Re: Project proposal 2013

Thomas Petazzoni

Dear Atilla Filiz,

On Tue, 17 Sep 2013 17:08:11 +0200, Atilla Filiz wrote:
Generic upgrade infrastructure for embedded systems.

; Summary: Generic upgrade infrastructure for embedded systems.

; Proposer: Atilla Filiz, Arnout Vandecappelle

== Description ==

Experience as an embedded software contractor shows that most clients
need a means to upgrade their devices in the field. Often these
solutions are ad-hoc, and need to be redone for each project,
although requirements are similar.

A collection of scripts and permissively licensed source code will help
device manufacturers to rapidly and safely implement a secure,
atomic upgrade system for their devices.

The infrastructure will allow an embedded system to have one backup
firmware, and one or two main firmware partitions. When a new firmware
is downloaded and written as a main firmware, the upgrade system makes
the device can boot. If the upgrade fails due to power, file corruption
other factors, the system recovers by booting the previous firmware or
failsafe firmware to retry upgrading.

Having this feature will prevent reinventing the wheel for each new
product when it comes to upgrading.
Interesting, thanks. I was also pondering proposing a project around
system upgrade for embedded systems, but I was thinking of a different
approach. Rather than implementing yet another tool/infrastructure, I
wanted to propose a project that consists in writing a
document/white-paper that details the different system upgrades
solutions that one can use (for example: dual kernel+rootfs partitions,
or minimal kernel+initramfs, updating from the bootloader or from
Linux, full system update vs. package based updates), with details on
their respective advantages/drawbacks, and how to implement them.

I believe the problem in this space is not the much the solutions
themselves, but rather the lack of a central document to help people
make their mind between the different available solutions, and to help
them find the relevant existing tools / bits of code. I don't think
it's a problem that can be solved in a one-solution-fits-all way,
depending on the context (size of flash, type of embedded system,
origin of the firmware upgrades, etc.) there will necessarily be
different solutions.

Best regards,

Thomas Petazzoni, Free Electrons
Kernel, drivers, real-time and embedded Linux
development, consulting, training and support.

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