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The update package

The update package is a package containing files and rules for how to update the system.

System update

The system update checker looks at the merkle root of the system image that the update package has and compares it to the merkle root of the running system. It also checks the merkle root of the update package and compares it to the version that the system update checker last used. If they're different, then something other than the system updater has updated the system.

The system updater reboots the device after a successful system update.

The system update checker periodically fetches the update package using the package resolver and sees if it looks different. If the update package is different, the system triggers a package update.

The system updater is designed such that the process can be interrupted at any time and it does not leave the system in an unbootable or corrupt state.

First, the system updater reads the update_mode file to determine what operations to perform. Then, the board file reads and verifies that there are no misconfigurations. Then, the update package fetches the packages to serve. Finally, the update package writes the kernel images and ensures that vbmeta must be written after the kernel image.

Content of the update package

The structure of the update package, fuchsia-pkg://, contains the following:

  • /board The board name. The updater verifies the contents and does an update only if this value matches the previous board name. This check prevents accidentally attempting to update a device to an unsupported architecture. For example, attempting to update an x64 target to an arm64 build will fail.

  • /bootloader Image of the bootloader firmware. DEPRECATED: please use firmware instead.

  • /epoch.json Epoch that the system cannot downgrade across via OTA. See RFC-0071 for more context. For example:

        "version": "1",
        "epoch": 5
  • /firmware[_<type>] Firmware image. For example: firmware, firmware_bl2, firmware_full. Each device supports a custom set of firmware types, and unsupported types are ignored. This serves two main purposes:

    1. Specifying multiple pieces of firmware; for example, devices which have multiple bootloader stages.
    2. Providing a simple and safe way to transition to new firmware types; it's just a matter of adding the backend paver logic and then putting the new file in the update package.
  • /packages.json JSON-formatted list of merkle-pinned package URLs that belong to the base package set of the target OS image. The update package looks at /packages.json to determine what (and in what order) needs to be updated. For example:

        “version”: “1”,
        “content”: [
  • /version Same format as the /config/build-info/version file.

  • /zbi[.signed] Kernel image. Must not be present if the update-mode is force-recovery. zbi or zbi.signed is required to be present if the update-mode is normal.

  • /zedboot[.signed] Recovery image

  • /meta/contents and /meta/package Metadata files present in all packages.

  • /update_mode.json Optional. If the file is not present, the update-mode is normal. The other option is force-recovery, which writes a recovery image and reboots into it. Any other update-mode value is invalid. For example:

        "version": "1",
        "content": {
            "mode" : "force-recovery"