Several readers have sent me a link to a discussion in progress on the Ubuntu forums which outlines how hardware manufacturer Foxconn crippled Linux support on the G33M-S motherboard by breaking ACPI support.
I disassembled my BIOS to have a look around, and while I won't post the results here,I'll tell you what I did find.
They have several different tables, a group for Windws XP and Vista, a group for 2000, a group for NT, Me, 95, 98, etc. that just errors out, and one for LINUX.
The one for Linux points to a badly written table that does not correspond to the board's ACPI implementation, causing weird kernel errors, strange system freezing, no suspend or hibernate, and other problems, using my modifications below, I've gotten it down to just crashing on the next reboot after having suspended, the horrible thing about disassembling any program is that you have no commenting, so it's hard to tell which does what, but I'll be damned if I'm going to buy a copy of Vista just to get the crashing caused by Foxconn's BIOS to stop, I am not going to be terrorized.
Foxconn's position on this matter is clear - The board is only certified for Vista, and not certified for Linux, so the board is working as intended and there is no fix planned.
For the record, this motherboard uses a customized AMI BIOS.
The only fix at present is to dump the ACPI DSDT table, disassemble it, make a few changes, recompile and then install and reconfigure the kernel to use it (full instructions on how to do this in the post). I'm not sure how comprehensive a fix this is.
This issue raises a few questions:
- First, why no support Linux? Isn't Foxconn just bringing trouble to itself by upsetting Linux users?
- Who's idea was this? That of some random engineer or is this official Foxconn policy?
- Why is the lack of Linux support not explicitly mentioned on the spec page for the G33M-S on the Foxconn site? (I've had a good look around and can't see anything that says that the board won't work with Linux.)
- Where's Foxconn going with this? Will Linux users have to face a future where they have to buy hardware that's "Linux branded" while being locked out of certain items of hardware?
- How soon until other OEMs start following suit.
I've approached Foxconn for comment and will update you if/when I get any.
I think Foxconn need to do one of two things:
- Fix the problem
- Come clear about this and make it clear that this hardware does not support Linux.
In the interim, Linux users should remember that there are other motherboard manufacturers out there that value all customers.