Zen-like Linus Torvalds has lashed out at Intel over the quality of patches that it has produced to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown CPU security flaws.
In an exchange on the Kernel Mailing List, Torvalds calls the solution "very much part of the whole 'this is complete garbage' issue".
The swipe was taken at a former Intel engineer who has been a contributor to the kernel for some considerable time.
He'd been describing the idea that Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation, which is at the root of the vulnerabilities, was being fixed by a solution "where a future CPU will advertise 'I am able to be not broken' and then you have to set the IBRS bit once at boot time to *ask* it not to be broken".
WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?
Torvalds responded: "You seem to have bought into the Kool-aid. Please add a healthy dose of critical thinking. Because this isn't the kind of cool-aid (sic) that makes for a fun trip with pretty pictures. This is the kind that melts your brain."
He added: "It's not that it's a nasty hack. It's much worse than that."
After this warm up, he moved on to his main rant:
"The whole IBRS_ALL feature to me very clearly says 'Intel is not serious about this, we'll have a ugly hack (sic) that will be so expensive that we don't want to enable it by default because that would look bad in benchmarks'.
"So instead they try to push the garbage down to us. And they are doing it entirely wrong, even from a technical standpoint.
"As it is, the patches are COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE."
The whole hardware interface is literally mis-designed by morons
And then Torvalds really got going:
"WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON? And that's actually ignoring the much _worse_ issue, namely that the whole hardware interface is literally mis-designed by morons."
Although most distros of Linux are already protecting machines at a software level, the battle to create firmware fixes for Intel's CPUs continues, with the company recently admitting that even its newer CPUs are affected.
And if anyone was going to tear them off a strip about it, it was going to be Torvalds.
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