WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Discussions about Linux installation and configuration on Samsung laptops
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WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby voRia » 30/01/2013, 16:01

I've been informed that the latest devices from Samsung using UEFI mode can be permanently bricked if Ubuntu, and probably other distros too, is installed without taking some precautions.

Here is a transcription of the email I've received from an user (thank you!):
There has been a long thread on Launchpad on the issue of Samsung
laptops being bricked during the installation of Ubuntu 64-bit in the
UEFI mode:

It is an extremely serious bug. In my view, it is not just critical. It
is nuclear. As the thread shows, many people have been affected. About a
month ago, "samsung-laptop" kernel module was found to be the likely
cause of the bug. The proposed fix involved the removal of "samsung-
laptop" kernel module if the UEFI mode was detected. A few days ago I
was able to successfully install Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit on my Samsung
laptop using the proposed fix, and thereby confirm that the "samsung-
laptop" kernel module was the likely cause of laptop bricking.

Could you please clarify the relationship between the "samsung-laptop"
kernel module that is part of Ubuntu, and your ppa? I am tempted to
install and use your ppa because I would like to have my keyboard
backlighting and wifi keys work properly. But after what we have
observed with bug #1040557, I am afraid to try it -- bricking a laptop
is no fun.

Any comments will be much appreciated!
and this is my answer:
The 'samsung-laptop' package on my PPA is built from the latest sources available at the time on this git repository from iksaif, the current maintainer of this kernel module:

It was intended to replace the kernel module found in the official ubuntu 12.04 kernels which was badly broken at the time.
Since then, the sources from this git repo have been merged into the vanilla kernel, and this is why the 'samsung-laptop' package is no more available on my PPA for ubuntu 12.10.

After reading the bug report you linked, I suspect the 'easy-slow-down-manager' and 'samsung-backlight' kernel modules from my PPA may be affected by the same problem.
They are an alternative to 'samsung-laptop', but they work mostly as the latter (ACPI commands), so I'd suggest to avoid them as well.

The only other package available on my PPA is 'samsung-tools'. It's a set of commandline and graphical tools to handle devices through the control interfaces provided by samsung-laptop and easy-slow-down-manager.
Without these control interfaces, it's pretty useless I'm afraid.

I agree with you when you say this bug is nuclear. It's ridiculous that a machine can be permanently bricked in such an easy way.
These are the "beauties" of UEFI i guess.

So, if you own one of these machines and you are planning to install a GNU/Linux distro on it, be very careful and follow the discussion in the bug report #1040557 linked above.

If any news, I'll post in this thread.
Please consider a little donation to keep the 'Linux On My Samsung' project up and running. Thank you!

Posts: 9
Joined: 07/07/2011, 20:55

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby fanys12 » 17/02/2013, 17:47

Fixed in Ubuntu 12.04.02.
Originally posted here: http://forum.ubuntu.cz/index.php?topic=66793.msg476694
Kernels 3.2 and 3.5 are patched to avoid bricking laptop.

Posts: 2
Joined: 04/04/2013, 18:19

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby berlinomat » 04/04/2013, 18:25

Is this still relevant?

I installed Ubuntu on a NP535U3C-A04DE and it works well. The only thing is, that suspend doesn't work.

Is it safe to use samsung-tools, samsung-laptop and samsung-backlight?

Or is there another way to fix this without these?


Posts: 4
Joined: 02/06/2013, 4:44

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby Chrishas » 02/06/2013, 4:49

Hi, I want to install linux on my new NP740U3E-a01ub but don't want to risk bricking it, is this issue solved?

Posts: 7
Joined: 06/06/2013, 18:29

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby neboglory » 12/06/2013, 0:37

I would stick to using good old mbr/bios/cmos/grub. I have not heard a particular yes or no as to whether the newer samsungs are still affected by this bug. Staying away from uefi (even though stub loading is quick and slick) seems to be the safer course of action.

Posts: 1
Joined: 19/07/2013, 11:56

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby marcos » 19/07/2013, 12:19

hi everybody

this is my first post at this forum and I would like to thank all the people involved in the project, included the comunity.

I've recently bought a samsung NP 530U4C - S01 laptop, (july 2013) and just after buying it I've seen all the problems related to the installation of linux distros on UEFI

I just wanted to know if the problem still persist..I need ubuntu and scientific linux for my studies, and I need to run vmware workstation on top of ubuntu for my exercisses. Until now I haven't had any problem with UEFI disable, but I would like to enable it to install windows 8 (and reinstall ubuntu etc...)
This laptop is meant to be used with linux, and if that is gonna get me into troubles, I still have a few days to return it to the shop where I bought it

Posts: 2
Joined: 21/08/2013, 14:31

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby leon-1 » 21/08/2013, 14:59

About four months ago I bought an NP350V5C-A0EUK, it had Windows 8 pre-installed on it. It has the UEFI system installed and all the rest of the rubbish.

Yesterday I googled to find out whether anyone had got round this problem yet specifically for this model and one person had installed Ubuntu on their system that I could find, from what I can gather part of the problem was down to bios. My version of bios is three versions up from the version that had problems.

This morning I very warily installed Kubuntu 13.04 on this system, it has been rebooted and I am currently typing this post on the Laptop. I am a happy man.

A quick note to anyone that wants to do this, please do as much research as you possibly can before attempting this, If you don't feel happy about doing this, Do Not Do It

Posts: 3
Joined: 27/11/2013, 13:53

Re: WARNING! Caution needed with new UEFI devices!

Postby neb » 27/11/2013, 14:10


Just today, I decided to give it a go and switch my N900-X4C to UEFI.

I came back from a safe install of both openSuse 13.1 and ubuntu 13.10... According to what I gathered, Ubuntu 12.04.3 seems to be safe as well, even though I haven't tested it.

However the fan-control, which used to work perfectly right after installing samsung-tools on any non-UEFI system (I've been distrib-hopping a bit :) ), is unavailable in both UEFI openSuse and ubuntu.

Is this due to some limitations on samsung-tools' side because of the ex-nuclear bug ?
I'm just guessing, but this might be related to http://www.voria.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1230 as well.

Thanks a lot for all your hard work on them samsung laptops.

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