1

TL;DR

Question: How can I disallow installing of the package intel-microcode in the future? With my bad memory, I may try installing it someday, again.


Long story

Yesterday, I installed the intel-microcode package on Linux Mint 18.3 using driver-manager.

Problem: in this laptop's case, it causes a complete system freeze.

Reproducible: Yes, after each boot.

When: Every time the system boots up. More specifically, sometimes at loading initramfs, more often very soon after login (up to some 5 minutes).


Kernel: 4.13.0-38-generic.

Hardware: not old but not new laptop Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-70, exact model 59-432384.

BIOS: 9BCN31WW.

Note for BIOS upgrade: Since Lenovo provides BIOS upgrades for Windows only, I can't upgrade. The latest BIOS is dated 24 Sep 2015, which is long time ago anyways, Lenovo BIOS download page.

CPU: i7-4510U, Ark Intel.

dmidecode, relevant CPU part:

Processor Information
        Socket Designation: U3E1
        Type: Central Processor
        Family: Core i7
        Manufacturer: Intel(R) Corporation
        ID: 51 06 04 00 FF FB EB BF
        Signature: Type 0, Family 6, Model 69, Stepping 1
        Flags:
                FPU (Floating-point unit on-chip)
                VME (Virtual mode extension)
                DE (Debugging extension)
                PSE (Page size extension)
                TSC (Time stamp counter)
                MSR (Model specific registers)
                PAE (Physical address extension)
                MCE (Machine check exception)
                CX8 (CMPXCHG8 instruction supported)
                APIC (On-chip APIC hardware supported)
                SEP (Fast system call)
                MTRR (Memory type range registers)
                PGE (Page global enable)
                MCA (Machine check architecture)
                CMOV (Conditional move instruction supported)
                PAT (Page attribute table)
                PSE-36 (36-bit page size extension)
                CLFSH (CLFLUSH instruction supported)
                DS (Debug store)
                ACPI (ACPI supported)
                MMX (MMX technology supported)
                FXSR (FXSAVE and FXSTOR instructions supported)
                SSE (Streaming SIMD extensions)
                SSE2 (Streaming SIMD extensions 2)
                SS (Self-snoop)
                HTT (Multi-threading)
                TM (Thermal monitor supported)
                PBE (Pending break enabled)
        Version: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4510U CPU @ 2.00GHz
        Voltage: 0.7 V
        External Clock: 100 MHz
        Max Speed: 2600 MHz
        Current Speed: 1900 MHz
        Status: Populated, Enabled
        Upgrade: Socket BGA1168
        L1 Cache Handle: 0x000B
        L2 Cache Handle: 0x000C
        L3 Cache Handle: 0x000D
        Serial Number: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
        Asset Tag: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
        Part Number: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
        Core Count: 2
        Core Enabled: 2
        Thread Count: 4
        Characteristics:
                64-bit capable
                Multi-Core
                Hardware Thread
                Execute Protection
                Enhanced Virtualization
                Power/Performance Control

Temporary solution: I was lucky, that one time the computer booted fine and I was fast enough to uninstall this package, again, through driver-manager.

5

You can give the package a negative pin; that will prevent apt from installing it. Add a file named, for example, no-intel-microcode in /etc/apt/preferences.d, containing

Explanation: intel-microcode causes this laptop to crash
Package: intel-microcode
Pin: release n=xenial*
Pin-Priority: -1

Attempting to install intel-microcode will then complain that no candidate version can be found, and nothing will be installed. The only way to allow installation via APT-based tools then is to alter the pin.

apt policy intel-microcode will show something like

intel-microcode:
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: (none)
  Version table:
     3.20180312.1 -1
         -1 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian testing/non-free amd64 Packages
         -1 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian unstable/non-free amd64 Packages
     3.20170707.1~deb9u1 -1
         -1 http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian stretch/non-free amd64 Packages
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