Raspberry Pi Firmware and kernel update with rpi-update

Firmware and kernel update with rpi-update on Raspberry Pi

"rpi-update" is a tool with which you can perform a firmware and kernel update on Raspberry Pi. rpi-update is a standalone script that downloads the latest GPU firmware, the bootloader, the Linux kernel with various modules, and the userspace libraries for VideoCoreIV and ARMv6 from Github.
What you need to know about rpi-update!
Attention! There are only a few situations where executing "rpi-update" would be necessary. Especially if you do not know why. There is almost no reason to run a firmware and kernel update with "rpi-update" on a running system. The danger is far too great that after one or the other system is not working properly.
An update via "rpi-update" can be "unstable". That means it's still being developed and that it may be flawed. Once the firmware, bootloader, kernel, and libraries are stable, they are made available via apt-get upgrade and are then officially installable.
Therefore, the general recommendation, keep away from "rpi-update". Unless you know

Perform firmware and kernel update (recommended)
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
For example, a firmware and kernel update comes with the raspberrypi-bootloader package and usually comes with new firmware, a new kernel, and various updated modules and libraries.
Perform firmware and kernel update (not recommended)
Stay away from "rpi-update". Unless you know why you do that.
sudo rpi-udpate
After a kernel update, a reboot is always due.
sudo reboot
Good luck!

If you have accidentally made an "rpi-update" and found out that one or the other does not work anymore, then you have to wait until "apt-get upgrade" offers a stable and flawless upgrade. Or you can downgrade.
If nothing works after a rpi update
  • If a Raspberry Pi does not start up properly after an "rpi update", it can help if you switch to a console with Ctrl + Alt + F2 or F3 or F4. Maybe then you have a chance to perform a downgrade or a rollback.
  • You may also be able to enter the line "start_x = 0" in the file "/boot/config.txt" with a suitable system and then check whether Raspberry Pi starts with the command line.
Only when that does not work, then you have lost. Then you have to play a working image on the memory card.
Undo firmware update (downgrade / rollback)
So much to say, a firmware and kernel update can not just be undone. There is no "undo" feature. However, you have the option of an older and stable version of the firmware and the kernel, if the system is still running.
You have to know which version you want to go back to. Therefore, first look at all the commits that a kernel update provides.
But which one is the right one? The best thing to look for is "kernel: bump to {version number}". Here you pay attention to a version number that ends with an even number. The probability that it is a stable kernel version is very high. If the system is stable then you can upgrade to the current stable kernel with "apt-get upgrade".

What we need now is the full commit number. This is an eternally long number in hexadecimal notation (0..9A..F). You can get that by clicking on the shortcut of the hexadecimal number on the right.

Afterwards, you carry out a firmware and kernel update with this commit number.
sudo rpi-update {commit number}
After a successful kernel update, a restart is necessary.
sudo reboot
Good luck!

If available, you can then try to install the latest executable firmware and kernel version via "apt-get upgrade".
Raspberry Pi
November 18, 2017



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