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TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Largest Digital TV Trade Magazine
— 03-04/2013
Firmware for
the AZBox ME
and MiniMe
Vitor Martins Augusto
FEATURE
AZBox ME Receiver Software
There is a large and very
active community of software
developers for the AZBox,
which means owners of any
variant of the AZBox range are
blessed with a huge variety of
different firmware versions to
try out. Yet, many questions
beg for an answer before we
start tinkering with firmware.
Can any firmware be used on
any AZBox model? What’s the
difference between different
firmware versions in the first
place? Which special functions
do they offer? This part of our
AZBox series deals with all
those topics and also discusses
difficulties you may encounter
with firmware experiments. To
start with, please remember
that you cannot just select any
firmware for your AZBox and
expect it to work like a charm.
Why is that?
Well, even though the AZ-
Box ME can store up to three
independent firmware ver-
sions in its flash memory (two
versions for the AZBox Mini-
Me), all of them have to share
one joint kernel. So what’s all
that talk about firmware and
kernel? Keep reading to find
out!
Each Linux operating sys-
tem is made up of three dis-
tinct components: boot loader,
kernel and user interface. Eve-
ry time a Linux-based receiver
like the AZBox is turned on,
the boot loader is launched at
first. Its main jobs are check-
ing and initialising the hard-
ware so that the kernel can
then be loaded. This so-called
kernel is the actual centrepiece
of the operating system and it
features all vital functions that
breathe life into the computer
or – as in our case – the re-
ceiver. One thing the kernel
does not provide, however, is a
direct interface between user
and machine. This is the job
of the operating system. To
complicate things further, the
name Linux actually only re-
fers to the kernel, even though
the different Linux distribu-
tions sharing the same kernel
are also called that way…
Let’s try now to clear things
up a little. The kernel is de-
veloped completely indepen-
dently from the Linux distri-
butions and from time to time
new kernel versions are made
available for Linux receivers.
Yet, these are of no use to
owners of those receivers un-
til developers of new firmware
distributions use the new ker-
nel as the core of their firm-
ware. What’s the reason for
new kernels in the first place?
The same as for any updated
piece of software – new func-
tions and bug fixes. As far as
the AZBox is concerned, how-
Update
1. The boot loader menu
for firmware updates starts
automatically when the receiver
ist started with an inserted USB
memory that contains a valid
firmware update.
2. The firmware update
normally contains a kernel
and the operating system. It
is possible to just update the
kernel.
3. Never turn off the receiver
during a flashing process. But
you can relax – the AZbox Me
and MiniMe have a recovery
function. If the flashing is
interrupted (i.e. due to a power
failure), you can just boot a
recovery image!
4. Make sure to get the right
file...
5. … and this time, do not
interrupt the process,
otherwise you will not be able
to use the remote controller.
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