Linus Torvalds Lights Up Intel Over Shoddy Spectre Patches….. Again

Linus Torvalds is calling out Intel, again, because it looks like the chipmaker isn’t going to fix one of the variants of the Spectre CPU bug. In short, Intel chips, at least for a few years until microarchitecture changes can be implemented, will ship vulnerable to the Spectre variant 2 exploit by default but will include a protection flag that can be set by software. What’s worse is that Intel explains this in a paper called Speculative Execution Side Channel Mitigations where they argue that instead of treating Spectre as a bug, the chip maker is offering Spectre protection as a feature.

Now if you’re thinking “Intel, like what the hell??” then you’re not alone. Torvalds went off on Intel in a message posted to the Linux kernel mailing list on Sunday. Now if you read the message in full, it’s highly technical. But you don’t have to be nerdy like me to get the point that he thinks that Intel’s patches suck:


As it is, the patches are COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE.

They do literally insane things. They do things that do not make
sense. That makes all your arguments questionable and suspicious. The
patches do things that are not sane.


And that’s actually ignoring the much _worse_ issue, namely that the
whole hardware interface is literally mis-designed by morons.

Come on Linus. Tell us how you really feel.

Seriously, Torvalds has a point. The way that Intel plans to deal with this issue sucks. It appears to be more about lawsuit mitigation, or recall mitigation rather than exploit mitigation. Assuming that’s true, Intel looks like it doesn’t take this issue seriously. Thus they deserve to be called out.


One Response to “Linus Torvalds Lights Up Intel Over Shoddy Spectre Patches….. Again”

  1. […] with the fact that the issue exists. Then to this clearly botched response. Not to mention that some have criticized the response on other fronts. Clearly Intel needs to hit the reset button and figure out how to right the ship quickly before […]

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