[ltp] using Middleton BIOS on Linux (for SATA2)

Paul Seelig linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Sat, 26 Jan 2013 14:09:20 +0100

On 01/23/2013 07:32 PM, Yves-Alexis Perez wrote:
> And as always, when giving such kind of advice, care should be taken to
> warn about the real risks. BIOS is at the real core of the system, just
> on top of the hardware. You have to trust Lenovo on this, but since you
> bought a Lenovo system it makes sense. Now you have to trust random
> people giving you a binary which has basically full power on your
> platform. You're free to do whatever you want with that, but remember
> bricking your laptop is basically the less serious problem which could
> happen.
I think this doesn't give proper credit to the actual value and merit of
Middleton's BIOS hack, but rather unfairly diminishes its advantages by
spreading assumptions based on unwarranted fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

While a BIOS is not open source, unfortunately, and therefore lacks the
great advantage of peer reviewing the code, end users sometimes need to
rely on such hacks. The Middleton BIOS is not the first one which has
been provided since Thinkpads have come into existence, and it also has
no lesser popularity and merit than any former ones.

Unfortunately, hardware producers and vendors don't provide any viable
channel to allow for worthwhile feedback by their user base regarding
modification options of their rather closed systems. Most probably
evaluation of sales numbers and market volume is their only guideline.

Once a product has been superseded and has left the standard sales
channels, on behalf of the manufacturer there is no further interest in
enhancing a product which is not sold anymore and doesn't create any
more revenue. All the contrary even, they won't make any effort to
remove artificial limitations of their hardware via BIOS updates if this
in the end would enable end users to run their thus updated hardware a
little bit longer, and enable such potential customers to postpone
buying a newer product even longer, preventing continual and
uninterrupted revenue.

So, to circumvent artificial manufacturer limitations and further
enhance the capabilities of still very viable hardware, interested users
rely on the work of dedicated hackers like Middleton.

Therefore I severely doubt that qualifying Middleton BIOS coming from
"random people" is not really fair, especially since you can get it from
the well-known semi-offical place
http://forum.notebookreview.com/6501443-post75.html, where it was first
published on the 22nd July 2010, and updated a few times up until the
16th March 2012 by the original author Middleton. Middletons BIOS effort
is not only well known, but has a long proven track of reliability among
its user base. If there would be any real issue, the outcry of its user
base would definitely be well known.

So please don't diminish such achievements and inherently shy away
interested user where in fact real credit is due for a rather good and
safe hack. It probably won't get any better than this, but as a lot of
satisfied users prove, it is definitely good enough.

Not speaking only for me, but lots of people are very happy that this
well tested piece of hacker creativity has enhanced the possibilities of
their T61 machines in a way the original manufacturer would never have
provided. Just be thankful.