Torvalds is Not Happy with Intel's Patch, Calls it Garbage

Jan 23, 2018

Intel is asking users to stop deploying the patches

Intels' woes are not going away. After releasing the patches for Spectre/Meltdown, the company is asking users to stop installing these patches until a better version is out.

“We recommend that OEMs, cloud service providers, system manufacturers, software vendors, and end users stop deployment of current versions on specific platforms,” Navin Shenoy, executive vice president of Intel wrote in an announcement, “as they may introduce higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behavior.”

Red Hat has already reverted the patches that the companies earlier released for the RHEL family of products, after reports of rebooting problems.

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, reserves the harshest words for Intel. “... I really don't want to see these garbage patches just mindlessly sent around," wrote Torvalds on the LKML mailing list.

Though not everyone on the mailing list thought it was such a bad thing. One maintainer said, "Certainly it's a nasty hack, but hey -- the world was on fire and in the end we didn't have to just turn the data centres off and go back to goat farming, so it's not all bad."

Another maintainer chimed in and said, "As a hack for existing CPUs, it's just about tolerable — as long as it can die entirely by the next generation."

Torvalds didn't buy either arguments. "That's part of the big problem here. The speculation control cpuid stuff shows that Intel actually seems to plan on doing the right thing for meltdown (the main question being _when_). Which is not a huge surprise, since it should be easy to fix, and it's a really honking big hole to drive through. Not doing the right thing for meltdown would be completely unacceptable," said Torvalds. "So the IBRS garbage implies that Intel is _not_ planning on doing the right thing for the indirect branch speculation. Honestly, that's completely unacceptable too."

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