Updating Raspbian remotely

20th Dec 2018

If you are using a Raspberry Pi with the Raspbian OS, a new way to update it remotely is available!

Robust updates

Today there are some common ways Raspberry Pi users deploy updates to their devices, for example:

  • SSH/scp
  • rsync
  • Unattended apt upgrade

Unfortunately there is quite a bit of cobbling of homegrown scripts and setup required to get these working.

Furthermore, these types of updates are not robust, meaning they could fail in unpredicted ways. The most common failure occurs when you get partial installations due to power/network loss or dependency issues. Will the device boot again, and your application start successfully - or will the device "brick"? Will the update work on some devices, but not all? How would you know?

The benefits of robust updates are well known by experienced embedded engineers, as one often learns from issues in past projects.

With the Mender over-the-air update manager, a robust update process is implemented with atomic dual system update: there is always one working system partition, and Mender updates the one that is not running. You can read more in the Mender: How it works page.

Mender now supports Raspbian - making a robust update process accessible to Raspbian users!

Getting started: Enable robust updates for Raspbian

To get started with robust over-the-air updates for your Raspbian devices, first set up a Mender server. You can sign up for Hosted Mender or set up your own Mender server.

To enable support for Mender in your Raspbian image, follow the tutorial for Raspbian with Mender.

Share your feedback

If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to share them on the Mender community mailing list. We would be happy to hear from you and answer any questions!