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

From: Drew DeVault <>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2018 18:20:36 -0500

On 2018-01-06 5:16 PM, A. Wilcox wrote:
> 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.

In theory this wouldn't slow down the boot process if you had the ones
you need cached (and you should 1000% have the ones you need cached). It
might not make sense to download them on the fly, maybe, just write down
the failures and add a command to sort it out.

> "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.

Not a full cache, just of the firmware you need.

> 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.

This is a good point.

> 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 don't think there is, but hooking into the userspace loader should
make it pretty trivial to do this.

Received on Sat Jan 06 2018 - 18:20:36 UTC