It’s trivial to update firmware on Linux these days thanks to the LVFS, the fwupd tool, and integration within the GNOME Software app (aka Ubuntu Software on Ubuntu).

But there are times when a user either needs to or wants to find out more about the firmware that their devices are running on. They might, for instance, have encountered issues and want to perform more advanced tasks, like downgrading firmware version.

Today, to do that, to check firmware versions and gauge other details about connected hardware, users get directed to the command line (indeed, this is where I had to go when trying to update the firmware of my 8BitDo controller).

But, thanks to a new project, that won’t be the case for much longer…

New Firmware Update App for Linux

the Firmware Update app listing devices that can be updated

Red Hat’s Richard Hughes reports on a new effort to construct a new GUI “Firmware Updater” tool for Linux desktops, one that runs independently of the GNOME Software tool and can do more things.

Dell, the computer company, approached Hughes with the idea of him mentoring an intern who’d work on a “power user” GTK app for managing firmware.

“The idea being,” Hughes writes, “that someone like Dell support could ask the user to run a little application and then read back firmware versions or downgrade to an older firmware version rather than getting them to use the command line.”

The result of that effort is the (perhaps not entirely well named) Firmware Updater tool.

The app aims to make it easier for users to see which connected hardware can be updated using the LVFS; get a list of firmware releases; read change logs and caveats; and of course actually upgrade and downgrade firmware too.

The app is still a work in progress with the team behind it still “working out what kind of UX we want from a power user tool”. It’s designed in such a way that it could become a distinct panel in the GNOME Settings/Control Centre rather than a standalone binary.

Update: The Firmware app is now available on Flathub.

Finished or not, as the screenshot in this post shows the tool is already in a good state. Hughes adds that as soon as Firmware Updater is ready for release it’ll be up on Flathub “for the world to install.”

What’s your experience of updating firmware on Linux?
Dev Hardware firmware fwupd lvfs