Linux firmware update

As pointed out on Phoronix, there’s a new blog post by Peter Jones of Red Hat on the status of firmware updates on Linux.

http://blog.uncooperative.org/blog/2015/09/16/an-update-on-firmware-updates/

Phoronix has been covering this much better than I have:

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=search&q=ESRT

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=search&q=fwupd

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-UEFI-Firmware-Sept

Two Linux firmware articles

1) Linux Vendor Firmware Service launches

In a Phoronix article today, Michael Larabel describes the new Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) has been announced.

“This site provides a place for hardware vendors to submit packaged firmware updates, typically .cab files. This fire-and-forget service allows vendors to submit firmware updates without generating and hosting AppStream metadata themselves.”

More information:
https://beta-lvfs.rhcloud.com/
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Vendor-Firmware-S
https://github.com/hughsie/fwupd

2) Intel on Linux firmware updates

Brian Richardson posted a blog yesterday, with information on Linux fwupdate, UEFI Capsule (firmware updates), UEFI 2.5 ESRT, and the Fedora firmware update mechanism.

More information:
http://blogs.intel.com/evangelists/2015/06/23/better-firmware-updates-in-linux-using-uefi-capsules/

UEFI 2.5 ESRT in Linux 4.2

One new feature in UEFI 2.5 is the ESRT (EFI System Resource Table). As reported in Phoronix, ESRT supports has been added to the Linux kernel, and it appears that it’ll be in Linux 4.2. Quoting Peter Jones’ ESRT patch to sysfs on the linux-efi list, describing ESRT:

“The EFI System Resource Table (ESRT) provides a read-only catalog of system components for which the system accepts firmware upgrades via UEFI’s “Capsule Update” feature.  This module allows userland utilities to evaluate what firmware updates can be applied to this system, and potentially arrange for those updates to occur. The ESRT is described as part of the UEFI specification, in version 2.5 which should be available from http://uefi.org/specifications in early 2015.  If you’re a member of the UEFI Forum, information about its addition to the standard is available as UEFI Mantis 1090. For some hardware platforms, additional restrictions may be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/jj128256.aspx , and additional documentation may be found at  http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/F/5/5F5D16CD-2530-4289-8019-94C6A20BED3C/windows-uefi-firmware-update-platform.docx .”

Peter’s patch adds sysfs files for the EFI System Resource Table (ESRT) under /sys/firmware/efi/esrt and for each EFI System Resource Entry under entries/ as a subdir. See the UEFI 2.5 specification for more details on ESRT.

More Information:

http://www.uefi.org/specifications
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-4.2-Features-Coming
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-4.2-EFI-System-ESRT-Table
http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.bios.tianocore.scm/3554
http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel.efi/5359

Fedora proposal for UEFI 2.5 Capsule Update support

As reported on Fedora devel-announce and on Softpedia, a proposal for Red Hat’s Fedora has been added to support UEFI Capuse Updates via UEFI 2.5’s ESRT.

“This adds the ability to perform updates of system firmware, as well as some peripheral firmware, on machines supporting the UEFI Capsule Update mechanism and UEFI 2.5’s “ESRT” feature. Right now this is generic support—the number of machines for which we actually have firmware updates available is very small, as the underlying technology is quite new—and it doesn’t include any actual delivery mechanism for such firmware images. But if they’re put at the right place for fwupd to notice them, and the system supports the right features, they’ll show up as updates in gnome-software.”

It will very be interesting to see how different distributions expose firmware updates to users.

More Information:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Fedora-23-Linux-Might-Allows-Users-to-Perform-Firmware-Updates-on-UEFI-Machines-483390.shtml
https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/devel-announce/2015-June/001595.html
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Changes/SystemFirmwareUpdates