dellbiosupdate.sh and QtBiosUpdate ;)

Gaetano Andrea Callea callea.gaetano.andrea at gmail.com
Mon Mar 30 11:50:03 CDT 2009


Hi everyone,

i'm cga and i'm a more than happy:

1- linux user
2- linux system administrator
3- dell customer.

this is my first email and i'm writing to this mailing list to let you know
that:

1- i made a bash script to automate the process of updating the bios of any
dell computer as long as it's supported by dellBiosUpdate[0];
2- to anticipate the birth of a Qt application [1] to do the same thing but
in a smarter way;

now let's explain this a bit:

many of you may know that dell offers a wonderful tool to update the bios
directly from linux [2] and an howto [3];

well, after the third time i updated the bios with that manual procedure i
got bored and wrote this little script [0];

as you can read in the FAQs:

1- it works 100% (of course... it uses dell's tools)
2- it is tested and safe (i do regularly update my xps m1330's bios)
3- i will improve it over time (i plan to make it "launchable" with switches
like -c (check for new bios) -t (test downloaded bios) -u (update bios) and
the likes)

but as any piece of code it has a few glitches and needs more love; so i'm
asking you folks to download it, read it, run it, test it and provide
feedbacks.

you can safely update you bios with it too =)

at the moment the two things i need most, other than test and feedback, are:

1- check that the "SYSTEM_ID"; "BIOS_VERSION_BASE"; "COMPUTER"; variable get
set correctly:

     they do work on my own dell but some user told me that "COMPUTER"
doesn't get set properly for him.
     for this i include two alternatives in the code; one with "cut" and the
other with "awk".
     please tell me if the awk version works fine. if so i will set
"COMPUTER" with it from now on.
     latest version is 0.1.2.1 with awk deafult.

2- i need the output of "dellBiosUpdate -t -f bios.hdr" for a valid bios so
i can put it in the script. at the echo.
     when i first wrote the script i didn't have a check on the bios.hdr
file and i've updated the bios. so no "positive response" until i get a new
bios to test. (>a15)

And now something about "QtBiosUpdate":

it all started similarly to this email, i asked people to test the script in
#kde-devel-it and some got me feedback and some other offered to make an
interface for it.

well.... the simple GUI to this script would have been a 10 minutes work but
then we started going deeply into details and realized we could do a better
thing than a mere interface for the simple things this script does: a real
Qt application that can update the bios of any vendor (as long as they have
a tool like dellBiosUpdate that can talk to libsmbios). Qt is our choice for
some futile reasons as much as some good strong points;

futile reasons:
 -i use kde 4;
- i was in a kde developer channel;
- i know the folks there and they develop for kde so... :P

strong points:
- Qt4 are cross platfrom and can run on Linux, OS X and Windows;
- Qt4 are desktop agnostic (so anyone can install it along Qt libs without
the need of having kde4).

QtBiosUpdate is just a concept at the moment, we are still planning. But
interesting things may come out of it.
For example: we plan to make it modular ; the fundamentals will be
"libsmbios" (we still have to study that) and then we plan to make it
plguggable with tools such as dellBiosUpdate as long as other vendors
provide that tool.

so if any of you can be helpful here, it's time to join.

cheers

[0] http://github.com/cga/dellbiosupdate.sh/tree/master
[1] http://github.com/cga/qtbiosupdate/tree/master
[2] http://linux.dell.com/libsmbios/main/index.html
[3] http://linux.dell.com/wiki/index.php/Tech/libsmbios_dellBiosUpdate


-- 
Callea Gaetano Andrea
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