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Mr.J

Ubuntu corrupted BIOS?

Question

Hello everybody,

 

this bug here is a big one. Meanwhile I have had to realize that my Bodhi install is affected as well and no help is in sight. My BIOS simply is not working properly; no install media is detected and I have to think about a few scenarios:

 

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/12/ubuntu-corrupting-lenovo-laptop-bios

 

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1734147

 

For some people the install of Kernel 4.14.9 has solved the issue, not for me. Question:

Hopefully my Bodhi system will work for a while. But what will happen if a simple update may break something?

 

 

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Honestly at a skim it doesn't sound like anything we can do anything about. Your system isn't going to randomly stop working from normal use and you'll just need to wait for Lenovo to work with the upstream Ubuntu folks to fix their hardware. 

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Just had a long read at Launchpad about this. The cause is the kernel Ubuntu 17.10 ships with. I'm not sure Bodhi uses the same kernel version for Bodhi 4.4.0 or not.

 

@ Mr.J 

Using the kernel version that caused the broken bios, can you post the outcome of the command

uname -pir

@ Jeff

If this matches the default kernel for 4.4.0 we should do something about it, I don't want people holding us responsible for bricking their machines while we know this happens with a number of Lenovo , Acer and Toshiba models and some more having the same Uefi chip with Intel-spi firmware.

 

Seems like kernel version 4.13.0-21 does not show the braking behavior, so that should be a good alternative stable kernel.

 

For fixing the affected machines people should install kernel version 4.14.9 and reboot once or twice to get a working UEFI again. After that installing 4.13.0-21 and removing all other versions would be a good idea to have a stable situation again.

Alas this 4.14.9 version is not in the Xenial repos, might be a great service to put it in the Bodhi repos.

 

Enjoy,

Charles

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On an affected machine you should look closely as to what is to be updated. If it is related to the bootloader don't do it (Grub & efi packages & signed stuff). Has to do with the fact that the uefi returns to an old state because of the bug, but grub is updated and that causes conflicts.

 

Possibly you will need to install the linux-headers for the 4.14.9 kernel too in order to have it working.

 

Enjoy,

Charles

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Jeff, Charles,

 

I appreciate your help, thank you. My kernel is 4.10.0-42 generic, because I have come to the conclusion that 4.13 is not a good choice at the moment. All Lenovo users should wait a little bit. A lot of smart guys are working on this.

 

Personally speaking my BIOS is locked. Absolutely nothing works. I realized this a few months ago. Nothing worked so far and I think it is not only a matter of Ubuntu 17.10, there are some more cases. The good news is: My Bodhi system is working and I am updating more conservative than before.

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i updated this am. i hope mine are not affected.  i hate to turn them off now.

 

 

i appreciate all your help and info charles - but would not know how to do all of that if needed.  I guess we will see!

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Well, there were no older thinkpads mentioned as affected machines, only a Yoga Thinkpad. I thought that had a touchscreen.

Your laptops are probably sound and safe.

The 4.13 kernel was only introduced in Bodhi Linux with the 4.4.0 release and I doubt the earlier releases were having a buggy kernel.

 

Enjoy,

Charles

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Regarding kernel, 

 

for some reason the ubuntu kernel lowlatency 16.04 hwe-edge (4.13.x) can't play nicely with virtualbox (I need it for hosting my Windows 10)

 

dkms and initframs problem + can't install guest addition, yikes!  :wacko:  :wacko:  :wacko:

 

So I revert to hwe without edge (4.10.x).  ;)

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As a longtime system builder, I still really cannot fathom that an OS would kill a BIOS.  The only way I have found to kill a BIOS is through a bad flash/losing power while performing a flash (lightning does a decent job too!).

 

Pretty odd.

 

Thank you everyone for sharing!

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AFAIK It boils down to an Intel module called spi and the driver for it. Intel had noticed that this was flashed to ROM by vendors with one byte off, which likely would cause issues. So Intel had sent out a warning to not activate this driver in the kernel. In the vanilla 4.13.0 kernel it is set to disabled.

Ubuntu modifies their kernels to better suit their releases, nothing wrong with that. But then someone in the Ubuntu kernel team decided to set the spi-driver to enabled very short before the final release of 17.10. Now we all know that the module really causes issues! 

Bodhi Linux uses the ubuntu kernels and often chooses the kernel from the latest release for an update-release so we have the latest hardware support. Reading the OP our kernel has the same behavior as the 17.10 kernel. So please for now don't use it in UEFI mode for the time being. For what I gather installing in Legacy mode should be safe.

 

Enjoy,

Charles

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For those interested, the Ubuntu folks have declared the latest 4.13.0 kernel is no longer qualified as "hwe-edge", but just "hwe", so it should be stable.

After apt-get update you can install linux-image-extra-4.13.0-26-generic and linux-headers-4.13.0-26-generic. It should also bring you two dependencies.

AFAIK this kernel does not have the Bios corruption, has a fix for the Spectre/Meltdown processorflaws and brings virtualization support.

 

 

As for fixing a "broken Bios" the summary at launchpad for this bug has a link to a more recent kernel made available that should work, give it a try. 

 

Enjoy,

Charles

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