Boot Software Updates on Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC

Boot artifacts

Boot image

Boot image is generated by the bootgen tool. It contains PEK keys (in case secure boot is enabled), Platform Management Unit (PMU) firmware and Secondary Program Loader (SPL), which is obtained from U-Boot build.

U-Boot FIT image

U-boot FIT-image is a generic name for the signed FIT-image that contains U-Boot proper (u-boot.bin) and a host of other firmware. This file is verified by SPL via a public key stored in SPL’s dtb.

  • U-boot-nodtb.bin
  • U-boot.dtb
  • OP-TEE
  • Arm Trusted Firmware (ARMv8)
  • FPGA firmware
  • Boot script (bootscr)

If the CI signing key has been rotated since the last OTA, then we need to also update the SPL.dtb verification data prior to trying to boot the new U-Boot FIT-image.

Boot media

Currently, Boot software updates are supported on both MMC and QSPI boot media, however it requires different boot image layout for these two different cases.

MMC Boot Image Layout

All boot images (both boot.bin and FIT images) are stored in the first FAT partition on MMC with this naming convention:

boot0001.bin       - primary boot image
boot0002.bin       - secondary boot image
u-boot0001.itb     - primary FIT image
u-boot0002.itb     - secondary FIT image

QSPI Boot Image Layout

All boot images (both boot.bin and FIT images) are written as raw images using these predetermined offsets:

0x0                - primary boot.bin
0x60000            - secondary boot.bin
0x100000           - primary u-boot.itb
0xaa0000           - secondary u-boot.itb

Boot Flow


  1. Reset and initialize CSU, prepare for the configuration stage
  2. Release the reset of CSU
  3. Enter a servicing mode


  1. Determine the boot mode
  2. Activate golden image search mechanism
  3. Load a boot image
  4. Perform verification of boot image (in case secure boot is enabled)
  5. Extract SPL and PMU firmware from boot image
  6. Load PMU firmware
  7. Load and jump to SPL


  1. Initialize DDR
  2. Calculate filename (MMC boot)/ QSPI offset for the FIT image
  3. Load U-Boot FIT-image
  4. Perform verification
  5. Extract components
  6. Load FPGA firmware
  7. Jump to ATF / OP-TEE


  1. Perform memory permission setup
  2. Drop to EL-2 non-secure
  3. Jump to OP-TEE


  1. Perform secure world setup
  2. Driver init
  3. Load TAs
  4. Drop to EL-2 secure world
  5. Jump to u-boot.bin


  1. Driver init
  2. Boot script
  3. Load kernel FIT-image
  4. Perform verification
  5. Extract components
  6. Jump to Linux kernel

Update procedure

Primary vs Secondary boot paths

As mentioned in the Golden image search section, the offset which is used by BootROM for loading boot image can be also enforced by the user, which implies that multiple boot image can be stored on the media. This gives a possibility to use A/B approach in the Over-The-Air updates, where A (primary boot path) - represents stable boot image set, and B (secondary boot path) - newly updated not-validated-yet images.

libaktualizr and aktualizr-lite

  1. aktualizr-lite makes decision if boot firmware needs to be updated based on the contents of ${ostree\_root}/usr/lib/firmware/version.txt, where ostree_root is root of newly deployed ostree sysroot. Example of contents: bootfirmware_version=10
  2. After parsing bootfirmware_version, it compares version number with the existing one, which is obtained via fiovb or ubootenv.
  3. If bootfirmware_version from version.txt is higher than existing one, aktualizr-lite sets bootupgrade_available via fiovb or ubootenv.
  4. Reboot should be performed.

U-Boot boot.cmd script

Boot firmware upgrade flow for QSPI boot

Fig. 61 Boot firmware upgrade flow for QSPI boot

  1. Actual update is done via U-Boot boot.cmd script.
  2. boot.cmd script checks if primary path is booted.
  3. In case upgrade_available is set check if boot firmware upgrade is needed is done by looking into bootupgrade_available flag. If both are true, boot firmware images are obtained from newly deployed ostree sysroot and then written to the secondary boot path offsets. After that multi_boot offset value is set and then system reset is issued to enforce BootROM to boot secondary boot path.
  4. After reboot secondary boot path is executed, condition verification from step 2 is being checked again, which this time is not true so just regular boot of Linux is done.
  5. After Linux is booted aktualizr-lite confirms successful update by clearing upgrade_available flag. At this point new boot firmware images are already validated and now they have to be flashed to the stable primary path. Additional reboot is needed after this step.
  6. Regular reset

Add a new board


SPL: FIT filename calculation during MMC boot

U-Boot SPL automatically detects what next image to boot based on CSU_MULTI_BOOT register value. In MMC boot BootROM expects all boot images to be stored on the first FAT partition and we need to boot correct FIT image which corresponds to the multiboot offset. Below is an example of how final filename of FIT image is calculated on ZynqMP SoCs (extract from board/xilinx/zynqmp/zynqmp.c):

int spl_mmc_get_uboot_payload_filename(char *filename, size_t len,
                                       const u32 boot_device)
        int ret;
        u32 multiboot;

        if (!filename)
                return -1;

        multiboot = multi_boot_get();

        if (multiboot)
                ret = snprintf(filename, len, "u-boot%04d.itb", multiboot);
                ret = snprintf(filename, len, "u-boot.itb");

        if (ret < 0) {
                printf("Can't construct SPL payload filename");
                return ret;

        printf("SPL: Booting %s\n", filename);

        return 0;

SPL: FIT offset calculation during QSPI boot

The offset for the FIT image is calculated based on the current value of CSU_MULTI_BOOT register. The multiboot value is multiplied by 0x8000 (32 Kb boundary), and then the final value is used as offset of the raw FIT image on QSPI. Below is an example of how final offset is calculated on ZynqMP SoCs (extract from board/xilinx/zynqmp/zynqmp.c):

unsigned int spl_spi_get_uboot_offs(struct spi_flash *flash)
        int ret;
        u32 multiboot;
        u32 payload_offset = 0;
        u32 boot_image_offset = 0x0;

        multiboot = multi_boot_get();
        boot_image_offset = golden_image_boundary * multiboot;

         * Default values are:
         * Primary boot.bin offset   - 0x0 (multiboot == 0)
         * Secondary boot.bin offset - 0x50000 (multiboot == 10,
         *                             as 10 * 32KB == 0x50000)
        if (boot_image_offset == CONFIG_SYS_SPI_BOOT_IMAGE_OFFS) {
                payload_offset = CONFIG_SYS_SPI_U_BOOT_OFFS;
        } else if (boot_image_offset == CONFIG_SYS_SPI_BOOT_IMAGE_OFFS2) {
                payload_offset = CONFIG_SYS_SPI_U_BOOT_OFFS2;
        } else {
                printf("Invalid value of multiboot register, value = %d\n",

        printf("SPL: Booting next image from 0x%x SPI offset\n",

        return payload_offset;


lmp.cfg files (QSPI boot)

To enable support of multiboot suppart adjust regular lmp.cfg of your board. These config options should be added:


These values correspond to the offsets of primary and secondary boot image sets (boot.bin and u-boot.itb).

Pre-load boot.cmd by SPL

As boot.cmd script depends on U-Boot cmds for booting Linux, it should be aligned with U-Boot version. By default in regular setups without boot firmware update support boot.cmd is stored in first FAT partition in eMMC/SD. So to get boot.cmd updates together with other boot software images, it should be moved from FAT partition to U-Boot FIT image. To do that edit adding this line for your board:

BOOTSCR_LOAD_ADDR:sota = "0x21000000"

This change will include Linux boot.cmd into U-Boot FIT image alongside with TF-A/OP-TEE/U-Boot proper/U-Boot dtb images. When SPL parses U-Boot FIT image (u-boot.itb) will pre-load boot.itb (compiled and wrapped boot.cmd) to the address specified in BOOTSCR_LOAD_ADDR variable.

To let U-Boot know where to take boot script from, you should also adjust CONFIG_BOOTCOMMAND param in your U-Boot lmp.cfg of your board.

CONFIG_BOOTCOMMAND="setenv verify 1; source 0x44800000; reset"

Test basic API

After applying all updates from previous steps, we should validate that everything is in place. Basically this consists of two basic steps:

  • multi_boot U-Boot cmd is functional
  • Obtain board security state (open/closed states)

So to test booting primary/secondary boot path use these two U-Boot commands multi_boot and reset.

Example of test:

U-Boot SPL 2022.01+xlnx+g9039256f80 (Jan 24 2022 - 14:57:34 +0000)
Chip ID:    zu3eg
Multiboot:  0
Trying to boot from SPI
SPL: Booting next image from 0x100000 SPI offset
ZynqMP> multi_boot 12 && reset
Set multiboot offset to:    12
resetting ...

U-Boot SPL 2022.01+xlnx+g9039256f80 (Jan 24 2022 - 14:57:34 +0000)
Multiboot:  12
Trying to boot from SPI
SPL: Booting next image from 0xaa0000 SPI offset

From output you can see that after setting secondary boot (multi_boot 12) and performing reset, BootROM boots images from secondary boot path (SPL: Booting next image from 0xaa0000 SPI offset).

To check if the security status of your board is detected correctly, use is_boot_authenticated command:

ZynqMP> is_boot_authenticated
Board is in open state


Currently LmP uses template-based way of generation of final boot.cmd. It’s constructed from common boot files (./meta-lmp-base/recipes-bsp/u-boot/u-boot-ostree-scr-fit/, which contains SoC agnostic DEFINEs and common functionality, and board specific boot.cmd, which is included

Example of board boot.cmd (./meta-lmp-bsp/recipes-bsp/u-boot/u-boot-ostree-scr-fit/uz/boot.cmd):

# set default fdt_file
setenv fdt_file system-top.dtb
echo "Using ${fdt_file}"

# Default boot type and device
setenv bootlimit 3
setenv devtype mmc
setenv devnum ${bootseq}
setenv bootpart 1
setenv rootpart 2

setenv loadaddr 0x10000000
setenv fdt_addr 0x40000000
setenv optee_ovl_addr 0x22000000
setenv fdt_file_final ${fdt_file}
setenv fit_addr ${ramdisk_addr_r}

setenv bootloader_image "boot.bin"
setenv bootloader_s_image ${bootloader_image}
setenv bootloader2_image "u-boot.itb"
setenv bootloader2_s_image ${bootloader2_image}

setenv check_board_closed "is_boot_authenticated"
setenv check_secondary_boot "multi_boot"

# Boot images (primary and secondary)
setenv bootloader_image_update 'boot0001.bin'
setenv bootloader_s_image_update 'boot0002.bin'

# FIT image (primary and secondary)
setenv bootloader2_image_update 'u-boot0001.itb'
setenv bootloader2_s_image_update 'u-boot0002.itb'

setenv set_primary_boot "multi_boot 1"
setenv set_secondary_boot "multi_boot 2"

# Writing images
run setup_update
setenv update_primary_image 'echo "${fio_msg} writing ${image_path} ..."; setenv run_update "${update_cmd} ${bootloader_image_update} ${filesize}"; run run_update'
setenv update_secondary_image 'echo "${fio_msg} writing ${image_path} ..."; setenv run_update "${update_cmd} ${bootloader_s_image_update} ${filesize}"; run run_update'
setenv update_primary_image2 'echo "${fio_msg} writing ${image_path} ..."; setenv run_update "${update_cmd} ${bootloader2_image_update} ${filesize}"; run run_update'
setenv update_secondary_image2 'echo "${fio_msg} writing ${image_path} ..."; setenv run_update "${update_cmd} ${bootloader2_s_image_update} ${filesize}"; run run_update'


sysroot and signed boot artifacts

All boot artifacts (boot.bin and U-Boot FIT) are automatically deployed to sysroot during build time, however on closed boards, where initial boot image has to be signed in advance by a subscriber’s private key, there is way to add signed binary instead of automatic inclusion of unsigned boot artifacts.

To do that just lmp-boot-firmware.bbappend to your meta-subscriber-overrides layer, adding proper value of PV (boot firmware version, which will be automatically added to ${osroot}/usr/lib/firmware/version.txt file), path to signed binary and signed binary itself.


diff --git a/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware.bbappend b/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware.bbappend
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..6c11380
--- /dev/null
+++ b/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware.bbappend
@@ -0,0 +1,7 @@
+PV = "1"
+SRC_URI = " \
+       file://SPL \
diff --git a/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware/SPL b/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware/SPL
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..50f5013
Binary files /dev/null and b/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware/SPL differ

Deploy boot images to QSPI flash

If QSPI is chosen as the main boot media in your device design, you can use U-Boot (loaded via serial console mode or from another boot media) shell for image provisioning to corresponding offsets on QSPI:

ZynqMP> sf probe; setenv loadaddr 0x8000000; mmc dev ${bootseq}; fatload mmc ${bootseq}:1 ${loadaddr} boot0001.bin; sf update ${loadaddr} 0x0 ${filesize}; sf update ${loadaddr} 0x60000 ${filesize}; fatload mmc ${bootseq}:1 ${loadaddr} u-boot0001.itb; sf update ${loadaddr} 0x100000 ${filesize}; sf update ${loadaddr} 0xaa0000 ${filesize};
SF: Detected n25q256ax1 with page size 512 Bytes, erase size 128 KiB, total 64 MiB
switch to partitions #0, OK
mmc1 is current device
280752 bytes read in 37 ms (7.2 MiB/s)
device 0 offset 0x0, size 0x448b0
0 bytes written, 280752 bytes skipped in 0.405s, speed 709851 B/s
device 0 offset 0x60000, size 0x448b0
0 bytes written, 280752 bytes skipped in 0.405s, speed 709851 B/s
7179209 bytes read in 505 ms (13.6 MiB/s)
device 0 offset 0x100000, size 0x6d8bc9
0 bytes written, 7179209 bytes skipped in 7.433s, speed 1025601 B/s
device 0 offset 0xaa0000, size 0x6d8bc9
0 bytes written, 7179209 bytes skipped in 7.433s, speed 1025601 B/s