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CEO Pete Popov looks back on 2020

As we approach the end of December, it’s time to review a year that we will certainly remember for the rest of our lives. It hasn’t been easy, but all of us at Konsulko Group are still working hard, supporting the open source community and helping our customers build forward-looking products.

Even at the start of 2020, we knew this year would be different. The coronavirus was the talk of CES in January with some companies pulling out at the last minute, and everyone wondering what the global business climate would be in the months ahead.

By the time FOSDEM rolled around a few weeks later, it was clear the virus would disrupt commerce worldwide, and by the end of February, we had to cut short our presence at Embedded World because of new travel restrictions.

Then the world locked down completely. Since at Konsulko Group we all work remotely by design, we didn’t have to adjust our way of developing software, but as it did for everyone, we had to significantly change our face-to-face participation in embedded Linux, Yocto Project and other community events.

We taught ourselves to use video editing tools, and gave “virtual” presentations from our desks at the Embedded Linux Conference North America and Yocto Project Dev Day at the end of June, the virtual Automotive Grade Linux All Member Meeting in mid July, Linaro Connect in September, Virtual ELCE and Yocto Project Virtual Summit Europe at the end of October, and participated in the virtual Automotive Linux Summit the first of December.

In December, we also presented an AGL Webinar, Getting Started with AGL using Raspberry Pi.

Early in the year, we announced that we had become a Mender Authorized Referral Partner, and that important alliance has provided dividends to both Konsulko Group and our customers as the year progressed.

Konsulko engineers continued our series of technical blogs…

Helping Yocto Project work with Python 3

Getting Started with RAUC on Raspberry Pi

How Mender works

Using Rust with Yocto Project

Building a DIY SOHO router, 18 months later

…and we posted six new videos of our presentations:

Building Containers with OpenEmbedded

Highly Scalable Yocto Project Build Automation

Security Hardening with OpenEmbedded / Yocto Project

Open Source License Compliance with Yocto Project

Demo: Using Rust with Yocto Project

Software Update Solutions for Yocto and OpenEmbedded

Still, we have all been touched by the physical and emotional toll of COVID-19. Two of our engineers have endured a bout with the virus (and thankfully recovered). Some of us have family, friends or acquaintances who have become seriously ill or even passed away. We can only hope the post-pandemic world is now in sight.

In the long run, the challenges that 2020 have brought us closer together in many ways, and hopefully taught us valuable lessons that will make us stronger in a better new year.

How Mender works

by Tom Rini, VP Engineering

Software Update solutions are a key part of our services offering. For open source over-the-air updates, we often we recommend and work with mender.io. In fact, Konsulko Group is a Mender Authorized Referral Partner. Recently, a prospective customer expressed an interest in knowing more about how Mender works. Here’s the brief, informal introduction to member.io that I prepared, and now I’m sharing with you.

As a high level starting point, https://mender.io/how-it-works provides a good overview of what’s supported and what it covers. In short, Mender starts off by providing support for a traditional “A/B” approach to system updates, where if the update isn’t marked as valid (and there’s hooks for the application(s) to verify the system before this is done), it’s assumed invalid and the system will roll-back automatically. While “OTA” implies over the network, it can just as easily be done by providing (and validating) a USB key that contains an update.

One of the reasons we recommend Mender is that it has very good in-depth documentation. The starting point for all of that is https://docs.mender.io/2.4/ which covers all of the topic starting from how to implement Mender support in a device and including how to create your own server infrastructure if you don’t want to use their paid service. While there are a number of important pages there, one that I like to highlight is https://docs.mender.io/2.4/artifacts/state-scripts as it shows the state machine for an update and talks about some of the common use cases that come up for user interaction or dealing with failures.

Another place I want to call out is https://docs.mender.io/2.4/devices/update-modules which is also mentioned in the first link. This is how Mender is extended to provide updates for other parts of the system that are not the rootfs itself.  Since updating a Docker container is something that has been mentioned before I want to also note https://hub.mender.io/t/docker/324 as it is a well supported module for this specific case.

I hope you find this information useful. Please contact us if you have specific questions. We’re looking forward to talking to you about your own specific OTA needs.

Now a Mender Authorized Referral Partner

As Embedded Linux pioneers, Konsulko Group is excited to work with Mender.io, a leader in open source over-the-air (OTA) software updates. Konsulko has already completed several successful projects for our customers using Mender end-to-end OTA software update manager. 

As a Mender Authorized Referral Partner we believe we can give our customers robust and secure open source OTA solutions that can be extended for large scale software deployments.

Please contact Konsulko Group directly to see how we can integrate open source over-the-air software updates into your next product.

Please read more on Mender’s blog.