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  1. #1
    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: Ubuntu Destroyer of Samsung Laptops

    It isn't just Ubuntu. Attempting to install ANY Linux distro on the effected Samsung laptops can brick your hardware. It's a very serious problem, as the only recourse is replacement of your laptop's motherboard.

    The problem is Samsung's UEFI BIOS for Windows 8. For Windows 8, Microsoft has required hardware manufacturers to use a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS. One of the features of this BIOS is that it can search a boot file for an encrypted Microsoft key. If the key is not present, the BIOS will refuse to boot the file/OS. This is called "secure boot." Microsoft requires that hardware manufacturers have secure boot turned on for every computer that is sold with Windows 8 installed on it. This means that the hardware will not boot anything that Microsoft has not approved. Which means that you cannot install Linux on any computer that is certified to run Windows 8 (Samsung or otherwise).

    Some manufacturers have provided a way around this restriction by allowing secure boot to be turned off, on certain computers. Indeed, the Samsung laptops effected by this problem do allow disabling of secure boot within the BIOS setup utility. However, the Samsung laptops in question WILL BE BRICKED EVEN IF YOU TRY TO BOOT LINUX WITH SECURE BOOT DISABLED. EVEN A SINGLE ATTEMPT TO BOOT LINUX ON ONE OF THESE COMPUTERS WILL DESTROY YOUR HARDWARE.

    The way that Samsung has implemented UEFI on certain laptop models apparently causes the BIOS to be destroyed by the driver software for Samsung laptops which is included within the Linux kernel. This is phenomenally bad hardware design. It is EXTREMELY RARE for hardware to be destroyed by software. The only other example of such a situation of which I am aware was an unproven claim in the 1970s that a particular (rare) calculation on a Commodore PET computer would cause an endless loop in the software, which could cause a chip on the motherboard to overheat and burn out.

    Remarkably, the people who maintain the Linux kernel have already ( ! ) implemented a failsafe that prevents the Samsung drivers from being installed, if a UEFI BIOS is present. It may prevent a few people from accidentally bricking their hardware, but it is hardly a "fix." The kernel update still needs to be applied by the various distros to their releases; and it does not, of course, allow installing of Linux on one of the laptops in question.

    Effected machines are Samsung laptop models 530U3C, 300E5C, NP700Z5C, NP700Z7C and NP900X4C series. Only Samsung laptops certified for Windows 8 (with the UEFI BIOS) are involved. Any Samsung model certified for Windows 7 is not effected, nor is the Samsung Chromebook. Personally, I would not try to install ANY Linux distro on ANY Samsung hardware which is certified to run Windows 8.

    Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman had this to say about the problem:

    “Who would have thought that just randomly poking memory of a laptop would brick it. Long ago Samsung told me that it was just fine to be doing this, and that there would not be any problems (I based the samsung-laptop driver on code that Samsung themselves gave me). Turns out, it wasn't true, which is sad. Yes, the real solution is to fix the BIOS. If you have this hardware, just blacklist the samsung-laptop driver and all should be fine.”

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  2. #2
    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: Ubuntu Destroyer of Samsung Laptops

    ^ Sorry, I copied the links from another gay discussion forum, where I moderate. I did not notice that they include the redirector site (wooptydoo.com) until after the 5 minute period for editing had expired.

    They still work, however.

  3. #3
    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: Ubuntu Destroyer of Samsung Laptops

    Quote Originally Posted by JohannBessler View Post
    At any rate, from what I understand about the Samsung thing, one must boot up under a USB stick anyway.
    That is my understanding, also. But that strikes me as bizarre. The problem is an incompatibility between the Samsung UEFI BIOS and the Linux driver for Samsung laptops. How can this be effected by the manner in which the OS is booted?

    I've been trying to read through the lines of what people are saying to try to figure out exactly what's going on here. My very crude understanding is that if a particular value is poked to a particular memory location, it overwrites the BIOS. It must be the case that what value gets poked where depends in part on how the OS has been loaded into memory.

    As I said above, however, that is rather astoundingly bad design on Samsung's part. And if that is the case, Samsung needs to let software developers know what memory locations need to be avoided. I wonder if Samsung has been trying to keep this information secret in order to avoid malware targeted at their laptops. It would be quite easy to write a virus which reproduces the effect of the driver and destroys your new Samsung laptop.


    Quote Originally Posted by JohannBessler View Post
    I haven't found that method of booting up satisfactory. When I booted up Linux from a USB hub, I'd usually get GUI issues.

    I much prefer booting up under a Live CD, which doesn't have any issues except (of course) speed.
    I agree. I have always had more success with live CDs that USB boot sticks.


    Quote Originally Posted by JohannBessler View Post
    ^I also vaguely remember some early (pre-OS) iMacs getting destroyed by a software bug. If I recall correctly, it somehow related to the CD-Drive.

    Something a user did caused a CD Drive to lock up permanently. If any CD was in the drive, it couldn't be taken out at all without dismembering the iMac.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keeland View Post
    Don't recall that one. But old Macs have a hole in the cases just big enough for a straightened paper clip to trigger the CD release mechanism. I had to use it when a CD was stuck in my blue-and-white G3.
    No disrespect, Keeland, but your memory may be fading.

    One of the long-standing controversies with Macs, including the G3, is that they have lacked that hole for popping out the disk. Steve Jobs did not like it, and claimed it was not necessary. His magical OS never hung or crashed, and could always be relied upon to pop the drive out for you.

    Indeed, if your CD got stuck in a Mac, the only way to get it out was to disassemble the machine.

  4. #4
    100% Purely Unloveable 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Ubuntu Destroyer of Samsung Laptops

    I have an old G3 mac (blue/white) but its a tower style, not the all-in-one iMac ... just went & looked at the thing, it does have a release hole on the CD/DVD drive

    ----
    On those computer's being destroyed by attempting to boot into Linux WoW what garbage

  5. #5
    100% Purely Unloveable 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Ubuntu Destroyer of Samsung Laptops

    ^Interesting .. didn't know that could be done

  6. #6
    100% Purely Unloveable 72-Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Ubuntu Destroyer of Samsung Laptops

    I actually have no idea what the specs are on that old Mac LOL
    One of these days I need to clear the junk thats piled on the desk infront of it & turn it on...

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