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FIRMWARE(9)		 BSD Kernel Developer's	Manual		   FIRMWARE(9)

     firmware_register,	firmware_unregister, firmware_get, firmware_put	--
     firmware image loading and	management

     #include <sys/param.h>
     #include <sys/systm.h>
     #include <sys/linker.h>
     #include <sys/firmware.h>

     struct firmware {
	     const char	     *name;	     /*	system-wide name */
	     const void	     *data;	     /*	location of image */
	     size_t	     datasize;	     /*	size of	image in bytes */
	     unsigned int    version;	     /*	version	of the image */

     const struct firmware *
     firmware_register(const char *imagename, const void *data,
	 size_t	datasize, unsigned int version,
	 const struct firmware *parent);

     firmware_unregister(const char *imagename);

     const struct firmware *
     firmware_get(const	char *imagename);

     firmware_put(const	struct firmware	*fp, int flags);

     The firmware abstraction provides a convenient interface for loading
     firmware images into the kernel, and for accessing	such images from ker-
     nel components.

     A firmware	image (or image	for brevity) is	an opaque block	of data	resid-
     ing in kernel memory.  It is associated to	a unique imagename which con-
     stitutes a	search key, and	to an integer version number, which is also an
     opaque piece of information for the firmware subsystem.

     An	image is registered with the firmware subsystem	by calling the func-
     tion firmware_register(), and unregistered	by calling
     firmware_unregister().  These functions are usually (but not exclusively)
     called by specially crafted kernel	modules	that contain the firmware im-
     age.  The modules can be statically compiled in the kernel, or loaded by
     /boot/loader, manually at runtime,	or on demand by	the firmware subsys-

     Clients of	the firmware subsystem can request access to a given image by
     calling the function firmware_get() with the imagename they want as an
     argument. If a matching image is not already registered, the firmware
     subsystem will try	to load	it using the mechanisms	specified below	(typi-
     cally, a kernel module with the same name as the image).

     The kernel	firmware API is	made of	the following functions:

     firmware_register() registers with	the kernel an image of size datasize
     located at	address	data, under the	name imagename.

     The function returns NULL on error	(e.g. because an image with the	same
     name already exists, or the image table is	full), or a const struct
     firmware *	pointer	to the image requested.

     firmware_unregister() tries to unregister the firmware image imagename
     from the system. The function is successful and returns 0 if there	are no
     pending references	to the image, otherwise	it does	not unregister the im-
     age and returns EBUSY.

     firmware_get() returns the	requested firmware image.  If the image	is not
     yet registered with the system, the function tries	to load	it.  This in-
     volves the	linker subsystem and disk access, so firmware_get() must not
     be	called with any	locks (except for Giant).  Note	also that if the
     firmware image is loaded from a filesystem	it must	already	be mounted.
     In	particular this	means that it may be necessary to defer	requests from
     a driver attach method unless it is known the root	filesystem is already

     On	success, firmware_get()	returns	a pointer to the image description and
     increases the reference count for this image. On failure, the function
     returns NULL.

     firmware_put() drops a reference to a firmware image.  The	flags argument
     may be set	to FIRMWARE_UNLOAD to indicate that firmware_put is free to
     reclaim resources associated with the firmware image if this is the last
     reference.	 By default a firmware image will be deferred to a
     taskqueue(9) thread so the	call may be done while holding a lock.	In
     certain cases, such as on driver detach, this cannot be allowed.

     As	mentioned before, any component	of the system can register firmware
     images at any time	by simply calling firmware_register().

     This is typically done when a module containing a firmware	image is given
     control, whether compiled in, or preloaded	by /boot/loader, or manually
     loaded with kldload(8).  However, a system	can implement additional mech-
     anisms to bring these images in memory before calling

     When firmware_get() does not find the requested image, it tries to	load
     it	using one of the available loading mechanisms.	At the moment, there
     is	only one, namely Loadable kernel modules:

     A firmware	image named foo	is looked up by	trying to load the module
     named foo.ko, using the facilities	described in kld(4).  In particular,
     images are	looked up in the directories specified by the sysctl variable
     kern.module_path which on most systems defaults to

     Note that in case a module	contains multiple images, the caller should
     first request a firmware_get() for	the first image	contained in the mod-
     ule, followed by requests for the other images.

     A firmware	module is built	by embedding the firmware image	into a suit-
     able loadable kernel module that calls firmware_register()	on loading,
     and firmware_unregister() on unloading.

     Various system scripts and	makefiles let you build	a module by simply
     writing a Makefile	with the following entries:

	     KMOD=   imagename
	     FIRMWS= image_file:imagename[:version]
	     .include <>

     where KMOD	is the basename	of the module; FIRMWS is a list	of colon-sepa-
     rated tuples indicating the image_file's to be embedded in	the module,
     the imagename and version of each firmware	image.

     If	you need to embed firmware images into a system, you should write ap-
     propriate entries in the <files.arch> file, e.g. this example is from

     ixp425_npe_fw.c			     optional npe_fw		     \
	     compile-with    "${AWK} -f	$S/tools/fw_stub.awk		     \
			     IxNpeMicrocode.dat:npe_fw -mnpe -c${.TARGET}"   \
	     no-implicit-rule before-depend local			     \
	     clean	     "ixp425_npe_fw.c"
     # NB: ld encodes the path in the binary symbols generated for the
     #	   firmware image so link the file to the object directory to
     #	   get known values for	reference in the _fw.c file.
     IxNpeMicrocode.fwo	 optional npe_fw				     \
	     dependency	     "IxNpeMicrocode.dat"			     \
	     compile-with    "${LD} -b binary -d -warn-common		     \
				 -r -d -o ${.TARGET} IxNpeMicrocode.dat"     \
	     no-implicit-rule						     \
	     clean	     "IxNpeMicrocode.fwo"
     IxNpeMicrocode.dat			     optional npe_fw		     \
	     dependency	     ".PHONY"					     \
	     compile-with    "uudecode < $S/contrib/dev/npe/IxNpeMicrocode.dat.uu" \
	     no-obj no-implicit-rule					     \
	     clean	     "IxNpeMicrocode.dat"

     Note that generating the firmware modules in this way requires the	avail-
     ability of	the following tools: awk, Make,	the compiler and the linker.

     module(9),	kld(4)


     The firmware system was introduced	in FreeBSD 6.1.

     This manual page was written by Max Laier <>.

BSD				August 2, 2008				   BSD


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