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

Yves-Alexis Perez linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 21:55:42 +0100

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On sam., 2013-01-26 at 14:09 +0100, Paul Seelig wrote:
> 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.

This is not about diminishing Middleton work. And to be honest, it's
completely unrelated wether it's good or bad quality per se. BIOS is a
highly unstable piece of work, with the potential to properly brick your
box. I admire people working on it, and I do have an experience in
working with low level firmware so I do mean that. But I also know that
you *really* shouldn't just point people to that without the proper
level of warning. Hell, even Lenovo tells you not to update your bios if
everything is working fine, because they do know something bad can
happen and brick your pricy and loved laptop.

> 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.

Sure. Again, I have nothing against Middleton BIOS more than any other
BIOS hack. And to be honest, I have nothing again anyone working on BIOS
to enable undocumented feature, =E2=80=9Cfix=E2=80=9D the whitelist or anyt=
hing else.
What I have a problem with is people advertising those to people on
mailing list without the proper level or warning.

This *is* a dangerous operation. Lenovo people know their hardware
better than anyone else. They know the BIOS flashing procedure better
than anyone else. And even with that, they're still not too much
comfortable with it (and there are reasons, BIOS is really a huge pile
of hacks, in a way). So adding a bit of reverse engineered stuff on top
of that, well, it's clearly a gun ready to shoot you in the foot.

It's not a problem when you do it yourself, on your laptop. But again,
it's not wise to advertise it like that. Not to mention the possible
warranty issues.=20
> U
> 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

That, by itself, proves my point.

> 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.

Please, no, it's not =E2=80=9Csafe=E2=80=9D. It might be =E2=80=9Csafe enou=
gh=E2=80=9D for the majority
of people who tried it. And it might be a really small modification
which has no chance to touch anything else than what's intended. The
problem is that, in the end, you don't know. So yeah, it's been safe
enough for now. Until someone bricks its laptop because you pointed it
to that BIOS and he didn't pay attention to what's he's installing.
> 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.

Well, the original provider didn't enable this for a reason, you know.
The fact that you disagree with that reason doesn't mean it's a bad one.
I don't need SATA2 speed on my T61 so I don't really have a reason to be
thankful to Middleton or anyone else. If some people are thankful, then
fine. But when someone will brick his hardware, he'll only have his eyes
to cry.


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