Possibly defective BIOS detected (irqtable) on a PE8450

fluke@gibson.mw.luc.edu fluke at gibson.mw.luc.edu
Thu Jan 2 16:41:00 CST 2003

On Thu, 2 Jan 2003 Matt_Domsch at dell.com wrote:

> > On a PE8450, I see the following kernel boot message:
> > Dec 22 17:32:18 sim0 kernel:  *** Possibly defective BIOS detected 
> > (irqtable)
> > Dec 22 17:32:18 sim0 kernel:  *** Many BIOSes matching this signature 
> > have incorrect IRQ routing tables.
> > Dec 22 17:32:18 sim0 kernel:  *** If you see IRQ problems, in 
> > particular 
> > SCSI resets and hangs at boot
> > Dec 22 17:32:18 sim0 kernel:  *** contact your hardware 
> > vendor and ask 
> > about updates.
> > Dec 22 17:32:18 sim0 kernel:  *** Building an SMP kernel may 
> > evade the bug some of the time.
> Yes, we're aware of it, and the liklihood of that BIOS being fixed is really
> really small (it's been like this for several years...  It's actually an
> Intel BIOS.)  Please use an SMP kernel on the PE8450, that doesn't use the
> pirq routing table and thus it works.
> Thanks,
> Matt

Please don't tease us with a claim that there is a "small" likelyhood of 
Dell releasing an approbate BIOS fix.  I am personally aware of two BIOS 
issues that Dell has ignored from multiple users:

1) Intel's technical documentation for the i830M states that the amount of 
shared memory reserved for video be user selectable.  The Dell Latitude 
BIOS never provides such an option but instead fixes the video memory at 
the lowest amount (1MB) reducing the usefulness of using X on the laptop.

2) ATI All-In-Wonder 7500 (Dell Part# A0000132) which the Dell sales
description includes "view and edit digital videos using the included IEEE
1394 ports and cable."  These ports report their PCI ID via the AGP slot.  
When the ports are enabled, the Dell Dimension BIOS fails to properily
probe the *ENTIRE* PCI bus effecting *ALL* OSes on the machine including
Windows 2000 and Windows XP (no soundcard, no network card, etc).  Only
fix available to Dell customers is to disable the IEEE 1394 ports such
that the card never works as advertized by Dell in the Dell computer.  
When the same exact card is moved from the Dell to a real computer the
IEEE 1394 ports are fully functional.

To further reduce the usefulness of Linux on Dell, the company has choosen 
to ignore all requests from members of the LinuxBIOS project on technical 
specifications of Dell motherboards.  This project helps to reduce the 
time it takes to boot Linux on servers and computation farm nodes but is a 
feature that can never be extended to Dell machines.

Hence the motto:  Dude, your getting a door stop.

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