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#1 2019-11-07 04:23:40

amish
Member
Registered: 2014-05-10
Posts: 414

Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Recent linux kernel package has issue with e1000e cards, so I have not updated few remote systems which I manage. (and has e1000e module loaded)

I did not upgrade those systems at all from almost 3-4 weeks but now instead of delaying upgrade, I am planning to do a full upgrade except linux and linux-lts packages. (so as not to break my system networking)

My question is:
If I upgrade linux-firmware but not linux OR linux-lts package, will it cause any issue?
i.e. Will new linux-firmware be compatible with old linux and linux-lts package?

From google (which took me to gentoo wiki)

Linux firmware is a package distributed alongside the Linux kernel that containes firmware binary blobs necessary for partial or full functionality of certain hardware devices.

I do not want to end up in a situation where new linux-firmware does not work with old linux package and something goes wrong partially or completely.

PS: I have no idea if my system needs OR uses linux-firmware. But I always install it anyway to be safe.


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#2 2019-11-07 08:54:13

V1del
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Registered: 2012-10-16
Posts: 7,773

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Generally not, the kernel usually keeps support for loading older firmware files and linux-firmware usually does not remove older firmware files  in incompatible ways.

PS Most physical systems require some kind of firmware from that package (nearly all wifi drivers and graphics chips at least, grep your dmesg for firmware you will find quite a few loading something from there), if you only use virtualized systems you likely don't.

Last edited by V1del (2019-11-07 11:21:22)

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#3 2019-11-08 01:00:56

amish
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Registered: 2014-05-10
Posts: 414

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Thank you for your answer.

However my question is reverse, will old kernel be compatible with new firmware?

To be specific:

My current installed kernel is 5.2.5.arch1-1
Linux firmware installed is 20190717.bf13a71-1

I plan to NOT to upgrade the kernel (latest kernel in repo is 5.3.8.1-1)
Latest firmware in repo is 20191022.2b016af-1

So basically will linux-firmware 20191022.2b016af-1 work fine with linux kernel 5.2.5.arch1-1?

Thank you.

Last edited by amish (2019-11-08 01:01:37)


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#4 2019-11-08 01:22:13

loqs
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Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 9,074

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

linux kernel modules should only load firmware versions the module can support although mistakes in such checks can be made such as [1]

[1] https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/ke … b04319d6eb
Edit:
If the issue is https://bugs.archlinux.org/task/64018 then why not use the DKMS version of the e1000e that has the buggy commit reverted [2]?

[2] https://bugs.archlinux.org/task/64018#comment182351

Last edited by loqs (2019-11-08 01:44:00)

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#5 2019-11-08 04:31:43

amish
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Registered: 2014-05-10
Posts: 414

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Yes issue is same. But I am trying to keep systems light (using minimum space). Hence avoiding dkms, gcc etc compilation / build tools.

Also I can not do trial and error on production systems.

Last edited by amish (2019-11-08 04:32:19)


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#6 2019-11-08 10:20:15

V1del
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Registered: 2012-10-16
Posts: 7,773

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

The kernel driver usually has definitions for the maximum versions of firmware any given module supports. These firmwares come from the linux-firmware package, and they are usually not simply replaced when new firmware becomes available, you will generally be able to keep loading older firmwares. If you want to be certain that there are no regressions then just hold back the firmware packages as well.

FWIW the "version number" of linux-firmware doesn't mean anything, that's just the date of when a packaged release was made, whether that packaged release still contains versions for your firmware the module is used to loading is up to the vendors that provide firmware. There are potentials for regressions here like with any package but usually not inherently tied to any specific version. FWIW I don't think I've ever seen firmware simply get removed without replacement, so from that aspect you should be safe.

To be able to specifically answer this we would need to know which firmwares are in active use on your system right now, which as mentioned, will be listed in dmesg in one shape or another.

If you just want a Yes or No answer: Yes linux-firmware is compatible with whatever kernel you install and independent of the actual kernel versions. If you want to look at this more fine grainedly, identify which firmware is actively in use and look at the linux-firmware git to see wether that specific firmware version got an update, and then decide whether that's worth the "risk"

Last edited by V1del (2019-11-08 10:25:03)

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#7 2019-11-08 10:32:02

amish
Member
Registered: 2014-05-10
Posts: 414

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Thank you for the detailed answer.

I think I would hold linux-firmware too, just to be safe.

PS: Cant mark post as [solved] as maximum character limit for the title has reached.

Last edited by amish (2019-11-08 10:33:59)


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#8 2019-11-08 11:52:17

loqs
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Registered: 2014-03-06
Posts: 9,074

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Have you tested the interaction of the mkinitcpio 27 with 5.2.5.arch1-1 ?

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#9 2019-11-08 12:23:31

amish
Member
Registered: 2014-05-10
Posts: 414

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Oops! Nope. Thank you very much for reminding me.

I had totally forgotten about it. (Because I was waiting for announcement on it, which never came)

This brings me back to dead end!

Not having a test system is turning into waiting game for me.

I remember reading something in mailing list about backward compatibility but will have to go through mailing list to find out what it was exactly.

But I think I would wait another month hoping that e1000e bug would be fixed.

Thanks again. You just saved me from what could have turned in to a disaster. smile


Forum signature: I discuss. I put my thoughts strongly. But I definitely respect all developers and time they put in.

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#10 2019-11-12 10:35:25

amish
Member
Registered: 2014-05-10
Posts: 414

Re: Does linux or linux-lts depend on specific version of linux-firmware?

Just an update to above post. I asked on arch general mailing list and as per "Giancarlo Razzolini" (maintainer), the new mkinitcpio will not cause any issue with old kernel. (it will simply ignore building initrd for those kernels where pkgbase file does not exist)

https://lists.archlinux.org/pipermail/a … 47120.html

PS: I have not tried it myself yet.

(Because I was waiting for announcement on it, which never came)

And announcement did come 2days back!

Last edited by amish (2019-11-12 10:37:01)


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