Linus Torvalds Rips Intel for Meltdown and Spectre Flaws

Jan 09, 2018

Torvalds is not happy with the way Intel handled these two vulnerabilities.

Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, is not known for mincing words when it comes to core technology. The world is still recovering from the shockwaves of Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, which affect almost every platform, including Intel, AMD, and ARM64. The news just broke that SPARC is also affected.

Out of all these companies, Intel gets the most criticism. Intel is the dominant player, so their chips dominate the market, which means more affected users. The company knew about the vulnerabilities for months. More than one team of researchers found the flaw and informed Intel about it. What's the possibility that it was also known to spy agencies and state-sponsored hackers?

Intel is facing that wrath of the public, and its CEO sold all of his stock in the company (which is allowed by the bylaws) before the vulnerability went public.

However, Torvalds is concerned about only one thing: technology. Torvalds wrote in on the Linux kernel mailing list:

“I think somebody inside of Intel needs to really take a long hard look at their CPUs and actually admit that they have issues instead of writing PR blurbs that say that everything works as designed.

.. and that really means that all these mitigation patches should be written with “not all CPU’s are crap” in mind.

Or is Intel basically saying “we are committed to selling you shit forever and ever, and never fixing anything”?

Because if that’s the case, maybe we should start looking towards the ARM64 people more.

Please talk to management. Because I really see exactly two possibilities:

- Intel never intends to fix anything

OR

- these workarounds should have a way to disable them.

Which of the two is it?”

Many kernel developers have refrained from sharing their views on the subject because they either work for Intel or an Intel partner, so it’s great to see Torvalds openly talking about it.

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