firmware-tools update—Brand-spanking-new GUI.


Get it while it’s hot. After being available for two years now, the formerly CLI-only firmware-tools now has a pretty slick GUI, called ‘inventory_firmware_gui’.

Firmware-tools is available in the Dell Software Repository. Installation instructions on setting up the Software Repository are here:

Once you have firmware-tools installed, you probably want to be able to actually use the new GUI to update something. In that case, you can set up the firmware repository, information is here:

Other information worthy of note:

— All of the firmware tools binaries now have a “-f” option which puts the tools into testing mode (it will list fake data and fake updates.) You can use this to run through the GUI tools without worrying about messing up your system. (the screenshots below show off this fake data.)

— Some client systems do not have BIOS updates in the firmware repository. For those that I know of, there is a wiki page which documents which ones and why:

— The firmware-tools project information page is here:

And without further ado, Screenshots!

The main window for inventory_firmware_gui 

Confirmation dialog prior to switching to update mode

About to actually update the firmware

successful firmware update

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15 thoughts on “firmware-tools update—Brand-spanking-new GUI.

  1. Lars,

    You can send patches to [email protected] (sign up first at

    CLI tools are already available. If somebody wants to implement and maintain ncurses text-GUI, I have no problem with that, but I personally wont maintain it.

    Besides, when you are selling stuff to executives as the way to do things in the future, pretty and flashy GUIs win over ugly textmode stuff any day (even if actual admins use the CLI more often.)

  2. CLI, to me, means something along the order of:

    do -vvvv  -r -P3 ‘something’ > /dev/firmware

    The syntax of which would never be committed to my memory, as I so seldom need to upgrade firmware.

    Because of the ubiquity of ssh, I use ncurses-based utilities such as “zttool” or “module-assistant” on a daily basis.  I have never run X on a server.  More importantly, I have never configured a piece of hardware from anything other than the console or a terminal window.

  3. Lars,

    Firmware-tools will celebrate it’s 2nd birthday in September. This GUI announcement is the first graphical tool that I have released. Up until this point, all of the tools have been CLI based, just as you described. In fact, there are exactly three commands:

    # bootstrap_firmware
    # inventory_firmware
    # update_firmware

    And they are are all driven by cmdline switches as you describe.

    The GUI announcement is just for people that are turned off by the CLI and want a friendlier face to the existing tools.

    The current CLI toolset works perfectly fine over SSH, as I do almost 100% of my development and testing over SSH to my dev machine (yes, even the GUI is tested and run over SSH.)


  4. Michael,

    This  this is fantastic news. Thank you! Pls ignore all the nah saying (why didn’t you do this or that, etc.)

    I’m planning on upgrading to a Ubuntu Dell next time. I read the information page, but still I am wondering.

    • Are all these tools integrated in the Ubuntu version you distribute ? Does this mean people can buy a Dell Ubuntu and pop up this thing from the menu and upgrade part (if not all) of the firmware of the machine ? 
    • Does this work in other non-Dell PC’s ?

    Again, many thanks!


  5. Leo, Luca,

         I addressed Ubuntu earlier in my comments. I need a volunteer to maintain this in Ubuntu as i dont currently have the capability to.

         As for non-dell systems, the framework is designed such that the framework would work on any system. It is going to be up to the individual manufacturers to release firmware in this format, though.


  6. I LOVE you all Dell linux team! 😉

    Now if you could just make me use under linux the beautiful Dell A-I-O 924 that you gave me for free togheter with my Inspiron 1300, this would be the tooooop!

  7. Just to know, is it possible to set this up for an Ubuntu Debian system? The setup information is meant for rpm-based systems only…

  8. Wonderfull news.

    Would be so cool to have it on live distros (Mandriva Live and such…..)

    I didn’t try yet, but is there a way to do:
    “upgrade all components that are upgradable on this system”
    a) using GUI
    b) without using GUI

    Aside that, can I upgrade my DS220 Raid5 bay. if yes, will it detroy its config (I mean: will flashing new firmware keep my volumes safe?)

    Once again: great job!

  9. 1) The best place to ask questions and get support for firmware-tools is the firmware-tools mailing list:

    2) My last RHEL3-based test machine died several months ago, so I have not been testing on RHEL3. 🙁   This looks like one of the modules I am using ( is not compatible with the older python version in RHEL3. If you email the mailing list, I would be happy to work with you to try to fix this problem.

    3) I’m out of town for two weeks starting monday, so responses will be slightly delayed while I am out.

  10. Tested with RHEL3 upgraded to CentOS3.9

    It fails with the following error:

    ~ #/usr/bin/inventory_firmware
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File “/usr/bin/inventory_firmware”, line 27, in ?
        import firmwaretools.clifuncs
      File “/usr/lib/python2.2/site-packages/firmwaretools/”, line 18, in ?
        from trace_decorator import dprint,  decorateAllFunctions
      File “/usr/lib/python2.2/site-packages/firmwaretools/”, line 71, in ?
        trace = decorator(trace)
      File “/usr/lib/python2.2/site-packages/firmwaretools/”, line 119, in decorator
        return update_wrapper(lambda f : _decorator(caller, f), caller)
      File “/usr/lib/python2.2/site-packages/firmwaretools/”, line 61, in update_wrapper
        infodict = getinfo(wrapped)
      File “/usr/lib/python2.2/site-packages/firmwaretools/”, line 47, in getinfo
        module=func.__module__, dict=func.__dict__,
    AttributeError: ‘function’ object has no attribute ‘__module__’

    Any idea of missing package or faulty package?

    I’ve installed  firmware-tools-1.5.6-1.el3

  11. Yup. I’d definitely suggest “-t” as a more standard mnemonic for “test”, and “-f” for “force”.

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