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Linux boot doesn't smash Samsung laptops any more

Penguins console tearful owners of shiny new bricks

Reducing security risks from open source software

Samsung laptops will no longer be irreparably destroyed when their users try to boot Linux on them, kernel chieftain Linus Torvalds made certain today.

The brainboxes down at Ubuntu-maker Canonical penguinery issued a warning over the incompatibiity and have been tackling the nuclear bug that destroyed the whole Samusung laptop after just a single attempt to boot Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10.

Reports from distressed owners detailed how the laptops would completely corrupt and black out after attempts to boot Ubuntu in UEFI mode. Samsung laptops in the 300E5C, NP700Z5C, NP700Z7C and 530U3C series were affected.

Linux Kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman who helped develop the original driver described what went wrong in a post on his Google+ profile:

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.)

Kroah-Hartman suggested:

If you have this hardware, just blacklist the Samsung-laptop driver and all should be fine.

It may take several weeks for the changes to work into the distribution trees of the affected OSes so it's recommended that users should always use the UEFI firmware's Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which emulates a BIOS mode, when booting on affected laptops.

It's believed the fault may be linked to the Samsung's UEFI firmware and its interaction with the kernel's Samsung laptop driver and efivars module. The module's source is here. ®

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