"Some device drivers need firmware to load into the hardware at
initialization time. The kernel firmware loader interface exists to
support that functionality, but it requires help from user space
which may not be available in all environments. David Woodhouse has
proposed a patch that would eliminate that requirement so that more
drivers can use the firmware loader rather than craft their own
"Embedded devices will be one of the main users of this ability.
Many of those do not have a user space filesystem available at boot
time--via initrd or initramfs--but they still need to access
firmware images to download to peripherals..."