[Linux-PowerEdge] Latest firmware live DVD posted

Stephen Dowdy sdowdy at ucar.edu
Wed Mar 26 12:45:28 CDT 2014


On 03/26/2014 10:29 AM, Praveen_Paladugu at dell.com wrote:
> All,         
> 
> Much appreciate you all taking time to send your comments/feedback about
> the Firmware Live image. These inputs help us understand how critical
> this tool is for you and how it is been used in your environments.
> 
> Right from the very start we have been targeting users who are running
> un-supported OSes or the users who want an option to update the firmware
> without having to make changes to the underlying OS. We are very pleased
> to hear that this Live image is coming in real handy while updating the
> firmwares on dell servers.
> 
> This positive feedback also helps us justify our continued efforts for
> the sideline project of composing this live image. That being said,
> please also feel free let us know if you would like to see any changes
> to the live images I post.
> 
> Thank you
> Praveen K Paladugu
> Dell Linux Engineering

Praveen,

Thanks for responding, and thanks for the effort on this.  While
a bootable CD is better than nothing, it is FAR less desirable
than an in-place native/live OS solution.

However, if you are in a position to engage discussions in Dell
Engineering, here's my list of things that Dell is falling far short
on for linux (and general) support:

    - use of bashisms in every script with magic '#!/bin/sh'.
      This horribly breaks every distro with a POSIX default shell.
        (some DUP kits run with '-c' (check applicability) REBOOT
        my systems w/o warning due to falling through when faced with
        bashisms in the scripts)
    - way to update the BIOS on
        - 12th generation poweredge servers
            libsmbios was nice and easy and distro agnostic.
            I have limited luck with DUPs and hacking up my systems
            temporarily to get the DUP to run.  I want a nice simple
            standalone tool like libsmbios that will work reliably.
            (not something embedded deep in the bowels of multiple
            layers of RPM (distro lockin) self-extract executables
            (HAPI disney)
        - Linux based laptops (i'm talking enterprise latitude that are SOLD
            with Linux, but have no linux BIOS update utility, and instead
            require a very complex Windows + GUI libraries USB/CD to
            upgrade.  All my personal ASUS laptops know how to update
            themselves from a FAT USB with the BIOS image on it.  Would
            be fabulous if Dell could provide that, because the Win+GUIlib
            solution requires licensing of Windows, or violating terms
            of license to build the CD/USB)
    - Dell's inability to offer a SIMPLE programmatic method to:
        - obtain latest firmware versions for systems (the
            support.dell.com web UI is horrible and inefficient)
            e.g. something like hitting:

http://support.dell.com/enterprise/firmware/poweredge/r720xd/latest/
            and getting a simple list of URLs or text.
            The terrible obfuscation of ftp.dell.com made life a
            lot more miserable for me, at least.
        - obtain lists of firmware versions along with their
            release notes/changelogs
        There used to be a single web page tagged "Enterprise Firmware
Versions"
        or something that started doing this, but was quickly abandoned.

I see little reason that Dell can't easily support a Linux
distro-agnostic DUP environment. (or at least one that did not
do things like check /etc/redhat-release and dump ambigous error
messages like "Unable to determine System Generation")

I run my DUP kit via a front-end script that swaps out /bin/sh
symlink from a POSIX shell to bash and sets a trap to put it back
afterwards.  Also, it installs an /etc/redhat-release file, even
though these may not be redhat systems (we have a thousand RHEL and
Debian systems, split roughly 50/50, with a handful of SLES)


OMSA is just way too much overhead, and the various linux firmware
update tools that Dell produced in the past seem half-heartedly
supported, and often very out of date, and frequently bug-ridden
or providing conflicting library/package installs. (and as comes
up frequently on this list, it's unclear which tool is deprecated,
which is supported, which site contains even halfway current images,
etc)

Even the downloads.dell.com/  site was SOOO much better than the
regular support.dell.com site, but it appears that Dell's given up
supporting that, as i find it's completely out of date anymore.

Thanks,
--stephen



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