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Re: Processor microcode update packages (was: Towards d-i wheezy beta 3)

On Thu, 13 Sep 2012, Nikolaus Rath wrote:
> Henrique de Moraes Holschuh <hmh@debian.org> writes:
> > On Thu, 13 Sep 2012, Wolodja Wentland wrote:
> >> On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 11:44 +0200, Marco d'Itri wrote:
> >> > Also, we should mention somewhere (the install documentation?) that 
> >> > non-free should be enabled to install microcode fixes which may be 
> >> > critical to maintain the system stability.
> >> 
> >> Could you elaborate on this please? I have been running systems just fine
> >> even though microcode.ctl (and corresponding microcode) was not installed and
> >> a look at microcode.ctl's popcon [0] confirms that a majority of users do the
> >> same.
> >
> [...]
> >
> > System stability depends critically on the presence of microcode that is as
> > up-to-date as required to cover all serious bugs on all features of the
> > processor that your workload uses.
> I think this should be mentioned somewhere *much* more prominent. I
> consider myself pretty tech-savy, but only stumbled upon this just now
> on the this list. Can a non-free package be made essential or
> required? It seems there is really absolutely no-reason other than
> non-freeness for not installing this by default.

For non-free, the priority doesn't make any difference.  It cannot be made
essential or required, because that doesn't make sense for non-free.
Basically, everything in non-free is effectively priority "extra".  That
said, both packages have their priority set to "standard" in the control
file, but ftp-masters decided to lower it.

It is also worth notice that enabling non-free is not just optional, it is
officially discouraged: non-free is not even mentioned by the Debian Wheezy
installer unless you're in expert mode.

And yes, the only reason to not have it installed by default on every x86
Debian system with an Intel or AMD processor is the non-freeness.

  "One disk to rule them all, One disk to find them. One disk to bring
  them all and in the darkness grind them. In the Land of Redmond
  where the shadows lie." -- The Silicon Valley Tarot
  Henrique Holschuh

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