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Demonstrate the usage of the new open sourced rbu (Remote BIOS Update) driver
for updating BIOS images on Dell servers and desktops.
This document discusses the functionality of the rbu driver only.
It does not cover the support needed from aplications to enable the BIOS to
update itself with the image downloaded in to the memory.
This driver works with Dell OpenManage or Dell Update Packages for updating
the BIOS on Dell servers (starting from servers sold since 1999), desktops
and notebooks (starting from those sold in 2005).
Please go to http://support.dell.com register and you can find info on
OpenManage and Dell Update packages (DUP).
Libsmbios can also be used to update BIOS on Dell systems go to
http://linux.dell.com/libsmbios/ for details.
Dell_RBU driver supports BIOS update using the monilothic image and packetized
image methods. In case of moniolithic the driver allocates a contiguous chunk
of physical pages having the BIOS image. In case of packetized the app
using the driver breaks the image in to packets of fixed sizes and the driver
would place each packet in contiguous physical memory. The driver also
maintains a link list of packets for reading them back.
If the dell_rbu driver is unloaded all the allocated memory is freed.
The rbu driver needs to have an application (as mentioned above)which will
inform the BIOS to enable the update in the next system reboot.
The user should not unload the rbu driver after downloading the BIOS image
The driver load creates the following directories under the /sys file system.
The driver supports two types of update mechanism; monolithic and packetized.
These update mechanism depends upon the BIOS currently running on the system.
Most of the Dell systems support a monolithic update where the BIOS image is
copied to a single contiguous block of physical memory.
In case of packet mechanism the single memory can be broken in smaller chuks
of contiguous memory and the BIOS image is scattered in these packets.
By default the driver uses monolithic memory for the update type. This can be
changed to packets during the driver load time by specifying the load
parameter image_type=packet. This can also be changed later as below
echo packet > /sys/devices/platform/dell_rbu/image_type
Also echoing either mono ,packet or init in to image_type will free up the
memory allocated by the driver.
Do the steps below to download the BIOS image.
1) echo 1 > /sys/class/firmware/dell_rbu/loading
2) cp bios_image.hdr /sys/class/firmware/dell_rbu/data
3) echo 0 > /sys/class/firmware/dell_rbu/loading
The /sys/class/firmware/dell_rbu/ entries will remain till the following is
echo -1 > /sys/class/firmware/dell_rbu/loading.
Until this step is completed the drivr cannot be unloaded.
If an user by accident executes steps 1 and 3 above without executing step 2;
it will make the /sys/class/firmware/dell_rbu/ entries to disappear.
The entries can be recreated by doing the following
echo init > /sys/devices/platform/dell_rbu/image_type
NOTE: echoing init in image_type does not change it original value.
Also the driver provides /sys/devices/platform/dell_rbu/data readonly file to
read back the image downloaded. This is useful in case of packet update
mechanism where the above steps 1,2,3 will repeated for every packet.
By reading the /sys/devices/platform/dell_rbu/data file all packet data
downloaded can be verified in a single file.
The packets are arranged in this file one after the other in a FIFO order.
This driver requires a patch for firmware_class.c which has the addition
of request_firmware_nowait_nohotplug function to wortk
Also after updating the BIOS image an user mdoe application neeeds to execute
code which message the BIOS update request to the BIOS. So on the next reboot
the BIOS knows about the new image downloaded and it updates it self.
Also don't unload the rbu drive if the image has to be updated.