Fwupd 1.8.4 Supports More Hardware, Starts Allowing To Make BIOS Changes From Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in LVFS on 30 August 2022 at 07:35 AM EDT. 27 Comments
Richard Hughes as the lead developer of the Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) and Fwupd at Red Hat announced the release this morning of Fwupd 1.8.4 as a nice update to this open-source firmware updating utility. Fwupd 1.8.4 not only adds support for some new hardware and fixes but notably begins adding the infrastructure to allow facilitating BIOS changes to the system from within Linux.

Fwupd 1.8.4 adds the initial support for modifying BIOS settings with the fwupdmgr tool from within Linux. This BIOS modification support is contingent upon the system supporting the Linux kernel's firmware attributes API. Select systems so far from the likes of Dell and Lenovo with the Think-LMI driver support for this kernel API to allow changing of BIOS settings.

Fwupd supports the commands like fwupdmgr get-bios-setting for reading the BIOS settings around WakeOnLAN, CStateSupport, AMD Memory Guard, SMT, NUMA, IOMMU, NVMe RAID mode, and dozens of other common BIOS settings. Obviously it's up to the underlying system to support these settings for them to be exposed for reading/setting. The fwupdmgr set-bios-setting SETTING VALUE format can then be used for applying new BIOS settings. The fwupdmgr tool also supports a JSON mode if wanting to interact with this BIOS setting handling in an automated fashion. There is also support in Fwupd 1.8.4 for being able to load a machine-default BIOS settings policy. More details on this initial Fwupd BIOS settings integration can be found via this documentation.

Fwupd is making it easier to manage BIOS settings from within Linux on supported systems rather than having to manually enter the BIOS setup area.

This BIOS setting handling by Fwupd is part of the broader effort for GNOME/Linux "Device Security" handling on Linux. Where as right now the GNOME Control Center exposes various details about the system security state, the long-term goal is to be able to correct some of the less than ideal BIOS settings for the user if desired. This would allow it to be done with the user's permission in an automated manner without having to guide the user through entering the BIOS setup screen and toggling values themselves.

Fwupd 1.8.4 also has a variety of bug fixes like now correctly detecting CET Indirect Branch Tracking (IBT), fixing the applying of the latest DBX update, and other random fixes.

New hardware support in Fwupd 1.8.4 includes supporting Elan non-HID touchpads, the Google Prism, LabTop Mk III, ThinkPad Thunderbolt 4 Dock, and the ThinkPad Universal Smart Dock.

Downloads and more details on Fwupd 1.8.4 via GitHub.

Additional details on the Fwupd 1.8.4 changes can also be found via this blog post by Red Hat's Richard Hughes blog.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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