Linux microPlatform Over-the-Air Updates

What is an Over-the-Air Update System?

Over-the-air (OTA) update systems provide a secure means of updating a device remotely. The Linux microPlatform has choosen to support a framework based on on the TUF/Uptane specifications. This is implemented by using root file systems managed with OSTree and the Aktualizr open source project.

This page describes OTA updates using the following framework implementations:

  • The Linux microPlatform subscriber demo server
  • ATS Garage’s system

Gotchas

Both the subscriber demo server (which is based on OTA Community Edition) and ATS Garage have a few caveats you should be aware of:

  • After the initial registration, the device’s image “name” will appear to be unknown. Looking closely, you’ll see its hash matches that of a known image. This is a known peculiarity and the image name will be correct after the first update is applied.
  • “Updating” a device only installs the image. It does not make that image active. A reboot is required for the image to become active, and that policy is up to the user to define.
  • If you enable auto-updates and aren’t on the latest image, nothing will happen until a new image is released. Any updates before that time must be performed manually.

Updating Your Linux microPlatform Device

Choose a method:

Foundries.io Subscriber Demo Server

Linux microPlatform subscribers have the easiest path to experimenting with OTAs. Subscribers have access to a device management interface for up to 5 devices. The Linux microPlatform image includes a program to register the device with the foundries.io OTA community edition server. Registering the device is as simple as:

sudo lmp-device-register -n <name of your device as it should appear in UI>
# Follow the instructions which appear in the terminal.

# systemd will eventually restart aktualizr and the device will register.
# To make it happen immediately run:
sudo systemctl restart aktualizr

Once registered, the device will show up under https://app.foundries.io/devices/ and you’ll have the ability to start managing updates from there.

ATS Garage

All users are also free to use ATS Garage to manage their devices. Documentation can be found at https://docs.atsgarage.com/usage/devices.html. Once you have an account with ATS Garage you can follow these steps to get your device registered:

1. Upload Image to ATS Garage

This section contains an example for publishing a Raspberry Pi 3 image to ATS Garage. You can change the downloaded artifacts and ota-publish arguments for other boards.

First, create a directory to save the files to:

mkdir lmp-bin && cd lmp-bin

Next, download your ATS Garage credentials file to the newly created lmp-bin directory:

Then download and extract the following OSTree repository tarball to the lmp-bin directory:

https://app.foundries.io/mp/lmp/455/artifacts/supported-raspberrypi3-64/other/raspberrypi3-64-ostree_repo.tar.bz2

Extract and upload the image using update 33 of the aktualizr container:

tar -jxvf raspberrypi3-64-ostree_repo.tar.bz2

docker run --rm -it -v $PWD:/build --workdir=/build \
       hub.foundries.io/aktualizr:33 \
       ota-publish -m raspberrypi3-64 -c credentials.zip \
                   -r ostree_repo

Note

The first image published pushes every file in the system. Any following publish steps only push files which have changed.

Note

You can configure app.foundries.io to publish updates to your ATS Garage account automatically at https://app.foundries.io/settings/ota.

2. Verify Upload

Visit https://app.atsgarage.com/#/packages/ and verify the package is available.

3. Register Device

You’ll now need to copy your ATS credentials to the device and register it. For example, if SSHing into a Raspberry Pi 3:

# From host computer with credentials.zip:
scp credentials.zip osf@raspberrypi3-64.local:~/

# From target device:
sudo mv credentials.zip /var/sota/sota_provisioning_credentials.zip
sudo cp /usr/lib/sota/sota_autoprov.toml /var/sota/sota.toml

Aktualizr will start automatically once it finds /var/sota/sota.toml; you can also restart it with systemctl restart aktualizr if you are impatient.

Debugging OTA Issues

The aktualizr logs are the best place to look for when trying to debug an issue. The logs are managed via systemd, so they can be tailed with:

sudo journalctl -f -u aktualizr

The default logging level used by aktualizr is “2”. This can be lowered to increase its verbosity by creating a file like:

# /etc/sota/sota.env
AKTUALIZR_CMDLINE_PARAMETERS=--config /var/sota/sota.toml --loglevel 1

Changes to this file won’t be picked up by Aktualizr until it’s restarted.

Another place to look for information is from the ostree program that’s installed on the device. You can find out which image is active and which image will become active by running:

$ ostree admin status
lmp a624daeebc085381493ba9745a983e9c1f792751f99d75fd026fbc6eedcdc8c5.1 (pending)
  origin refspec: a624daeebc085381493ba9745a983e9c1f792751f99d75fd026fbc6eedcdc8c5
* lmp 493b9c454b732ee221a015c6f4ce6bb5c3c5d767111bae94cc3b93aa9c89b64e.0
  origin refspec: 493b9c454b732ee221a015c6f4ce6bb5c3c5d767111bae94cc3b93aa9c89b64e

The output means that the active image on the device is 493b..., and the a624... image is pending. That is, an update has been successfully downloaded and applied to OSTree, but the device has not yet been rebooted so that the image can become active.

Automatic Rebooting After Updates

Aktualizr creates an empty file /run/aktualizr/ostree-pending-update after completing an OSTree update, and a systemd timer can be defined for the systemd service file ostree-pending-reboot to automatically restart the device once there is a pending update.

To create a systemd timer that activates the ostree-pending-reboot service every day at 5:00 AM UTC, create a file named /etc/systemd/system/ostree-pending-reboot.timer with the following contents:

[Unit]
Description=Automatic OSTree Update Reboot Scheduling

[Timer]
OnCalendar=*-*-* 05:00:00

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Then enable and start the timer by running:

sudo systemctl enable ostree-pending-reboot.timer
sudo systemctl start ostree-pending-reboot.timer