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back to article How to destroy a brand-new Samsung laptop: Boot Linux on it

Linux users accidentally bricked their new Samsung laptops by booting their favourite open-source OS on the shiny computers. A kernel driver crashes on Sammy machines when users start up from an Ubuntu 12 USB key - although other distributions may be at risk - giving them the dreaded black screen of no activity whatsoever. After …

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Anonymous Coward

Schadenfreude

Could only happen to Freetards. Life would be so much simpler if everybody embraced the brilliance that is Windows 8.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Schadenfreude

"Life would be so much simpler if everybody embraced the brilliance that is Windows 8."

QOTW.

C.

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Re: Schadenfreude

Downvoter humour fail!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Schadenfreude

Here is a mouse, keyboard and a non touch screen, embrace the brilliance of Windows 8 using those tools. I'll wager you'll be reaching for a lump hammer after half an hour.

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Holmes

Re: Schadenfreude

"Downvoter humour fail!"

It's probably more people have assumed that Eadon has found the "post anonymously" checkbox.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Schadenfreude

"...It's probably more people have assumed that Eadon has found the "post anonymously" checkbox..."

Don't you mean Obviously!.... or am I getting my trolls mixed up?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 12:47 - Re: Schadenfreude

Good idea! And we should all dress in blue all buttoned-up working clothes, and ride the same bike model and have the same hair cut , be allowed to have a single child that will grow up into someone simple like you. Yes, life would be so simple.

For a moment I thought you are joking but using the word freetard made me doubt it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Schadenfreude

>Don't you mean Obviously!.... or am I getting my trolls mixed up?

You're getting your trolls mixed up. Obviously! thinks every Apple user is a mindless moron, it is Eadon that thinks people only use Windows because they haven't yet seen the light. Neither get much deeper than that, though Eadon usually does stick around to defend his naivety.

Strangely, I haven't yet seen them spar off each other.

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Memo, Samsung to Mr S Balmer, Microsoft

Dear Steve

Our cunning plan to eliminate Linux is working perfectly.

Yours

Samsung

{ps, we hope the cheque is in the post}

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Re: Memo, Samsung to Mr S Balmer, Microsoft

"working perfectly" ... apart from the easy workaround, you mean?

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Coffee/keyboard

Samsung AND Ubuntu?

Not even anal sex with sandpaper condoms is that masochistic.

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Re: Samsung AND Ubuntu?

This difference between sadism and masochism... which side of the paper the sand is stuck to.

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There is a simple fix

Don't buy a Samsung laptop until the company convincingly proves it has fixed this problem. After all, you don't want to be stuck with a computer that only runs Windows, do you?

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Re: There is a simple fix

Bet Samsung're shitting it! The thought of losing 3 or 4 purchases....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is a simple fix

I'm sorry, please explain to me why Samsung now have to fix a buggy Linux kernel driver.

Did Samsung write it?

If you don't want to run Windows, don't but a computer with Windows installed. There's loads of companies selling alternatives...no, wait; there isn't because Linux is an epic desktop fail. It destrors your computer for one.

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Re: There is a simple fix

"Did Samsung write it?"

Yup pretty much, the module is compiled from code samsung provided.

There's your explanation of why they now have to fix it......

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Facepalm

Re: There is a simple fix

Dear AC

"I'm sorry, please explain to me why Samsung now have to fix a buggy Linux kernel driver." Because a) they wrote it, and b) it's not that they need to fix, it's the crappy laptop that allows its firmware to be vaped by a software error.

"Did Samsung write it?"

As stated many times, yes, in this insance, but even if they hadn't they would still be responsible for building a laptop that doesn't fail to protect its firmware.

Is that so hard to understand?

Signed,

a non-Linux user.

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Re: There is a simple fix

I have to agree. I have no problem with a product failing when someone throws something at it that it isn't designed for - so if it was designed to run Windows (and just Windows), and they're clear about this, then bricking it with A.N.Other OS is not Sammy's fault.

However, as dear old Sammy then offered code that is supposed to support this functionality on a given product, then they're in the wrong. I wonder if they put a disclaimer with the code to cover them on this....?

In other words, Sammy should've offered no code rather than dangerous code.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is a simple fix

"The thought of losing 3 or 4 purchases"

You'd be surprised how many Windows users with no intention of changing ask Linux users what hardware to buy. If it won't run Linux, then it probably won't run Windows based on current OS with service pack +1 either.

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Re: how many Windows users with no intention of changing ask Linux users what hardware to buy

is it 3 or 4?

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FAIL

@Anontard

"I'm sorry, please explain to me why Samsung now have to fix a buggy Linux kernel driver."

Dear Anon,

Given the level of your technical understanding so evident in your question, nobody has to explain tits to you as you wouldn't understand it anyway.

Yours sincerely,

etc., etc., etc.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 13:31GMT - Re: There is a simple fix

I'll make this simpler for you: Samsung must fix this because soon it will be exploited in Windows too. Hackers now know there is a sequence of binary commands that can brick the machine. Get it now?

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Linux

Re: There is a simple fix

If Samsung missed this, then what else did they miss? What other ticking time bomb is lurking in their products. They get to go straight to the top of the PC sh*t list. There they will stay until they get their act together or someone screws up worse.

...not that they would have been the first name to come to mind even before this debacle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is a simple fix

So they could sell laptops?

I know that *some* might consider that argument to be a little too intellectual.

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To quote from a recent talk I've heard

"Secure Boot could actually improve security, unless there are bugs in EFI".

I think this settles it. If there are bugs in EFI implementations that brick your hardware... there are most likely security critical bugs in there, too. (In fact bricking the hardware might be a security problem by itself depending on the scenario)

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Joke

Re: To quote from a recent talk I've heard

Maybe that was Samsungs ultimate security goal, if none authorized code was trying to run it would brick the entire laptop for extra security

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WTF?

Come again?

"A kernel driver........crashes....giving them the dreaded black screen of no activity whatsoever."

Shit happens.

"...the firmware.......refuses to start up the laptop..."

Shit happens.

"....effectively ruining the product." / "...destroyed two motherboards...."

This is the sort of shit that should never happen. Crapping on the firmware I can sort of understand, but having that as even a possibility in software and not having a recovery process for it? What a shite product!

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Might explain why my local co-op is selling a pile of Samsung laptops.

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Stop

Were there any stickers on those machines with "Designed For Linux" on them?

Yeah, I put diesel in my petrol tank ... guess what?

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Yeah, I put diesel in my petrol tank

+1. Of all the analogies of this problem, I think this one is the best.

I suspect the IT fix will be just as cumbersome and almost as expensive as fixing the petrol/diesel problem too.

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Meh

Yeah, I put diesel in my petrol tank ... guess what?

You can't read?

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Stop

"Were there any stickers on those machines with "Designed For Linux" on them?"

Probably not, were there any stickers on it that said "designed for Windows" on it? I've not seen them for some time. The only ones I see are "Windows 7", telling you what software is on it at shipping, or "certified for Windows 8". None of them say "Can only run Windows 7" which would be a strange thing to put on an x86-64 machine. Presumably your understanding would be that it can't run Windows Vista either?

"Yeah, I put diesel in my petrol tank ... guess what?"

No, the closest analogy is you put Shell petrol in a Ford Focus, when the sticker on the cap now says "Ford recommends BP"

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FAIL

"Were there any stickers on those machines with "Designed For Linux" on them?"

Were there any stickers saying "this is not a general purpose computer" on them?

Yeah, I put Shell petrol in my petrol tank....turns out it expects Esso.

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FAIL

SO who should I scream at when I bricked my phone trying to upgrade it using a ROM from XDA?

That's right, the bloody manufacturer for building a phone that I couldn't do to it as I wanted without bricking it.

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A phone isn't supposed to be a computer. A computer runs computer programs. An OS is just a computer program. A computer that breaks when you run some random program on it has a major design flaw.

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WTF?

An Apple a day...

keeps shite korean rubbish away.

Also, for the windoze tards that cannot read (because of finger prints on the screen maybe?) / didnt bother to read the article, its a firmware issue, not an OS issue.

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Re: An Apple a day...

oooh, massive samsungtard downvote burn onroute to you in 3...2...1....

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Anonymous Coward

Does Samsung support Linux?

No.

Did Samsung write the Linux driver that crashes?

No.

Did Samsung install Linux?

No.

So why is Linux's crashy driver suddenly Samsung's problem? Their product works perfectly well with the OS provided. If you don't like that, buy a different product.

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Re: Does Samsung support Linux?

So why is Linux's crashy driver suddenly Samsung's problem?

Because the FW should not be able to be left in a state where it can't reboot. If you can't turn it back on, its a FW bug.

In the same way that playing different moves in a chess game shouldn't be able to leave the OS unable to boot.

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Stop

Re: Does Samsung support Linux?

There's a difference between Linux plain failing on the hardware and the hardware plain failing when you run Linux!

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Re: Does Samsung support Linux?

@AC Let me just fix that for you?

Does Samsung support Linux?

Yes, not specifically on this product but they contribute kernel code.

Did Samsung write the Linux driver that crashes?

The code used to compile the module came from Samsung.

Did Samsung install Linux?

No. But given they contribute code to the Linux Kernel to make it work with their laptops, perhaps they should of done so to test it?

If this happened with when installing Windows XP on the laptop, because XP contained an old Samsung driver that broke the UEFI firmware would you be blaming Microsoft or Samsung?

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Headmaster

Re: Does Samsung support Linux?

Does Samsung support Linux?

Yes, not specifically on this product but they contribute kernel code.

So...no.

Did Samsung write the Linux driver that crashes?

The code used to compile the module came from Samsung.

And naturally Samsung had the massive vision to write code into this module for a product it probably never even knew it was going to build at the time, or even that it had Linux visions for.

But given they contribute code to the Linux Kernel to make it work with their laptops, perhaps they should of done so to test it?

Newsflash: Contributing to the kernel != automatic, full support for all Linux builds on all products.

If this happened with when installing Windows XP on the laptop, because XP contained an old Samsung driver that broke the UEFI firmware would you be blaming Microsoft or Samsung?

Neither. XP isn't supported either, from what I understand.

At the end of the day...regardless of what Samsung does on the Linux front, if it says LINUX is not supported on this hardware (or alternatively *only* OS xxxx is), then the risk is entirely yours.

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Re: Does Samsung support Linux?

At the end of the day...regardless of what Samsung does on the Linux front, if it says LINUX is not supported on this hardware (or alternatively *only* OS xxxx is), then the risk is entirely yours.

So... What you're saying is... it's still Samsung's fault.

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Where is Eadon to tell us how this is all MS's fault??

Apart from the title. Is there no way of reflashing the chip? And if there is surely it would be in Samsungs best interest to provide this help.

Customer service seems to be dead these days, with most companies only interested in taking your money there and then. Surely it would make more sense to give continued support/advise so that customer comes back and buys their next product from you. Or is this wishful thinking.

Final thing where is the rest of the story, we have comments from a Senior Ubunto developer, an Intel developer, but where is the comment from Samsung??

Quoting an Ubunto developer about what someone, somewhere else who spoke to someone, somewhere at Samsung told him isnt really getting the Samsung story is it??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Where is Eadon to tell us how this is all MS's fault??

Why should Samsung do anything? It's not their code, it's not an OS they support and they sell the computers with a perfectly good OS pre-installed.

What next? WAH! My laptop broke when I used is scuba diving. WAH! Samsung must make it waterproof. FOR FREE! WAH!

Get a grip, feeetards. YOUR code broke it, YOU have to fix and you should pay for a new laptop.

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Anonymous Coward

My laptop broke when I used is scuba diving

Not such a good comparison. Better would be that your aqualung broke because you swam in one sea instead of another.

The big, screaming problem that SAMSUNG (yes, the supplier) has is that it has now created a laptop that can be totally bricked by software alone. Given that the OS it normally supports it's Windows, it can't take long before virus infections appear that will use that vulnerability to screw over even a Windows install.

There is no way you can start blaming users for wanting to install Linux. Given that users have done this for as long as Linux exists, there is a de facto recovery strategy called "reboot" that Samsung has now broken. If Samsung wants to prevent warranty claims it should fit a VERY large sticker on the machine stating "DOES NOT SUPPORT LINUX"..

Personally, I would not touch this laptop with a 10 foot pole.

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FAIL

Re: Where is Eadon to tell us how this is all MS's fault??

It is doubtful that Samsung "support" Windows in any meaningful sense beyond putting it on the disk.

UEFI secure boot, I thought, was intended to prevent corruption of the boot process in addition, of course, to the primary goal of preventing installation of alternative operating systems.

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Anonymous Coward

AC@13:34 Re: Where is Eadon to tell us how this is all MS's fault??

"Why should Samsung do anything? It's not their code, it's not an OS they support and they sell the computers with a perfectly good OS pre-installed."

Soerry you didn't manage to read the comments before writing your bollocks about not being their code.

I know they sell their computers with an operating system) because UNLESS you pay over the odds or build your own (DIY laptops) we have to pay for the shite that's sold with it.

Whether or not is is 'perfectly good' is something only an MS user (I use the word 'user' advisedly) would claim.

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FAIL

Ubuntu 12 ???

Never heard of it...

Oh.. you mean (from the article) Precise Pangolin 12.04 - where the 12 stands for the year...

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Windows

EFI crap...

Manufacters haven't managed to issue adequate BIOS code for over 20 years (bad, slow, crap, user-unfriendly and unfit for purpose are just some adjectives)

They decide to up the complexity.

Guess what happens...

This is just the beginning!

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