GNU Linux-libre 4.16-gnu: -ESTRBNYX

Alexandre Oliva lxoliva at
Mon Apr 2 03:42:41 UTC 2018

GNU Linux-libre 4.16-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at
It didn't require any deblobbing changes since -rc6-gnu.  Binaries are
expected to show up over the next few days; Jason Self's Freesh build
should be done very shortly, probably even before you read this.
Thanks, jxself!

The major piece of news in this release is that the request_firmware
machinery was slightly reworked, so that (i) the reject_firmware
variants return the expected -ENOENT, instead of -EINVAL; and (ii)
reject_firmware_nowait now calls the named callback.  With this, drivers
that could proceed without firmware, but that failed because of -EINVAL,
or because they did so in the nowait callback, should now work more
seamlessly.  Some radeon-controlled video cards for which we hadn't put
in work-arounds might start working now (no promises, but if you find
out such a card starts working again, that's why).  Another example that
is likely to start working due to this change is rtl8821ae cards: I got
a report that at least some such cards would work even when the firmware
loading failed, and these used _nowait.  That's what prompted me to make
this chnage.  Thanks to temy on FreeNode for the report.

Another significant change in this release is that it was pointed out
that there were error messages in Linux suggesting users to update x86
CPU microcode.  Since such microcode is non-Free Software, such messages
don't belong in GNU Linux-libre.  We now have patterns to detect and
clean up this sort of message.  A number of them were introduced
recently, relying on microcode changes to mitigate Spectre and Meltdown
problems, but there might be others that go farther back.  I haven't yet
made my mind on whether to go back, check and possibly respin such
earlier releases.

Aside from the usual assortment of false positives and updated blob
names, there's one new driver requesting proprietary firmware (mt76x2e)
that had the requests deactivated.  The lirc_zilog driver was removed,
so its deblobbing directives were taken out, and some leftover Kconfig
directives, that used to enable keyspan non-Free firmware before 4.15,
were removed in 4.16, so the deblobbing directives that disabled them
could be dropped from 4.16-gnu too.

Finally, to celebrate Easter on this date, I couldn't help mentioning in
this release announcement the Easter Eggs I put in.  Let me know if you
enjoy the surprises.

Earlier today, I joked that this would be the first time we'd release a
-libre tarball before Mr Torvalds' upstream release.  His git repo is
tagged and the tarball is available from the server, but as I finish
writing this, the front page *still* says their mainline is 4.16-rc7, so
I thank them all for their involuntary cooperation ;-)

For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of
(Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister <>,
Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at, Diaspora* at or at  Check my web page (link
in the signature) for direct links.

Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.

What is GNU Linux-libre?

  GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
  suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
  GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.

  It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
  source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
  run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
  part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
  (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.

  Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
  It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
  it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
  became part of the GNU Project.

  The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
  cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
  need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
  Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.

  Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
  of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
  contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
  promotion.  See our web page for their images.

What is Linux?

  Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]

(snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)

Alexandre Oliva, freedom fighter
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Gandhi
Be Free! --   FSF Latin America board member
Free Software Evangelist|Red Hat Brasil GNU Toolchain Engineer

More information about the linux-libre mailing list