[Server-devel] Upgrade many machines

James Cameron quozl at laptop.org
Thu Jan 9 16:21:55 EST 2014

On Thu, Jan 09, 2014 at 02:40:31PM -0500, Adam Gordon wrote:
> The problem is usb key supply. Is there any way to update firmware
> without them?

Sure.  But it is not a good way.  It is complex and time consuming,
with higher possibility of error, and doesn't scale up.

You don't say what the problem is with USB drive supply.  If you can
supply SD cards instead of USB drive, then the operating system can be
updated from them.  Let me know if this is possible.

For upgrading to an unsigned custom build with only a server, the
general sequence, which you should test and refine further, is:

- configure an open access point, DHCP server, and BIND server, (this
  you may already have),

- configure the server to hold latest firmware and operating system,
  for each model of laptop to be supported, for example at
  http://server/path/ (this you may already have),

- quieten the wireless network, removing as many clients from it as

- position the laptop close to the access point,

- lock the battery into the laptop,

- connect external power to the laptop,

- boot the laptop to the ok prompt, which is the firmware of the laptop,

- associate with the access point, for example by typing:

  ok essid mynetworkname

- download the latest firmware and reflash (Q3C16 for XO-1.5, Q4D34
  for XO-1.75), for example by typing:

  ok flash http:\\server\path\q3c16.rom

- wait for the firmware to be updated,

- boot the laptop to the ok prompt again, and verify the firmware
  version is current,

- download the latest operating system, for example:

  ok fs-update http:\\server\path\32013o2.zd

- reboot the laptop, for example by typing:

  ok bye

- repeat from the second step on the next laptop,

- avoid having more than one laptop doing fs-update at the same time
  as another laptop, or experiment until you find a point of failure.

Note that the firmware uses the reverse slash character \ instead of /
as normally used in operating systems.

CC: as before.

James Cameron

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