Project’s road-map

Please take into account that most of the items here are proposals. I get some ideas talking with customers, some ideas are my own thoughts. There is no plan when these features will be implemented - this depends if enough interest is raised and if there will be contribution to the project in terms of patches or financial contribution to develop a feature.

Thanks again to all companies that have supported my work up now and to everybody who has contributed to the project, let me bring SWUpdate to the current status !

Main goal

First goal is to reach a quite big audience, making SWUpdate suitable for a large number of products. This will help to build a community around the project itself.

SWUpdate as Updater Gateway

This feature was introduced with the “swuforward” handler. It is already possible to update a tree of devices if each of them runs SWUpdate. This feature is already implemented in SWUpdate for embedded linux.

Anyway, a lot of embedded devices have small processors and maybe not a full blown OS. Ensuring security for all of them can be a risk, and it is easier to make sure on a single device. If the device running SWUpdate is acting as gateway, it can translate protocols from backend and send package updates to the connected small devices.

One example could be if SWUpdate runs as MQTT-broker and takes updates from Hawkbit. SWUpdate should be able to run multiple instances of suricatta to do this.

One other examples is using LWM2M. The gateway should be generic enough to allow to add further protocols in future.

Binary delta updates

A whole update could be very traffic intensive. Specially in case of low-bandwidth connections, it could be interesting to introduce a way for delta binary updates. There was already several discussions on the Mailing List about this. If introducing binary delta is high desired, on the other side it is strictly required to not reduce the reliability of the update and the feature should not introduce leaks and make the system more vulnerable. It is accepted that different technologies could be added, each of them solves a specific use case for a delta update.

Integration in Linux distro

To allow an easer leraning with SWUpdate and also for test purposes with the SWU forwarder handler, it makes sense to package SWUpdate for PC Linux distro. SWUpdate already supports debian package. Some help from community is asked to let the package merged into Debian distro.


New Handlers

Users develop own custom handlers - I just enforce and encourage everyone to send them and discuss how to integrate custom handler in mainline.

A handler to update a microntroller connected via UART is introduced. It could be enhanced to support other interfaces (SPI for example).

Some ideas for new handlers:
  • handlers to update microcontrollers
  • FPGA updater for FPGA with Flash
  • Package handler to install packages (ipk, deb) Packages can be inserted into the SWU and the atomicity is guaranteed by SWUpdate.
  • Lua handlers should be added if possible to the project to show how to solve custom install.

Flash handler

The flash handler for raw-devices (mainly NOR flashes) does not allow to stream the image and an error is reported if “installed-directly” is set. The handler can be extended to stream images.

Handlers installable as plugin at runtime

The project supports Lua as script language for pre- and postinstall script. It will be easy to add a way for installing a handler at runtime written in Lua, allowing to expand SWUpdate to the cases not covered in the design phase of a product.

Of course, this issue is related to the security features: it must be ensured that only verified handlers can be added to the system to avoid that malware can get the control of the target.

Current release supports verified images. That means that a handler written in Lua could be now be part of the compound image, because a unauthenticated handler cannot run.

Support for evaluation boards

New is meta-swupdate-boards - examples regarding evaluation boards are put there. Currently, there are examples for Beaglebone Black, Raspberri PI 3 and Wandboard. Maybe some more boards ? Patches welcome.

Backend support (suricatta mode)

Backend: Hawkbit Offline support

There are several discussions on Hawkbit’s ML about how to synchronize an offline update (done locally or via the internal Webserver) with the Hawkbit’s server. Currently, Hawkbit thinks to be the only one deploying software. Hawkbit DDI API should be extended, and afterwards changes must be implemented in SWUpdate.

Backend: Consolidate “general server”

A second OTA server was introduced with 2018.11, but there is not an open source solution for a server. Anyway, the very simple interface of the “general server” can be used by anyone to introduce an own server instead of a more complicate solution with a backend like Hawkbit.

Backend: support for Mender

There was several discussion how to make a stronger collaboration between different update solution and a proposal discussed prevviously is to use SWUpdate as client to upgrade from a Mender server, see BOF at ELCE 2017

Support for multiple Servers simultaneously

Currently, suricatta’s server backends are a mutually exclusive compile-time choice. There is no interest to have multiple OTA at the same time. This feature won’t be implemented and I will remove this from roadmap if no interest will be waked up.

SWUpdate GUI for rescue

In case of rescue for HMI devices, it is often required to have a small GUI for an operator to set some parameters (network,..) and start an update. A first version of SWUpdate-GUI was released with a base set of features. The goal of this simple GUI is to have a low footprint compared to GUI developed with state of art frameworks. This lets to still have a rescue that fits in small devices.

Test and Continuos Integration

The number of configurations and features in SWUpdate is steadily increasing and it becomes urgent to find a way to test all incoming patch to fix regression issues. One step in this direction is the support for Travis build - a set of configuration files is stored with the project and should help to find fast breakages in the build. More in this direction must be done to perform test on targets. A suitable test framework should be found. Scope is to have a “SWUpdate factory” where patches are fast integrated and tested on real hardware.


Documentation should be improved. There is just a little documentation for meta-swupdate how to set it up with different configurations.