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Bug Software Networking Linux

OpenSUSE Beta Can Brick Intel e1000e Network Cards 129

Posted by timothy
from the price-of-progress dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Some Intel cards don't just not work with the new OpenSUSE beta, they can get bricked as well. Check your hardware before you install!" The only card mentioned as affected is the Intel e1000e, and it's not just OpenSUSE for which this card is a problem, according to this short article: "Bug reports for Fedora 9 and 10 and Linux Kernel 2.6.27rc1 match the symptoms reported by SUSE users."
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OpenSUSE Beta Can Brick Intel e1000e Network Cards

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  • by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @09:27AM (#25119197)
    Any decent firmware for a device should not allow the user to accidentally destroy the device. Looks like Intel skipped on Q&A.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @09:41AM (#25119405)

    Any decent firmware for a device should not allow the user to accidentally destroy the device.
    Looks like Intel skipped on Q&A.

    I think that's a bit unfair. To put it in terms of our favorite analogy subject, it would be like saying that a well-engineered car should not allow the driver to accidentally destroy the vehicle.

    There's only so much you can account for in silicon. Any device that has a function that can severely damage itself (i.e. a car being able to turn on with low oil levels or a motherboard with a firmware update function) will eventually get damaged by somebody, somewhere.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @09:58AM (#25119651)

    There should be a jumper somewhere which either physically disables writes to nonvolatile memory. That applies to all hardware. The current incident is a bug, but this could also be exploited by malware for embedding itself in the mainboard firmware or the PXE firmware on a network card. Also, bring back write-protection switches on USB sticks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @10:04AM (#25119743)

    It is a beta using an early release candidate kernel.

    Isn't this the sort of issue that testing releases are meant to catch? It is unfortunate that some users got bit by the bug but it probably isn't very widespread.

  • Lesson finished (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @10:10AM (#25119847)

    What do we learn from this incident?

    1. Beta is not for the common people.
    2. Programmers are humans are erroneous.
    3. "This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
            but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; [...]"

  • by ChrisJones (23624) <<ten.uhsnet> <ta> <todhsals-jsmc>> on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @10:56AM (#25120611) Homepage Journal

    err, what's the point of having firmware if your driver can't talk to it?

    Also, this isn't about firmware, it's about Non-volatile memory. The chip uses it to store things like its MAC address.

    You fail.

  • by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @11:18AM (#25120959) Homepage Journal

    There's no way that a device can check all possible combinations of input for crash-inducing behaviour. If you think it can, go read "GÃdel, Escher, Bach". In fact, go read it anyway, it's awesome.

    Also there's a difference between a NIC and a web site - the NIC's API input is coming from its owner, the web site's customer is not. If you're a piece of hardware, you do what your owner tells you.

  • by AdamWill (604569) on Tuesday September 23, 2008 @03:44PM (#25125877) Homepage
    This can also affect Mandriva Linux 2009 pre-releases. To be clear, the bug is in the upstream kernel itself, not in any code specific to any distribution.
    It affects any 2.6.27rc kernel, whether it's in a distribution or a clean upstream build.
    We have posted a full, detailed notification of the issue [mandriva.com] for Mandriva users.

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