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Switching kernel drivers to userland microcode loading, and 'contrib'

So I started looking into switching various kernel drivers to userland
firmware loading.  In many cases, it seems straightforward, apart from one
issue: what if the firmware loading fails?

If the drivers have a reasonable way to operate if the firmware isn't loaded,
they should presumably go ahead and fall back to it.  (If they can't, I
really don't know what they should do.)  But I can't tell which
drivers positively require the firmware loads and which don't -- there's
essentially no documentation and I don't see how to tell without having the
appropriate hardware to test.

Those which positively require non-free firmware would presumably have to go
in 'contrib' even if they were using userland firmware loading (because they
require non-free software to function), so I'd rather spend my time on
those for which the firmware loading is optional.  But I see no way to tell
which is which. :-P  Maybe I'll just work on the one driver whose firmware
is actually free.  :-P

Make sure your vote will count.

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