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Gentoo to require initramfs

A Portage news item announces today that Gentoo is about to upgrade to udev-217. This upgrade will eliminate the userspace firmware loader. The change requires not only a kernel config change (CONFIG_FW_LOADER_USER_HELPER=N). It also may require an initramfs, if the kernel has drivers built-in that want to load firmware before the root filesystem is mounted. Examples of such drivers are: iwlwifi (Intel WiFi chips) or bnx2 (Broadcom NetXtreme II). Without userspace fw loading these drivers will fail to load their firmware. The standard solution to this problem is to use an initramfs.

A module-less initramfs is sufficient for that case (modules are built-in already), and it can easily be shared among different kernels.

Also if you need special drivers / setup to mount /, the initramfs must reside on a dedicated /boot partition. Typically for dm RAID, encrypted file systems, NFS root, root on other special devices,  etc.

posted on 2014-11-10 10:30 UTC in Code | 0 comments | permalink