Booting Linux bricks some Samsung Windows 8 laptops

Samsung Windows 8 laptop users who use Windows and Linux on the same machine reportedly face a problem when trying to boot from the latter. The UEFI secure boot mechanism on laptops that ship with the "Designed for Windows 8" logo prevents booting from other operating systems that lack a signature from a certified Trusted Authority. The Linux Foundation issued a fix for this in October last year. It has now been reported that one of the fixes bricks the laptops if applied with UEFI and leaves them unusable. The laptops can only be used again when the motherboard is replaced. However, according to a Linux developer Matthew Garrett, the issue seems to be with outdated drivers on these Samsung laptops and not with Secure Boot itself.


Doesn't go with Linux on Samsung laptops




The H reports, “According to current understanding, the problem affects at least the following Samsung laptops: NP300E5C, NP530U3C, NP700Z3C, NP700Z5C, NP700Z7C and NP900X4C. The problem came to general attention as the result of a bug report which stated that laptops were bricked after just a single attempt to boot Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10 in UEFI mode. The problem is also likely to occur with other Linux distributions, since they also include the samsung-laptop driver, which appears to trigger some sort of bug in the UEFI firmware." These laptops belong to the Series 3, Series 5, Series 7, and Series 9 Samsung laptops. 


Linux kernel developer Kroah-Hartman could run Ubuntu on some Samsung laptops. In a Google+ post, he writes that one of the drivers written by him was causing the laptops to be bricked, but he also elucidates that he based the driver on the code that Samsung gave him. He writes further, “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. I just tested this on a 900X3D Samsung, running latest version of Ubuntu, and no problem happened at all. So I don't know what is happening here to the people who are reporting problems, very strange...”


On Thursday, the Linux Foundation created a stop-gap fix by ensuring that the Samsung laptop kernel driver is not activated when the laptop is booted via Linux with the UEFI still active. The patch is likely to be integrated into forthcoming kernels and new editions of previous kernels. Another solution could be to change the UEFI settings and disable Secure Boot before installing an open source operating system. The H suggests, “Since these patches have not yet been integrated into the installation media for these distributions, users should always use the UEFI firmware's Compatibility Support Module (CSM), which emulates a BIOS mode, when booting on affected laptops.”

Published Date: Feb 02, 2013 03:09 pm | Updated Date: Feb 02, 2013 03:09 pm