Firmware update formats

Posted on Jun 24, 2004

With more and more firmware in the world it’s obvious that we’ll spend more and more time updating firmware. In the last couple of months I’ve been bitten twice by companies (3com and HP) who distribute firmware as .exe files.

In neither of these cases was the .exe an application that actually updated the firmware - both are simply self-extracting compressed files that contain the firmware as a .bin (or something). The actual update process takes place over the web.

I don’t have any machines that execute .exe files in the normal run of things, so I can’t extract the new firmware. In the 3com case I was lucky - a friend suggested that the unix unzip command can often extract the contents of Winzip self-extracting files and it proved to be the case.

HP use something built around “pklite” and unzip doesn’t understand that. So, to update the ILO firmware on a DL360 running Linux, I’m forced to find a machine that can run Windows (or MS-DOS, I suppose…).

Bleugh. Just give us the uncompressed .bin files - how much bandwidth are you really saving by sending out these stupid self-extracting compressed things?