Personal computing discussed

Moderators: SecretSquirrel, notfred

 
whm1974
Gerbil Elder
Topic Author
Posts: 5761
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:29 am

Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:22 am

Just read this over at Phoronix:
http://phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_ ... C-No-Linux

So Signature Edition PCs are required to be locked down to only boot Win10? This is the first time I heard about this. I really hope this thing flops. What are you guys thoughts on this?
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:54 am

I've been seeing conflicting info about this issue on various sites. Aside from the note from the Lenovo "Product Expert" (when someone has a title like that, it's a pretty good bet that they are anything but, and are very far down the food chain), I have not seen confirmation that this is something which was dictated by Microsoft.

Using a proprietary RAID mode (and locking the system to it) is certainly a boneheaded move, but does not require any collusion from Microsoft; it just requires stupidity on Lenovo's part.

Will they provide technical documentation to the Linux community to allow a compatible driver and bootloader to be developed? I have no idea.

I will say, this is just one more reason to avoid Lenovo products though. I'd already stopped recommending them a few years ago, and this latest move from them only serves to further reinforce that decision.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:56 am

Phoronix wrote:
Ryan Farmer wrote in explaining that his Yoga 900 ISK2 UltraBook hasn't been able to see Linux installed over a proprietary RAID mode that's locked by the UEFI/BIOS of this ultrabook: Linux can't see the SSD.


Are we sure the device completely locks the users out changing that RAID mode into something else, though? Is there an overlooked option, is the guy complaining about this misunderstanding or misrepresenting things? Because, to be honest, this wouldn't be the first time someone has lost their mind over UEFI booting difficulties/differences...

We can discuss the validity of why Microsoft or Lenovo would want to do something like that, sure, but only after we're sure that's what they've actually done.

Because, this also wouldn't be the first time some ignorant front-line support tech said something erroneous & inflammatory, or, for that matter, the first time someone has misrepresented or simply invented such a statement.
 
Waco
Gold subscriber
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:14 pm
Location: Los Alamos, NM

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:04 am

I guess booting into a recovery environment would be all sorts of fun if Lenovo actually actively blocks access through various means.

Just another reason to not buy Lenovo...
Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon | 6700K @ 4.4 | 16 GB | GTX Titan Xm | Seasonic Gold 850 | XSPC RX360 | Heatkiller R3 | D5 + RP-452X2 | Cosmos II | Samsung 4K 40" | 2048 + 240 + LSI 9207-8i (128x8) SSDs
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:14 am

Waco wrote:
Lenovo actually actively blocks access through various means.


Actively might be a stretch, even if it is actually locked in the firmware that's probably more because it's one of those cut-down OEM firmwares that just chop out anything remotely complicated in the options. I'd assume laziness/stupidity before malicious, especially when people immediately start in with the generic microsoft conspiracy. :wink:

Back when I had OEM machines that I wanted to enthuse with, as opposed to all the enthusisast/prosumer/professional gear I now have, I used to flash the corresponding enthusiast bios to the boards that had the vastly limited OEM version. Obviously that possibility entirely depended on the model, but there were at least 2 machines I distinctly recall doing that to.

In my eyes, it seems much more likely this kind of thing is much more like that than anything remotely like a nefarious underhanded "kill linux dead" campaign.
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:29 am

Oh, great, the insane zealotry has lost its mind over this already:

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2016/09/cant ... ion-laptop

:o :roll:

https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/ms ... .326871500

http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-1 ... -ubuntu/pd

This is why I hate, hate, hate "linux advocacy": LINUS USES THE XPS 13. :evil:

Let's deepen the conspiracy! The develop edition and the signature edition of the XPS 13 have different firmwares! It's all trick! HALLOWEEN DOCUMENTS! ESR! EVIL!

...or maybe, just maybe, an underpaid high turn-over lenovo tech support guy, wait lolno, the guy who responds to online reviews, made something up? Got confused? Pointed the finger at someone else?

It's like these people don't live in the real world. It used to be I was routinely accosted by sales personnel in best-buy or its various analogs who all seemed to be in competition to tell me the most outlandish, mischaracterized, or outrightly wrong things.

It is a generational thing? Do people just not talk to clueless-but-inventive sales and support staff anymore?
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:38 am

I've been saying that Linux evangelists can be their own worst enemy pretty much ever since I started using Linux...
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:46 am

JBI wrote:
I've been saying that Linux evangelists can be their own worst enemy pretty much ever since I started using Linux...


I read phoronix comments to deaden my soul every time the human in me starts acting up.

In all seriousness, I actually prefer the rabid FSF types at this point: at least they have a cause. Give me the good ol' tried & true "GNU/Linux" or "Only Free (not open!) software respects its users freedoms!" tirades any day, ever, over the guy who is mad at M$ and wants to install 7 distros in as many days because windoze just core parks his performance into oblivion and doesn't have "realtime" options.
 
Waco
Gold subscriber
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2451
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:14 pm
Location: Los Alamos, NM

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:49 am

just brew it! wrote:
I've been saying that Linux evangelists can be their own worst enemy pretty much ever since I started using Linux...

Indeed.

Much ado about nothing is their MO.
Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon | 6700K @ 4.4 | 16 GB | GTX Titan Xm | Seasonic Gold 850 | XSPC RX360 | Heatkiller R3 | D5 + RP-452X2 | Cosmos II | Samsung 4K 40" | 2048 + 240 + LSI 9207-8i (128x8) SSDs
 
maxxcool
Silver subscriber
Gerbil Elite
Posts: 854
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:40 am
Location: %^&*%$$
Contact:

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:50 am

Well I for one am MUCH more worried about the Linux & Arm conspiracy.. they have been conspiring for DECADES to keep windows 95 off of my ARM based Nexus devices ...
Cybert said: Capitlization and periods are hard for you, aren't they? I've given over $100 to techforums. I should have you banned for my money.
 
DancinJack
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
Posts: 3863
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Kansas

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:12 pm

just brew it! wrote:
...Aside from the note from the Lenovo "Product Expert" (when someone has a title like that, it's a pretty good bet that they are anything but, and are very far down the food chain)...


FWIW, I work on the Product team at a software company and have a somewhat similar title (thankfully not "expert"). I wouldn't generalize as much as you are here, with respect. There are some that are bad, some that are good, just like everything else.
i7 6700K - Z170 - 16GiB DDR4 - GTX 1080 - 512GB SSD - 256GB SSD - 500GB SSD - 3TB HDD- 27" IPS G-sync - Win10 Pro x64 - Ubuntu/Mint x64 :: 2015 13" rMBP Sierra :: Canon EOS 80D/Sony RX100
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:38 pm

DancinJack wrote:
FWIW, I work on the Product team at a software company and have a somewhat similar title (thankfully not "expert"). I wouldn't generalize as much as you are here, with respect. There are some that are bad, some that are good, just like everything else.


This is true, we're just over-reacting to an over-reaction.

We're just making the heavy-handed point that people shouldn't set the internet on fire over something a single tech support person said. Especially not in this case, where it's just a guy claiming to be a "Lenovo Product Expert" doing crowd-sourced Q/A on the product listings for an online retailer.

I mean, yeah, he's probably a legit Lenovo guy , but this is barely above the category of "unsubstantiated rumor", and if you know anything about the Microsoft Signature Edition program, not only is it not true, it cannot be true: They are only sold *BY* Microsoft, not Best Buy, and other very prominent devices available as signature edition aren't locked down either, because *Linus Torvalds* very publicly uses one.
 
End User
Gold subscriber
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2761
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: Upper Canada

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:34 pm

But as it turns out, this sad little blog post was just the tip of the iceberg. It was based on a Reddit post, naturally, and reported elsewhere, and less sensationally, by ZDNet.

So is there something to this? Was Microsoft’s Signature PC team—the smallest freaking province in Terry Myerson’s Windows empire—actuallyrequiring Lenovo to “block” Linux? Was Microsoft?

LOL.

No. Come on, people.



https://www.thurrott.com/windows/window ... -linux-pcs
"Straight roads are for fast cars, turns are for fast drivers" - Colin McRae

"If you drive an auto or a dual-clutch you should hang your head in shame." - EU
 
Chrispy_
Maximum Gerbil
Posts: 4408
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 3:49 pm
Location: Europe, most frequently London.

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:31 pm

TL;DR, but aren't "Signature Editions" the same as regular editions but just without all the vendor bloat?

If that's the case, what's to stop you from flashing the BIOS with the regular edition firmware?
Congratulations, you've noticed that this year's signature is based on outdated internet memes; CLICK HERE NOW to experience this unforgettable phenomenon. This sentence is just filler and as irrelevant as my signature.
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:54 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
TL;DR, but aren't "Signature Editions" the same as regular editions but just without all the vendor bloat?


Yes, and they are exclusively sold by Microsoft.

Chrispy_ wrote:
If that's the case, what's to stop you from flashing the BIOS with the regular edition firmware?


There's no such difference, and the Lenovo in question wasn't actually a signature edition one anyway.

Lenovo's firmware won't let you switch between AHCI or Intel's "RAID" mode (i.e. probably a different PCI id for the same hardware to ensure a vendor driver for platform certification and its related features). It doesn't have anything to do with Microsoft at all, but a misguided Lenovo representation unfortunately indicated otherwise.
 
whm1974
Gerbil Elder
Topic Author
Posts: 5761
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:29 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:59 pm

Sorry about the late reply and it is not my intent to spread FUD around. But thank you guys for pointing out that this is Lenovo's screw up and not a Microsoft requirement for" Signature Edition" PCs.   

I will do my part in the future to avoid creating and spreading FUD.
 
whm1974
Gerbil Elder
Topic Author
Posts: 5761
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:29 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:50 am

Too bad I didn't come across this article yesterday.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/3122593/ ... doing.html
 
cheesyking
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2686
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2004 7:52 am
Location: That London (or so I'm told)
Contact:

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:35 am

The background is straightforward. Intel platforms allow the storage to be configured in two different ways - "standard" (normal AHCI on SATA systems, normal NVMe on NVMe systems) or "RAID". "RAID" mode is typically just changing the PCI IDs so that the normal drivers won't bind, ensuring that drivers that support the software RAID mode are used. Intel have not submitted any patches to Linux to support the "RAID" mode.

So it sounds like it might be possible to make linux use its standard driver with RAID mode just by adjusting the PCI IDs that it binds to.
Fernando!
Your mother ate my dog!
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:45 am

cheesyking wrote:
The background is straightforward. Intel platforms allow the storage to be configured in two different ways - "standard" (normal AHCI on SATA systems, normal NVMe on NVMe systems) or "RAID". "RAID" mode is typically just changing the PCI IDs so that the normal drivers won't bind, ensuring that drivers that support the software RAID mode are used. Intel have not submitted any patches to Linux to support the "RAID" mode.

So it sounds like it might be possible to make linux use its standard driver with RAID mode just by adjusting the PCI IDs that it binds to.

Unless there's a way to get the controller out of RAID mode the bootloader is still potentially problematic.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Glorious
Gold subscriber
Gerbilus Supremus
Posts: 11087
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:35 pm

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:09 am

I think the real reason Lenovo did this has to do power management, because on recent mobile packages there are interrelationships between storage and CPU power states. As in, if your controllers aren't configured the right way the CPU/overall IC will never go into the deeper power saving states (cheesyking might remember my post about our chromebooks--same sort of issue and it's even more complicated in broadwell/skylake packages). This is the primary reason, I'm sure: the "RAID" mode stuff is just the mechanism by which they ensure their windows driver with all those configs is loaded instead of something else.

The RAID stuff has side-effects though, because while RST is supported by mdadm, SRT is not(AFAIK). And while SRT likely isn't being used, it isn't in the kernel either so there aren't actually linux drivers for this particular device in this so-called "RAID" mode.

Yes, you could probably tell it to use the regular AHCI driver for that "RAID" pci id, but if the firmware does anything other than change that id (which is likely), the bootloader becomes very problematic as JBI noted: You wouldn't even far enough to use your kludge.

And the kind of people who do that that sort of work are very rare in the open-source world and they've typically got a ton of other things to work on (working around an never-ending deluge of buggy/broken UEFI implementations).
 
cheesyking
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
Posts: 2686
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2004 7:52 am
Location: That London (or so I'm told)
Contact:

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Thu Sep 22, 2016 11:04 am

Glorious wrote:
I think the real reason Lenovo did this has to do power management, because on recent mobile packages there are interrelationships between storage and CPU power states. As in, if your controllers aren't configured the right way the CPU/overall IC will never go into the deeper power saving states (cheesyking might remember my post about our chromebooks--same sort of issue and it's even more complicated in broadwell/skylake packages). This is the primary reason, I'm sure: the "RAID" mode stuff is just the mechanism by which they ensure their windows driver with all those configs is loaded instead of something else.

Yeah that all seems to tie in with the blog post linked to in the update on the phorinix article where I got that quote from.
https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/44694.html
It seems like such a horrible kludge for Lenovo to do power management like this but I suppose Intel are the real villains for not allowing anyone to do proper power management without their blob.
Fernando!

Your mother ate my dog!
 
whm1974
Gerbil Elder
Topic Author
Posts: 5761
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:29 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:55 am

In any case I'll still be building my systems in the future to avoid these kind of problems. It's a shame that FOSS OS users have to deal with these kind of issues.
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:43 am

Well yeah... buying ANY prebuilt system without checking Linux compatibility first is asking for trouble, if your intent is to run Linux.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
torquer
Gerbil
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:12 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:58 am

This just in:  Windows hardware/driver support > Linux hardware/driver support 
-------------------------------------------------------
i have a computer.
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:07 am

torquer wrote:
This just in:  Windows hardware/driver support > Linux hardware/driver support 

For newer hardware, yes definitely.

For older hardware sometimes the situation is reversed though. Provided a device was supported in Linux at some point, it tends to stay supported even if the manufacturer stops providing drivers for new versions of Windows.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
Kretschmer
Silver subscriber
Gerbil XP
Posts: 435
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:36 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:54 am

whm1974 wrote:
In any case I'll still be building my systems in the future to avoid these kind of problems. It's a shame that FOSS OS users have to deal with these kind of issues.

I feel terrible for all six of you. ;)
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:00 am

Kretschmer wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
In any case I'll still be building my systems in the future to avoid these kind of problems. It's a shame that FOSS OS users have to deal with these kind of issues.

I feel terrible for all six of you. ;)

That's OK, we feel sorry for you too. :wink:
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
 
whm1974
Gerbil Elder
Topic Author
Posts: 5761
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:29 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:25 am

So Intel is to blame for Linux not installing on Lenovo notebooks and not Microsoft. Thanks a lot Intel:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3123075/ ... osoft.html

I suppose this is one of the pitfalls of using a minority OS. :roll:
 
Redocbew
Gold subscriber
Gerbil Jedi
Posts: 1669
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:44 am

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:25 pm

How is that any different than any other thing which requires a kernel update in order to be supported?
Do not meddle in the affairs of archers, for they are subtle and you won't hear them coming.
 
just brew it!
Gold subscriber
Administrator
Posts: 51540
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 10:51 pm
Location: Somewhere, having a beer

Re: Microsoft's "Signature Edition" should we be worried?

Sat Sep 24, 2016 1:47 pm

whm1974 wrote:
So Intel is to blame for Linux not installing on Lenovo notebooks and not Microsoft. Thanks a lot Intel:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3123075/ ... osoft.html

Still sounds to me like the issue is Lenovo not allowing a fallback to standard AHCI mode. If Intel is indeed prohibiting use of AHCI, then yeah blame lands squarely on Intel. But the article doesn't provide any real evidence that this is going on; all we have is speculation that Intel's driver is necessary for "good power management", and that Lenovo may be requiring Intel's driver because of this.

whm1974 wrote:
I suppose this is one of the pitfalls of using a minority OS. :roll:

Not sure why that rates an eye roll. Of course running an OS that has low-single-digit market share for desktops/laptops is gonna get you spotty driver support; this should not be a surprise at all!

OTOH, a piece of server hardware that didn't support Linux would be pretty big news these days.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests