July 25th, 2008

flock

Foxconn writes BIOS to intentionally break ACPI for Linux

Basically, a guy with a Foxconn G33M-S, which is advertised as ACPI compliant, found that ACPI didn't work for Linux on the motherboard. He went to the trouble of disassembling the BIOS, and found out that it makes a point of checking for Linux and directing it to bogus DSDT tables.

For details, look at the Ubuntu Forum thread (closed to further comment). I urge you to digg the story to push it to the top.

This is somewhat reminiscent of the way Microsoft modified Windows to notice when it was being run on top of DR-DOS rather than MSDOS and give a bogus error message.

Look here for a PDF of email from Bill Gates. The text:

One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn’t try to make the “ACPI” extensions somehow Windows specific.

It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the result is that Linux works great without having to do the work.

Maybe there is no way to avoid this problem but it does bother me.

Maybe we could define the API’s so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open.

Or maybe we could patent something related to this.

Unfortunately, Foxconn makes motherboards for a lot of vendors such that it's difficult to find out the motherboard maker beforehand. I'm hoping that someone will come up with a list of the products; if I find one, I'll post it.
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