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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] The "Free" Kernel In Debian Squeeze

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] The "Free" Kernel In Debian Squeeze
Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2011 19:33:31 -0500

    > I think the firmware loader is a separate program, not part of Linux,
    > so we do not control it.  However, there must be a function in Linux
    > which somehow invokes that program.  Maybe we could modify that
    > function so it sees this and prints the error message "Device not
    > supported".

    But we don't want to do that unconditionally.  That's what we do now,
    and we decided to change it.  We want to do that only if the kernel
    somehow knows that the user hasn't installed firmware with that name.

Yes, that's right.

      introducing some means for userland to tell the kernel which pieces of
      firmware are available, so that the kernel does not even ask for those
      that aren't.

Now I see the logic of it.  However, it still seems to me that the
directory which normally holds firmware files could effectively be
that list.

Here is how it would work:

The function that requests loading firmware look in the firmware
directory for the relevant file name.  If it finds a file, it requests
loading the firmware.  Otherwise, if the firmware file is free, it
requests loading the firmware.  But if the file is nonfree and not present,
it gives an error message, "Device not supported".

Wouldn't this do the job?

Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110

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