Intel Readies “PFRUT” for Linux 5.17 will allow BIOS update without rebooting

A few months ago, it was reported that Intel is developing a new technology called “Intel Seamless Update” to implement firmware updates without rebooting. The reason why Intel does this is that some target customers’ hosts need to be updated frequently, which may be bug fixes, security fixes, or performance enhancements, but they usually have to be restarted. Each time may cause a few minutes of service interruption, which brings great inconvenience to operation and maintenance.

According to Phoronix reports, a new Intel open-source project was recently discovered in Linux version 5.17, the content of which was previously exposed for BIOS update without rebooting. Intel open-source engineers have prepared “PFRUT” support for the platform, allowing this type of operation, which is part of the current ACPI specification. It is understood that this function is unique to the server for the time being, but it may appear in the consumer field and Windows PCs in the future.

The working method of PFRUT is very similar to the general way of updating the BIOS through Windows or Linux. The update process is completed through the operating system instead of directly through the system BIOS. If PFRUT is used, the operating system will be responsible for performing the entire update process. For a normal BIOS update, Windows or Linux is only responsible for uploading the BIOS and preparing before the reboot to transfer the new BIOS to the motherboard for an update.

I’m not sure for the time being whether there are necessary hardware requirements to support PFRUT, maybe only a PFRUT driver is needed. Intel has added these drivers to the Linux update plan and plans to use them in the Linux 5.17 kernel. Earlier news indicated that this feature may also be introduced with the Sapphire Rapids processor.