

tyraen (791990) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738114)

Besides the fact that you didn't understand what he was asking...the end. He meant, his was older than the new ones that now have it. At least, that's all I got out of it. ;D

Re:Confirm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738157)

Besides the fact that you have no sense of humor, parent understood very well what he was intending to ask but was responding to what he actually asked.

Re:Confirm? (3, Funny)

JavaPunk (757983) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738145)

How do we know its his laptop?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

asbestospiping (607061) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737904)

fp?

Confirmation (3, Funny)

fred911 (83970) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737907)

"My HP laptop is several years old; can anyone confirm this"

I'd need the serial number to confirm the age.. but we'll take your word for it.

You have now confirmed that your laptop is 7 years old.

IBM Thinkpads are the same way (5, Interesting)

explorer (42481) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737909)

My older Thinkpad T40p has a whitelist, too. Luckily the Cisco 350 mini-PCI card I needed to connect to the corporate wireless LAN is on the whitelist. IBM actually sells the Cisco card with an IBM part number.

But forget trying to buy a random 802.11 a/b/g card and plug it in.

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737992)

From what I've read this is because the FCC approval for the wireless is the combination of the card and the antenna (which is built into the screen). Obviously it's not really in IBM's (or any other manufacturer) interest to test every possible wireless card with their kit. They probably lock them to keep the FCC happy.

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (2, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738001)

This is common of many newer IBM laptops. They will not boot with a mini-pci card other than the Cisco 350 series or Intel installed.

It seems like a dirty trick, but I can understand why IBM would do such a thing. Think of it as certified hardware. IBM doesn't want to answer support calls asking "how do I set up a kwang-dong-fu mini-pci a/b/g card I picked up in china?"

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738043)

by the way, mine is an A31. AFIK, the A, T, R, and X series are all the same in this respect. The only wireless cards that will work are the Cisco and Intel cards.

I have no idea if this applies to non-wifi cards.

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (5, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738053)

Seems to me that if they don't want their computer to be compatible with PCI cards, they shouldn't advertise it as being compatible with PCI cards.

But maybe I'm crazy.

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (4, Interesting)

VargrX (104404) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738008)

Hate to argue this, but, no. I've got a T40p, and an R40, and have plugged in all sort's of card/mini-pci based device's into them, and have not had any issue's beyond finding proper driver's for the OS that I'm using at the moment

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738117)

Your misuse of apostrophes is making my eyes bleed... Not one of them was needed :-)

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738137)

Ah - actually, the one was needed for the contraction "I'm"

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (2)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738144)

Hate to argue this, but, no. I've got a T40p, and an R40, and have plugged in all sort's of card/mini-pci based device's into them, and have not had any issue's beyond finding proper driver's for the OS that I'm using at the moment.

Your misuse of apostrophes is making my eyes bleed... Not one of them was needed :-)
Last I checked, the apostrophe for "I'm" is actually necessary. =]

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (1)

CtrlPhreak (226872) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738158)

There's I've and I'm in there =)

Re:IBM Thinkpads are the same way (5, Informative)

h2odragon (6908) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738166)

There's an easy enough workaround [sladen.org] for that.

Question~ (2, Insightful)

tektek (829733) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737915)

Is this just Compaq/HP? If so, just don't buy from them?

Re:Question~ (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738035)

Don't buy their crap anyways... I've never seen an HP/compaq that wasn't 1/2 the speed it should have been for it's specs. Dude... get a Dell, IBM, or Toshiba (or Sony if you like to burn money).

Re:Question~ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738135)

Shop smart, shop ACER!

Yes, by all means (4, Insightful)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737917)

Please work to undermine the Great Strength of the PC market, the open architecture.

Brilliant move.

They should find everyoen who supported this decision and make sure they never work in any decision-making capacity anywhere again.

Re:Yes, by all means (3, Funny)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737947)

Well according to the article, all you have to do is:

1. Hack the Bios
2. ???
3. Profit!!!

Re:Yes, by all means (2, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737961)

More likely they were all promoted and got free shares of stock.

Re:Yes, by all means (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737970)

poooo baby. someone drop their lolly?

Re:Yes, by all means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737991)

> never work in any decision-making capacity anywhere again. Not from the USA? If corporate and government are any indication, they've already been promoted.

Re:Yes, by all means (-1, Flamebait)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738028)

Almost makes you want to buy a Mac doesn't it?

Re:Yes, by all means (2, Informative)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738104)

Wasn't the Mac one of the first to do exactly the same thing? Before they adopted PCI buses, they would only work if your peripheral card had a Apple-approved (or written) BIOS ROM on it physically! That, and proprietary closed standards is primarily how they prevented the clone industry from getting it's teeth into Mac-land, IIRC.

I'm not sure about nowadays, whether they allow random PCI cards to be inserted, I haven't heard if they will refuse to boot if you try an unapproved one.

Re:Yes, by all means (4, Insightful)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738163)

Almost makes you want to buy a Mac doesn't it?

I wonder if you'll get a +5, Troll for that...

Seriously, Apple's always been blamed for being elitist for having a semi-closed architecture and many PC partisans took them to task for it. Now some PC manufacturers are starting to do the same.

This is probably a sign of things to come. As computing becomes more and more dependant on the Internet to even provide basic functionality, security concerns are going to crowd out flexibility and "freedom." It's really a shame; this will only increase the barrier to entry to computing even higher than it is now. Already, classical shareware and freeware have nearly been killed by fears of viruses and spyware. (Interestingly, the Mac market's about the only place where a shareware developer can make a living from it.) There have already been opening salvos of FUD fired at the Open Source movement for not having a "certified" credential system for contributing programmers and writers. (Even non-coding projects like Wikipedia is starting to get brickbats from "established" editors and writers for not being "professional" enough.)

The age of the garage developer is nearly, if not already, over.

There's a simple solution. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737918)

We can keep our own list of venders who do this... ..and don't buy from them.

Incompatibility List? (5, Interesting)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737985)

There is a list of hardware that is not very Linux friendly here: http://www.leenooks.com/ [leenooks.com] - perhaps this stuff would make a good addition to the list.

Re:There's a simple solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738148)

Wow! Amazing how an anonymous got modded up for suggesting a ban list - seeing how most people here would prefer binary drivers than none. How about the same list include vendors who don't open their hardware specs and provide closed binary-only drivers, while we're at it?

What's new about this? (2, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737928)

IBM has been doing this in Thinkpads for a while (starting with the T40, I think) - mini-PCI wireless cards are whitelisted, and the PC will refuse to work with anything other than pure, 100% IBM parts.

If you don't like it, don't buy it...

Re:What's new about this? (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737995)

If you don't like it, don't buy it...

I'm sure IBM went out of their way to say "Hey! You can only use what we say in this computer!" to everyone who bought it so that customers could make this informed decision.

Surely they did this, right?

Re:What's new about this? (1)

BlacKat (114545) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738011)

Or, reflash your BIOS and whitelist the cards of your own choosing. ;)

IBM too (3, Informative)

ignavusincognitus (750099) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737929)

This is nothing new. Linux-lovin' IBM is known to do this as well [iu.edu] ,

Workaround (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737933)

# You need an uncompressed copy of the BIOS. The easiest way to obtain this is probably to use phlash16 under DOS with the /BU option. This will write out an uncompressed copy as BIOS.BAK.
# Find out the PCI vendor, device and subsystem IDs of your card. In Linux, doing lspci -v will tell you this.
# Open the BIOS file in a hex editor. Find the BCPUSB header (there's an index near the start of the file that contains references to lots of BCP stuff. Ignore the one that appears here). Shortly after this is a set of PCI IDs, split up with 0s. The file is in little endian format, so the first byte in the file is the second byte of the ID. For instance, an IBM Pro/Wireless 2100 is 8086:1043 with a subsystem id of 8086:2551. This will appear as 8680431086805125. Make the modifications to suit your card.
# Find the string EXTD. The 4 bytes after that are an additive checksum. When all the 4 byte blocks in the file are added up, they must equal 0. Change the checksum as appropriate. At some point I'll probably get round to writing a tool to do this.
# Reflash your BIOS. Make sure that you use the /CS option to phlash16 in order to check the checksum.
# If it's worked, your card should now work. If it hasn't, your laptop is probably dead.

The credit goes to: (5, Informative)

the_mighty_$ (726261) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738012)

Matthew Garrett [ucam.org]

Re:Workaround (2, Funny)

HermDog (24570) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738160)

# If it's worked, your card should now work. If it hasn't, your laptop is probably dead.
In this world of ambiguous gray areas, number fudging and touchy-feely subjectivism, I find comfort that I can still definitely know that I have royally screwed something up and void my warranty while doing so.

slightly OT: Works with Dell (2, Informative)

kb (43460) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737934)

I can at least confirm that changing the WLAN card in my Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop (because Dell's TrueMobile stuff definitely sucks a donkey's primary sexual organ) wasn't any problem at all. But Dells are known to be pretty user-maintainable anyway ;)

oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737939)

http://www.openbios.info/

they need support

The Hypocrisy of Microsoft's Founder (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737940)

Okay, let's do it. Let's contribute to the intellectual and spiritual health of the body politic. To organize my discussion, I suggest that we take one step back in the causal chain and help others to see through the empty and meaningless statements uttered by Mr. William H. Gates III and his proxies. He has been a bad apple for as long as I can remember. Of course, it's not that simple.

Most of you reading this letter have your hearts in the right place. Now follow your hearts with actions. We need to look beyond the most immediate and visible problems with Mr. Gates. We need to look at what is behind these problems and understand that inasmuch as I disagree with Mr. Gates's accusations and find his ad hominem attacks offensive, I am happy to meet Mr. Gates's speech with more speech and, if necessary, continue this discussion until the truth shines. I suspect that raising the volume, increasing the stridency, or stressing the emotionalism of an argument does not improve its validity, even though that presupposes a dialectical intertwinement to which a rotten turn of mind is impervious. All the deals Mr. Gates makes are strictly one-way. Mr. Gates gets all the rights, and the other party gets all the obligations.

He wants to make all of us pay for his boondoggles. Personally, I don't want that. Personally, I prefer freedom. If you also prefer freedom, then you should be working with me to rub his nose in his own hypocrisy. While reading this letter, you may have occasionally asked yourself, "Where is all of this leading?" and, "What is the point exactly?" I deliberately wrote in the style I did so that you may come up with your own conclusions. Therefore, I leave you with only the following: The best advice I can give to a group is to detail the specific steps and objectives needed to thwart Mr. William H. Gates III's foolish little schemes.

HP is (in)famous for this sort of thing (5, Interesting)

n6mod (17734) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737941)

I have an old NetServer LPr that I use as a Debian server. It's built like a tank, and has been fairly reliable, save for one issue:

Since I got it (used), it always printed a warning that non-HP DIMMs were detected, and HP's on-site warranty didn't cover problems caused by non-HP memory.

Then two of the DIMMs failed, so I popped the lid.

You guessed it. HP memory.

At least the motherboard was kind enough to turn on a flashing light next to the bad DIMMS. (Seriously)

I remember... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737943)

I remember back in high school, trying to get a new store-bought non-HP external USB cd burner, and an internal one too, to work on an HP Presario. Damn thing refused to even boot when they were plugged in, but booted happily along the minute you unplugged them. Assholes.

IBM has been doing it for years! (3, Interesting)

radiojock (542397) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737944)

Many people who run corp laptops have found out that aleast since the T30, IBM laptops will not boot with a non IBM card, Well, if you have the utility you can put any mini-PCI card in there.... They make alot of money with there cards, so you can understand why they would do this.. What I don't hear about is apple and there slots not taking anything but "AIRPORT" cards? why is nobody bitching about that?

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (2, Informative)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738002)

When one of my friends comes over to visit, I've given her a Netgear MA-401 to run on her Powerbook G4. No troubles there. The only issue I've had is with drivers not being available to run the card. I solved this with a third party driver package. Linux has also had issues running certain wireless cards properly without drivers.

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738010)

You don't get it my friend. Here,
Apple = GOD
Linux = GOD(der)
MS = M$ = Devil ^23

Don't say anything about Apple; too many fanboys around.

Get with the program

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738014)

...because apple does not market it as a miniPCI slot, but rather an AirPort card slot. It doesn't claim to be something that it's not - a place to plug in whatever you feel like plugging in. It's there just for the AirPort card, and nothing more.

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (4, Interesting)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738039)

What I don't hear about is apple and there slots not taking anything but "AIRPORT" cards? why is nobody bitching about that?

I think this is simply because we don't expect openness with Apple. Their hardware is generally proprietary, while PC hardware is not.

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (2, Insightful)

radiojock (542397) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738074)

When you buy a laptop, it IS proprietarty! Can you go to Fry's and just buy a laptop Mobo? or how about a case?... So, while we are at it, Why don't we just start cramming in non-standard batteries into our laptops! You buy a laptop for it's current features, not it's upgradabillity. If you want to expand it, there are USB/1394 devices that will allow you to do that.. I just went to fry's and picked up a junky 9.99 usb2.0 G adapter...

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738102)

It's my understanding that miniPCI is a standard. The way these things work is that any device meeting the standard should work in any device that supports the standard. That is not happening here, as devices are being arbitrarily excluded by manufacturer/model.

The key word is: STANDARD (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738057)

What I don't hear about is apple and there slots not taking anything but "AIRPORT" cards? why is nobody bitching about that?
Because Airport is completely proprietary. I don't expect to be able to put a 3rd-party card in my iBook's airport slot because there are no 3rd-party cards that would fit. On the other hand, if IBM or anyone else advertises that their laptop has a [standard] mini-PCI slot, then it damn well better actually be a mini-PCI slot! And it should work with any [standard] mini-PCI card.

(note: this is not Apple fanboyism -- I don't complain about the proprietary slot on the lid of of my Compaq laptop either.)

Re:The key word is: STANDARD (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738138)

IBM, at least, does not advertise a mini-PCI slot. I'm sure if you dig deep enough you can find that information, but the main product summary in their store just says the laptop has integrated IBM or Intel WiFi.

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738068)

Oh I dont know. Probably because its not a Mini-PCI slot -- its an AirPort slot!

The MiniPCI slots on the side of the laptop will take any card you throw at it.

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738081)

Apple incorporates a slot that is specific to AirPort. They don't advertise it as a general purpose slot.

IBM says their slot is a PCI slot. That means I should be able to put a PCI card in it. If I can't, IBM is being deceptive.

Apple doesn't advertise mini-PCI (2, Interesting)

green pizza (159161) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738090)

Apple calls their slot an "Airport Express slot" and they call their wirless card an "Airport Express card". They've never promised that it could do anything else.

Re:IBM has been doing it for years! (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738130)

Probably because anybody who has an Apple is used to Apples only working with Apple peripherals. Also, what is the market share of affected Apple vs. affected HP and IBM computers?

This guy is amazing: (5, Informative)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737948)

http://www.paul.sladen.org/thinkpad-r31/wifi-card- pci-ids.html [sladen.org]

I came across his site a while back, and holy crap if he isn't hacking his BIOS to get around these limitations. (His page is linked to if you follow a link from TFA, but I figured he deserves more prominence here.)

Interestingly, this is the same IBM (and HP, for that matter) that we have come to know and love for their help with Linux. I realize they're a big company, full of lawyers and patents and left hands unaware of what the right hand's doing, but I'm still really surprised I haven't heard about this before.

Anyone know of a blacklist of this sort of shenanigans? I'm the sysadmin where I work, and it'd be great to know what to stay away from -- and to explain to these companies why they've lost our business.

We all have a BIOS (1)

DietCoke (139072) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737950)

Mine is located up in my brain, and contains a blacklist instead of a whitelist. It's pretty straightforward in design: if a laptop must use "manufacturer-approved" devices, it is not used.

Did I miss part of the linked article? (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737954)

It seems to be missing some reference links or something useful to verify what the author is stating.

I'd like to see the whitelist for a particular model and maybe some sort of comment from HP about why before I say anything about such a list.

Sure, HP has had trouble with compatibility before, and if this whitelist is really that restrictive, then it's a really bad thing. But I find nothing in this article that proves such.

Anybody have some additional reference?

PCI cards + Laptops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737956)

Sweet, i knew i could upgrade my latitude's video card someway or another.

Not gonna stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737957)

I don't think this is not gonna stick. Unlike printer market where only few established leaders have a cartel, PC/Laptop industry has a number of smaller players. Heck, even Walmart has its own brand! And there are so many smaller peripheral manufacturers around.

I think it would go the way of Circuit City & Divx.

But still, these companies think of doing such stupid things. When are they gonna learn that pissing off customers isn't good for their health?

Page out of Apple's book? (3, Insightful)

TimmyDee (713324) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737964)

It's too bad TFA doesn't say what kind of mini-PCI card. He probably bought some generic made-in-god-knows-where card from JustDeals or somewhere like that. Now, I'm an opponent of the direction "Trusted Computing" is going, but in this case there's something to be said for a manufacturer locking out shitty peripherals so they don't kill your system. It saves them one more support headache. Apple does the same thing. Sure, lot's of us Mac-heads bitch about it (myself included sometimes), but at the end of the day we can always brag about how plug-and-play Macs are. It looks as though PC manufacturers are following in footsteps of Apple again.

Simple Solution (4, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737965)

Capitalism provides a simple solution to this problem.

Track down the person that made such an non-upgradable notebook and kill them in their sleep.

Actually, maybe that's not the capitalistic way of solving it but it's likely more satisfying.

Re:Simple Solution (3, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738009)

The capitalist way would be to just sell your services re-fitting/flashing BIOS's with this turned off, of course since the DMCA came into effect capitalism now comes second to campaign financing.

Re:Simple Solution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738027)

No, that seems in line with how capitalism works in this day and age.....

Re:Simple Solution (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738034)

The captialistic solution would be to hire someone to do the killing for you. Expect to pay more for deniability.

Junky Gateway (1)

parasonic (699907) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737974)

I have a P4 2.2 Gateway and plugged in a Dell minipci card, no problem. I'd almost rather have one of those ibm's though...that Gateway's falling apart! (No, I didn't buy it...I inherited it.)

Re:Junky Gateway (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738061)

Since the Dell card is rebranded, this shouldn't be taken as an indication that your Gateway isn't going to lock you out in the future.

Non-Issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11737978)

Laptops have a lifespan of 2-3 years typically -- by the time this is an issue, the next generation laptops will obviate the older.

I personally would vote with my feet. Companies who try to tie you to proprietary solutions are not on my short list of where I spend my money.

And yes, that would include Apple.

I think you aren't using a MiniPCI card (3, Insightful)

whereizben (702407) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737981)

Which is what the blogger is referring to. Those cards, if I am not mistaken, are the kind of "built-in" cards that you can install, typically under the keyboard, but that you don't remove and re-install all the time. I think you are thinking of PCMCIA cards that you take in and out all the time. And in response to what the blogger is posting, he could remove the MiniPCI card and it would boot fine, and then revert his BIOS back to his old version (unless for some reason it had some VERY critical fix) and then put his card back in and simply not do the BIOS updates unless he really, really has to. But so basically, you don't have to worry at all, me thinks :)

Sucks, but what to you really expect? (2, Interesting)

VargrX (104404) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737983)

From TFA:
I bought a Compaq/HP nx9110 a year ago, and recently upgraded my Mini-PCI Wireless card from non-OSS friendly Broadcom 11b to an 11g card. It's an HP Laptop. According to their marketing, I shouldn't have had to buy non-HP parts to be linux compatible.


The HP BIOS for most models of laptop now have a whitelist of allowed Mini-PCI cards that can be installed in the laptop. If your new WiFi card isn't on the (very small) list of allowed cards for that specific model of laptop, then your laptop won't boot.


Good reason not to purchase ANY HP/Compaq product from the Carly era, isn't it. Tough break there, but when you purchase something that's supposedly 'commodity', and then realize that it has a very, very short list of 'accepted' expansion options, you've done this to yourself.

Personally, I'm a big IBM Thinkpad fan, plug in all type's of card's into them, and as long as I have driver support, I have no issues, be it XP, Linux, or any of the BSD's (of course, this changes with what hdd I plug in the laptop at the time).

Re:Sucks, but what to you really expect? (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738073)

You'll be happy to know that Carly is no longer with HP.

Funny. (4, Insightful)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738077)

Your post is hilarious because IBM has been known to be doing this for some time now. You ahve been fortunate to only use IBM whitelisted products so far.

In fact your post reminds me of an incident I experienced a few years ago. I was approached and reprimanded by a WWII veteran for driving a "Jap car". At the time I was driving an Isuzu. After the man was finished reprimanding me, he jumped into his Chevrolet and drove away. I burst out laughing because the particular model of Chevrolet that he was driving was actually a re-branded Isuzu.

Linuxbios? (2, Interesting)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | more than 8 years ago | (#11737993)

Wasn't there a project a while back to produce a GPLed BIOS for booting Linux? Not sure how much success you'd have with a laptop, but might be worth a go? I'm sure another /.er will put me right.

Mini PCI was never intended for end users (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738017)

Intel Technology Journal: [intel.com]
The PCI Express Mini Card specifically targets addressing system manufacturers' needs for build-to-order (BTO) and configure-to-order (CTO) applications rather than providing a general end-user-replaceable module. This form factor has characteristics more typical of an "embedded" application including the platform integration of the media interfaces such as communications connectors or wireless antennas.
Cisco MPI350 FAQ: [cisco.com]
The Cisco MPI350 cannot be sold as an aftermarket adapter because ... Regulatory certification is based on the MPI350 being coupled with a particular antenna. Although modular regulatory approvals are available, they only apply to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), who is responsible for embedding similar antennas in different devices. Modular regulatory approval does not eliminate the restriction on aftermarket sales since the end user might embed the adapter in devices with unapproved antennas.
Basically, these companies are using FCC regulations as an excuse for limiting Mini-PCI cards (not just on these particular laptop models, but all Mini-PCI cards in general) to OEM installation only.

and the Party smiles (1)

chalkoutline (854917) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738019)

man, it's big brother all over the place today. When I buy non-epson cartridges my printer knows and tells me I shouldn't use them (a full set of epson catridges = ~£66, non brand version are ~£16), now this is going on? the world scares me

My Dell has this problem in a roundabout fashion. (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738020)

I have a Dell Inspiron 8500. I bought a prism54 based 802.11g card. This card has native linux support and is one of the few 802.11g devices that has drivers included in the kernel sources now. Works great. Sometime recently, I decided to get a bluetooth phone, and decided it'd be time to upgrade the laptop with the internal bluetooth module. Ordered it from Dell, and installed it, the bluetooth module (Dell TrueMobile 300) no workie. If I remove the mini-pci card, it works fine. But otherwise, the bluetooth just won't work. The only thing I can imagine that would cause this is that the mini-pci card is "Unknown" according to the BIOS and both the mini-pci wireless and bluetooth cards are supposed to be controlled by the Fn-F2 key combination. Without being able to "known" what the mini-PCI card is, it just disables the bluetooth. I decided to order a $29 intel B/G card. I'm not happy that I have to do it, but at the same time, I don't mind buying an Intel card since they have native linux drivers as well.

Fortunately (1)

Drako2 (99503) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738022)

You have the ability to purchase what you want. However, if you do decide against a HP for this reason, you really should notify HP and tell them why you decided against buying their hardware, making them realize that just like Apple's one button mouse, not all ideas are good ones.

BIOS alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738023)

All the more reason to look for BIOS alternatives which will never pull these tricks:

Linux BIOS [linuxbios.org]

It has a ways to go before it is "plug and play" unfortunately. It would be good if some Linux hardware vendors would pick this up and get this out into the real world. I would much rather buy hardware with Linux installed in the BIOS.

Linksys knows (1, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738025)

Linksys does "mac address cloning" for ISP's that don't allow routers.

Can anyone make the connection?

Re:Linksys knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738133)

If you are talking about spoofing/cloning the PCI IDs, how, pray tell, would the OS know what the correct driver to install was? You could probably work around it, but it wouldn't be worth the time.

This will lead to... (2, Interesting)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738041)

This will only cause a proliferation of web-based collections of hacked BIOS'es, just like rpc1.org is now for DVD player firmwares. All the nasties hacked out for your convenience.

For all of you about to say: "Well, that's against the DMCA...", true, but that hasn't stopped the widespread distribution of region-free hacked DVD firmware has it?

Flash - gotta love it!

Not Boot?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738067)

Whats to stop you from plugging in the device after boot??

After all windows and linux, tend to ignore what the bios says and do there own thing anyways.

Re:Not Boot?? (1)

http101 (522275) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738149)

What'll stop you in this case is that the BIOS is memory-resident in HP/Compaqs because the working BIOS is actually stored on the disk. The "BIOS Chip" on the board serves only as a shadow. This is why HP/Compaq or "HPaq" wants you to turn off your computer, press and hold the "CMOS" button inside your case (to flush the memory) and then edit your BIOS on the next boot. When you save and exit your BIOS, the new, working copy is stored on your hard drive and a mirror of it is used from memory.

Re:Not Boot?? (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738155)

Hmmmm.... The ritualistic release of the magick smoke from the little silicon and epoxy bits on the circuit boards, I would think.

Only PCI sockets on really high-end machines (IBM R6000's, Sun servers, etc.) allow the PCI slots to be powered-down and hot-socketed.

Paramoia? (1, Insightful)

taniwha (70410) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738070)

Is it really trusted computing platform that's the reason for this? (could well be but let me play devil's advocate for a moment) - if I put my hardware designer's hat I'd worry about all sorts of issues around people installing random miniPCI cards in a laptop, esp one I was responsible for the RMAs for (power, heat, physical form factor [shorting components], RF interference to internal components, FCC etc)

I'd want to make sure that customers weren't trashing laptops by putting in things that destroy them then quietly removing the offending card and returning them for repair.

Ob. /. response.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#11738127)

> I'd want to make sure that customers weren't trashing laptops by putting in things that destroy them then quietly removing the offending card and returning them for repair.

Oh, come now! How is this going to stop people pouring hot grits into the laptop?

This has been going on for years. (4, Funny)

Exluddite (851324) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738072)

I remember finding out after I bought my viewmaster that my stereoscope cards weren't compatible.

Bastards!

*confused* (1)

flokemon (578389) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738082)

erm, this article was a bit low on technicalities...
any references? more details?

i haven't actually tested any of those tcpa enabled new-ish laptops with a non vendor mini-pci card, but i've used IBM T3x's, and as far as I can remember, the "security chip" can be disabled in the BIOS.

Obligatory (0, Offtopic)

mestreBimba (449437) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738087)

In A.D. 2005
War was beginning.
Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Operator: We get signal.
Captain: What !
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Captain: It's you !!
Compaq: How are you gentlemen !!
Compaq: All your PCI DEVICES are belong to us.
Compaq: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say !!
Compaq: You have no chance to survive make your time.
Compaq: Ha Ha Ha Ha ....

Can they call it mini-PCI? (4, Interesting)

SupremeChalupa (547765) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738094)

Like the CD-ROM protection schemes that made the discs nonstandard, are these laptops far enough from the device standard that they could be forbidden from using the mini-PCI brand/logo/classification?

Thank you for purchasing... (4, Insightful)

http101 (522275) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738107)

If Carly were still in office, she'd probably find a way to convince you that your printer is out of ink and you need to buy refills!

Aside from that, if this under-handed marketting strategy is going to keep us from running servers/workstations, what's next - BMWs whose engines suddenly stop working because there's a Fram oil filter installed? What if I decide to use a generic dollar-store bulb in my socket instead of the "approved" Philips bulb? Based on this theory, can you imagine what would happen if I were to eat a bag of knock-off raisin bran?

It sounds to me that this is just a marketting gimick to screw customers over and force them to buy what the manufacturer wants you to buy. God forbid I should find a better alternative to what the manufacturer wants me to buy.

Compatibility (2, Interesting)

RaguMS (149511) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738122)

From a compatibility standpoint, this isn't a terrible idea. After all, we're talking about laptops, NOT desktop systems. Most laptop users aren't trying to stick all kinds of PCI cards in their laptops. In my experience, many laptops are only compatible with a small number of cards made by few manufacturers anyway.
Restricting add-on cards in a laptop to approved cards will ease support issues, by assuring that a laptop will work with that card (as opposed to a support technician requiring you to remove your add-on cards before you get support). In the end, customers get a more reliable laptop with some expandability choices.

Excuse: FCC compliance (1)

fabu10u$ (839423) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738131)

I haven't tested a different card in my HP tc1100 Tablet PC, but the instruction manual (or maybe I saw it in the online knowledge base?) said that the BIOS may warn about an unsupported wireless card. It claimed that the restriction was there because the machine was only certified for FCC Part 15 with certain wireless cards.

Bull, I say. Putting a WLAN PCI card in your desktop PC doesn't change its FCC certification!

So buy a Mac (0, Flamebait)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738141)

Then you don't have any choices, and the problem goes away. :-)

Hey! I tease! I own a dual G4 and a 15" Powerbook! Calm down!

This is not new (1)

asdavis (24671) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738143)

IBM has been doing the same thing. The vendors claim that this "white-listing" of mini-pci wi-fi cards is due to certification of the card with the built-in antenna within the laptop in accordance with FCC requirements. I'm not sure that thinking is valid any longer due to regulatory changes.

And also... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#11738152)

Bluetooth cell phones that only work with approved devices.

The electronics industry likes to talk about interoperability, but they seem to hate it in practice.

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