Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 10th Feb 2013 22:18 UTC, submitted by Nth_Man
Hardware, Embedded Systems " bricked a Samsung laptop today. Unlike most of the reported cases of Samsung laptops refusing to boot, I never booted Linux on it - all experimentation was performed under Windows. It seems that the bug we've been seeing is simultaneously simpler in some ways and more complicated in others than we'd previously realised." On a related note, the Linux Foundation's UEFI secure boot system has been released.
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Moral of the story:
by bassbeast on Mon 11th Feb 2013 05:11 UTC
bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

Don't buy Samsung laptops. Their HDDs were great but I've heard enough horror stories of late to put them in the pass column for the time being. If I have a customer looking for a laptop i recommend Asus, I've had nothing but good luck from Asus from the EEE to their big 17 inchers, they make nice stuff.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Moral of the story:
by Neolander on Mon 11th Feb 2013 07:41 UTC in reply to "Moral of the story:"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

+1, Asus hardware has also been pretty solid for me so far. I've also heard good things about Thinkpad, plan to try that for my next laptop once I get the money...

Edited 2013-02-11 07:42 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Moral of the story:
by moondevil on Mon 11th Feb 2013 11:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Moral of the story:"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

The quality went a bit down since Lenovo took over.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Moral of the story:
by Morgan on Mon 11th Feb 2013 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Moral of the story:"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I find that interesting; we have two Lenovo machines in the household and they are both top-notch. Her laptop is a bargain line IdeaPad and it puts Toshibas and HPs that cost twice as much to shame. My ThinkCentre tower is the best computing investment I've ever made, well worth what I paid and more.

Maybe we just got lucky, but I really like Lenovo. That said, I've always found Asus to be quality gear too.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Moral of the story:
by ssokolow on Mon 11th Feb 2013 12:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Moral of the story:"
ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

I find that interesting; we have two Lenovo machines in the household and they are both top-notch. Her laptop is a bargain line IdeaPad and it puts Toshibas and HPs that cost twice as much to shame. My ThinkCentre tower is the best computing investment I've ever made, well worth what I paid and more.

Maybe we just got lucky, but I really like Lenovo. That said, I've always found Asus to be quality gear too.


I remember hearing that Lenovo has started to remove keys I favor for custom keybindings (Stuff in the Print Screen/Scroll Lock/Pause cluster) so I'm really torn since I also despise touchpads and, last I used one, ThinkPads were the best way to get a microjoystick mouse.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Moral of the story:
by moondevil on Mon 11th Feb 2013 12:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Moral of the story:"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

The Thinkpad cases and keyboards were much better when they were still part of IBM.

My employer uses mostly Thinkpads since quite a few years now.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Moral of the story:
by Morgan on Mon 11th Feb 2013 12:53 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Moral of the story:"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Good to know. The last time I had an IBM computer was a tower from 1999 or so, and it was built like a tank. This ThinkCentre isn't especially tank-like, but then a stationary desktop machine doesn't have to be armored. I do recall the ThinkPads from the pre-Lenovo days were pretty stout too, but sadly I never could afford one.

I do like that my fiancée's IdeaPad laptop has almost as much metal as plastic on the outside, yet it's lighter than a similarly specc'd Toshiba plastic toy. I'd like to check out a Lenovo ThinkPad one day to see if they are worth the potential investment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Moral of the story:
by vaette on Mon 11th Feb 2013 12:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Moral of the story:"
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

So did prices though, for the most part Lenovo is a bit more you-get-what-you-pay-for where IBM was pay-all-the-money. If you pay what a low-end thinkpad cost under IBM you will still get a great quality machine from Lenovo.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Moral of the story:
by Temcat on Mon 11th Feb 2013 13:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Moral of the story:"
Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

Do you have any first-hand experience or links re Thinkpads? I'm considering a T series Thinkpad to replace my (actually, pretty decent) Samsung laptop.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Moral of the story:
by Neolander on Mon 11th Feb 2013 17:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Moral of the story:"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

The quality went a bit down since Lenovo took over.

What do you mean by "a bit" though ? Are we talking about an Acer-ish level of crap, or something that is still very robust, although less than in the IBM days ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Moral of the story:
by vaette on Mon 11th Feb 2013 17:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Moral of the story:"
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

I think it depends really. If you stick to the X- and T-series Thinkpads you for the most part, it seems to me at least, get an awful lot of quality compared to most competitors. My last laptop was a x121e, which was cheap, plasticy, and had pretty weak hardware, but it was a fantastic work-horse and took a beating without missing a step. I would never have traded it for an ASUS/Acer/LG/Dell at the same price.

Currently I am typing away in the first launch of Mint 14 installed on a brand new X1 Carbon that work assigned me, and it is so far without competition the nicest laptop I have ever seen. It misses out on the great connectivity though (I am one of those people who appreciate the VGA and ethernet and all on the x121e), but it is feather-light while feeling just as solid as an aluminum unibody.

The old IBM thinkpads were all kind of the same, and that same was great, whereas Lenovo makes a lot of rather crummy computers (under slightly different brands such as IdeaPad and Thinkpad Edge), but the quality stuff they make really seems like fantastic quality. To some part I doubt the quality of say the T430 is much worse than it would have been under IBM, but to some part expectations have shifted.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Moral of the story:
by bassbeast on Wed 13th Feb 2013 21:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Moral of the story:"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

While i'm not him I can tell you what I've seen from Thinkpads coming through the shop which is thus: With IBM there really wasn't much price difference, like Apple it was all pretty much pay through the nose so you expect a certain level of quality when you pay top dollar.

With Lenovo they have all different price points so naturally if you spend say $400 on a Thinkpad its gonna be more plastic and thinner than say an $800 Thinkpad. all in all though I have to say even the plastic models worked well, just don't think you are gonna get a $1400 IBM Thinkpad for $400 and you'll be fine.

so it all depends on what amount you are gonna spend. if it were me and i had a budget of say $450-$550 I would probably look at Asus first as I've had really good luck with asus units at that price point whereas if you are spending $650-$900 you can get a scarily nice Thinkpad for that that will be every bit as good as the Thinkpads of old, just depends on what your price point is really.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Moral of the story:
by bassbeast on Wed 13th Feb 2013 21:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Moral of the story:"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

I was lucky enough to score one of the AMD EEE E350 netbooks before the flood, going on 3+ years now and it still holds more than 80% of the charge and runs like new. I have also bought several asus laptops and boards for customers and had no complaints, they all run well and are very long lasting.

Now that Asus is gonna buy up Asrock which is another great company for motherboards i have NO problem recommending Asus, I've had just about every kind of gear that they make come through the shop and they've been one of the most trouble free brands I've ever dealt with. They also kept updating my netbook for nearly a year after purchase with regards to drivers and you never see that in consumer gear so that was a nice touch.

Reply Score: 2

Linux Foundation Secure Boot loader
by Neolander on Mon 11th Feb 2013 07:46 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

So, if I get it right, what the Linux Foundation plans to do is to let us boot kernels with an invalid signature, provided that the user clicks the "OK" button of a scary warning. Sounds like a step in the right direction, but if we have to do that on every boot, it's still not a viable long-term plan.

I also like the SUSE option ( https://www.suse.com/blogs/uefi-secure-boot-details/ ) quite a lot, save for being a bit cumbersome. It keeps the full security benefits of signing, but puts it in the hands of users, the way it should have been done to start with in the UEFI spec. Never heard of it before, though...

What I wish is that someone would come up with a signed bootloader that detects kernels which are signed with an unknown key, display them with a little (unsigned) warning next to them, and show a scary warning when a user tries to boot them. If the user still wishes to proceed, the unknown key is enrolled in the database semi-permanently (it can be revoked later if necessary). That would be more user-friendly than the SUSE option, while offering the same benefits. I don't know why nobody has tried that one...

Edited 2013-02-11 08:06 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

edit : nervermind, that's not the way public key cryptography works.

Edited 2013-02-11 08:29 UTC

Reply Score: 4

UEFI malware uses
by Nth_Man on Mon 11th Feb 2013 08:52 UTC
Nth_Man
Member since:
2010-05-16

That Samsung UEFI problem also brings possibilities for malware people. "Pay or get bricked" or "do this or get bricked" or "my computer is bricked" sounds really bad. If someone has a Samsung computer with UEFI, he'd better think about returning it.

Reply Score: 3

RE: UEFI malware uses
by Gone fishing on Mon 11th Feb 2013 18:58 UTC in reply to "UEFI malware uses"
Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Doesn't secure boot do this by design? For average users one of the worst thing they perceive can happen, is their box wont boot. Secure boot means that if there is a change in the booting system, kernel etc then the box wont boot.

Am I alone in thinking this leaves lots of opportunities for ransom maleware and general bad behaviour? Is the solution worse tan the problem?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: UEFI malware uses
by Nth_Man on Mon 11th Feb 2013 20:38 UTC in reply to "RE: UEFI malware uses"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

Am I alone in thinking this leaves lots of opportunities for ransom malware and general bad behaviour?

No, you're not alone. "Bricking" a Samsung UEFI computer is very, very harmful and "secure boot"+UEFI can also cause harmful "not booting" problems even without the Samsung UEFI bug.

Is the solution worse tan the problem?

I think so, too.

Reply Score: 3