A Brief Update On Fwupd For Linux Firmware Updating Of Devices
Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 28 April 2015 at 09:48 AM EDT. Add A Comment
GNOME --
One of the latest focuses of prolific free software developer Richard Hughes has been on fwupd, an open-source and easy way to update device firmware.

Fwupd is part of the initiative to make updating of UEFI/BIOS easily from the Linux desktop and fwupd can be used for updating the firmware of peripheral devices like Richard Hughes' ColorHug device.

As part of developing fwupd, some challenges he has run into has been the lack of a specification for being able to read a firmware version across different devices. Additionally, there doesn't seem to be any standardization about switching a device from firmware mode back to the boot-loader mode.

For determining the firmware version of ColorHug devices, Richard ended up appending "FW: " plus the firmware version to the end of the device serial string descriptor. This way it's very easy to find out the current firmware version of the device and can be done without having to do any calls to the hardware that would block it from working with other software concurrently. In changing modes, the ColorHug supports a RESET command but it probably won't be as easy to get any broad standards support on changing the device's mode.

It will be interesting to see if the open-source community and Red Hat (they've been largely leading this recent charge on improving UEFI/firmware updating on the Linux desktop) can get many other hardware vendors to make their firmware images more Linux friendly and potentially adopt a similar naming convention and fwupd-friendly packages. You can read Richard's latest post on his 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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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