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What's the real problem about linux on surface rt ?

OP graphsys

20th February 2014, 02:14 PM   |  #1  
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Hi,

I've buy from at lest one mont a surface rt, i've jailbreak it and install filezilla and notepad+++ so.... but i'd like anymore. Like many people i'd like to install a linux distribution on it but i dont really understand what is the problem...

I've know about:
Surface get a secure boot (EFI) and we can't disable the secure boot on surface RT caused windows need a valid key (?). I've read that linux got some distributions arm based (ubuntu, debian, fedora) and i think i've understand about ubuntu got a valid microsoft signature with a ssl provider that can bypass the useless verification... am i right?

So, if ubuntu (or another distro), got a valid sign for bypassing the limitation to due EFI why can't we normal install linux such like surface pro??

Best regards and sry for my bad english ^^'

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20th February 2014, 02:28 PM   |  #2  
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Some distros has keys to X86 UEFI. No one (other than Microsoft) has keys for ARM.
And (afair) due to some limitations of jailbreak we have no way to execute linux kernel.

This applies to any RT device.
20th February 2014, 06:22 PM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitor

And (afair) due to some limitations of jailbreak we have no way to execute linux kernel.

Is this true for sure? I figured especially since we have driver-level access we could possibly tear down the Windows kernel in reverse and start execution of arbitrary code. But I might have missed something.

The bigger issue about trying to port Linux to any device without official Linux support is usually in getting the kernel to boot and then making the hardware itself useful after that. This usually means you have to work "blind" and rely on some kind of low-level serial output to monitor the kernel boot to see where it panics. Only after getting a successful kernel boot can you even begin to think about drivers for the display, touch screen, etc.

So the prerequisites to even beginning to port to e.g. a Surface would be to find some way to kick out Windows and start arbitrary execution, enable some kind of low-level serial debugging for the would-be kernel, and then tediously poke and prod until it can successfully start. I'm not sure anyone knows of a dependable way to get serial debugging information.

Embedded devices on the whole are a lot more finicky and a lot less tolerant than normal PCs, generally due to their proprietary nature requiring a lot of hardware knowledge to initialize everything properly. About the only thing we'd have going for us is that it's a Tegra chipset, so if you can get the underpinnings working, you can probably at least get the basics like video and USB working without too much trouble.



I think the biggest thing about it is like the rest of RT ... there's just not enough interest in those with the skills to even attempt this because this is such an extreme minority platform. I imagine a Surface RT would make an excellent little Linux tablet, but I'm not holding my breath.
20th February 2014, 07:36 PM   |  #4  
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Well, If somebody would write something like WinKExec, or HaRET (haret allowed to analyse gpios and memory on WinCE/WM devices) then things may be possible. I own XPS10, so quite different device (as it has Snapdragon CPU), but I have some (small) experience on porting Linux on ARM devices - some time ago I was able to get Linux working on Bsquare Maui: http://pdasite.pl/kitor/maui_linux/ (including hardware reverse engineering - tracking gpios using multimeter - this way i found hidden usb host )
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20th February 2014, 10:58 PM   |  #5  
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There's been talk of a WinKExec-like approach for months. Nobody has attempted it yet, though, or if they have they kept quiet about it.

One of the problems getting something like that working on RT is that it blocks kernel debugging, so you have to work pretty blindly. Then there's all the driver issues.
21st February 2014, 02:32 AM   |  #6  
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What about getting android to boot on it? There's drivers and such for tegra 3. I think its possible to build and deploy if we can get a kernel exploit. Am I wrong?
21st February 2014, 05:29 AM   |  #7  
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Android depends on Linux. If you can't get a Linux kernel booted, you won't be able to get Android to start up either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiman10

What about getting android to boot on it? There's drivers and such for tegra 3. I think its possible to build and deploy if we can get a kernel exploit. Am I wrong?

21st February 2014, 05:49 AM   |  #8  
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The kernel by itself would be *relatively* easy (translation: still quite hard, but we could probably do it if people cared enough). However, getting all the other hardware (you know, things like the touchscreen, WiFi, and such) would likely be difficult, and without all that, it's pretty useless as a tablet. This is true for both Android and "desktop" Linux.
21st February 2014, 01:02 PM   |  #9  
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Where should I start to get a kernel to boot? I'm an android exploiter trying to dabble in Windows exploitation.

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21st February 2014, 01:06 PM   |  #10  
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Well, unless you think you can break Secure Boot, you should start by writing/porting a way to use the NT kernel to launch the Linux kernel. That probably means a lot of NT driver development stuff (done without the aid of a kernel debugger, just for extra fun).

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