U-Boot Finally Lands HTTP & TCP Support For Downloading Images

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 29 November 2022 at 08:25 AM EST. 23 Comments
The U-Boot open-source bootloader that is widely used for embedded devices has finally landed support for HTTP and TCP along with a basic "wget" implementation for downloading images via HTTP/TCP.

The U-Boot bootloader to this point has supported file transfers via tftp or NFS using UDP. However, thanks to the lengthy work by Linaro, there is now TCP protocol support and in turn finally the ability to be able to download images via HTTP.

After twenty rounds of revisions, the patches implementing TCP support for U-Boot's network code has been merged along with adding a basic wget application. U-Boot's wget allows downloading a file from an HTTP server over TCP to a specified memory address. This wget implementation is quite simple and currently only supports HTTP servers on port 80 -- and also no support (yet) for HTTPS.

Yes, as we close out 2022, U-Boot can finally download a kernel or other files from HTTP servers rather than resorting to NFS or TFTP for remotely loading. This should hopefully ease some U-Boot embedded device deployments moving forward. This TCP/HTTP and wget support for U-Boot has been in the works via patches now for more than a half-decade.

As of Monday the patches are now merged in U-Boot.
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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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