alsa-firmware missing from major desktop spins

Enrico Tagliavini enrico.tagliavini at
Thu Jun 4 15:06:24 UTC 2015

Hi there,

I've just done a fresh install of Fedora 22 KDE spin on a Dell
Alienware 15 and stumbled upon a very weird issue: audio works, but
volume control is broken. This is due to alsa-firmware being missing
from the default installation group.

Had a quick chat with Rex Dieter (rdieter) in #fedora-kde and he told me:

<rdieter_work> commit 320e6ccc3b524a5146daafe7717cdc18598d97e6 Author:
Peter Robinson <pbrobinson at> Date:   Sat May 31 21:02:43 2014
<rdieter_work>     make alsa-firmware optional. It supports a tiny
collection of specialist devices and adds reasonable size to minimal

but I wonder if this is still the case. Currently it seems there are

root at alientux ~ # rpm -ql alsa-firmware | grep '^/lib/firmware' | awk
-F / '{print $4}' | uniq | wc -l

drivers and about

root at alientux ~ # rpm -ql alsa-firmware | grep '^/lib/firmware' | grep
'\..\+$' | wc -l

firmware files. I can agree that most of them might not be very
common, but it doesn't sound very good not to give people with such
hardware a sub-optimal out of the box experience.

My specific case:
root at alientux ~ # lspci | grep Audio
00:03.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core
Processor HD Audio Controller (rev 06)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset
High Definition Audio Controller (rev 05)

which means snd_hda_intel with creative chip. The driver requires
firmware file ctefx.bin to work correctly.

The minimal image size argument is still very valid in my opinion.
People using this kind of minimal images are unlikely to have this
hardware. However people installing Workstation or KDE spins are
  1. interested in having a good out of the box hardware support
  2. possibly are not expert enough to know about dmesg or firmware
packages (not I'm a professional SysAdmin, and still this turned out
not to be trivial mostly due to cluttered dmesg because of the
wireless driver ath10k having massive problems with firmware)
  3. size matter less for these images. They are over 1 GB already and
the entire alsa-firmware package is 11 MB on disk.

I would like to ask for your opinion and possibly bring alsa-firmware
back by default for the proper use cases (mainly desktop spins).

Best regards.
Enrico Tagliavini

More information about the desktop mailing list