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

From: A. Wilcox <>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2018 17:16:53 -0600

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.

> 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

> - 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.

> - 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.


A. Wilcox (awilfox)
Project Lead, Adélie Linux

Received on Sat Jan 06 2018 - 17:16:53 UTC