Fundamental design flaw in Intel chips forces significant redesign of Linux / Windows / macOS kernels

The Register:

A fundamental design flaw in Intel’s processor chips has forced a significant redesign of the Linux and Windows kernels to defang the chip-level security bug.

Programmers are scrambling to overhaul the open-source Linux kernel’s virtual memory system. Meanwhile, Microsoft is expected to publicly introduce the necessary changes to its Windows operating system in an upcoming Patch Tuesday: these changes were seeded to beta testers running fast-ring Windows Insider builds in November and December.


Similar operating systems, such as Apple’s 64-bit macOS, will also need to be updated – the flaw is in the Intel x86-64 hardware, and it appears a microcode update can’t address it. It has to be fixed in software at the OS level, or go buy a new processor without the design blunder.

The worst news is that since the issue is in the hardware itself, a software patch of something so deeply rooted in the pipeline will cause a performance hit.

Terrible new for Intel. More spark for Apple to roll their own CPUs.


Finally, macOS has been patched to counter the chip design blunder since version 10.13.2, according to operating system kernel expert Alex Ionescu.