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Debian/X.org notes - Why some X drivers like firmware-linux - Brice Goglin's Blog

May. 11th, 2009

09:07 - Debian/X.org notes - Why some X drivers like firmware-linux

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We got many bug reports about X being slow. Many of them are caused by some MTRR/PAT problems in kernel 2.6.29. But some are not.

It appears to be caused by Debian 2.6.29 kernels not containing ugly binary graphics firmware anymore. Indeed, radeon, r128 and mga driver need a firmware for 3D, but also for some 2D and Xv features (basically everything that's hardware accelerated). So if you use one of these X drivers and you have some problems, a quick look in the kernel logs might tell you that a firmware is missing. Installing the firmware-linux package may help then. We are adding the corresponding Suggests line to X drivers.

Moreover, some people are upgrading to 2.6.30 pre-release because it contains DRM support for R600 boards. A ugly binary firmware is needed as well and it has obviously been removed from Debian 2.6.30 experimental packages. But firmware-linux does not seem to contain this firmware yet. So if you want 2.6.30 for R600 DRM, you want to either build your own 2.6.30 kernel, or wait for an updated firmware-linux package to be available with R600 firmware. See bug#523467 for an example.

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Date:May 11th, 2009 08:02 (UTC)

Why not "Recommends"?

Given that Average Joe doesn't know how to look at kernel logs and that aptitude will install Recommended packages by default; Why not put firmware-linux in Recommends?

Average Joe won't notice it in Suggests ;(
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Date:May 11th, 2009 09:18 (UTC)

Re: Why not "Recommends"?

firmware-linux is a non-free package.
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Date:May 11th, 2009 12:00 (UTC)
I added the R600/700 firmware to firmware-nonfree in SVN, though there are no experimental binary packages of that.
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Date:May 12th, 2009 05:55 (UTC)


Thank you!

apt-cache search firmware | grep linux ... oh man, that's a lot of lines.

Sorting through them:
linux-headers, linux-image, linux-source. Hey, I'm missing linux-firmware...


firmware-linux, there it is! Makes perfect sense.
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