Ubuntu 17.10 no longer available for download due to LENOVO bios getting corrupted

Posted onin CategoriesLinux News last updated December 25, 2017

Lenovo is a Chinese multinational technology company that is well known for LENOVO laptops, desktops and other IT equipment. The download of Ubuntu Linux 17.10 is currently discouraged due to an issue on specific Lenovo laptop models that are causing BIOS corruption or laptop bricking.

From the page:

Many users are reporting issues with bios corruption with Ubuntu Linux 17.10. This seems to stem from enabling the intel-spi-* drivers in the kernel, which don’t appear to be ready for use on end-user machines. It’s not possible to save new settings in BIOS anymore and after rebooting, the system starts with the old settings. Moreover (and most important) USB booting is not possible anymore since USB is not recognized. It’s very serious, since our machines do not have a CDROM.

Ubuntu Linux 17.10 and LENOVO/others machines affected so far

  1. Lenovo B40-70
  2. Lenovo B50-70
  3. Lenovo B50-80
  4. Lenovo Flex-3
  5. Lenovo Flex-10
  6. Lenovo G40-30
  7. Lenovo G50-70
  8. Lenovo G50-80
  9. Lenovo S20-30
  10. Lenovo U31-70
  11. Lenovo Y50-70
  12. Lenovo Y70-70
  13. Lenovo Yoga Thinkpad (20C0)
  14. Lenovo Yoga 2 11″ – 20332
  15. Lenovo Z50-70
  16. Lenovo Z51-70
  17. Lenovo ideapad 100-15IBY

The bug also affects Acer laptop models:

  1. Acer Aspire E5-771G
  2. Acer TravelMate B113
  3. Acer TravelMate B113
  4. Toshiba Satellite S55T-B5233
  5. Toshiba Satellite L50-B-1R7
  6. Toshiba Satellite S50-B-13G
  7. Dell Inspiron 15-3531
  8. Mediacom Smartbook 14 Ultra M-SB14UC

It seems like Yoga series is mostly affected. ThinkPads are not affected by this issue. You can still download and use Ubuntu Linux 16.10. Personally, I have no issues with my LENOVO x230. I am writing this post on X230 laptop with Ubuntu 17.10. To find out your Linux distro name/release:
$ lsb_release -a
Sample outputs:

No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID:Ubuntu
Description:Ubuntu 17.10

Linux kernel version:
$ uname -r

You can use the dmidecode command to find out more about your bios and laptoptoo:
$ sudo dmidecode | more
$ sudo dmidecode -t 1

Sample outputs:

# dmidecode 3.1
Getting SMBIOS data from sysfs.
SMBIOS 2.7 present.

Handle 0x000D, DMI type 1, 27 bytes
System Information
Manufacturer: LENOVO
Product Name: 2325YX3
Version: ThinkPad X230
Serial Number: xxxxxx
UUID: 78E94B81-5244-11CB-BF24-zzzzzzzz
Wake-up Type: Power Switch
SKU Number: LENOVO_MT_2325
Family: ThinkPad X230

A note about other Linux distros

The bug seems to related to intel-spi-* drivers in the Linux kernel. So it is entirely possible that other Linux distro might be affected too. Check your Linux distribution mailing list or bug tracker for more info.

Bricking Linux based systems using rm

This reminds me of an older bug in BIOS. Back in 2016 many Linux based system were affected by another bug:

Deleting all files starting at the root (i.e. rm -rf /) is generally ill-advised; it is almost always a mistake of some sort. But, even if it is done intentionally, a permanently unbootable system—a brick—is not expected to be the result. The rm command can cause all of the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) variables to be cleared; due to some poorly implemented firmware in some systems, that can render the device permanently unable to even run the start-up firmware.

What should I do next?

You need to wait until Ubuntu release fix. Do not install Ubuntu 17.10 on affected devices. See the following links for more info:

Source: Linux News Enthusiast Blog Post Category Archives – nixCraft

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