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Revision as of 14:58, 4 February 2008 by CityK (talk | contribs) (some edits)
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Modern chipsets move more and more functionality from fixed-function implementations in silicon to firmware or software. The chip becomes a more generic microcontroller or DSP that executes the Firmware and does the same jobs.

Drawbacks are that this solution may consume more power than an optimized fixed-function design and that different firmware revisions can cause completely different behaviour of the chips.

The fact that the firmware can 'fix' bugs later has, in the case of some vendors, the effect that early firmware revisions are rarely usable. In contrast, fixed-function hardware is usually more carefully designed.

Firmware Auto-loading

Most people would like their system to load their DVB firmware at boot time/when the module is loaded. This can be done easily using hotplug.

First, do the following, where xxxxx is one of sp8870/sp887x/tda10045/tda10046/av7110/dec2000t/dec2540t/dec3000s/vp7041/dibusb etc etc supported by the get_dvb_firmware script (which is distributed along with kernel source):

perl /usr/src/linux/Documentation/dvb/get_dvb_firmware xxxxx

That will download to current directory a file and then extract the desired firmware. Copy the generated firmware file to /lib/firmware or /usr/lib/hotplug/firmware/ (the location will depend of your distro / hotplug version).

Now, when the appropriate driver module is loaded, the firmware file should be automatically loaded as well.

Gentoo users: A fresh minimal install of Gentoo installs the sys-apps/hotplug-base package. However to actually get the firmware loading, you will need to install sys-apps/hotplug, as well.

it would be nice to have some words explaining the linux firmware loader stuff. contributors?

Some Firmware Repositories

The following sites host various device firmware files:

Also See