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Re: [alpine-devel] Splitting up linux-firmware?

From: William Pitcock <>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2018 13:20:35 -0600


On Sat, Jan 6, 2018 at 5:16 PM, A. Wilcox <> wrote:
> On 01/06/18 16:18, Drew DeVault wrote:
>> It should be possible to detect which firmwares the kernel attempts to
>> load and automatically download only the ones you need.
> There is a userspace firmware loader helper option in the kernel I think
> (or maybe that was for modules?), but I don't think it'd be good to hang
> up the boot process to download relevant firmware files. Also, you have
> to think about people who do not want firmware. For example, I have one
> system with a Broadcom WLAN chip but no other hardware requiring
> firmware, so I just use it wired and run it fully libre.

Using the userspace firmware loader in this way could expose race
condition issues in poorly written drivers.

>> IMO this would be a better approach. Couple of issues:
>> - How would this interact with udev, if present
>> - Needs to be possible to download some firmware offline
> "download" "offline".
> I mean, you can have a cache of firmware packages installed, but that's
> basically the same as just having the large linux-firmware package
> installed.
>> - Should include all firmware on the ISO
> I don't know the legalities of redistributing linux-firmware (I believe
> it is "closed source, but freely distributable"). But beyond that, it
> would mean that the Alpine ISO is no longer free/libre software. I
> don't agree that this is a good idea. Perhaps there could *be* a spin
> with firmware on the CD for people who know they need firmware for the
> network or whatever, but it shouldn't be the default IMO.

We already include all firmware on the ISO. This is not likely to
change any time soon.

>> - Should detect and pre-install relevant firmware during alpine-setup
> This is a decent idea for such a 'firmware CD spin'. I don't know if
> there is a 'lsfw' utility or such that can see what firmware is loaded,
> but if so, that'd be all that would really be necessary.

I do like this idea.


Received on Sun Jan 07 2018 - 13:20:35 UTC