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Thread: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

  1. #1
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    Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    Everyone: This thread is left open for commenting and for users to provide relevant advice/updates. However, I ask for everyone to exercise consideration and good judgement when posting.

    Also, please fully read this post before running around in circles and submitting articles to Digg.


    STAFF: This post was written based on the best information I could find from the linked resources and kernel mailing lists at the time I wrote it. If additional information or factual inaccuracies are discovered as time goes on, feel free to edit this to your liking

    Latest updates log at the bottom.
    ------------------



    http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/08/09/23/133258.shtml

    By now a lot of you probably saw the above Slashdot article warning of "bricking" the Intel integrated e1000e network card by using Linux kernels version 2.6.26 and newer (most seen in 2.6.27 series). The cause of this bug is under investigation by RedHat, Novell/SUSE, Ubuntu, the Linux kernel developers, Intel employees, and other involved parties, a fix will not be available until it can be reliably reproduced.

    So, the warning is: There may be a possibility that booting the 2.6.27 kernel found in Intrepid and other recent distributions causes your Intel integrated e1000e network card to be unuseable until it is "fixed" by some not well understood process. It is wise to refrain from testing such recent distros if you are not willing to accept this risk.


    Myths About Scope

    As seen on the bug report: https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubun...ux/+bug/263555

    There seems to be a lot of mass hysteria since this bug has been reported by the popular news sites out there. The bug has been reported on a relatively minor scale (I can count less than 5 reported cases in total on all the mailing lists referenced), so it probably is a "bad luck" scenario rather than a sure guarantee of a broken network card.

    Also, there's no evidence that the "Bricking" is permanent yet -- it may or may not be reversible; just at the moment it's not well understood exactly what is wrong with the card given the difficulty of reproducing the bug and the lack of debugging information.

    UPDATE: A post to Slashdot reads:
    I work on the e1000 team (including the e1000e driver) and here is what we know. A panic in another driver (believed to be the gfx driver but uncertain) which scribbles over the NIC/LOM non-volatile memory (NVM). This is only happening with the 2.6.27-rc kernels on ICHx systems. Since the NIC/LOM VNM is part of the whole BIOS image other things in the system could be effected by this driver panic as well. An update of the system BIOS will restore the NIC/LOM to be operational. We have some patches under test right now that we will be releasing later today to protect the NIC/LOM NVM. That should help narrow down who is scribbling over NVM.
    The explanation sounds plausible but I have not personally verified the source (http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.p...5&cid=25119553). If it is correct, that means this problem is the result of another random event (some crashing driver) and isn't necessarily limited to the e1000e cards.

    What you should do

    If you are daring enough to want to help with this bug and have an e1000e card you like to bravely sacrifice to testing this bug, see the comment: https://bugs.edge.launchpad.net/ubun...55/comments/22 . This contains a command you can run to "back up" the NVRAM in case this bug happens which will make it easier to reverse. If you don't "back up" this data and become afflicted by the bug, again, it's not clear how easily reversible it will be.

    What you shouldn't do:
    If this bug bites you, you shouldn't panic and try unapproved fixes. Don't follow random instructions on some wiki or list or download some random utility someone claims works. There is already confirmed information from Intel employees that some of these proposed utilities (IABUTIL.EXE) will permanently brick the card.

    Wait for advice from a trusted kernel developer or Intel resource.


    You also probably shouldn't break out pitchforks asking for the pulldown of all Ubuntu development releases or claim this affects 80% of the Linux using population.


    Testers Beware

    As this scenario teaches us, DON'T ASSUME a limited scope of possibilities implied by the cliche'd warning:
    Code:
        This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
        but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
        MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
        GNU General Public License for more details.
    Or any of the other testing warnings about prerelease software. Yes, we are in the day and age where hardware is malleable enough for software to damage it beyond repair. No, the scope of risk from testing beta software isn't limited to just loss of data or the need for an OS reinstall.

    ------
    UPDATES:

    Update 1: Slashdot post added to scope section
    Update 2: Thanks to plun (comment #2) for pointing out Intrepid just uploaded a blacklist of the e1000e module. I got confirmation on IRC that this indeed prevents those resources from being mapped into memory and subjected to this random corruption. It also means your e1000e network card will not be usable in Intrepid unless you load this driver explicitly. Also, this change is not in the Intrepid Alpha 6 and below LiveCD's.
    Update 3: The e1000e driver is DISABLED on the upcoming Intrepid Beta. Following the beta, all daily CD spins and subsequent releases incorporate a fix for this bug and reenables the driver (safely). There is still no update on how to reverse this problem once you've been bitten, though it seems like that is in the works.
    Last edited by jdong; October 2nd, 2008 at 09:59 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by tuxradar
    Linux's audio architecture is more like the layers of the Earth's crust than the network model, with lower levels occasionally erupting on to the surface, causing confusion and distress, and upper layers moving to displace the underlying technology that was originally hidden

  2. #2
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    module-init-tools (3.3-pre11-4ubuntu10) intrepid; urgency=low

    * Temporarily blacklist e1000e.
    The e1000e driver is currently believed to cause onboard flash checksum errors in
    the 2.6.26 through 2.6.27-rc7 series kernels. These checksum errors
    can become severe enough to permanently disable the operation of the
    ICH8/ICH9 based e1000e NICs.

    For reference, please see:

    http://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=11382
    http://news.opensuse.org/2008/09/22/...use-111-beta-1
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/suse/+sou...ux/+bug/263555

    This is hopefully a temporary measure.
    LP: #263555

    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/in...er/007455.html


    .

  3. #3
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    linux (2.6.27-4.6) intrepid; urgency=low

    [ Tim Gardner ]

    * Disable e1000e until the NVRAM corruption problem is found.
    - LP: #263555


    [ Upstream Kernel Changes ]

    * Revert "[Bluetooth] Eliminate checks for impossible conditions in IRQ
    handler"

    Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 09:53:57 -0400
    Changed-By: Ben Collins <ben.collins at canonical.com>
    Maintainer: Ubuntu Kernel Team <kernel-team at lists.ubuntu.com>
    Signed-By: Tim Gardner <tim.gardner at canonical.com>
    https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/intrepi...nux/2.6.27-4.6
    https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/in...er/007475.html


    How do I identify my Intel® Network Adapter and drivers?


    How to find your adapter driver version and device name in Linux*
    Issue the following command to determine the version of the installed network adapter driver:
    - ethtool -i <ethx>
    <ethx> is the name of the ethernet device to query.
    Use ifconfig to determine the device name

    http://support.intel.com/support/net.../cs-008441.htm


    Example: (running Realtek myself)
    Code:
    plun@plun:~$ ethtool -i eth0
    driver: 8139too
    version: 0.9.28
    firmware-version: 
    bus-info: 0000:00:0b.0
    Last edited by plun; September 24th, 2008 at 09:50 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    The scope may be larger than Intel Wired Ethernet systems. There is a report of a RealTek system being compromised, over at http://lkml.org/lkml/2008/9/24/133 with the same symptoms.

    Seems to have hit the r8169 RealTek systems.

    I've flagged that also in the Ubuntu Bugzilla, and there appears to be some cross-pollination at work.
    Last edited by Scruffynerf; September 25th, 2008 at 03:32 AM.
    AMD Athlon 3000 @2.0Ghz / MSI K8T Neo K8T800 / 2 GB Corsair DDR RAM / Nvidia GeForce 6600GT (256MB) / Samsung 226BW @ 1600x1050 / 120GB/320GB PATA.

  5. #5
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    If the reported root cause (some random spewing into the memory space by a crashing driver) is true, I wouldn't be surprised if more hardware is affected than just e1000e cards.
    Quote Originally Posted by tuxradar
    Linux's audio architecture is more like the layers of the Earth's crust than the network model, with lower levels occasionally erupting on to the surface, causing confusion and distress, and upper layers moving to displace the underlying technology that was originally hidden

  6. #6
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    This looks really nasty
    Desktops: AMD64X2 3GB RAM 500GB SATA2 GeForce9400GT - P4 HT 3.2Ghz 1GB RAM 250GB IDE + 2x160GB SATA ATI Radeon X740XL - Laptop AMD AthlonXP 1.6 512MB RAM 120GB HD ATI M200

    Gina's Ubuntu HowTo's for beginners (and reference)

  7. #7
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    Well, chalk me up as one of those few that have been bitten by the bug. I am using a Dell Optiplex 755. According to lspci the onboard intel nic card is: Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82566DM-2 Gigabit Network Connection (rev 02). Yesterday, after installing all the latest intrepid updates, and restarting the computer, the nic card ceased to function. It still has lights on it, and flashes when an ethernet cable is plugged it. It also, as mentioned above, still appears in lspci, but it does not seem to be picked up when I attempt to restart networking. I ended up throwing an old 3Com Nic card into the box, and now I have my networking back at least. To any developers, if you want to ask me any questions about this or have me provide more information, just ask.

  8. #8
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    Sorry for the double post but I should also mention:
    The corrupted intel card used to be identified as eth0. However, when I attempt to run "ethtool -i eth0" it says, "No such device". So ethtool can't find it anymore. Although I am unsure how one determines what number a NIC card will be assigned, I do know that the new 3Com card is recognized as eth1, which makes me think that something still recognizes that there is another NIC card in the computer.

  9. #9
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    Quote Originally Posted by shellster View Post
    Well, chalk me up as one of those few that have been bitten by the bug. I am using a Dell Optiplex 755. According to lspci the onboard intel nic card is: Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82566DM-2 Gigabit Network Connection (rev 02). Yesterday, after installing all the latest intrepid updates, and restarting the computer, the nic card ceased to function. It still has lights on it, and flashes when an ethernet cable is plugged it. It also, as mentioned above, still appears in lspci, but it does not seem to be picked up when I attempt to restart networking. I ended up throwing an old 3Com Nic card into the box, and now I have my networking back at least. To any developers, if you want to ask me any questions about this or have me provide more information, just ask.
    Are you sure this is not simply because the e1000e module was blacklisted in yesterday's intrepid updates? The module will not get loaded and that's probably why your card doesn't work any more. (Check /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-e1000e)

  10. #10
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    Re: Intrepid tester WARNING: Corruption of Intel e1000e Gigabit Cards

    I have a Mac Pro (early 08') with a Intel 80003ES2LAN gigabit ethernet adaptor, which no longer works because of this blacklisting. I have tried explicitly enabeling e1000 and looking through the blacklists (cant find where its blacklisted) under modprobe.d to no avail.
    Since workstation based chipsets appear to not be affected, is there anyways I can restore network conectivity?
    MacBook Air 2,1 - Ubuntu 10.10 i386
    MacPro 3,1 - Ubuntu 10.10 X64 + Win 7 X64 + OS X 10.6.5

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