Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby fulan » 2017-07-26 13:18

I downloaded the deb packages; put them, without extracting them, into a USB drive* and, when asked, I told the installer to search them in that drive. From then on it did never complain about the firmware.

Now, on my freshly installed system, the files the installer told me that were missing are actually present in /lib/firmware, but dpkg -s <package> says the packages are not installed. Is it ok?

*I did so because the guide says: "If the firmware was loaded from a firmware package, debian-installer will also install this package for the installed system and will automatically add the non-free section of the package archive in APT's sources.list. This has the advantage that the firmware should be updated automatically if a new version becomes available." It's not clear whether the package should be uncompressed, I decided to leave it as it was.

The firmware packages in question are firmware-brcm80211 and firmware-realtek. The missing firmware files are brcm/bcm43xx-0.fw and rtl_nic/rtl8168d-2.fw.
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Re: Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby luvr » 2017-07-26 16:05

When I installed Debian 8, the installer wouldn't take the unextracted ".deb" packages (though I'm entirely unsure if it was my fault, or an issue with the installer). I therefore offered it the unpacked firmware files. After installation, the installer turned out to have copied the firmware files to the target system. I decided to install the firmware packages anyway, if only to make sure that they would get updated should newer firmware files ever become available.

In your case, the documentation appears to imply that not only the firmware files should have been copied to the target system (as they were), but that the packages should have been installed as well (but they weren't). In any case, I would install them, just to ensure that they will be kept up-to-date.

By the way, was the non-free section added to your "sources.list" file?
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Re: Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby fulan » 2017-07-26 23:24

luvr wrote:In any case, I would install them, just to ensure that they will be kept up-to-date.

I did so. Anyway, I'm confused by what the guide says and in the end I don't know for sure whether they've been installed correctly or not.

luvr wrote:By the way, was the non-free section added to your "sources.list" file?

Yes.
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Re: Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby luvr » 2017-07-28 09:48

fulan wrote:I'm confused by what the guide says and in the end I don't know for sure whether they've been installed correctly or not.

I understand your confusion. The installer appears to behave differently from what the guide says. In any case, to verify whether a package is or is not installed, you can simply look at what Synaptic has to say about it.

Even so, if a package is not installed, then that does not mean that any of its individual files are or are not present on your filesystem. Any file can be copied to your system independently, without installing it from a software package.

In the end, package management is really just a tool to keep track of which packages are installed, and to ensure that any dependencies or conflicts are properly resolved.
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Re: Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby fulan » 2017-07-29 08:43

So it looks like the firmware got actually into the system but the package management lost track of it. May I conclude that copying the .deb files into my usb key and installing the firmware packages after firing up my new system is a good way to go to keep this fw updated?
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Re: Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby Bulkley » 2017-07-29 14:57

Sometimes it helps to run as root
Code: Select all
updatedb


Then you can use locate to find your package.
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Re: Check if non-free firmware has been installed correctly

Postby luvr » 2017-07-30 14:39

fulan wrote:May I conclude that copying the .deb files into my usb key and installing the firmware packages after firing up my new system is a good way to go to keep this fw updated?

Yes, it's what I do, too.

If the firmware files are present on the system, but the package manager (i.e, the APT system) doesn't know about them, then they won't get automatically updated. If you subsequently install the Debian package, then APT can and will properly maintain the files for you.
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