Intel is working to provide, in the short term, a capability to Linux-equipped computers that those running the various versions of Windows will not have: be able to update the firmware without having to reboot the system.
Certainly, Linux already stands out today for requiring fewer (much less) reboots than Windows when it comes to facing updates. But nevertheless, those of the firmware, by their particular nature, were one of the few exceptions to that beginning.
But in the last year several cases of vulnerabilities that have required urgent firmware updates: from a security breach that affected 30 million Dell-brand PCs to a bug in WiFi technology that endangered all kinds of PCs and mobile devices …
… and the truth is that Linux, the operating system that, although it does not triumph on the desktop, does runs most Internet servers, so you can’t afford to reboot frequently. In fact, in many cases, it would mean breaking the service level agreements (SLAs) signed by many online service providers.
LINUX and GNU: LINUX: WHAT IT IS and HOW IT WORKS
Kernel 5.16 is out this weekend: PFRUT will be included in the next version
So Intel has plans to add a new driver to the Linux 5.17 kernel (5.16 will be released this weekend) that allows these firmware updates without reboot.
This driver has been officially baptized as PFRUT (Platform Firmware Runtime Update and Telemetry), after Intel has been referring to it, unofficially, with the enthusiastic adjective “perfect upgrade”.
Thus, the recently added commit to the ‘Linux-next’ branch of the Linux kernel repository explains that the change represented by the pfrut_driver allows not only to easily apply firmware updates easily through the operating system itself, but also to remove any downtime derived from that process.
Although it is clear that, when developing PFRUT, Intel’s interest is in the server market, Linux desktop users will also benefitObviously, due to the possibility of updating the firmware (even of such sensitive elements of the system as the BIOS and the UEFI) without interrupting your work sessions.
And no, there is no technical impediment when this technology can be ported, in the near future, to Microsoft’s operating systems (Windows and Windows Server), so we will all end up benefiting from this move by Intel . As long as we are users of this company’s chips, of course.
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