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The current state of UEFI and Linux

Filed under
Linux

Executive summary: Most things work fine.

Things we know are broken:

* Some Samsung laptops. The samsung-laptop driver is a slightly weird thing. By 2010 (when it first appeared) most vendors had moved over to using some level of firmware abstraction, either using ACPI or WMI. Samsung still seemed to be stuck around a decade earlier - they were providing a region of memory at a known address, and you'd read that address to find a bunch of offsets. Then you'd write magic values based on those offsets to magic system IO ports based on those offsets and something would happen. Those writes were triggering System Management Mode, a special x86 CPU mode where the processor executes code from memory that the OS can't see, without telling the OS that it's doing so. There's nothing especially new in this (SMM first appeared in the 386sl back in 1990), but it also means that you depend on the system vendor not changing the interface without telling you. Turns out that Samsung apparently changed their platform interface when they moved to UEFI, but didn't actually do anything to prevent old drivers from breaking things -

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GNOME: LVFS and Epiphany

  • Richard Hughes: Shaking the tin for LVFS: Asking for donations!
    Nearly 100 million files are downloaded from the LVFS every month, the majority being metadata to know what updates are available. Although each metadata file is very small it still adds up to over 1TB in transfered bytes per month. Amazon has kindly given the LVFS a 2000 USD per year open source grant which more than covers the hosting costs and any test EC2 instances. I really appreciate the donation from Amazon as it allows us to continue to grow, both with the number of Linux clients connecting every hour, and with the number of firmware files hosted. Before the grant sometimes Red Hat would pay the bandwidth bill, and other times it was just paid out my own pocket, so the grant does mean a lot to me. Amazon seemed very friendly towards this kind of open source shared infrastructure, so kudos to them for that. At the moment the secure part of the LVFS is hosted in a dedicated Scaleway instance, so any additional donations would be spent on paying this small bill and perhaps more importantly buying some (2nd hand?) hardware to include as part of our release-time QA checks.
  • Epiphany 3.28 Development Kicks Off With Safe Browsing, Better Flatpak Handling
    Epiphany 3.27.1 was released a short time ago as the first development release of this web-browser for the GNOME 3.28 cycle. For being early in the development cycle there is already a fair number of improvements with Epiphany 3.27.1. Some of the highlights include Google Safe Browsing support, a new address bar dropdown powered by libdazzle, and improvements to the Flatpak support.
  • Safe Browsing in Epiphany
    I am pleased to announce that Epiphany users will now benefit from a safe browsing support which is capable to detect and alert users whenever they are visiting a potential malicious website. This feature will be shipped in GNOME 3.28, but those who don’t wish to wait that long can go ahead and build Epiphany from master to benefit from it. The safe browsing support is enabled by default in Epiphany, but you can always disable it from the preferences dialog by toggling the checkbox under General -> Web Content -> Try to block dangerous websites.

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