Linux kernel 5.19.12 can damage Intel laptop LCDs

Daniel Sims

Posts: 672   +27
Staff
PSA: Users running Linux on laptops with Intel processors should avoid Linux Kernel 5.19.12 due to an error that might physically harm the display. Fortunately, kernel 5.19.13 has already fixed the issue. Versions 6.0 and 6.1 have also begun rolling out with many significant changes.

Recent reports from Intel laptop users running Linux Kernel 5.19.12 describe "white flashing" on their screens. A Linux engineer found that the issue could ruin the LCD, urging users to immediately roll back to an earlier iteration. The critical flaw prompted developers to issue a quick update.

The problem appears to originate from a faulty Intel graphics driver, which Linux kernel engineer Ville Syrjäl describes as a bad panel power sequencing delay. Greg Kroah-Hartman, the developer who released 5.19.13, said that users should only upgrade to the new kernel if they're experiencing this issue.

According to Tom's Hardware, the problem affects any Intel-based laptop that directly wires the integrated display to the integrated graphics. All Nvidia Optimus laptops and possibly some Intel-Radeon combined notebooks could face this issue because they always let the iGPU control the screen, even when the dedicated GPU is rendering the graphics. Your laptop might be safe if you can disable Optimus mode.

Most Linux users likely have to wait until kernel 5.19.13 is available for their specific distro. The engineers examining the LCD problem didn't say whether the newly-released kernels 6.0 and 6.1 also include fixes for the issue.

Released for most major distros this week, Linux Kernel 6.0 supports the newest hardware architectures, including Raptor Lake, Meteor Lake, Arc Alchemist, and RDNA 3. It also marks a start for the operating system's entrance into Arm by introducing support for the Arm-based Qualcomm Snapdragon laptops. Furthermore, the new kernel fixes a vestigial 20-year-old workaround that slows down recent AMD processors.

Kernel 6.1 closes a significant Bluetooth security hole and makes the first steps towards supporting the Rust programming language, which Google uses to develop Android. Another addition is a new Error Detection and Correction (EDAC) driver that lets Intel systems decode hardware errors faster, though it's unclear if that includes the LCD issue. The new EDAC driver error decoder is faster than the traditional firmware decoder but can still fall back to it if needed.

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Rq3EWAq

Posts: 133   +136
That's a price to pay for users of bleeding edge systems like Arch, which has been affected by this. I use Debian. Revelations like this don't affect LTS stable distros.
 

sagbobbit

Posts: 18   +10
That's a price to pay for users of bleeding edge systems like Arch, which has been affected by this. I use Debian. Revelations like this don't affect LTS stable distros.
Even with Arch (which I use BTW), you can choose which kernel you're on. You can run anywhere from LTS to bleeding edge beta and still be rolling release.
 

boonaxe

Posts: 6   +2
For years now, I still suspect some update messed up my Razer keyboard. After updating Windows to patch against Specter vulnerability, it mysteriously kept repeating letter 'D'. I was 90% sure it happened after the update but it was hard to prove as it only happened to that specific keyboard. There could be a combination of hardware where it happens.
This is a similar scenario for displays. Good that it was detected soon enough.
 

Rq3EWAq

Posts: 133   +136
Even with Arch (which I use BTW), you can choose which kernel you're on. You can run anywhere from LTS to bleeding edge beta and still be rolling release.
Except that you don't commit to be running Arch only to install and use 5.10 LTS kernel. Arch = bleed. That's why I don't use it. Manjaro is not better, recently they shipped with unbootable kernel on Apple laptops :joy:

Manjaro Shipped Broken Kernel on Apple M1 Systems

This is quality control & testing :laughing:
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 3,096   +3,990
TechSpot Elite
If ppl thought ATI was bad with their drivers, just wait for intel, you'll gonna love them ahahah
Yeah, tell me about it! Even with their stupidly-simple IGPs, their drivers were a whole new category of horrid.
Ouch .... makes you think the laws should protect the consumers from such carelessness .....
The problem is that Linux is free so their disclaimer protects them.
 

yannus

Posts: 110   +96
First time I hear something like that and it just happens as a significant amount of people are dropping windows for Linux. Linux has always be the safest environment for data and hardware. People use recent and outdated hardware with a modern version of Linux, which is impossible with most very old hardware with windows. And even with this extreme flexibility, never heard of such a thing. This news is very convenient for Microsoft. But if true, it's more worrying on Intel side and they seem to have some problems with how they manage their new Alchemist series. When an amazon game could damage a rtx3090, the problem was clearly on Nvidia side.
 

Rq3EWAq

Posts: 133   +136
First time I hear something like that and it just happens as a significant amount of people are dropping windows for Linux. Linux has always be the safest environment for data and hardware. People use recent and outdated hardware with a modern version of Linux, which is impossible with most very old hardware with windows. And even with this extreme flexibility, never heard of such a thing. This news is very convenient for Microsoft. But if true, it's more worrying on Intel side and they seem to have some problems with how they manage their new Alchemist series. When an amazon game could damage a rtx3090, the problem was clearly on Nvidia side.
This only affects people running bleeding edge Linux software, freshly released Linux kernel versions. For normal folk, freshest kernel is not required at all. And majority of distros won't even offer this kernel on next day like Arch etc. So don't worry. Its like saying Windows Insider build is crashing. This is normal.
 

yannus

Posts: 110   +96
This only affects people running bleeding edge Linux software, freshly released Linux kernel versions. For normal folk, freshest kernel is not required at all. And majority of distros won't even offer this kernel on next day like Arch etc. So don't worry. Its like saying Windows Insider build is crashing. This is normal.
I just notice the title of the news "the linux kernel can damage intel laptops lcds" quite scary message for the uninformed reader. Interestingly enough, the evolution of linux market share on steam is not in the news and that is much more relevant. I know that computer news media are "influenced" by big tech and people will notice sooner or later.