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Thread: Mark Shuttleworth Calls For An End To ACPI

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  1. #1
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    Default Mark Shuttleworth Calls For An End To ACPI

    Phoronix: Mark Shuttleworth Calls For An End To ACPI

    Mark Shuttleworth has called for an end to ACPI (the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) and other executable firmwares that could prove to be attack vectors on PCs, phones, and other devices...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTYzMjg

  2. #2
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    Right on. Given how much trouble ACPI has caused !Windows operating systems, it is good that Shuttleworth is taking advantage of his highly visible position to attempt to drive interest in this area.

  3. #3
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    For once I agree 100% with Shuttleworth. The Operating System should be Sovereign - no firmware should ever run on the main CPU after the kernel has booted! NONE!

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaurz View Post
    For once I agree 100% with Shuttleworth. The Operating System should be Sovereign - no firmware should ever run on the main CPU after the kernel has booted! NONE!
    100% this ^


    Operating systems have been able to be biosless, one day I hope we have an open computing platform however with intel incorporating more and more drm it's likely we are going in the opposite direction. Even AMD seems to be headed that way.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightmarex View Post
    100% this ^


    Operating systems have been able to be biosless, one day I hope we have an open computing platform however with intel incorporating more and more drm it's likely we are going in the opposite direction. Even AMD seems to be headed that way.
    I agree, but let's face it - Utopia.

    Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Many hardware suppliers use closed firmware to diversify their products, based on the same chipset.
    They even tell you that this is one crucial pillar of the business.
    It's not hard to see that they simply won't change this - unfortunately.

  6. #6
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    Then what does he propose to replace ACPI?

    If we intend to remove potential harmful firmware, then we need to target the worst of them all; EFI. EFI has full access to any device in the computer.

  7. #7
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    Default Utopia - To A Certain Extent

    Quote Originally Posted by entropy View Post
    I agree, but let's face it - Utopia.

    Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Many hardware suppliers use closed firmware to diversify their products, based on the same chipset.
    They even tell you that this is one crucial pillar of the business.
    It's not hard to see that they simply won't change this - unfortunately.
    I agree with the "utopia" reference to a certain extent, but that isn't everything.

    I think the manufacturers that deploy products that use ACPI have to share the bulk of the blame for the insecurity issues. Very few ACPI implementations that I have seen do not kick out errors in "dmesg" during the boot of even very very recent kernels (=> 3.12). I have seen cases where ACPI instructions point to non-existent portions of code, where ACPI instructions point to variables outside the range, etc. Basically the manufacturers are sloppy; it's the "gee wiz it compiles and boots up so ship it out before XYZ gets their feature out there" mentality.

    Please notice that I haven't poked at low paid programmers. Low pay does not always equate to poor quality; poor quality control equates to poor quality code.

    And for those curious about ACPI code, try out the "iasl" disassembler on Linux. Copy over the ACPI tables as found in "/sys/firmware/acpi/tables" to a safe "working" directory, then start disassembling them using "iasl". Granted the output of most of those tables is virtually incomprehensible to another other than an ACPI programmer with a well documented ACPI programming reference guide, but you can look at the resulting code.
    Last edited by NotMine999; 03-17-2014 at 03:20 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default DRM platforms can be boycotted, older gear used instead

    Quote Originally Posted by nightmarex View Post
    Operating systems have been able to be biosless, one day I hope we have an open computing platform however with intel incorporating more and more drm it's likely we are going in the opposite direction. Even AMD seems to be headed that way.
    It's always possible to reject DRM support. Example: AMD knows that any DRM code let into the Linux ecosystem will be instantly cracked. They still open-sourced their UVD for recent cards-by finding and stripping out the DRM support. The cards support Blu-ray DRM that we don't use, but can be run in Linux with that support disabled or removed.

    If a DRM'ed CPU or other device comes out that refuses to run other software (example" Windows Surface w/ Windows rt) we can refuse to buy it. It's harder to buy computers for Linux than it was a couple years ago, but the supply of good used hardware grows and grows. For a platform not used for something like video editing, any board with a PCI-e slot supporting an AMD Athlon X2 or better/Core2 duo/quad or better, amounts to a lot of hardware circulating on ebay, from the dumpster, surplus auctions, you name it. For video editing, a Core 2 Quad or Phenom X4 is the minimum, for gaming add an r600 or RadeonSI class ATI/AMD card.

    Had UEFI been hard-locked against us to the point that a "bus pirate" was needed to remove the locking code, you'd see a lot of bus pirates sold, like modchips for gaming consoles are sold legal or otherwise. As Linux gets harder to install in newer systems, the value of the immediatley previous systems in the used market will climb, and fewer of those systems will be discarded outright. The last generation of hardware that we can use will be the best ever produced for our purposes and can be stockpiled.

    Due to the uncertain future of the computer industry, I do not discard any computer hardware capable of running DSL (Damned Small Linux).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaurz View Post
    For once I agree 100% with Shuttleworth.
    this^

  10. #10
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    Default Putting his money/code where his mouth is

    Quote Originally Posted by Serge View Post
    Right on. Given how much trouble ACPI has caused !Windows operating systems, it is good that Shuttleworth is taking advantage of his highly visible position to attempt to drive interest in this area.
    He needs to put his money/code where his mouth is.

    Until then, his statement is as weighty as his support for Wayland.

    If he wants to change the system, he cant just call for it and others do the same. Code matters.

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