The creator of Linux and principal kernel developer Linus Torvalds blasted Intel for the recently-reported Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, criticizing the company for its approach and raising questions as to how they treat customers even when critical bugs are discovered.
Torvalds suggested in an email to a Linux list that Intel’s employees are knowingly allowing customers to purchase flawed products.
“I think somebody inside of Intel needs to really take a long hard look at their CPU’s, and actually admit that they have issues instead of writing PR blurbs that say that everything works as designed,” he said.
Shortly after Google released the details of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Intel released a press statement to emphasize that its chips aren’t the only ones affected, suggesting that products manufactured by its rivals are also suffering from the same bugs. Intel described reports pointing to a unique bug in its chips as “incorrect,” adding that “many types of computing devices are susceptible to these exploits.”
The ARM alternative
Torvalds, however, says this wasn’t the correct approach, going further to criticize Intel for trying to minimize the severity of the discovered vulnerabilities.
“.. and that really means that all these mitigation patches should be written with ‘not all CPU’s are crap’ in mind. Or is Intel basically saying ‘we are committed to selling you s**t forever and ever, and never fixing anything’?” he continued.
The found flaws were originally reported by Google to Intel in the summer of 2016, but the company delayed the release of patches until all details were made public earlier this month. It was also discovered that Intel’s CEO sold all the shares he could in November, but the company says that finding out about the flaws and the stock sales are “unrelated.”
This whole blunder, however, raises questions as to how Intel handles critical bugs, and Torvalds brings up a solution that would certainly hurt the company. “Maybe we should start looking towards the ARM64 people more,” he says.
Tech companies have been in a rush to release security updates for their products following the disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, with devices from Microsoft, Apple, and others affected by the two flaws.