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Boot ROM bug allows Nintendo Switch to run Linux

Linux running on Nintendo Switch due to boot ROM bug (Source: @fail0verflow)
Linux on Nintendo Switch (Source: @fail0verflow)
Not long after they revealed a custom boot screen on a Nintendo Switch, a group of hackers calling themselves fail0verflow apparently managed to run a Linux-based operating system on this game console.
Codrut Nistor,

Nintendo is one of those companies who takes the security of their devices very seriously, so they might not like the latest successes of the hacker group that goes by the name fail0verflow. Back in early January, this group modified the boot animation on a Switch, adding what they call "a nice scroller" to it. Now, they just got serious and revealed a Linux-based operating system running on Nintendo's console.

In the time that passed between the two milestones mentioned above, fail0verflow also detailed their cold boot exploit, highlighting the following:

  • they were able to do it due to a boot ROM bug
  • this bug cannot be patched in currently released Nintendo Switch consoles
  • to pull it off, there is no need for a modchip

Sadly, fail0verflow is also known for being rather slow when releasing their stuff to the public. This being said, it might take a while until you'll be able to load Linux or some other operating system on your Nintendo Switch. However, if they are right and Nintendo cannot do anything to patch the boot ROM bug in the existing Switch consoles, the group's speed can't be that much of a problem. 

Now, remains to see what they're up to next: is it Android, or can we dream as far as iOS? What would you like to run on your Switch? Even more, what would an existing Switch need to run for you to consider buying one?


fail0verflow (on Twitter)

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Codrut Nistor
Codrut Nistor - Senior Tech Writer - 5566 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
In my early school days, I hated writing and having to make up stories. A decade later, I started to enjoy it. Since then, I published a few offline articles and then I moved to the online space, where I contributed to major websites that are still present online as of 2021 such as Softpedia, Brothersoft, Download3000, but I also wrote for multiple blogs that have disappeared over the years. I've been riding with the Notebookcheck crew since 2013 and I am not planning to leave it anytime soon. In love with good mechanical keyboards, vinyl and tape sound, but also smartphones, streaming services, and digital art.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 02 > Boot ROM bug allows Nintendo Switch to run Linux
Codrut Nistor, 2018-02-10 (Update: 2018-02-10)