source: postlfs/config/firmware.xml@ f2d5c26a

10.0 10.1 11.0 11.1 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 9.0 9.1 basic bdubbs/svn elogind lazarus perl-modules qt5new trunk upgradedb xry111/intltool xry111/test-20220226
Last change on this file since f2d5c26a was f2d5c26a, checked in by Ken Moffat <ken@…>, 5 years ago

Firmware: intel-microcode no longer needs a separate program. But on the balance of probabilities this does NOT address the AMT vulnerability. Also tweak the wording for video firmware - we now have nvidia firmware mentioned, and amdgpu is mentioned in the Xorg drivers.

git-svn-id: svn:// af4574ff-66df-0310-9fd7-8a98e5e911e0

  • Property mode set to 100644
File size: 21.9 KB
1<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
2<!DOCTYPE sect1 PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML V4.5//EN"
3 "" [
4 <!ENTITY % general-entities SYSTEM "../../general.ent">
5 %general-entities;
8<sect1 id="postlfs-firmware" xreflabel="About Firmware">
9 <?dbhtml filename="firmware.html"?>
11 <sect1info>
12 <othername>$LastChangedBy$</othername>
13 <date>$Date$</date>
14 </sect1info>
16 <title>About Firmware</title>
18 <indexterm zone="postlfs-firmware">
19 <primary sortas="e-lib-firmware">/lib/firmware</primary>
20 </indexterm>
22 <para> On some recent PCs it can be necessary, or desirable, to load firmware
23 to make them work at their best. There is a directory, <filename
24 class="directory">/lib/firmware</filename>, where the kernel or kernel
25 drivers look for firmware images.</para>
27 <para>Preparing firmware for multiple different machines, as a distro would
28 do, is outside the scope of this book.</para>
30 <para>Currently, most firmware can be found at a <userinput>git</userinput>
31 repository: <ulink
32 url=""/>.
33 For convenience, the LFS Project has created a mirror, updated daily, where
34 these firmware files can be accessed via <userinput>wget</userinput> or a web
35 browser at <ulink
36 url="&sources-anduin-http;/linux-firmware/"/>.</para>
38 <para>To get the firmware, either point a browser to one of the above
39 repositories and then download the item(s) which you need, or install
40 <userinput>git</userinput> and clone that repository.</para>
42 <para>For some other firmware, particularly for Intel microcode and certain
43 wifi devices, the needed firmware is not available in the above repository.
44 Some of this will be addressed below, but a search of the Internet for needed
45 firmware is sometimes necessary.</para>
47 <para>Firmware files are conventionally referred to as blobs because you cannot
48 determine what they will do. Note that firmware is distributed under various
49 different licenses which do not permit disassembly or reverse-engineering.</para>
51 <para>Firmware for PCs falls into four categories:</para>
53 <itemizedlist spacing="compact">
54 <listitem>
55 <para>Updates to the CPU to work around errata, usually referred to as
56 microcode.</para>
57 </listitem>
58 <listitem>
59 <para>Firmware for video controllers. On x86 machines this seems to mostly
60 apply to ATI devices : Radeons, the later AMD amdgpu chips, and Nvidia
61 Maxwell cards require firmware to be able to use KMS
62 (kernel modesetting - the preferred option) as well as for Xorg. For
63 earlier radeon chips (before the R600), the firmware is still in the
64 kernel.</para>
65 </listitem>
66 <listitem>
67 <para>Firmware updates for wired network ports. Mostly they work even
68 without the updates, but one must assume that they will work better with
69 the updated firmware.</para>
70 </listitem>
71 <listitem>
72 <para>Firmware for other devices, such as wifi. These devices are not
73 required for the PC to boot, but need the firmware before these devices
74 can be used.</para>
75 </listitem>
76 </itemizedlist>
78 <note><para>Although not needed to load a firmware blob, the following
79 tools may be useful for determining, obtaining, or preparing the needed
80 firmware in order to load it into the system:
81 <xref linkend="cpio"/>,
82 <xref linkend="git"/>,
83 <xref linkend="pciutils"/>, and
84 <xref linkend="wget"/></para></note>
86 <para condition="html" role="usernotes">User Notes:
87 <ulink url="&blfs-wiki;/aboutfirmware"/></para>
89 <sect2 id="cpu-microcode">
90 <title>Microcode updates for CPUs</title>
92 <para>In general, microcode can be loaded by the BIOS or UEFI, and it might
93 be updated by upgrading to a newer version of those. On linux, you can also
94 load the microcode from the kernel if you are using an AMD family 10h or
95 later processor (first introduced late 2007), or an Intel processor from
96 1998 and later (Pentium4, Core, etc), if updated microcode has been
97 released. These updates only last until the machine is powered off, so they
98 need to be applied on every boot.</para>
100 <para>Intel provide frequent updates of their microcode. It is not uncommon
101 to find a newer version of microcode for an Intel processor even two years
102 after its release. New versions of AMD firmware are less common.</para>
104 <para>There used to be two ways of loading the microcode, described as 'early'
105 and 'late'. Early loading happens before userspace has been started, late
106 loading happens after userspace has started. Not surprisingly, early loading
107 was preferred, (see e.g. an explanatory comment in a kernel commit noted at
108 <ulink url="">x86/microcode: Early load
109 microcode </ulink> on LWN.) Indeed, it is needed to work around one
110 particular erratum in early Intel Haswell processors which had TSX enabled.
111 (See <ulink
112 url="">
113 Intel Disables TSX Instructions: Erratum Found in Haswell, Haswell-E/EP,
114 Broadwell-Y</ulink>.) Without this update glibc can do the wrong thing in
115 uncommon situations. </para>
117 <para>As a result, early loading is now expected, although for the moment
118 (4.11 kernels) it is still possible to manually force late loading of
119 microcode for testing. You will need to reconfigure your kernel for either
120 method. The instructions here will create a kernel
121 <filename>.config</filename> to suite early loading, before forcing late
122 loading to see if there is any microcode. If there is, the instructions
123 then show you how to create an initrd for early loading.</para>
125 <para>To confirm what processor(s) you have (if more than one, they will be
126 identical) look in /proc/cpuinfo.</para>
128 <sect3 id="intel-microcode">
129 <title>Intel Microcode for the CPU</title>
131 <para>The first step is to get the most recent version of the Intel
132 microcode. This must be done by navigating to
133 <ulink url=''/>
134 and following the instructions there. As of this writing the most recent
135 version of the microcode is <filename>microcode-20170511.tgz</filename>.
136 Extract this file in the normal way to create an <filename>intel-ucode</filename>
137 directory, containing various blobs with names in the form XX-YY-ZZ.</para>
139 <para>Now you need to determine your processor's identity to see if there
140 is any microcode for it. Determine the decimal values of the cpu family,
141 model and stepping by running the following command (it will also report
142 the current microcode version):</para>
144<screen><userinput>head -n7 /proc/cpuinfo</userinput></screen>
146 <para>Convert the cpu family, model and stepping to pairs of hexadecimal
147 digits. For a Haswell i7-4790 (described as Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4790
148 CPU) the relevant values are cpu family 6, model 60, stepping 3 so in
149 this case the required identification is 06-3c-03. A look at the blobs
150 will show that there is one for this CPU (although it might
151 have already been applied by the BIOS). If there is a blob for your
152 system then test if it will be applied by copying it (replace &lt;XX-YY-ZZ&gt;
153 by the identifier for your machine) to where the kernel can find it:</para>
155<screen><userinput>mkdir -pv /lib/firmware/intel-ucode
156cp -v intel-ucode/&lt;XX-YY-ZZ&gt; /lib/firmware/intel-ucode</userinput></screen>
158 <para>Now that the Intel microcode has been prepared, use the following
159 options when you configure the kernel to load Intel
160 microcode:</para>
162<screen><literal>General Setup ---&gt;
163 [y] Initial RAM filesystem and RAM disk (initramfs/initrd) support [CONFIG_BLK_DEV_INITRD]
164Processor type and features ---&gt;
165 [y] CPU microcode loading support [CONFIG_MICROCODE]
166 [y] Intel microcode loading support [CONFIG_MICROCODE_INTEL]</literal></screen>
168 <para>After you have successfully booted the new system, force late loading by
169 using the command:</para>
171<screen><userinput>echo 1 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/microcode/reload</userinput></screen>
173 <para>Then use the following command to see if anything was loaded:</para>
175<screen><userinput>dmesg | grep -e 'microcode' -e 'Linux version' -e 'Command line'</userinput></screen>
177 <para>This example from the Haswell i7 which was released in Q2 2014 and is
178 not affected by the TSX errata shows it has been updated from revision 0x19
179 in the BIOS/UEFI to revision 0x22. Unlike in older kernels, the individual
180 CPUs are not separately reported:</para>
182<screen><literal>[ 0.000000] Linux version 4.11.0 (lfs@plexi) (gcc version 7.1.0 (GCC) )
183 #1 SMP PREEMPT Sun May 14 16:00:00 BST 2017
184[ 0.000000] Command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/vmlinuz-4.11.0-sda6 root=/dev/sda6 ro
185[ 0.913685] microcode: sig=0x306c3, pf=0x2, revision=0x22
186[ 0.913905] microcode: Microcode Update Driver: v2.2.
187[ 148.723932] microcode: updated to revision 0x22, date = 2017-01-27</literal></screen>
188 <para>That may be followed by individual reports for each core.</para>
190 <para>If the microcode was not updated, there is no new microcode for
191 this system's processor. If it did get updated, you can now proceed to <xref
192 linkend='early-microcode'/>.</para>
194 </sect3>
196 <sect3 id="and-microcode">
197 <title>AMD Microcode for the CPU</title>
199 <para>Begin by downloading a container of firmware for your CPU family
200 from <ulink
201 url='&sources-anduin-http;/linux-firmware/amd-ucode/'/>.
202 The family is always specified in hex. Families 10h to 14h (16 to 20)
203 are in microcode_amd.bin. Families 15h and 16h have their own containers.
204 Create the required directory and put the firmware you downloaded into
205 it as the <systemitem class="username">root</systemitem> user:</para>
207<screen><userinput>mkdir -pv /lib/firmware/amd-ucode
208cp -v microcode_amd* /lib/firmware/amd-ucode</userinput></screen>
210 <para>When you configure the kernel, use the following options
211 to load AMD microcode:</para>
213<screen><literal>General Setup ---&gt;
214 [y] Initial RAM filesystem and RAM disk (initramfs/initrd) support [CONFIG_BLK_DEV_INITRD]
215Processor type and features ---&gt;
216 [y] CPU microcode loading support [CONFIG_MICROCODE]
217 [y] AMD microcode loading support [CONFIG_MICROCODE_AMD]</literal></screen>
219 <para>After you have successfully booted the new system, force late loading by
220 using the command:</para>
222<screen><userinput>echo 1 > /sys/devices/system/cpu/microcode/reload</userinput></screen>
224 <para>Then use the following command to see if anything was loaded:</para>
226<screen><userinput>dmesg | grep -e 'microcode' -e 'Linux version' -e 'Command line'</userinput></screen>
227 <para>This example from an old Athlon(tm) II X2 shows it has been updated.
228 For the moment, all CPUs are still reported in the microcode details on AMD
229 machines:</para>
231<screen><literal>[ 0.000000] Linux version 4.9.8 (ken@testserver) (gcc version 6.3.0 (GCC) )
232 #1 SMP Mon Mar 6 22:27:18 GMT 2017
233[ 0.000000] Command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/vmlinuz-4.9.8-sdc6 root=/dev/sdc6 ro
234[ 0.907752] microcode: CPU0: patch_level=0x010000b6
235[ 0.907788] microcode: CPU1: patch_level=0x010000b6
236[ 0.907844] microcode: Microcode Update Driver: v2.01 &lt;;, Peter Oruba
237[ 121.952667] microcode: CPU0: new patch_level=0x010000c8
238[ 121.952687] microcode: CPU1: new patch_level=0x010000c8</literal></screen>
240 <para>If the microcode was not updated, there is no new microcode for
241 this system's processor. If it did get updated, you can now proceed to <xref
242 linkend='early-microcode'/>.</para>
244 </sect3>
246 <sect3 id="early-microcode">
247 <title>Early loading of microcode</title>
249 <para>If you have established that updated microcode is available for
250 your system, it is time to prepare it for early loading. This requires
251 an additional package, <xref linkend='cpio'/> and the creation of an
252 initrd which will need to be added to grub.cfg.</para>
254 <para>It does not matter where you prepare the initrd, and once it is
255 working you can apply the same initrd to later LFS systems or newer
256 kernels on this same machine, at least until any newer microcode is
257 released. Use the following commands:</para>
259<screen><userinput>mkdir -p initrd/kernel/x86/microcode
260cd initrd</userinput></screen>
262 <para>For an AMD machine, use the following command (replace
263 &lt;MYCONTAINER&gt; with the name of the container for your CPU's
264 family):</para>
266<screen><userinput>cp -v /lib/firmware/amd_ucode/&lt;MYCONTAINER&gt; kernel/x86/microcode/AuthenticAMD.bin</userinput></screen>
268 <para>Or for an Intel machine copy the appropriate blob using this command:</para>
270<screen><userinput>cp -v /lib/firmware/intel-ucode/&lt;XX-YY-ZZ&gt; kernel/x86/microcode/GenuineIntel.bin</userinput></screen>
272 <para>Now prepare the initrd:</para>
274<screen><userinput>find . | cpio -o -H newc &gt; /boot/microcode.img</userinput></screen>
276 <para>You now need to add a new entry to /boot/grub/grub.cfg and
277 here you should add a new line after the linux line within the stanza.
278 If /boot is a separate mountpoint: </para>
280<screen><userinput>initrd /microcode.img</userinput></screen>
282 <para>or this if it is not:</para>
284<screen><userinput>initrd /boot/microcode.img</userinput></screen>
286 <para>If you are already booting with an initrd (see <xref
287 linkend="initramfs"/>) you must specify the microcode initrd first, using
288 a line such as <userinput>initrd /microcode.img
289 /other-initrd.img</userinput> (adapt that as above if /boot is not a
290 separate mountpoint).</para>
292 <para>You can now reboot with the added initrd, and then use the same
293 command to check that the early load worked.</para>
295<screen><userinput>dmesg | grep -e 'microcode' -e 'Linux version' -e 'Command line'</userinput></screen>
297 <para>The places and times where early loading happens are very different
298 in AMD and Intel machines. First, an Intel example from an updated
299 kernel, showing that the first notification comes before the kernel version
300 is mentioned:</para>
302<screen><literal>[ 0.000000] microcode: microcode updated early to revision 0x22, date = 2017-01-27
303[ 0.000000] Linux version 4.11.0 (lfs@plexi) (gcc version 7.1.0 (GCC) )
304 #2 SMP PREEMPT Sun May 14 17:58:53 BST 2017
305[ 0.000000] Command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/vmlinuz-4.11.0-sda6 root=/dev/sda6 ro
306[ 0.928947] microcode: sig=0x306c3, pf=0x2, revision=0x22
307[ 0.929160] microcode: Microcode Update Driver: v2.2.</literal></screen>
309 <para>An AMD example for an earlier stable kernel version:</para>
311<screen><literal>[ 0.000000] Linux version 4.9.14 (ken@testserver) (gcc version 6.3.0 (GCC) )
312 #2 SMP Mon Mar 13 22:23:44 GMT 2017
313[ 0.000000] Command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/vmlinuz-4.9.14-sdc6 root=/dev/sdc6 ro
314[ 0.907648] microcode: microcode updated early to new patch_level=0x010000c8
315[ 0.907690] microcode: CPU0: patch_level=0x010000c8
316[ 0.907733] microcode: CPU1: patch_level=0x010000c8
317[ 0.907808] microcode: Microcode Update Driver: v2.01 &lt;;, Peter Oruba</literal></screen>
319 </sect3>
321 </sect2>
323 <sect2 id="video-firmware">
324 <title>Firmware for Video Cards</title>
326 <sect3 id="ati-video-firmware">
327 <title>Firmware for ATI video chips (R600 and later)</title>
329 <para>These instructions do NOT apply to old radeons before the R600
330 family. For those, the firmware is in the kernel's <filename
331 class='directory'>/lib/firmware/</filename> directory. Nor do they apply if
332 you intend to avoid a graphical setup such as Xorg and are content to use
333 the default 80x25 display rather than a framebuffer. </para>
335 <para> Early radeon devices only needed a single 2K blob of firmware.
336 Recent devices need several different blobs, and some of them are much
337 bigger. The total size of the radeon firmware directory is over 500K &mdash; on a
338 large modern system you can probably spare the space, but it is still
339 redundant to install all the unused files each time you build a system.</para>
341 <para>A better approach is to install <xref linkend='pciutils'/> and then
342 use <userinput>lspci</userinput> to identify which VGA controller is
343 installed.</para>
345 <para>With that information, check the RadeonFeature page of the Xorg wiki
346 for <ulink url="">Decoder
347 ring for engineering vs marketing names</ulink> to identify the family (you
348 may need to know this for the Xorg driver in BLFS &mdash; Southern Islands and
349 Sea Islands use the radeonsi driver) and the specific model.</para>
351 <para>Now that you know which controller you are using, consult the
352 <ulink url="">Radeon</ulink> page
353 of the Gentoo wiki which has a table listing the required firmware blobs
354 for the various chipsets. Note that Southern Islands and Sea Islands chips
355 use different firmware for kernel 3.17 and later compared to earlier
356 kernels. Identify and download the required blobs then install them:</para>
358<screen><userinput>mkdir -pv /lib/firmware/radeon
359cp -v &lt;YOUR_BLOBS&gt; /lib/firmware/radeon</userinput></screen>
361 <para>There are actually two ways of installing this firmware. BLFS, in the
362 'Kernel Configuration for additional firmware' section part of the <xref
363 linkend="xorg-ati-driver"/> section gives an example of compiling the
364 firmware into the kernel - that is slightly faster to load, but uses more
365 kernel memory. Here we will use the alternative method of making the radeon
366 driver a module. In your kernel config set the following: </para>
368<screen><literal>Device Drivers ---&gt;
369 Graphics support ---&gt;
370 Direct Rendering Manager ---&gt;
371 &lt;*&gt; Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 ... support) [CONFIG_DRM]
372 &lt;m&gt; ATI Radeon [CONFIG_DRM_RADEON]</literal></screen>
374 <para>Loading several large blobs from /lib/firmware takes a noticeable
375 time, during which the screen will be blank. If you do not enable the
376 penguin framebuffer logo, or change the console size by using a bigger
377 font, that probably does not matter. If desired, you can slightly
378 reduce the time if you follow the alternate method of specifying 'y' for
379 CONFIG_DRM_RADEON covered in BLFS at the link above &mdash; you must specify each
380 needed radeon blob if you do that.</para>
382 </sect3>
384 <sect3 id="nvidia-video-firmware">
385 <title>Firmware for Nvidia video chips</title>
387 <para>Some Nvidia graphics chips need firmware updates to take advantage
388 of all the card's capability. These are generally the GeForce 8, 9, 9300,
389 and 200-900 series chips. For more exact information, see <ulink
390 url="">
393 <para>First, the kernel Nvidia driver must be activated:</para>
395<screen><literal>Device Drivers ---&gt;
396 Graphics support ---&gt;
397 Direct Rendering Manager ---&gt;
398 &lt;*&gt; Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 ... support) [CONFIG_DRM]
399 &lt;*/m&gt; Nouveau (NVIDIA) cards [CONFIG_DRM_NOUVEAU]</literal></screen>
401 <para>The steps to install the Nvidia firmware are:</para>
405sh --extract-only
407mkdir -p /lib/firmware/nouveau
408cp -d nv* vuc-* /lib/firmware/nouveau/</userinput></screen>
410 </sect3>
411 </sect2>
413 <sect2 id="nic-firmware">
414 <title>Firmware for Network Interfaces</title>
416 <para>The kernel likes to load firmware for some network drivers,
417 particularly those from Realtek (the /lib/linux-firmware/rtl_nic/) directory,
418 but they generally appear to work without it. Therefore, you can boot the
419 kernel, check dmesg for messages about this missing firmware, and if
420 necessary download the firmware and put it in the specified directory in
421 /lib/firmware so that it will be found on subsequent boots. Note that with
422 current kernels this works whether or not the driver is compiled in or
423 built as a module, there is no need to build this firmware into the kernel.
424 Here is an example where the R8169 driver has been compiled in but the
425 firmware was not made available. Once the firmware had been provided, there
426 was no mention of it on later boots. </para>
428<screen><literal>dmesg | grep firmware | grep r8169
429[ 7.018028] r8169 0000:01:00.0: Direct firmware load for rtl_nic/rtl8168g-2.fw failed with error -2
430[ 7.018036] r8169 0000:01:00.0 eth0: unable to load firmware patch rtl_nic/rtl8168g-2.fw (-2)</literal></screen>
432 </sect2>
434 <sect2 id="other-firmware">
435 <title>Firmware for Other Devices</title>
437 <para> Identifying the correct firmware will typically require you to
438 install <xref linkend='pciutils'/>, and then use
439 <userinput>lspci</userinput> to identify the device. You should then search
440 online to check which module it uses, which firmware, and where to obtain
441 the firmware &mdash; not all of it is in linux-firmware.</para>
443 <para>If possible, you should begin by using a wired connection when you
444 first boot your LFS system. To use a wireless connection you will need to
445 use a network tools such as <xref linkend='wireless_tools'/> and <xref
446 linkend='wpa_supplicant'/>.</para>
448 <para>Firmware may also be needed for other devices such as some SCSI
449 controllers, bluetooth adaptors, or TV recorders. The same principles
450 apply.</para>
452 </sect2>
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