Boot Software Updates on STM32MP1

Boot Artifacts

STM32 TF-A BL2 Image

The TF-A BL2 image is the first boot image loaded by the application processor’s trusted ROM. It is in charge of loading the next-stage images (secure and non-secure) and preliminary initialization of required peripherals:

  • SoC clocks, DRAM
  • Security IPs: memory firewalls, crypto engines
  • Storage (MMC, QSPI etc).

The image is prepended with STM32 header.

It can also be signed using the STM32 Signing tool.

TF-A FIP Image

The Trusted Firmware-A Firmware Image Package (TF-A FIP) the signed FIP-image that contains U-Boot proper (u-boot.bin) and other firmware. This file is verified by TF-A BL2 using RoT HASH (of the public key) in the BL2 device tree blob and public key, which are provided by the FIP image. This artifact may be signed (on closed boards) as a part of CI and can be included automatically in a boot software OTA package.

List of images inside FIP Image container:

  • U-boot-nodtb.bin (U-Boot proper binary)
  • U-boot.dtb (U-Boot device tree)
  • OP-TEE runtime (OP-TEE core, which provides PSCI and secure services)

If the CI signing key has been rotated since the last OTA, update the BL2 verification data prior to trying to boot the new FIP-image.

MMC Boot Image Layout

The location of the boot image depends on what boot media is being used. For eMMC, the initial boot images are flashed to a 0x0 offset of the boot hw partitions.

When using a SD as boot media, boot images of different offsets are used within the same HW partition. For additional details see Flash Layout File (eMMC Boot) and WKS Layout (SD Boot).

Update Procedure

Primary vs Secondary Boot Paths

The STM32MP1 SoC supports booting from two copies of First Stage Boot Loaders:

  • First Stage Boot Loader Copy 1 (FSBL1)
  • First Stage Boot Loader Copy 2 (FSBL2)

Unfortunately, the SoC does not provide any mechanisms for a user to control in runtime what FSBL copy to boot —only the SoC ROM can make this decision based on image authentication/checksum results. As such, the setup for FSBL1 is treated as the primary boot path, with FSBL2 as a recovery path (secondary boot path) in case the authentication/loading of FSBL1 fails.

Libaktualizr and Aktualizr-lite

Libaktualizr and Aktualizr-lite make decisions during the boot phase. Those decisions are listed below, ordered as they appear in the source code:

  1. aktualizr-lite makes the 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. For example, 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 is to be performed.

The U-Boot boot.cmd Script

The following steps represent the boot path from U-Boot’s perspective.

  1. The update is done via the U-Boot boot.cmd (boot.scr) script.
  2. The boot.cmd script checks if the primary path was booted.
  3. In case upgrade_available is set, the script checks if a boot firmware upgrade is needed by looking into bootupgrade_available flag. If both are true, boot firmware images are then obtained from the newly deployed ostree sysroot and written to the primary boot path offsets. Afterwards, bootupgrade_primary_updated is set, and a regular reset signal is issued.
  4. After the reboot, the SoC ROM tries to boot newly updated images from the primary boot path (FSBL1). If image verification fails, it will automatically fall back to FSBL2. When FSBL2 is booted, a rollback procedure will be issued, the previous version of FSBL1 will be restored. If FSBL1 does boot, but bootcount hits bootlimit (meaning the boot procedure has not finished successfully), the rollback procedure will be also issued.
  5. After Linux is booted, Aktualizr-lite confirms a successful update by clearing the upgrade_available flag. At this point, new boot firmware images are already validated. An additional reboot is needed after this step.
  6. After rebooting, U-Boot checks if bootupgrade_primary_updated is set and if upgrade_available is cleared. This means that Aktualizr-lite has confirmed a successful boot, and U-Boot clears bootupgrade_primary_updated flag. Otherwise the bootcount value is incremented.

Adding a new Board


Flash Layout File (eMMC Boot)

To deploy boot images to the destination board, STM32CubeProg is used. This tool uses a special configuration file (with a tsv extension) that contains the eMMC flash layout. For additional details, refer to the official documentation.

As STM32CubeProg does not support defining offsets inside boot0/boot1 hw partitions, TF-A BL2 and FIP are both combined into one image in advance. This is done with correct padding between them, so they are flashed to the correct offsets during STM32CubeProg execution:

$ cp tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-emmc.stm32 combo-emmc-tfa-fip-stm32mp157c-ev1.bin
$ dd if=fip-stm32mp157c-ev1-optee.bin combo-emmc-tfa-fip-stm32mp157c-ev1.bin bs=1024 seek=256 conv=notrunc


Concatenation is done automatically via the recipe.

Example of TSV file:

#Opt Id      Name            Type            IP      Offset          Binary
-    0x01    fsbl-boot       Binary          none    0x0             tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-usb.stm32
-    0x03    fip-boot        Binary          none    0x0             fip-stm32mp157c-ev1-optee.bin
PD   0x04    fsbl1           Binary          mmc1    boot1           combo-emmc-tfa-fip-stm32mp157c-ev1.bin
PD   0x05    fsbl2           Binary          mmc1    boot2           combo-emmc-tfa-fip-stm32mp157c-ev1.bin
PED  0x06    u-boot-env      Binary          mmc1    0x00080000      none
P    0x10    rootfs          System          mmc1    0x00100000      lmp-base-console-image-stm32mp15-eval.ext4

WKS Layout (SD Boot)

In a SD setup, two sets of FSBL images are stored, each with different offsets:

  • FSBL1 17KB
  • FSBL2 256KB

To support both images, the WKS file should be adjusted so that both copies are placed at the correct offsets:

part fsbl1 --source rawcopy --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions "noauto" --part-name=fsbl1 --sourceparams="file=tf-a-stm32mp157c-dk2-sdcard.stm32" --ondisk mmcblk --part-type 0x8301 --fixed-size 256K --align 17
part fsbl2 --source rawcopy --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions "noauto" --part-name=fsbl2 --sourceparams="file=tf-a-stm32mp157c-dk2-sdcard.stm32" --ondisk mmcblk --part-type 0x8301 --fixed-size 256K
part fip1 --source rawcopy --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions "noauto" --part-name=fip-a --sourceparams="file=fip-stm32mp157c-dk2-optee.bin" --ondisk mmcblk --part-type 0x8301 --fixed-size 4096K
part fip2 --source rawcopy --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions "noauto" --part-name=fip-b --sourceparams="file=fip-stm32mp157c-dk2-optee.bin" --ondisk mmcblk --part-type 0x8301 --fixed-size 4096K
part u-boot-env --source empty --part-name=uboot-env --ondisk mmcblk --part-type 0x8301 --fixed-size 16K --align 8192
part / --source otaimage --ondisk mmcblk --fstype=ext4 --align 4096
bootloader --ptable gpt

Testing FSBL Set and Auth Status

After applying the updates from previous steps, we should validate that everything is in place. This consists of two steps:

  • FSBL1 vs FSBL2 detection (primary or secondary path)
  • Obtain board security state (results of FSBL authentication)

To test FSBP copy detection, check the boot\_part variable using U-Boot shell:

STM32MP> print boot_part

To check if the security status of your board is shown correctly, check the boot\_auth variable:

STM32MP> print boot_auth

Possible values are:

  • 0 - No authentication done
  • 1 - Authentication done and failed
  • 2 - Authentication done and success


Currently, LmP uses template-based generation for the final boot.cmd. It’s constructed from common boot files (./meta-lmp-base/recipes-bsp/u-boot/u-boot-ostree-scr-fit/, which contains all 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/stm32mp15-eval/boot.cmd):

echo "Using ${fdtfile}"

# Default boot type and device
setenv bootlimit 3
setenv devtype ${boot_device}
setenv devnum ${boot_instance}
setenv rootpart 2
setenv fit_addr ${ramdisk_addr_r}
setenv fdt_file_final ${fdtfile}
setenv fdt_addr ${fdt_addr_r}

setenv loadaddr ${ramdisk_addr_r}
setenv do_reboot "reset"
setenv check_board_closed 'if test "${boot_auth}" = "2"; then setenv board_is_closed 1; else setenv board_is_closed; fi;'
setenv check_secondary_boot 'if test "${boot_part}" = "2"; then setenv fiovb.is_secondary_boot 1; else setenv fiovb.is_secondary_boot 0; fi;'

# All values are provided in blocks (512 bytes each)
setenv bootloader 0
setenv bootloader2 200
setenv bootloader_size 0x1000
setenv bootloader_s ${bootloader}
setenv bootloader2_s ${bootloader2}
setenv bootloader_image "tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-emmc.stm32"
setenv bootloader_s_image ${bootloader_image}
setenv bootloader2_image "fip-stm32mp157c-ev1-optee.bin"
setenv bootloader2_s_image ${bootloader2_image}

setenv update_image_boot0 'echo "${fio_msg} writing ${image_path} ..."; run set_blkcnt && mmc dev ${devnum} 1 && mmc write ${loadaddr} ${start_blk} ${blkcnt}'

setenv backup_primary_image 'echo "${fio_msg} backing up primary boot image set ..."; mmc dev ${devnum} 1 && mmc read ${loadaddr} ${bootloader} ${bootloader_size} && mmc dev ${devnum} 2 && mmc write ${loadaddr} ${bootloader} ${bootloader_size}'
setenv restore_primary_image 'echo "${fio_msg} restore primary boot image set ..."; mmc dev ${devnum} 2 && mmc read ${loadaddr} ${bootloader} ${bootloader_size} && mmc dev ${devnum} 1 && mmc write ${loadaddr} ${bootloader} ${bootloader_size}'

setenv update_primary_image1 'setenv image_path "${ostree_root}/usr/lib/firmware/${bootloader_s_image}"; setenv start_blk "${bootloader_s}";  run load_image; run update_image_boot0'
setenv update_primary_image2 'setenv image_path "${ostree_root}/usr/lib/firmware/${bootloader2_s_image}"; setenv start_blk "${bootloader2_s}";  run load_image; run update_image_boot0'

setenv update_primary_image 'run update_primary_image1 && run update_primary_image2'


Sysroot and Signed Boot Artifacts

Boot artifacts (TF-A BL2 and FIP) are automatically deployed to sysroot during build time. On closed boards however, where the initial boot image has to be signed in advance by a subscriber private key, there is a way to add a signed binary instead of relying on the automatic inclusion of unsigned boot artifacts.

To do this, copy lmp-boot-firmware.bbappend to your meta-subscriber-overrides layer, adding an updated 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. Versioning convention is up to user, the only requirement is that the version string should be unique and there should not be duplicates.


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://tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-mmc.stm32 \
diff --git a/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware/tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-mmc.stm32 b/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware/tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-mmc.stm32
new file mode 100644
index 0000000..50f5013
Binary files /dev/null and b/recipes-bsp/lmp-boot-firmware/lmp-boot-firmware/tf-a-stm32mp157c-ev1-mmc.stm32 differ