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The New Firmware Manager: Updating firmware across Linux distributions

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Linux

Over the past few months, System76 has been developing a simple, easy-to-use tool for updating firmware on Pop!_OS and System76 hardware. Today, we’re excited to announce that you can now check and update firmware through Settings on Pop!_OS, and through the firmware manager GTK application on System76 hardware running other Debian-based distributions.

One of the issues we faced with with firmware management on Linux was the lack of options for graphical frontends to firmware management services like fwupd and system76-firmware. For fwupd, the only solutions available were to distribute either GNOME Software or KDE Discover, which is not viable for Linux distributions which have their own application centers, or frontends to package managers. For system76-firmware, an official GTK application existed, but it only supported updating System76 firmware, when it would be more ideal if it could support updating firmware from both services.

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Also: System76 Unveils Their Firmware Manager Project For Graphically Updating Firmware

System76 Launches A Graphical Firmware Manager Compatible

  • System76 Launches A Graphical Firmware Manager Compatible With LVFS, All Ubuntu And Debian Distros

    It's a logical approach, and as someone focused on usability and elegantly onboarding all new Linux users, I think a graphical interface for updating firmware just makes sense.

    In order to benefit the larger Linux ecosystem, System76 has designed the Firmware Manager to be tookit-agnostic, although any frontend interaction will require Rust. The company also notes that its GTK widget can be implemented into any Ubuntu and Debian-based distributions not using GNOME. Critically, it supports both LVFS updates via fwupd as well as system76-firmware. It's also Wayland-compatible.

    You can view the full project notes and source code here.

    On a related note, if you're interested in why System76 uses its own firmware update service, I covered that earlier this year when the Asus "Shadowhammer" malware attack was making the rounds. Here's the relevant excerpt, detailing the decidedly Blockchain-inspired approach.

System76 announce their own graphical Firmware Manager

  • System76 announce their own graphical Firmware Manager

    System76, the company known for their Linux hardware and the Pop!_OS Linux distribution recently announced their new Firmware Manager.

    Supporting their own Pop!_OS as well as other Debian-based distributions like Ubuntu, their firmware tooling is aimed at easing the update process for users. Developed due to a "lack of options for graphical frontends to firmware management services", since previous tools for LVFS (Linux Vendor Firmware Service) relied on GNOME Software or KDE Discover "which is not viable for Linux distributions which have their own application centers, or frontends to package managers".

    They've created a GTK application for other distributions to use, as well as widget library with it integrated into GNOME Settings. They do say that the core of the framework is "toolkit-agnostic", enabling frontends to be written in any toolkit. System76 said their new Firmware Manager project supports updating from both LVFS and system76-firmware, along with being compatible with Wayland.

System76 Unveils Graphical Firmware Updater for All Debian-Based

  • System76 Unveils Graphical Firmware Updater for All Debian-Based Linux Distros

    American computer manufacturer System76 announced a new, cross-platform graphical utility that promises to make checking and updating your computer's firmware a lot more easier.

    The Firmware Manager project is System76's latest toy for the company's in-house built, Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distribution, but also compatible with any Debian-based GNU/Linux distro out there. Backed by the fwupd and system76-firmware CLI tools, the Firmware Manager utility will integrate into the GNOME Settings panel for easier firmware updating.

    "One of the issues we faced with firmware management on Linux was the lack of options for graphical frontends to firmware management services like fwupd and system76-firmware," said System76.

System76 Still Aiming To Be The Apple Of The Linux Space

  • System76 Still Aiming To Be The Apple Of The Linux Space With Software & Hardware

    System76 continues doing much more work on software these days as well as expanding their own hardware manufacturing capabilities. This is much more than they did a decade or even several years ago when they were just selling PCs/laptops pre-loaded with Ubuntu. As summed up by System76 founder and CEO, Carl Richell, their end game is much more Apple-esque.

    Following their announcement on Saturday of their new System76 Firmware Manager project, Carl tweeted, "This work continues our transition from a hardware company shipping a distro to a hardware company providing an integrated, holistic hardware and OS product. Still a lot of work ahead of us but manufacturing, open firmware, and Pop!_OS are pulling together."

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