RAUC open-source OTA update solution for embedded Linux ported to Rock Pi 4 SBC

RAUC open-source OTA update solution enabling A/B updates for embedded Linux images has recently been ported to the Radxa Rock Pi 4 Model B SBC powered by a Rockchip OP1 SoC by the project’s maintainer, Leon Anavi working for Konsulto Group.

If you run a Linux distribution like Ubuntu, Debian, or Fedora, packages and OS images are taken care of automatically or by running a few commands. However, software engineers who build custom embedded Linux images with the Yocto Project or Buildroot must handle this themselves. Luckily, there are already open-source OTA firmware update solutions such as Mender, Balena, Torizon, OSTree, Snap, or RAUC, and we’ll look at the latter today.

RAUC OTA firmware update Rock Pi 4

RAUC (Robust Auto-Update Controller) was started by Pengutronix in 2015 and eventually adopted by the community. It’s a lightweight update client that runs on an Embedded Linux device and controls the A/B update procedure when a new firmware revision is pushed to the device. It’s secure with X.509 cryptography used to sign update bundles and works with the Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded, Buildroot, and PTXdist. RAUC is now hosted as an open-source project on GitHub under MIT or LGPLv2.1 licenses depending on the repository.

The news today is that Leon added the first Rockchip board to RAUC, namely the Rock Pi 4 SBC powered by a Rockchip OP1/RK3399 SoC, and provided detailed instructions to get started with the Radxa. But RAUC is supported by a range of devices including Raspberry Pi hardware and RAUC demo integrations are available for the following platforms:

  • NXP hardware (meta-freescale)
  • qemux86-64 emulator
  • Raspberry Pi (meta-raspberrypi)
  • Allwinner sunxi SoCs (meta-sunxi)
  • NVIDIA Jetson platforms, based on L4T (meta-tegra)
  • Rock Pi 4 Model B and other Rockchip devices (meta-rockchip)
A/B firmware updates with RAUC
A/B firmware update process with RAUC

Note that RAUC only provides a CLI.  It is not a deployment server and does not provide a GUI, but it is compatible with Eclipse hawkBit framework for rolling out software updates that provide all those.

Eclipse hawkbit software architecture
Eclipse hawkBit software architecture

You’ll find more details on the RAUC documentation website, and Leon also gave a presentation at FOSDEM 2022 entitled “Bringing RAUC A/B Updates to More Linux Devices“. The slides can be downloaded on the FOSDEM website and you can also watch the presentation embedded below.

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