6. Integration

If you intend to prepare your platform for using RAUC as an update framework, this chapter will guide you through the required steps and show the different ways you can choose.

To integrate RAUC, you first need to be able to build RAUC as both a host and a target application. The host application is needed for generating update bundles while the target application or service performs the core task of RAUC: updating you device.

In an update system, a lot of components have to play together and have to be configured appropriately to interact correctly. In principle, these are:

  • Hardware setup, devices, partitions, etc.
  • The bootloader
  • The Linux kernel
  • The init system
  • System utilities (mount, mkfs, …)
  • The update tool, RAUC itself


When integrating RAUC into your embedded Linux system, and in general, we highly recommend using a Linux system build system like Yocto / OpenEmbedded or PTXdist that allows you to have well defined software states while easing integration of the different components involved.

For information about how to integrate RAUC using these tools, refer to the sections Yocto or PTXdist.

6.1. RAUC System Configuration

The system configuration file is the central configuration in RAUC that abstracts the loosely coupled storage setup, partitioning and boot strategy of your board to a coherent redundancy setup world view for RAUC.

RAUC expects its central configuration file /etc/rauc/system.conf to describe the system it runs on in a way that all relevant information for performing updates and making decisions are given.


For a full reference of the system.conf file refer to section System Configuration File.

Similar to other configuration files used by RAUC, the system configuration uses a key-value syntax (similar to those known from .ini files).

6.1.1. Slot Configuration

The most important step is to describe the slots that RAUC should use when performing updates. Which slots are required and what you have to take care of when designing your system will be covered in the chapter Scenarios. This section assumes that you have already decided on a setup and want to describe it for RAUC.

A slot is defined by a slot section. The naming of the section must follow a simple format: [slot.<slot-class>.<slot-index>] where <slot-class> describes a class of possibly multiple redundant slots (such as rootfs, recovery or appfs) and slot-index is the index of the individual slot instance, starting with index 0.

If you have two redundant slots used for the root file system, for example, you should name your sections according to this example:

device = [...]

device = [...]

RAUC does not have predefined class names. The only requirement is that the class names used in the system config match those you later use in the update manifests.

The mandatory settings for each slot are:

  • the device that holds the (device) path describing where the slot is located,
  • the type that defines how to update the target device.

If the slot is bootable, then you also need

  • the bootname which is the name the bootloader uses to refer to this slot device. Slot Type

A list of slot storage types currently supported by RAUC:

Type Description Tar support
raw A partition holding no (known) file system. Only raw image copies may be performed.  
ext4 A block device holding an ext4 filesystem. x
nand A raw NAND partition.  
ubivol An UBI partition in NAND.  
ubifs An UBI volume containing an UBIFS in NAND. x
vfat A block device holding a vfat filesystem.. x Grouping Slots

If multiple slots belong together in a way that they always have to be updated together with the respective other slots, you can ensure this by grouping slots.

A group must always have a single bootable slot, then all other slots define a parent relationship to this bootable slot as follows:


parent = rootfs.0


parent = rootfs.1

6.2. Kernel Configuration

The kernel used on the target device must support both loop block devices and the SquashFS file system to allow installing RAUC bundles.

In kernel Kconfig you have to enable the following options:


6.3. Required Target Tools

RAUC requires and uses a set of target tools depending on the type of supported storage and used image type.

Note that build systems may handle parts of these dependencies automatically, but also in this case you will have to select some of them manually as RAUC cannot fully know how you intend to use your system.

NAND Flash:

nandwrite (from mtd-utils)


mkfs.ubifs (from mtd-utils)

TAR archives:

You may either use GNU tar or Busybox tar.

If you intend to use Busybox tar, make sure format autodetection and also the compression formats you use are enabled:


mkfs.ext2/3/4 (from e2fsprogs)


mkfs.vfat (from dosfstools)

6.4. Interfacing with the Bootloader

RAUC provides support for interfacing with different types of bootloaders. To select the bootloader you have or intend to use on your system, set the bootloader key in the [system] section of your device’s system.conf.


If in doubt about choosing the right bootloader, we recommend to use Barebox as it provides a dedicated boot handling framework, called bootchooser.

To let RAUC handle a bootable slot, you have to mark it as bootable in your system.conf and configure the name under which the bootloader identifies this specific slot. This is both done by setting the bootname property.


6.4.1. Barebox

The Barebox bootloader, which is available for many common embedded platforms, provides a dedicated boot source selection framework, called bootchooser, backed by an atomic and redundant storage backend, named state.

Barebox state allows you to save the variables required by bootchooser with memory specific storage strategies in all common storage medias, such as block devices, mtd (NAND/NOR), EEPROM, and UEFI variables.

The Bootchooser framework maintains information about priority and remaining boot attemps while being configurable on how to deal with them for different strategies.

To enable the Barebox bootchooser support in RAUC, select it in your system.conf:

bootloader=barebox Configure Barebox

As mentioned above, Barebox support requires you to have the bootchooser framework with barebox state backend enabled. In Barebox’ Kconfig you can enable this by setting:


To debug and interact with bootchooser and state in Barebox, you should also enable these tools:

CONFIG_CMD_BOOTCHOOSER=y Setup Barebox Bootchooser

The barebox bootchooser framework allows you to specify a number of redundant boot targets that should be automatically selected by an algorithm, based on status information saved for each boot target.

The bootchooser itself can be used as a Barebox boot target. This is where we start by setting the barebox default boot target to bootchooser:

nv boot.default="bootchooser"

Now, when Barebox is initialized it starts the bootchooser logic to select its real boot target.

As a next step, we need to tell bootchooser which boot targets it should handle. These boot targets can have descriptive names which must not equal any of your existing boot targets, we will have a mapping for this later on.

In this example we call the virtual bootchooser boot targets system0 and system1:

nv bootchooser.targets="system0 system1"

Now connect each of these virtual boot targets to a real Barebox boot target (one of its automagical ones or custom boot scripts):

nv bootchooser.system0.boot="nand0.ubi.system0"
nv bootchooser.system1.boot="nand0.ubi.system1"

To configure bootchooser to store the variables in Barebox state, you need to configure the state_prefix:

nv bootchooser.state_prefix="state.bootstate"

Beside this very basic configuration variables, you need to set up a set of other general and slot-specific variables.


It is highly recommended to read the full Barebox bootchooser documentation in order to know about the requirements and possibilities in fine-tuning the behavior according to your needs.

Also make sure to have these nv settings in your compiled-in environment, not in your device-local environment. Setting up Barebox State for Bootchooser

For storing its status information, the botchooser framework requires a barebox,state instance to be set up with a set of variables matching the set of virtual boot targets defined.

To allow loading the state information in a well-defined format both from Barebox and from the kernel, we store the state data format definition in the Barebox devicetree.

Barebox fixups the information into the Linux devicetree when loading the kernel. This assures having a consistent view on the variables in Barebox and Linux.

An example devicetree node for our simple redundant setup will have the following basic structure:

state {
  bootstate {
    system0 {
    system1 {

In the state node, we set the appropriate compatible to tell the barebox,state driver to care for it and define where and how we want to store our data. This will look similar to this:

state: state {
        magic = <0x4d433230>;
        compatible = "barebox,state";
        backend-type = "raw";
        backend = <&state_storage>;
        backend-stridesize = <0x40>;
        backend-storage-type = "circular";
        #address-cells = <1>;
        #size-cells = <1>;


where <&state_storage> is a phandle to, e.g. an EEPROM or NAND partition.


The devicetree only defines where and in which format the data will be stored. By default, no data will be stored in the deviectree itself!

The rest of the variable set definition will be made in the bootstate subnode.

For each virtual boot target handled by state, two uint32 variables remaining_attempts and priority need to be defined.:

bootstate {

        system0 {
                #address-cells = <1>;
                #size-cells = <1>;

                remaining_attempts@0 {
                        reg = <0x0 0x4>;
                        type = "uint32";
                        default = <3>;
                priority@4 {
                        reg = <0x4 0x4>;
                        type = "uint32";
                        default = <20>;



As the example shows, you must also specify some useful default variables the state driver will load in case of uninitialized backend storage.

Additionally one single variable for storing information about the last chosen boot target is required:

bootstate {


        last_chosen@10 {
                reg = <0x10 0x4>;
                type = "uint32";


This example shows only a highly condensed excerpt of setting up Barebox state for bootchooser. For a full documentation on how Barebox state works and how to properly integrate it into your platform see the official Barebox State Framework user documentation as well as the corresponding devicetree binding reference!

You can verify your setup by calling devinfo state from Barebox, which would print this for example:

barebox@board:/ devinfo state
bootstate.last_chosen: 2 (type: uint32)
bootstate.system0.priority: 10 (type: uint32)
bootstate.system0.remaining_attempts: 3 (type: uint32)
bootstate.system1.priority: 20 (type: uint32)
bootstate.system1.remaining_attempts: 3 (type: uint32)
dirty: 0 (type: bool)
save_on_shutdown: 1 (type: bool)

Once you have set up bootchooser properly, you finally need to enable RAUC to interact with it. Enable Accessing Barebox State for RAUC

For this, you need to specify which (virtual) boot target belongs to which of the RAUC slots you defined. You do this by assigning the virtual boot target name to the slots bootname property:



For writing the bootchooser’s state variables from userspace, RAUC uses the tool barebox-state from the dt-utils repository.


RAUC requires dt-utils version v2017.03 or later!

Make sure to have this tool integrated on your target platform. You can verify your setup by calling it manually:

# barebox-state -d
bootstate.last_chosen=2 Verify Boot Slot Detection

As detecting the currently booted rootfs slot from userspace and matching it to one of the slots defined in RAUC’s system.conf is not always trivial and error-prone, Barebox provides an explicit information about which slot it selected for booting adding a bootchooser.active key to the commandline of the kernel it boots. This key has the virtual bootchooser boot target assigned. In our case, if the bootchooser logic decided to boot system0 the kernel commandline will contain:


RAUC uses this information for detecting the active boot slot (based on the slot’s bootname property).

If the kernel commandline of your booted system contains this line, you have successfully set up bootchooser to boot your slot:

$ cat /proc/cmdline

6.4.2. U-Boot

To enable handling of redundant booting in U-Boot, manual scripting is required. U-Boot allows storing and modifying variables in its Envionment. Properly configured it can be accessed both from U-Boot itself as well as from Linux userspace.

The RAUC U-Boot boot selection implementation uses a custom U-Boot script together with the environment for managing and persisting slot selection.

To enable U-Boot support in RAUC, select it in your system.conf:

bootloader=uboot Set up U-Boot Environment for RAUC

The U-Boot bootloader interface of RAUC will rely on setting the U-Boot environment variables:

  • BOOT_ORDER, which will contain a space-separated list of boot targets in the order they should be tried.
  • BOOT_<bootname>_LEFT, which contains the number of remaining boot attempts to perform for the respective slot.

An example U-Boot script for handling redundant A/B boot setups is located in the contrib/ folder of the RAUC source repository (contrib/uboot.sh).

You must integrate your boot selection script into U-Boot. Refer the U-Boot Scripting Capabilities chapter in the U-Boot user documentation on how to achieve this.

The script uses the names A and B as the bootname for the two different boot targets. Thus the resulting boot attempts variables will be BOOT_A_LEFT and BOOT_B_LEFT. The BOOT_ORDER variable will contain A B if A is the primary slot or B A if B is the primary slot.


If you want to implement different behavior or use other variable names, you might need to modify the uboot_set_state() and uboot_set_primary() functions in src/bootchooser.c. Enable Accessing U-Boot Environment from Userspace

To enable reading and writing of the U-Boot environment from Linux userspace, you need to have:

  • U-Boot target tools fw_printenv and fw_setenv available on your devices rootfs.
  • Environment configuration file /etc/fw_env.config in your target root filesystem.

See the corresponding HowTo section from the U-Boot documentation for more details on how to set up the environment config file for your device. Support for Fail-Safe Environment Update

For atomic updates of environment, U-Boot can use redundant environment storages that allow to write one copy while using the other as fallback if writing fails, e.g. due to sudden power cut.

In order to enable redundant environment storage, you have to set in your U-Boot config:


Refer to U-Boot source code and README for more details on this.

6.4.3. GRUB


To enable handling of redundant booting in GRUB, manual scripting is required.

The GRUB bootloader interface of RAUC uses the GRUB environment variables <bootname>_OK, <bootname>_TRY and ORDER.

To enable reading and writing of the GRUB environment, you need to have the tool grub-editenv available on your target.

An exemplary GRUB configuration for handling redundant boot setups is located in the contrib/ folder of the RAUC source repository (grub.conf). As the GRUB shell only has limited support for scripting, this example uses only one try per enabled slot.

6.4.4. EFI

For x86 systems that directly boot via EFI/UEFI, RAUC supports interaction with EFI boot entries by using the efibootmgr tool. To enable EFI bootloader support in RAUC, write in your system.conf:


To set up a system ready for pure EFI-based redundancy boot without any further bootloader or initramfs involved, you have to create an appropriate partition layout and matching boot EFI entries.

Assuming a simple A/B redundancy, you would need:

  • 2 redundant EFI partitions holding an EFI stub kernel (e.g. at EFI/LINUX/BZIMAGE.EFI)
  • 2 redundant rootfs partitions

To create boot entries for these, use the efibootmgr tool:

efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sdaX --part 1 --label "system0" --loader \\EFI\\LINUX\\BZIMAGE.EFI --unicode "root=PARTUUID=<partuuid-of-part-1>"
efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sdaX --part 2 --label "system1" --loader \\EFI\\LINUX\\BZIMAGE.EFI --unicode "root=PARTUUID=<partuuid-of-part-2>"

where you replace /dev/sdaX with the name of the disk you use for redundancy boot, <partuuid-of-part-1> with the PARTUUID of the first rootfs partition and <partuuid-of-part-2> with the PARTUUID of the second rootfs partition.

You can inspect and verify your settings by running:

efibootmgr -v

In your system.conf, you have to list both the EFI partitions (each containing one kernel) as well as the rootfs partitions. Make the first EFI partition a child of the first rootfs partition and the second EFI partition a child of the second rootfs partition to have valid slot groups. Set the rootfs slot bootnames to those we have defined with the --label argument in the efibootmgr call above:





6.4.5. Others

It is planned to add support for a custom boot selection implementation that will allow you to use also non-conventional or yet unimplemented approaches for selecting your boot slot.

6.5. Init System and Service Startup

There are several ways to run the RAUC service on your target. The recommended way is to use a systemd-based system and allow to start RAUC via D-Bus activation.

You can start the RAUC service manually by executing:

$ rauc service

6.5.1. Systemd Integration

When building RAUC, a default systemd rauc.service file will be generated in the data/ folder.

Depending on your configuration make install will place this file in one of your system’s service file folders.

It is a good idea to wait for the system to be fully started before marking it as succesfully booted. In order to achieve this, a smart solution is to create a systemd service that calls rauc status mark-good and use systemd’s dependency handling to assure this service will not be executed before all relevant other services came up successfully. It could look similar to this:

Description=RAUC Good-marking Service

ExecStart=/usr/bin/rauc status mark-good


6.6. D-Bus Integration

The D-Bus interface RAUC provides makes it easy to integrate it into your custom application. In order to allow sending data, make sure the D-Bus config file de.pengutronix.rauc.conf from the data/ dir gets installed properly.

To only start RAUC when required, using D-Bus activation is a smart solution. In order to enable D-Bus activation, properly install the D-Bus service file de.pengutronix.rauc.service from the data/ dir.

6.7. Watchdog Configuration

Detecting system hangs during runtime requires to have a watchdog and to have the watchdog configured and handled properly. Systemd provides a sophisticated watchdog multiplexing and handling allowing you to configure separate timeouts and handlings for each of your services.

To enable it, you need at least to have these lines in your systemd configuration:


6.8. Yocto

Yocto support for using RAUC is provided by the meta-rauc layer.

The layer supports building RAUC both for the target as well as as a host tool. With the bundle.bbclass it provides a mechanism to specify and build bundles directly with the help of Yocto.

For more information on how to use the layer, also see the layers README file.

6.8.1. Target System Setup

Add the meta-rauc layer to your setup:

git submodule add git@github.com:rauc/meta-rauc.git

Add the RAUC tool to your image recipe (or package group):

IMAGE_INSTALL_append = "rauc"

Append the RAUC recipe from your BSP layer (referred to as meta-your-bsp in the following) by creating a meta-your-bsp/recipes-core/rauc/rauc_%.bbappend with the following content:

FILESEXTRAPATHS_prepend := "${THISDIR}/files:"

SRC_URI_append := "file://system.conf"

Write a system.conf for your board and place it in the folder you mentioned in the recipe (meta-your-bsp/recipes-core/rauc/files). This file must provide a system compatible string to identify your system type, as well as a definition of all slots in your system. By default, the system configuration will be placed in /etc/rauc/system.conf on your target rootfs.

For a reference of allowed configuration options in system.conf, see System Configuration File. For a more detailed instruction on how to write a system.conf, see RAUC System Configuration.

6.8.2. Using RAUC on the Host System

The RAUC recipe allows to compile and use RAUC on your host system. Having RAUC available as a host tool is useful for debugging, testing or for creating bundles manually. For the preferred way of creating bundles automatically, see the chapter Bundle Generation. In order to compile RAUC for your host system, simply run:

bitbake rauc-native

This will place a copy of the RAUC binary in tmp/deploy/tools in your current build folder. To test it, try:

tmp/deploy/tools/rauc --version

6.8.3. Bundle Generation

Bundles can be created either manually by building and using RAUC as a native tool, or by using the bundle.bbclass that handles most of the basic steps, automatically.

First, create a bundle recipe in your BSP layer. A possible location for this could be meta-your-bsp/recipes-core/bundles/update-bundle.bb.

To create your bundle you first have to inherit the bundle class:

inherit bundle

To create the manifest file, you may either use the built-in class mechanism, or provide a custom manifest.

For using the built-in bundle generation, you need to specify some variables:

Sets the compatible string for the bundle. This should match the compatible you specified in your system.conf or, more generally, the compatible of the target platform you intend to install this bundle on.
Use this to list all slot classes for which the bundle should contain images. A value of "rootfs appfs" for example will create a manifest with images for two slot classes; rootfs and appfs.
For each slot class, set this to the image (recipe) name which builds the artifact you intend to place in the slot class.
For each slot class, set this to the type of image you intend to place in this slot. Possible types are: rootfs (default), kernel, bootloader.

Based on this information, your bundle recipe will build all required components and generate a bundle from this. The created bundle can be found in tmp/deploy/images/<machine>/bundles in your build directory.

6.9. PTXdist


RAUC support in PTXdist is available since version 2017.04.0.

6.9.1. Integration into Your RootFS Build

To enable building RAUC for your target, set:


in your ptxconfig (by selection RAUC via ptxdist menuconfig).

You should also customize the compatible RAUC uses for your System. For this set CONFIG_RAUC_COMPATIBLE to a string that uniquely identifies your device type. The default value will be "${PTXCONF_PROJECT_VENDOR}\ ${PTXCONF_PROJECT}".

Place your system configuration file in configs/platform-<yourplatform>/projectroot/etc/rauc/system.conf to let the RAUC package install it into the rootfs you build. Also place the keyring for your device in configs/platform-<yourplatform>/projectroot/etc/rauc/ca.cert.pem.


You should use your local PKI infrastructure for generating valid certificates and keys for your target. For debugging and testing purpose, PTXdist provides a script that generates a set of example certificates. It is named rauc-gen-test-certs.sh and located in PTXdist’s scripts folder.

If using systemd, the recipes install both the default systemd.service file for RAUC as well as a rauc-mark-good.service file. This additional good-marking-service runs after user space is brought up and notifies the underlying bootloader implementation about a successful boot of the system. This is typically used in conjunction with a boot attempts counter in the bootloader that is decremented before starting the system and reset by rauc status mark-good to indicate a successful system startup.

6.9.2. Create Update Bundles from your RootFS

To enable building RAUC bundles, set:


in your platformconfig (by using ptxdist platformconfig).

This adds a default image recipe for building a RAUC update bundle out of the system’s rootfs. As for all image recipes, the genimage tool is used to configure and generate the update bundle.

PTXdist’s default bundle configuration is placed in config/images/rauc.config. You may also copy this to your platform directory to use this as a base for custom bundle configuration.

In order to sign your update (mandatory) you also need to place a valid certificate and key file in your BSP at the following paths:

$(PTXDIST_PLATFORMCONFIGDIR)/config/rauc/rauc.key.pem (key)
$(PTXDIST_PLATFORMCONFIGDIR)/config/rauc/rauc.cert.pem (cert)

Once you are done with your setup, PTXdist will automatically create a RAUC update bundle for you during the run of ptxdist images. It will be placed under <platform-builddir>/images/update.raucb.