Monday, September 29th 2008

Warning: Latest Ubuntu Alpha Kernel May Damage Your Intel NICs

This is a warning to all Linux users that are currently using the latest Ubuntu OS. Reports claim that some users may damage their Intel network adapters using Ubuntu's latest 2.6.27-rc kernel. Although this is an alpha release and bugs are expected, it might even damage your hardware to a state where you can't repair your NIC. In bug #263555 posted on the bugs.launchpad.net experts say: "In some circumstances it appears possible for the 2.6.27-rc kernels to corrupt the NVRAM used by some Intel network parts to store data such as MAC addresses. This is limited to the new e1000e driver, and reports have only appeared from users of "82566 and 82567 based LAN parts (ich8 and ich9)". The reports seem to be isolated to laptops, but it is not clear if this is because desktop/server parts are not vulnerable, or if use cases simply increase the chances of laptop users being hit. Once this corruption has occurred, recovery may be possible via a BIOS update, but may well require replacement of the hardware. Use of Intel's IABUTIL.EXE is strongly discouraged, as it will worsen the problem to the point where the network part will no longer appear on the PCI bus."Source: HotHardware
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8 Comments on Warning: Latest Ubuntu Alpha Kernel May Damage Your Intel NICs

#1
Dark_Webster
God, that is bad news for some Intel/Ubuntu systems :(.
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#2
Mussels
Moderprator
hmmm. someone did a boo boo.
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#3
Luke
good thing i did not try and run this version of ubuntu on my laptop because my laptop has that network chip
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#4

never thought a software could damage hardware, unless its overclocked
#5
mdm-adph
Yeah, this isn't just Ubuntu -- this bug affects all Linux distros that use the 2.6.27 RC kernel.

Guess this means Ubuntu's getting big enough to finally get picked on big time before anyone else, though.
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#6
FatForester
Yea, this is any distro that uses 2.6.27 RC, not just Ubuntu. It has something to do with the Intel driver allowing the kernel to write over the EEPROM on the NIC.
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#7
mdm-adph
by: FatForester
Yea, this is any distro that uses 2.6.27 RC, not just Ubuntu. It has something to do with the Intel driver allowing the kernel to write over the EEPROM on the NIC.
That's something that I've been trying to figure out, too, but couldn't find the information about it anywhere -- was it specifically Intel's driver allowing this to happen? They actually produce a lot of Linux-specific stuff, and I wouldn't be surprised if this was directly Intel-supplied. If so, then it's not even a Linux problem at all, and all these fear-mongering news stories are getting it wrong. :laugh:

Should be, "Intel Driver causing damage to Intel NIC's."
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#8
AddSub
Something similar to this happened before. Few years ago with a Mandrake distro where it was found that it permanently killed certain brand of CD-ROM drives. (links below)

Mandrake Linux 9.2 'kills' some CD-ROM drives
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39117461,00.htm

LG CD-ROMs Destroyed by Mandrake 9.2
http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/10/25/1737244

It happens every now and then in the Linux world and it is the primary reason I don't install Linux OS's on any system worth more than $100 or outside of VM realm.
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