Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 9th Nov 2016 19:21 UTC
Linux

Lenovo created a stir when it said the Yoga 900 and 900S hybrids would work only with Windows, not Linux. The company has now changed its stance, bringing Linux support to those PCs.

The PC maker earlier this month issued a BIOS update so Linux can be loaded on Yoga 900, 900S and IdeaPad 710 models.

The BIOS update adds an AHCI (Advance Host Controller Interface) SATA controller mode so users can load Linux on the laptops.

This is a Linux-only BIOS, meaning it should be used only by those who want to load the OS. If you want to continue with Windows, do not load the firmware. "This BIOS is not intended to be used on machines running Windows operating systems," Lenovo said.

Still not an ideal solution, but at least they're listening.

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Linux Only
by Alfman on Wed 9th Nov 2016 20:04 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

The BIOS update adds an AHCI (Advance Host Controller Interface) SATA controller mode so users can load Linux on the laptops.

This is a Linux-only BIOS, meaning it should be used only by those who want to load the OS. If you want to continue with Windows, do not load the firmware. "This BIOS is not intended to be used on machines running Windows operating systems," Lenovo said.


I'm guessing/hoping that this update just undoes Lenovo's 2 byte patch responsible for hard coding the AHCI bios option. I doubt they would go further and make new changes just to break windows.

The message probably got lost in translation: "unnecessary for windows" -> "only use if running linux".

Reply Score: 2

RE: Linux Only
by darknexus on Wed 9th Nov 2016 20:30 UTC in reply to "Linux Only"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

That'd be my guess. Windows is a pain in the ass, but it does have ahci support. Of course, this is the company that preloaded a lot of machines with malware at no extra charge, so I'd not put it past them to deliberately screw this up either.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Linux Only
by Delgarde on Wed 9th Nov 2016 21:34 UTC in reply to "Linux Only"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

The message probably got lost in translation: "unnecessary for windows" -> "only use if running linux".


More likely, they simply don't want to spend time verifying that the change doesn't break anything on Windows. Testing and certification is expensive - easier to just declare it Linux-only, and discourage Windows users from installing it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Linux Only
by Sidux on Thu 10th Nov 2016 08:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux Only"
Sidux Member since:
2015-03-10

"Poor" Lenovo. It's not like they're selling ultra cheap toys, but this does tend to be the main "reaction" in most hardware/software companies when it comes to testing.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Licaon_Kter on Wed 9th Nov 2016 20:39 UTC
Licaon_Kter
Member since:
2010-03-19

Oh great article, not:

Locking specific hardware to Windows has emerged as an issue in recent years. For example, Intel’s Kaby Lake chips support only Windows 10, so will AMD’s upcoming Zen chips.


and a bit lower contradicting it

Another option is to buy Linux-based laptops with the latest Kaby Lake chips, like System76’s Lemur laptop, which starts at $699, or Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition, which starts at $949.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Delgarde on Wed 9th Nov 2016 21:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by Licaon_Kter"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Yeah, it seems to confuse several subjects. Possibly the first paragraph is talking about older Windows versions not supporting newer hardware platforms (Kaby Lake), and conflating that with the fact that *some* systems based on those platforms are locked to Windows.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by dionicio on Thu 10th Nov 2016 14:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Speculating of firmware additional MS code [the incompatibility]... ;)

Reply Score: 2

CPU and OSes
by Earl C Pottinger on Wed 9th Nov 2016 21:11 UTC
Earl C Pottinger
Member since:
2008-07-12

By their natural to be general purpose machines you can not make a CPU that will run only one OS.

What you can do is set up a CPU that is needs certain byte codes or flags to be set to let an OS get access to the feature of that CPU. Once the secret is known it can be added to just about any OS that is compiled for that CPU.

The best one can probably design and patent special (higher speed) way to handle some critical hardware so that no-one else can access that hardware without violating the patent. And if the hardware is something is the mouse, keyboard, screen one would be in a mess or have a lot of USB devices to get around it. But if it is something like the main memory, high speed internal buss, etc you are locked out.

Reply Score: 1

RE: CPU and OSes
by Brendan on Thu 10th Nov 2016 08:26 UTC in reply to "CPU and OSes"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

By their natural to be general purpose machines you can not make a CPU that will run only one OS.


Correct.

The "problem" has been grossly misreported and exaggerated by people that have no idea what they're talking about.

The real problems are:

a) AHCI doesn't have good power management (and the AHCI spec needs to be updated/extended/improved)

b) Because of the first problem, Lenovo used "RAID controller" to get better power management

c) "RAID controller" has no usable standard (unlike AHCI), and each different RAID controller needs a different driver.

d) Linux doesn't have a driver for it.

e) Instead of blaming anything that actually matters (Linux for not having a driver, hardware manufacturers for never standardising RAID controllers, standardisation committee responsible for AHCI for not providing adequate power management); everyone decided to blame Lenovo(!).

Note that none of these problems have been solved. By switching back to AHCI, the power management (battery life) for Linux will be worse than it is for Windows; and all other laptop manufacturers will probably do the same thing; so Linux will end up inferior to Windows on all laptops/notebooks.

- Brendan

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: CPU and OSes
by Risthel on Thu 10th Nov 2016 09:38 UTC in reply to "RE: CPU and OSes"
Risthel Member since:
2010-12-22

Linux HAVE those drivers since 2.6.18. Is just a matter of have the mdadm raid module loaded.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/boards-and-kits/0000...

Problem is, that the first guy that blamed Lenovo, forgot to do a research before making a storm in a teacup. Guy loaded Ubuntu, didn't have the tech skills to install mdadm, scan for devices, manual partition and THEN, install the Distro.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: CPU and OSes
by darknexus on Thu 10th Nov 2016 13:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: CPU and OSes"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Mdadm is software raid. We're talking about hardware raid. Completely different animal.
Now, what was that about lack of tech skills?

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: CPU and OSes
by Risthel on Thu 10th Nov 2016 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: CPU and OSes"
Risthel Member since:
2010-12-22

MDADM does support this kind of softraid(Intel RST technology).Cant you just Google arround insted being a a**hole?

https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/53ri0m/warning_microsoft_sig...

Page 4

http://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/white-p...

you're welcome...

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: CPU and OSes
by leech on Thu 10th Nov 2016 21:02 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: CPU and OSes"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I was going to say... it is NOT hardware RAID, there are three types... Software RAID, Hardware RAID, and Fake RAID. All of Intel's that I have ever seen end up in the last category. They generally show up in Lunux as separate devices, hence you end up being better off using Software RAID.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: CPU and OSes
by Alfman on Thu 10th Nov 2016 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: CPU and OSes"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

leech,

I was going to say... it is NOT hardware RAID, there are three types... Software RAID, Hardware RAID, and Fake RAID. All of Intel's that I have ever seen end up in the last category. They generally show up in Lunux as separate devices, hence you end up being better off using Software RAID.


Yep, it sure is confusing.

In linux...
mdadm is used for setting up linux pure software raid volumes.

dmraid is used for accessing fake raid volumes. And you still may need kernel drivers.


And finally, pure hardware raid usually (but not always) needs kernel drivers. Once you have the driver loaded, this is usually transparent to you. You'll need proprietary software corresponding to the hardware raid to adjust the raid properties (ie megacli).


It kind of makes you wonder why have fake raid at all, but there are some semi-reasonable reasons:

1. Multiboot compatibility with windows.
2. Software raid poses a chicken and egg problem whereby the software raid driver isn't available to load the OS.

Theoretically we could solve #2 with raid 1, you can try and take advantage of the fact that the two disks are mirror copies, but if the two disks get out of sync somehow and we accidentally mount one disk without raid, it could cause data corruption when mounted under raid again.

Or you could just have the bootloader on a non-raid volume/partition, it's just a little less robust at boot.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/FakeRaidHowto

Why not use a linux software raid?

If you have arrived here after researching this topic on the Internet, you know that a common response to this question is, "I don't know if you can actually do that, but why bother -- Linux has built-in softRAID capability." Also, it's not clear that there is any performance gain using hardware fakeRAID under Linux instead of the built-in softRAID capability; the CPU still ends up doing the work. The most common reason for using fakeRAID is in a dual-boot environment, where both Linux and Windows must be able to read and write to the same RAID partitions. Multiboot configurations are common among users who need multiple operating systems available on the same machine. These people shouldn't have to add a separate hard drive just so they can boot Linux. FakeRAID allows these users to access partitions interchangeably from either Linux or Windows. Another reason for using FakeRAID is if you define a disk mirror and a hard drive crashes, you can down the system and replace the failed drive and rebuild the mirror from the BIOS without having to boot into the operating system.


Edited 2016-11-10 22:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: CPU and OSes
by tidux on Sat 12th Nov 2016 17:35 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: CPU and OSes"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

> Software raid poses a chicken and egg problem whereby the software raid driver isn't available to load the OS.

That's why you can only install GRUB on mdadm RAID1. I have a server with four drives RAIDed together. The first partition of each drive is a four-disk RAID1 for /boot, and then the other two are mdadm RAID10 for swap and /.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: CPU and OSes
by darknexus on Thu 10th Nov 2016 13:18 UTC in reply to "RE: CPU and OSes"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Unfortunately, inferior power management and battery life on Linux has been par for the course for the past decade.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: CPU and OSes
by christian on Thu 10th Nov 2016 21:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: CPU and OSes"
christian Member since:
2005-07-06

Unfortunately, inferior power management and battery life on Linux has been par for the course for the past decade.


In my experience, firefox is responsible for most of that. I regularly firefox spinning a CPU doing very little actually useful, I think within the event loop within glib (I've also noticed other applications with the same problem.)

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=508427

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: CPU and OSes
by darknexus on Fri 11th Nov 2016 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: CPU and OSes"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Except... I didn't mention Firefox anywhere. Because, on Linux, I don't use it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: CPU and OSes
by zlynx on Fri 11th Nov 2016 15:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: CPU and OSes"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Linux has quite good power management actually. The problem is that it is often buggy in hardware and distributions don't enable it by default because then it would crash mysteriously for some people. Or USB devices like your mouse would stop working.

What Linux needs is a giant hardware database with all the details of what works where so it knows that BIOS 37 on a Dell Unicorn can't enable ASPM.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: CPU and OSes
by darknexus on Fri 11th Nov 2016 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: CPU and OSes"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

No, what Linux needs is a stable development interface and driver ABI so things can be written for it by those who know them best--the manufacturers--and be guaranteed to work.
Look, it doesn't matter if the bug is in hardware or not. If it's going to crash mysteriously, it's not good power management. Period. This is why desktop Linux never got anywhere: the attitude of those who run it. The "works for me and it'll work for you except this and that and the other and also this if..." attitude.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: CPU and OSes
by zlynx on Fri 11th Nov 2016 17:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: CPU and OSes"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

Oh yeah, so they can write crap drivers like the laptop wifi I had in 2007 where the Windows driver crashed the machine if you installed more than 1 GB RAM. Because you know DMA to addresses that big just can't happen.

Or the hundreds of Windows drivers that patch their ACPI bugs in the driver instead of the firmware because getting their users to run a BIOS flash is too difficult. And no one cares about anything but Windows, right?

Maybe if the manufacturers would just follow the standards and try a COMPLIANCE TEST once in a while...

Reply Score: 2

Lenovo Listening...
by dionicio on Thu 10th Nov 2016 14:39 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Thanks to Lenovo. It's a House I recommend and Linux always welcomed as a way to extend life of old hardware and distress our Biosphere.

Reply Score: 2

This path could be institutionalized...
by dionicio on Thu 10th Nov 2016 14:58 UTC in reply to "Lenovo Listening..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Don't Believe that Microsoft could be Happy of supporting old hardware -They have expressed against it in many ways-. Also, this is good PR in the form of keeping their ecosystem OPEN to other OS. Chatting just about consumer devices.

Reply Score: 2