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Debian Improves Docs To Inform Users Their Systems Might Not Work Without Non-Free Firmware

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  • BaumKuchen
    replied
    Funny to read all the comments. I'm wondering how long will it take for the Linux userbase to be fine with whole kernel being a binary blob.

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  • ssokolow
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    Something people don't also consider design items like wifi cards to be bricks without OS loading firmware into them does make security sense. Remember what you said about wanting to use newer firmware than what came with the distribution. Do you really want to use the old firmware version written into a rom even in EFI mode that has a know security flaw with something like wifi. The GNU idea that if firmware is rom in card it fine does not in fact stack up.
    The GNU idea is an ideological stance that, if it can be replaced, the user should have full freedom to write their own patches.

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  • oiaohm
    replied
    Originally posted by ssokolow View Post

    Ugh. I hadn't realized it was that bad.

    0/10 rating.
    Please note that is just the graphical out. You have like network cards that need firmware loaded so they work so doing a network work on some of this hardware is not possible. You also have some hardware were attempting to do a serial install is not going to work either until you have uploaded chipset firmware for sound. Yes warped that the on board sound has to be online so the serial port works.

    So like it or not there is x86 hardware where to install a Linux you need the installer to have firmware for the OS to load so the hardware turns sane. Same applies to arm.....

    Something people don't also consider design items like wifi cards to be bricks without OS loading firmware into them does make security sense. Remember what you said about wanting to use newer firmware than what came with the distribution. Do you really want to use the old firmware version written into a rom even in EFI mode that has a know security flaw with something like wifi. The GNU idea that if firmware is rom in card it fine does not in fact stack up.

    Debian is a good middle of road. They provide a no closed firmware option and if that fails with you on platforms that can support it you don't need to download the installer again you can just make a USB key fat formated with directory firmware with a contents of the Linux kernel firmware git in it. Yes for those doing network installs Debian provides a host unofficial with the firmware merged. So screw ball hardware is not complete problem.

    The reality its getting harder and harder to get systems installed without having firmware for the OS to load to make the platform sane.

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  • ssokolow
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post
    [...]

    EFI GOP is a major downgrade compared to the old Vesa graphics that bios solutions use to provide.
    Ugh. I hadn't realized it was that bad.

    0/10 rating.

    Leave a comment:


  • oiaohm
    replied
    Originally posted by ssokolow View Post
    In other words, a text-mode installer can still always work without requiring the firmware to be on the install media.
    The answer is not always. https://mjg59.livejournal.com/132477.html
    So it's a shame that while Apple employs hardware designers who are absolutely the best in their field, their firmware developers are utterly incompetent. The EFI spec describes a protocol called GOP (Graphics Output Protocol) which allows the operating system to find out things like the screen resolution, framebuffer location and stride. This machine kindly passes everything back correctly, except for stride being wrong. Like, utterly wrong. Implausibly wrong. Obviously, terrifyingly wrong. So wrong that if you trust it, your screen image looks like it's been involved in some sort of awful pasta making accident. But never mind, that's a single line workaround.
    Yes there are times like this documented in 2011 where EFI GOP does not work at all for a host operating system.

    https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce...splayport-out/
    Next is this one Nvidia cards support GOP correct but welcome to horrible nothing says the EFI firmware on motherboards is going to provide the OS with connected output screen heck as this was noted 3 years ago that at times EFI motherboard firmware will not find the connected monitor.

    Another thing is valid for EFI GOP stop working as soon as you call ExitBootServices() to stop the EFI background services because at this point you are meant to have your graphics drivers loaded. This also means EFI GOP does not have to be rated to run 24/7. There have also been a few GPU cards released that due to high power draw in EFI GOP mode they will in fact overheat if you leave the computer sitting on the EFI firmware screen. Why the EFI GOP on those cards does not have GPU power management correctly so instead max out power feed to the GPU.

    Yes if you decide to stick to use EFI GOP that means you have all the EFI boot services running in background behind your OS as well that can end up fighting with other drivers over hardware access.

    ssokolow Sorry no you cannot be sure to be able to run a text-mode installer on EFI GOP. EFI makes Vesa optional and EFI GOP is a dogs breakfast of here be dragons. EFI GOP might allow you to run a text-mode installer it also might completely fail while trying to use the text-mode installer and this failure could be totally inside EFI specification.

    Vesa graphics interfaces had to be rated for 24/7 usage. The 24/7 usage graphics on a lot of EFI x86 systems is after OS load the firmware to the GPU by some form of OS driver.

    I really did not bother digging out how bad EFI GOP is. EFI GOP replacing Vesa is a big bad to the idea of booting without firmware files. It really simple to miss EFI GOP is a operating system terminable EFI firmware provided server. Its also really simple to miss that the EFI specification for EFI GOP says once OS is loaded it mean to call the ExitBootServices() to shut all the boot services down. The result is simple with EFI you should not use the firmware provided EFI GOP any longer than you have to.

    EFI GOP is good enough for a splash screen or some screen to show early kernel boot messages before the graphics driver in the OS fires up but that is it. The idea that you can get away with running a text based installer on it is not valid. Yes this is also why EFI GOP does not have to handle monitor connects and disconnects well. EFI GOP only has to do detection of connected outputs once on boot. Vesa standard graphics had runtime updating of connected displays.

    ssokolow this is the horrible reality yes in theory you could attempt to run a text mode installer on EFI GOP but if it fails on you in some horrible nasty way you get to keep all the pieces. The only other option that you have going forwards that is gpu driver loaded by OS that more often than not needs to send a firmware file to the GPU to put its internals in useful state and this one is rated for 24/7 usage.

    EFI GOP is a major downgrade compared to the old Vesa graphics that bios solutions use to provide.
    Last edited by oiaohm; 03 August 2021, 04:08 PM.

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  • ssokolow
    replied
    Originally posted by oiaohm View Post

    You have to remember with EFI Vesa is optional.
    https://wiki.osdev.org/GOP
    Yes EFI Graphics Output Protocol. So using old school vesa drivers may only work after firmware is uploaded to the GPU to enable VESA. Yes your modern GPU don't require VESA support for the UEFI firmware. Yes EFI Graphics Output Protocol can be mega pain as in offer multi modes with one currently as default that works but if you change to any of the others get black screen of death. Great fun having a Hidpi monitor and being stuck at 800x600 because that what the EFI firmware menu likes.
    In other words, a text-mode installer can still always work without requiring the firmware to be on the install media.

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  • Danielsan
    replied
    Originally posted by pmorph View Post
    Why would this be a problem? As we all well know, Debian is "just a server distro"
    Today Debian is better suited for a desktop use in my opinion, you should try out the Ubuntu Server Installer to understand what means an installer tailored for a server scope.

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  • Trevelyan
    replied
    https://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/u...ding-firmware/ - What I always useā€¦

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  • carewolf
    replied
    Originally posted by discordian View Post

    leaving out firmware needed for a device isn't prioritizing, its disabling, it's not like there are open alternatives. Further, debian is a distro, not a kernel and actually offers the firmwares on their servers.
    Its just malevolent pain to not offer the user to install them from USB, albeit with a stern warning that Stallmans balls might get itchy if he knows what you are doing!
    It isn't left out.
    It is still there just under nonfree and not available if you go free software only, which I would not recommend anyway

    Leave a comment:


  • pmorph
    replied
    Why would this be a problem? As we all well know, Debian is "just a server distro"

    Leave a comment:

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