‘Kernel memory leaking’ Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

A fundamental design flaw in Intel’s processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel’s virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December.

h/t Marvin

  • Intel says processor bug isn’t unique to its chips and performance issues are ‘workload-dependent’

    Some reports suggested that the software and firmware fixes would cause performance slowdowns on PCs, and Intel doesn’t deny that. “Any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time,” says an Intel spokesperson. Intel does not address the obvious impact to server machines, though.


    • No matter what it’s bad.

      • Drunk by Noon ✓

        I gues this is one way to drive sales to their new hardware.

        • Drive ’em to AMD.

          • Drunk by Noon ✓

            Nobody ever lost their job for buying Intel.

          • I always buy Intel, mostly for the hardware based thermal control. Heat is the enemy.

          • Drunk by Noon ✓

            Back before I suddenly stopped caring about computers, I was a confirmed Intel guy too.
            I’m still running my Intel i7 from 2009 as my daily driver.
            I’ll run her until she blows, then I’ll probably just use an Intel NUC attached to the back of my monitor as my next PC.
            Almost everything else I use my iPad for these days.

          • bob e

            good idea, but AMD might get corrupted ..

    • Drunk by Noon ✓

      A 20% to 30% slowdown on a production server could be bad news, especially if it’s older and already overburdened.
      So this bug affects ALL Intel CPUs manufactured over the last 10-years?
      Crap, all the i7s i5s and i3s are affected then?

      • They’re claiming that newish CPUs with PCID may be able to mitigate the slowdown somewhat. Unfortunately there isn’t a list of CPUs with PCID. My best guess is that everything before 8th Gen is affected.

  • Brett_McS

    There will be geeks – the sort that over-clock processors – freaking out about this. For me, as long as the computer can keep ahead of my, reasonably fast, touch typing I’m good.

    • Overclocking is the digital equivalent of grinding the depth rakers off of your chainsaw.

      • Drunk by Noon ✓

        I used to over clock everything I could get my hands on.
        Only fried two processors out of maybe 10.
        Now days, it just isn’t necessary in most cases, but back in the day, there were huge gains to be had for cheap.

        • lolwut? (Deplorable Hoser)

          “Only fried two processors out of maybe 10”

          Git gud 😉

          • Drunk by Noon ✓

            Voltage is life, until it isn’t.
            Back then there were huge gains to be had and it was well worth the risk. I mostly over clocked the cheaper processors and got some good results.
            One was a thermalelectric-cooler failure and the other was because I got a bit to enthusiastic with the frontside bus voltage.
            These days over clocking is probably safer than ever, but not as necessary or as productive.
            Back in the day my Celeron 333 over clocked to 500 stomped all comers.

          • lolwut? (Deplorable Hoser)

            4K gaming is the new Crysis. You’ll be needing those GHz if you want to join that with AAA games.

      • lolwut? (Deplorable Hoser)

        i7K binned processor and proper cooling avoids that as long as you don’t go super nuts. You can hit 4.8GHz, even 5GHz without issues.

  • bob e

    nice going intel .. raise the price of your next processor ..

  • El Martyachi ✓ᴴᵉˡᶦᶜᵒᵖᵗᵉʳᶦˢᵗ

    May as well redesign doughnut holes at this point.

  • Hard Little Machine

    To me it’s more interesting that it involves a core design feature that’s been fossilized for a decade. In other words, a chunk of ‘progress’ and evolution in the chip architecture from Intel is illusory. Between this and the recently disclosed fact that Minix runs around secretly on the on-chip management engine it’s increasingly obvious that while the emperor might not have no clothes, he’s certainly working the pole.