[BALUG-Talk] BIOS zapping bug: Ubuntu 17.10 / *buntu 17.10

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Fri Dec 22 15:27:28 PST 2017

Quoting Tony Godshall (togo@of.net):

> Oh, wow.  Writing to BIOS is serious stuff.

So serious that, on Intel-based systems with Intel SPI (Serial
Peripheral Interface) firmware such as those discussed at the links
provided, it could brick the motherboard unfixably.  (EFI-based systems
could likewise get knackered by OS software writing to the EFI system
partition, but that's not what's at issue in today's hapless Ubuntu

About the SPI problem:  Some recent Intel CPUs like Baytrail and
Braswell have held BIOS and other platform-specific data in writeable
flash memory, dubbed 'the SPI serial flash'.  Recent Ubuntu installation
kernels have included a kernel driver called intel-spi, making it
possible to read and write the SPI serial flash.  That driver seems, on
present evidence, not ready for prime time, causing BIOS data corruption 
as reported.

Including the driver in an installation kernel at all is a particularly
stupid blunder, as there was no legitimate purpose for it there, and 
the risks should have been obvious -- as Canonical, Ltd. are now

(Hey, my collection of .signature files is up to #490.  Time to update
http://linuxmafia.com/pub/humour/sigs-rickmoen.html .)

Cheers,                    "I am not responsible for the structural integrity 
Rick Moen                  of the bubble you’ve chosen to live in."
rick@linuxmafia.com                                           -- Mike Norton
McQ! (4x80)

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