Bug#642468: kfreebsd-8|9 does not provide any method to use non-free firmware blobs
Accomplishing our social contract, the FreeBSD kernel is being stripped of
non-free parts  and #594940. However the social contract also says "We acknowledge
that some of our users require the use of works that do not conform to the
Debian Free Software Guidelines" . In that spirit there should at least be the
/possibility/ to use non-free bits on Debian systems.
This is especially important, since many of the targetted kfreebsd users are
merely system adminitrators (e.g. me) who want to use a ZFS based storage on
their servers. Unfortunately pretty much every modern server comes with mounted
NICs which do require some sort of firmware. In my case its the bce(4) aka bnx
on Linux chipset used widely in IBM, HP and Dell servers.
This firmware is being removed from the kfreebsd kernel leaving no (easy) possibility
to use kfreebsd on such a server as there is no possibility to load non-free firmware
at runtime, like we do on Linux. Its neither (easily) possible to rebuild the kernel
from scratch including firmware, as the Debian specific patches don't cleanly apply if
the firmware is not being removed and the resulting source tree is not easily to
be built from source afterwards.
The FreeBSD kernel supports  loadable firmware, but support for this is not
included in kfreebsd currently, as far as I can tell. See also #594940 for more
discussion on that. Please provide a mechanism to make kfreebsd .. er .. usable
for some users.
n.b.: This bug is filed against kfreebsd-8, but affects -9 in experimental
equally which is built from a different source package.
 "get-orig-source" http://anonscm.debian.org/viewvc/glibc-bsd/trunk/kfreebsd-8/debian/rules?view=markup
-- System Information:
Debian Release: wheezy/sid
APT prefers testing
APT policy: (500, 'testing')
Architecture: kfreebsd-amd64 (x86_64)
Kernel: kFreeBSD 8.2-1-amd64
Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8, LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF-8 (charmap=UTF-8)
Shell: /bin/sh linked to /bin/dash