Monday, January 21, 2013


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***WARNING!!! PLEASE READ! ICS Kernels and Recovery


Not even wiping in stock recovery is safe with affected kernels. Almost all ICS kernels for the GT-N7000 are affected. Only two are currently known to be safe - see the list below.
These kernels are fundamentally dangerous. Samsung introduced some sort of bug in the eMMC driver that can permanently damage the eMMC flash storage of the phone. This leads to unusable partitions at best, and at worst a hardbricked device. The nature of the failure is so severe that the usual method for hardbrick recovery (JTAG) is unable to recover devices damaged in this manner.
The issue is not limited to just Clockworkmod Recovery - Stock recovery, along with factory resetting a device from Settings, is just as dangerous.
Kernels that have been confirmed affected are:
All ICS leaks for the Samsung Epic 4G Touch (SPH-D710)
All ICS leaks for the Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000)
All ICS official releases for the Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000) as of late May 2012 - This includes XXLPY, ZSLPF, and DXLP9, and future kernels should be assumed affected until further notice.
UCLD3 ICS leak for the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II (SGH-I777) - Other leaks may also be affected
Kernels built using the most recent SHW-M250S/K/L official source code release as of May 3, 2012 - This includes SiyahKernel 3.1rc6 for GT-I9100 (all other Siyah releases are safe)
Damage is not guaranteed - it may only affect a small percentage of users, but even a 5% chance is far more dangerous than the effectively 0% chance of hardbricking due to kernel bugs in safe kernels.
Not all users hardbrick - some wind up with /system, /data, or another partition becoming unwriteable, which leads to an effectively useless phone even though they are able to flash kernels in Odin.
Kernels that have been confirmed safe:
All known Gingerbread kernels for the Galaxy Note and other affected devices listed above
Kernels built from the GT-I9100 Update4 source code release - this includes XplodWILD's CM9 release and my DAFUQ release, hopefully more kernel choices will become available soon
Kernels with MMC_CAP_ERASE removed from mshci.c should be safe - look for it in the listed features of any kernel based off of N7000 Update3. (N7000 Update3 source code without this change made to render it safe is dangerous.)
If you are running an affected kernel:
DO NOT wipe in recovery
DO NOT flash anything else in recovery
In general, DO NOT use recovery at all
Right now, what we know:
Some people can wipe with affected kernels as often as they want without problems. Just because you didn't brick, DO NOT advise other users that they will be OK.
Based on reports from the Epic 4G Touch community, some people can wipe/flash 20-30 times before hardbricking - Just because you didn't brick once, DO NOT continue flashing with an affected kernel
The source of the problem is somewhere within the changes between I9100 Update4 and SHW-M250S Update5 - [ Login above or register to see download links. ]
What we don't know:
Exactly which source commit above is responsible
How to determine if a future kernel or source release is safe without putting user's devices at risk - You only need to reproduce the problem once to be hosed.

More info: - Hardbricks on I777 UCLD3 - Issues with SHW-M250L Update4 - Information indicating that our eMMC chip has a serious firmware bug. All of the issues with fwrev 0x19 match our symptoms PERFECTLY. It explains partially why I9100 update4 is safe - MMC_CAP_ERASE is not enabled in the I9100 update4 MMC driver. The question is: Why isn't Gingerbread affected despite also having the MMC_CAP_ERASE flag set?

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