Select Samsung Notebooks Can Be Bricked When Booting Linux Via UEFI

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News Posted: Wed, Jan 30 2013 2:13 PM

Linux users have long had the right to be concerned about UEFI's "SecureBoot" feature, and this is a perfect justification for it. It seems that on select Samsung notebook models, merely booting into Linux via UEFI can brick it. We're not just talking about something that an OS re-install could fix, either - it literally seems to corrupt the UEFI, requiring the entire mainboard to be replaced.

Wow.

What makes this problem even more striking is that it's not new. One Ubuntu user last year bricked their Samsung 530U3C when trying to install the OS. Since then, more models have crept up as being problematic.

While it'd be easy to pin Samsung as an enemy here, this certainly wasn't something the company did on purpose. It was just as baffled by the problem as everyone else, but singled out the culprit as being the Samsung laptop driver available in the Linux kernel itself. Some fixes have been released thanks to Intel's Matt Fleming, but none of them have made their way into the official kernel up to this point.

If you happen to own a Samsung UEFI notebook and had plans to install Linux, we'd recommend that you don't until definitive fixes are in play. The last thing anyone needs is to deal with an RMA for their notebook over such a simple, but major, issue.

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JDiaz replied on Wed, Jan 30 2013 7:17 PM

This is a separate issue from Secure Boot, which would only prevent booting anyway, but rather with UEFI itself, whatever software you're booting has to properly support it or you'll have such issues.

Unless the system supports legacy BIOS calls then you have to be careful of the differences between how BIOS and UEFI work.

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 30 2013 7:30 PM

I hope that they get this fixed.

I wouldn't buy a Sammy if it's not.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

(Mark Twain)

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mhenriday replied on Thu, Jan 31 2013 1:26 PM

I'm with realneil here ; this is definitely a dealbreaker for me.... Stick out tongue

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Feb 2 2013 4:36 PM

Not a Linux problem, a crappy UEFI implementation problem (seriously, no recovery-boot code in their BIOS?).  Samsung's trying to update their driver for the Linux kernel to prevent the problem, but the Ubuntu guys already put a workaround in their daily images.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Feb 9 2013 10:37 AM

Samsung bricked entirely using Windows: http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/22855.html

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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mhenriday replied on Sat, Feb 9 2013 12:23 PM

Thanks for the update, 3vi1 - looks like it might be an idea, even if one isn't planning to install Linux, to stay away from Sammy's computers for a while, until they get this one straightened out....

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