Foxconn Motherboards Detect And Sabotage Linux, Apparently at Bill Gates’s Specific Behest … or not

Holy crap, deep evil from Microsoft seems so late-nineties. But this bit just came out. And it references the late nineties! Two parts:

A technically savvy Ubuntu user reverse-engineered the BIOS on his badly-performing Foxconn-brand motherboard. In it he found a program that checked to see if Linux was running on it, and fed it bad information about the hardware (specifically about the ACPI system, which is a standardized system for power management on PCs) so that it would not work correctly. When he contacted Foxconn about it, they said that the motherboard wasn’t “certified under Linux” so who cares? The user, Ryan, pointed out that the board was advertised as supporting ACPI, and its ACPI was intentionally crippled if you ran Linux on it. They blew him off.

This would all be a minor saga in the history of third-rate hardware manufacturers, if it were not for the discovery last year of a Bill Gates email from 1999 where he complained about how Microsoft was working so hard on the ACPI standard, and Linux was reaping the benefits, and wondered if there was some way to make sure that “even if they are open” the ACPI extensions to the BIOS would only work with Windows.



Or maybe it’s all just nonsense and confusion, and there’s nothing sinister about the hardware at all.