Linus Torvalds Rips Into Intel

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by rgMekanic, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. rgMekanic

    rgMekanic [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    In a public email chain, the Linux inventor Linus Torvalds, and David Woodhouse, engineer at Amazon in the UK discuss Intel's "fix" for Meltdown/spectre. Never one to pull punches Torvalds exclaims "the patches are COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE."

    I can't even pretend to understand the technical parts of Linus' emails, but it's pretty obvious to see, the man isn't happy with what Intel is doing to fix the problem. From what I can gather, Intel is putting things in the patch that are unnecessary or redundant to make it look more substantial, while having the actual fix not be enabled by default. Linus' speculation on why it is not enabled by default is it would make Intel "look bad in benchmarks." Thanks to fightingfi for the story

    All of this is pure garbage. Is Intel really planning on making this shit architectural? Has anybody talked to them and told them they are f*cking insane. Please, any Intel engineers here - talk to your managers. If the alternative was a two-decade product recall and giving everyone free CPUs, I'm not sure it was entirely insane.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  2. Jim Kim

    Jim Kim 2[H]4U

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    We have not heard the end of this spectre/meltdown crap.

    Linus sounds slightly more peeved than usual. ;)
     
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  3. cjcox

    cjcox [H]ard|Gawd

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    Overheard:

    Intel: Mr. Torvalds we've got a firmware patch for you.

    Linus: About time.... you #%$#^@$^&

    Linus: Applied. Th <click><thud><splat>

    Intel: <giggle> Quick pull the patch before anyone else applies it.
     
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  4. CaptNumbNutz

    CaptNumbNutz [H]ard as it Gets

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    Those are pretty damning accusations, and Linus Torvalds is one of the few people who can back it up.
     
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  5. rgMekanic

    rgMekanic [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    As I said I can't even pretend to understand half the technical stuff from those threads, but I'll be damned if it doesn't look like Spectre/Meltdown isn't even worse than we originally thought.
     
  6. J3RK

    J3RK [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Replace the <click><thud><splat> with the broken hyperdrive sound of the Millennium Falcon, and I think it's just about right. :D <wheeoo wheeoo wheeooooooo wheeeeeooooooooo>
     
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  7. naib

    naib [H]ard|Gawd

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    Essentially they don't want to enable the fix in silicon by default BUT want to expose something that an OS then can make a decision whether to gimp performance (but provides "security")

    they want their benchmarks to look good for marketing
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  8. jnemesh

    jnemesh [H]ard|Gawd

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    I can TOTALLY see Intel not enabling the patch by default to preserve performance! Shitty move Intel!
     
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  9. gigatexal

    gigatexal [H]ardness Supreme

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    yeah fuck intel -- hopefully this makes server grade parts cheap as people offload them like crazy -- and then i can just run a custom kernel in my home lab without the patches.
     
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  10. alamox

    alamox Gawd

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    from what iv read it's clear than intel is trying to spread the damage to AMD by trying to keep the fix even for the next gen software ( os based) and intel don't get shafted in benchmarks, to the point of making a critical flaw protection optional, all for the sake of benchmarks results.
    i think intel is already ran by marketing team, too much monopoly moved engineering talent aside, in alot of things that they do, you feel like a clueless person is in charge or at least have too many seats on the decision making board.
     
  11. panhead

    panhead Gawd

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    I like his suggestion
     
  12. Ur_Mom

    Ur_Mom I'm Not Serious

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    Linus sure is a peach. He's not wrong, but damn I couldn't work with the guy. He's always just a full on asshole when he's talking about others. It must be a leader thing. Ballmer, Jobs, Torvalds... Fuck em all.

    But, he's not wrong. Intel really needs to get their shit together.
     
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  13. ChadD

    ChadD 2[H]4U

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    I got the feeling that he was complaing more that the code was just really really clunky. That intel is saying they will add a Flag into the code of their new stock that says "hey hey I'm new" please don't enable that patch, adding one more bit of junk into the code forever. I could be wrong though and this could be a lot worse then just ugly ass code Intel wants to enshrine for all X86 time.
     
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  14. U-238

    U-238 Limp Gawd

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    Basically, he's saying that, instead of doing things "the right way" Intel is just tossing out a "hacked together with parts bin scraps" solution to avoid the lawyers and say they "fixed" the problem. Thing is, this appears that this hacked together "solution" is going to persist on newer procs as well until Intel can find a way to make "the right way" worth their while (aka: profitable).

    If you jump 3 messages ahead of the linked one in the thread, David provides some nice background on the technical side of things.
     
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  15. mvmiller12

    mvmiller12 Gawd

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    My understanding of the e-mail chain is that there is a hardware flag (defaulting to "off") which essentially says - "if you leave me off, I will continue to be broken.... fast, but broken. If you go out of your way to turn me on, I'll be fixed..... slow, but fixed (if you go out of your way, that is)" The end result being that the fixes aren't applied unless you go out of your way to do that.

    This is opposed to just having a hardware flag on newer, fixed CPUs that just says "I am new and don't have that 'old CPU' problem, continue processing Business As Usual 'cuz I'm all good"


    The implication is that Intel would rather the exploit have a default disabled fix, because that will make their benchmarks look good (after all, the fix is available but disabled) rather then just blanket apply the fix to effected processors and redesign newer processors to not have the problem to begin with.
     
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  16. rgMekanic

    rgMekanic [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    This is what I got as well
     
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  17. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ [H]ardForum Junkie

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  18. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman [H]ardness Supreme

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    That's a douchebag move.
     
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  19. naib

    naib [H]ard|Gawd

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    By whom? Intel or Linus?
     
  20. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I don't think I'm smart enough to participate in this thread. I'll see myself out.
     
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  21. viper1152012

    viper1152012 [H]ard|Gawd

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    All I want is a Processor that doesn't place my ass out in the open for any hacker to infiltrate.....

    Is that to much to ask.
     
  22. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Not if you're willing to take a 30% speed hit!
     
  23. Silentbob343

    Silentbob343 [H]ard|Gawd

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    David's response to Linus.
     
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  24. Logan321

    Logan321 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yep. I have no idea what is going on. Slow processor bad, insecure processor bad. AMD build time?
     
  25. Denpepe

    Denpepe Gawd

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    I get what you want, but not going to happen imo, someone always finds a way to hack something, if not by this flaw they will find another one.
     
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  26. thenjduke

    thenjduke Limp Gawd

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    I really hope class action suit comes against Intel. There probably is already one but seriously they know about this bug and how long will it be before they put something out where does not let us lose performance and the security hole is fixed. This issue is being discussed very seriously at a Medical Corporation I work for and they are nervous that it will put a huge impact on our systems. By the way we are not talking about just single Hospital. This company is one of the largest in the USA and owns a lot of hospitals so it is going to effect a lot of equipment. I can promise you nurses and physicians are going to be all over are tale ends if this slows down our servers.
     
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  27. Khahhblaab

    Khahhblaab Limp Gawd

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    ...if the original silicone had a way to obviate the meltdown, then there would have not been a situation that spelled disaster. Intel would have "slowed down the CPU to save battery life", unknown to their customers.

    This is a sublime patch because when you are in the business of designing CPU's with more transistors that existed in the world when the first CPU was designed you tend to find where a switch already engineered can be found to mitigate the disaster.

    Its something that will be better than a real fix that might take new silicone.

    As far as Mr. Torvalds, I bet he knows that the real issue is finding a way to keep processing speed up, while not being able to find a 'finger print' on recently processed data. Its possible that since he is a software guy, he cant understand that baked silicone has to anticipate issues b4 they are known.

    It just may be that he is looking at it as a new 'point release', when in reality it could be much deeper....hopefully not.......

    Software guys: Its hardware

    Hardware guys: its software

    ...and the customer waits for them to figure it all out.........
     
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  28. atarione

    atarione [H]ard|Gawd

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    So... intel has basically f*cked us all for the foreseeable future is that about right?
     
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  29. brentsg

    brentsg [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think we're going to have to settle for feeling fast, while feeling like the ass is safe. I mean, I already feel smart most of the time despite having no idea what Linus is talking about.. so feeling fast and safe should be easy enough.
     
  30. Khahhblaab

    Khahhblaab Limp Gawd

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    It depends:

    Bartender: you want another B4 we close?

    Customer: sure, make it just the way as B4

    Bartender: I will give you half for free or you can get a full glass for half price.

    Customer: Give me the free one.

    Bartender: for this transaction, I will need yourSS# and ID.

    Customer: I thought you said it was free?

    Bartender: Well, we need some info on you, in order to give you a free one.

    Customer: free means that I get it and you only give me the half full drink.

    Bartender: Well if you want free, there are things that we get as an exchange.

    Customer: You mean that I cant get half a 'free' drink without you knowing where I live and true identity?

    Bartender:We sell the info about you, its how we are able to give you free stuff.

    Customer: Now that I think about it, make mine a full glass.

    Bartender: Ok. That will be half price, you need to swipe your card.

    Customer: Cash!

    Bartender: Who was that guy?????


    Just to say that there are many billions of ip addresses. If you go to a site that is questionable, you might become part of their database. In general, normal webbi'n habits are too low key to bring attention to us. Its the major players that will have focus from the guys that may engineer a hack that takes advantage of spectre and meltdown.

    Worlds population = over 7 billion

    Hackeable Ip addreses (ip v6) 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456

    Somewhere in the 431,768,211,456, we live. Just the 431,768,211,456 of the whole.

    The risk of a real problem is had by the major servers that serve us. They have to be more concerned.

    We are too far along to have another "War of the worlds".

    But, no telling what someone would do if no protection was offered on a 'not patched' computer'.

    Update and deal with a lil performance hit. It will get better and normal security updates will be be back in fashion.
     
  31. Hagrid

    Hagrid [H]ardness Supreme

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    And the fixes just make it worse.....
    Maybe they need to just bite the bullet and redo the cpu....
     
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  32. Madoc

    Madoc Gawd

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    Government Prosecutor: State your name for the record.

    Linus Torvalds: I am Linus Torvalds.

    Prosecutor: Do you know the defendant?

    Torvalds: Yes, I know the Intel Corporation. It is most kind and generous. It is a cup overflowing with the cream of human goodness. I have never known it to do anything immoral.
    Unless maybe the Preschooler's Prostitute Ring.
    And he has never done anything illegal.​
    Unless you count all the times it sold dope disguised as a nun.
    It has always been a good, law-abiding corporate citizen ...​
    Give me a break!
    ... of the United States ...​
    Shut up! Shut up!
    A community-conscious entity.​
    Intel?! It's just a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous, perverted worm! Hanging is too good for it! Burning is too good for it! It should be torn into little pieces and buried alive! I will kill it! Kill!!​
     
  33. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    From what I understand, Intel wants to put a switch in their CPUs that turns on the Meltdown fix but by default it's off. Thus the CPU by default runs fast until the OS flips the switch to make it run slower. Which kinda puts the blame on the OS instead of the CPU. And of course having a security feature off be default isn't exactly a good idea.
     
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  34. trudude

    trudude [H]ard|Gawd

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    Intel will be in breach of contract with the NSA if they enable the fixes by default. The NSA paid good money to be able to backdoor any computer on the planet.
     
  35. trudude

    trudude [H]ard|Gawd

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    Also once the "fix" is out people will reverse engineer it and create apps and scripts that will still work with the backdoor.
     
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  36. travisty

    travisty Gawd

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    So glad i went Ryzen. Don't see an intel cpu in any of my boxes/laptops for the foreseeable future. If only more laptops would come out w/ Ryzen chips, i do need a new one
     
  37. Johan Steyn

    Johan Steyn [H]Lite

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    I have thought this exactly. The fix is software, software can be hacked, hardware not so much. Maybe somebody will provide a "patch" you download to increase your performance or something. people are very gulable.


    I will not buy Intel if I can. AMD will be my choice, since they are not taking performance shortcuts.
     
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  38. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardness Supreme

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    You mean the Spectre fix (indirect branch speculation). Unless I'm misreading, Torvalds says they seem to be doing the right thing with Meltdown patches (at the moment), but they seem to be making Spectre fixes optional because of the performance impact:

    More importantly, this bit implies that he thinks Intel may not be disclosing additional problems:
     
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  39. n31l

    n31l [H]Lite

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    why doesn't Intel just release and force the patch and then also unlock turbo on 'all' cores as a goodwill measure, a kind of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' situation, they 'usually' have loads of thermal scope to be able to do it. My E5-2695 V3 has turbo enabled on all 14 cores via UEFI hack, after running Prime95 for an hour it never goes above 62c.. seems like an easy way to save face a little to me..
     
  40. Pieter3dnow

    Pieter3dnow [H]ardness Supreme

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    What people do not get is what the complaints are about.

    1. The work is done by lawyers
    2. The patch is garbage.

    http://fudzilla.com/news/processors/45428-intel-s-patch-is-garbage

    The patch as it is now is a guide for engineers how to circumvent lawsuits by not crippling performance on Intel products.
    Torvalds is not happy with this approach be basically says it is not much of a patch for meltdown.

    If Intel would apply a proper patch for meltdown it would seriously cripple performance but then it is completely secure

    In the end this would seriously cripple performance. By implying this Torvalds more or less means that you want a secure system you would have to change to AMD hardware because if there is a proper patch for Intel system the performance hit will be grounds for lawsuits ....
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018