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

in Categories Linux News last updated December 25, 2017

ubuntu-17-download-disabled
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
Release:	17.10
Codename:	artful

Linux kernel version:
$ uname -r
4.13.0-19-generic

You can use the dmidecode command to find out more about your bios and laptop too:
$ 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:

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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9 comment

  1. I am using Arch Linux on my Acer Aspire 5742. It didn’t affect me.I just shifted on arch from Linux mint. So Linux mint was insecure too as it is based on Ubuntu ??

  2. I mean, it’s crazy what guys who develop Linux kernel did in this year.
    I am no kernel developer, but I’ve been using Linux for 5 years and I never had so many bugs and problems than in the last year. Frankly, I never had a single bug. I always update kernel regularly, I run the update every single day.
    Since 17.10 release and the new kernel(s) I have a lot of problems with GPU Hang (hw. acc. stops working, and I need to restart lightdm every 20 min) because of some untested push into the new kernel.
    This is the first time in 5 years I am seriously considering going back to Windows but I think I won’t be able to make it back, after all, I am a Linux system administrator.
    And the funniest thing, this bug occurred with Intel chipset around the same time this started to happen.
    I do not have an impression that Intel staff is committed to fix those problems, I have reported the bug and found similar ones regarding my specific problem.
    But they are so slow in developing the fix. Let’s all pray.
    P.S I had to donate to your blog, 50% of my knowledge came from here.
    Cheers.

    1. No please don’t go back to Windows bro!! just go back to old Linux releases until it becomes stable . U can try Debian stable or Linux mint

  3. The most important information was left out: are the bricked laptops unbrickable or are they doomed to lose their settings for good?

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