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Re: Pentium F00F bug Linux workaround; BSDI Response

Subject: Re: Pentium F00F bug Linux workaround; BSDI Response
From: (William Fisher)
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 13:28:20 -0800 (PST)
Cc: (William Fisher)
Here is the response I got from BSDI on the Pentium F00F bug fix.

-- Bill
>From dab@frantic.BSDI.COM  Sat Nov 15 09:32:26 1997
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 11:32:42 -0600 (CST)
From: David Borman <dab@BSDI.COM>
Message-Id: <199711151732.LAA17129@frantic.BSDI.COM>
Subject: Re: Pentium F00F bug Linux workaround

Hi Bill,

> Is this true that:
> "BSDI signed an NDA with Intel to get early fix techniques"?
> ...
> Subject: Re: Pentium F00F bug Linux workaround
> References:  <199711142117.NAA27890@.....>
> Sender: owner-linux@cthulhu
> Precedence: bulk
> We also got some good press from it pretty fast after we released the fixes:
> Whats extremely humorous is that BSDI signed an NDA with Intel to get
> early fix techniques told to them by Intel engineers.  But the NDA
> stated they could not release patch sets for BSDI until Intel said so,
> the thinking on Intel's part is that they wanted nobody to be the
> first with a fix.  BSDI overlooked this and put the fix out, then
> quickly took the fixes down once they released they had breached the
> Intel NDA.
> After the Linux fix was already out, Intel engineers spoke with Linus
> and tried to get him to sign an NDA, I've never laughed so hard in my life.
Hmm... The Linux message is not accurate.  At no time has BSDI violated
any agreements with Intel.  The first patch that we put up was a beta
patch.  It solves the problem, but we made some minor improvements on
it in our official patch.

I'll also point out that Intel called us.  From our official patch:

        BSDI has worked closely with Intel since they contacted us about
        this erratum. We were able to develop a workaround for BSD/OS very
        quickly, and Intel's assistance was invaluable in this process.
        BSDI is confident that the software workaround solves this problem
        for our customers.
        Thanks to Intel Corporation for contacting BSDI with data that
        led to the fix.

Also, though I don't personally have anything to support this, it is our
understanding that the Linux fix was based at least in part upon
disassembling our beta patch.

I've attached our "press release".

                -David Borman,

Contact:        Donna Faulkner
                Baron, McDonald & Wells

First Intel Pentium Processor 'F0' Bug Fix Announced for BSDI ISP Customers

ISPs and other users of BSD/OS can be protected against system 'freezes'
caused by illegal code strings 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Co.  (November 17, 1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other users of the BSD/OS can now protect 
themselves against problems associated with the 'F0' bug discovered in Intel's 
Pentium processor.  Berkeley Software Design, Inc. (BSDI) today announced a 
patch that protects companies running BSD/OS 3.1, 3.0, 2.1 against system 
freezes caused when the processor receives an illegal, one-line instruction.  
        BSDI's patch enables the BSD/OS to gain control whenever an invalid 
sequence is executed, enabling the system to take its normal action in response 
to illegal instructions.  The patch offers a solution to more than 7,000 
organizations and companies relying on the BSD/OS, including over 3,000 ISPs 
worldwide.  ISPs are particularly vulnerable to system attacks based on the 
Pentium processor bug, since any user or subscriber with malicious intent has 
the potential to create a system-wide hang-up.

        "BSDI has developed an outstanding reputation for rapid response to 
attacks," said Mike Karels, vice president of engineering for BSDI.  "Last 
summer, we were the first commercial vendor to provide a defense against 
'SYN-flooding' attacks.  This week, we have once again demonstrated 
industry-leading support for our customers."

The BSD/OS patch is downloadable from the company's web site at 
Berkeley Software Design, Inc. is the commercial supplier of the
high-performance BSD Internet and networking system software originally
developed at the University of California, Berkeley.

Internet experts worldwide are powering the networked economy with over 75,000 
deployed servers running BSDI software engines and applications.  BSDI products 
for Intel-based PC platforms include the BSDI Internet Server, BSD/OS, and 
network software for networking appliance developers.  BSDI customers include 
Adobe Systems, Chase Manhattan Bank, CompuServe, U.S. West, UUNET Technologies, 
Volvo, and leading Internet Service Providers worldwide.  BSDI is privately 
held and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Contact BSDI at 
719-593-9445, or

BSDI, BSD/OS and the BSDI logo are trademarks of Berkeley Software Design, Inc. 
 All other product or service names are trademarks of their respective owners.

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