Linux 4.15: Good news and bad news about Meltdown and Spectre

Linux 4.15: Good news and bad news about Meltdown and Spectre


Linus Torvalds, Linux’s primary creator, had good and bad news about the chip security problems Meltdown and Spectre. The good news is the lead up to the Linux 4.15 was “quiet and small, and no last-minute panics, just small fixes for various issues”. The bad news? “It’s not like we’re ‘done’ with Spectre/Meltdown.”
On the Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML), Torvalds explained, “The bulk of the 4.15 work is all the regular plodding ‘boring’ stuff. And I mean that in the best possible way. It may not be glamorous and get the headlines, but it’s the bread and butter of kernel development, and is in many ways the really important stuff.”
Torvalds continued, “While Spectre/Meltdown has obviously been the big news this release cycle, it’s worth noting that we obviously had all the *normal* updates going on too, and the work everywhere else didn’t just magically stop, even if some developers have been distracted by CPU issues. In the *big* picture, 4.15 looks perfectly normal, with two thirds of the full 4.15 patch being about drivers … not by CPU bug mitigation.”
But, trying to mitigate the Meltdown and Spectre problems still ate up a lot of time and the problems are still far from done. First and foremost, like all operating system developers, Linux is waiting on Intel’s hardware designers to complete their firmware and microcode patches.

Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht