File System Firmware Loader

This is file system firmware loader for U-Boot framework, which has very close to some Linux Firmware API. For the details of Linux Firmware API, you can refer to

File system firmware loader can be used to load whatever(firmware, image, and binary) from the storage device in file system format into target location such as memory, then consumer driver such as FPGA driver can program FPGA image from the target location into FPGA.

To enable firmware loader, CONFIG_FS_LOADER need to be set at <board_name>_defconfig such as “CONFIG_FS_LOADER=y”.

Firmware Loader API core features

Firmware storage device described in device tree source

For passing data like storage device phandle and partition where the firmware loading from to the firmware loader driver, those data could be defined in fs-loader node as shown in below:

Example for block device:

fs_loader0: fs-loader {
        compatible = "u-boot,fs-loader";
        phandlepart = <&mmc 1>;

<&mmc 1> means block storage device pointer and its partition.

Above example is a description for block storage, but for UBI storage device, it can be described in FDT as shown in below:

Example for ubi:

fs_loader1: fs-loader {
        compatible = "u-boot,fs-loader";
        mtdpart = "UBI",
        ubivol = "ubi0";

Then, firmware-loader property can be added with any device node, which driver would use the firmware loader for loading.

The value of the firmware-loader property should be set with phandle of the fs-loader node. For example:

firmware-loader = <&fs_loader0>;

If there are majority of devices using the same fs-loader node, then firmware-loader property can be added under /chosen node instead of adding to each of device node.

For example:

        chosen {
                firmware-loader = <&fs_loader0>;

In each respective driver of devices using firmware loader, the firmware loaded instance should be created by DT phandle.

For example of getting DT phandle from /chosen and creating instance:

chosen_node = ofnode_path("/chosen");
if (!ofnode_valid(chosen_node)) {
        debug("/chosen node was not found.\n");
        return -ENOENT;

phandle_p = ofnode_get_property(chosen_node, "firmware-loader", &size);
if (!phandle_p) {
        debug("firmware-loader property was not found.\n");
        return -ENOENT;

phandle = fdt32_to_cpu(*phandle_p);
ret = uclass_get_device_by_phandle_id(UCLASS_FS_FIRMWARE_LOADER,
                                     phandle, &dev);
if (ret)
        return ret;

Firmware loader driver is also designed to support U-Boot environment variables, so all these data from FDT can be overwritten through the U-Boot environment variable during run time.

For examples:


Storage interface, it can be “mmc”, “usb”, “sata” or “ubi”.


Block device number and its partition, it can be “0:1”.


UBI device mtd partition, it can be “UBI”.


UBI volume, it can be “ubi0”.

When above environment variables are set, environment values would be used instead of data from FDT. The benefit of this design allows user to change storage attribute data at run time through U-Boot console and saving the setting as default environment values in the storage for the next power cycle, so no compilation is required for both driver and FDT.

File system firmware Loader API

int request_firmware_into_buf(struct udevice *dev,
                              const char *name,
                              void *buf, size_t size, u32 offset)

Load firmware into a previously allocated buffer


  • struct udevice *dev: An instance of a driver

  • const char *name: name of firmware file

  • void *buf: address of buffer to load firmware into

  • size_t size: size of buffer

  • u32 offset: offset of a file for start reading into buffer


size of total read -ve when error


The firmware is loaded directly into the buffer pointed to by buf

Example of calling request_firmware_into_buf API after creating firmware loader instance:

ret = uclass_get_device_by_phandle_id(UCLASS_FS_FIRMWARE_LOADER,
                                     phandle, &dev);
if (ret)
        return ret;

request_firmware_into_buf(dev, filename, buffer_location, buffer_size,