Persistent developer key firmware

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Persistent developer key firmware disables the security system of an OLPC XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 or XO-4 laptop. Install the firmware if you are unable to obtain a developer key. This is especially relevant to laptops sold to Uruguay and Argentina, but also works with all other OLPC XO laptops.


Ingredients

  • a USB drive with at least 4 MB free space,
  • an internet connection,
  • a charged battery in the XO laptop,
  • external power for the XO laptop,
  • about ten minutes.

Recipe

  • create a new folder named boot on your USB drive,
  • in the table below, select your XO laptop model and download the corresponding bootfw.zip file
model version download
XO-1 q2p01 bootfw0.zip
XO-1.5 q3p01 bootfw1.zip
XO-1.75 q4p01 bootfw2.zip
XO-4 q7p01 bootfw4.zip
  • if you are doing this for an OLPC XO-1 with possibly old firmware, rename the file to bootfw.zip, (because the recognition of the zero suffix was added in a later release),
  • save the file to your USB drive in the folder named boot, (do not expand the file, it must remain as bootfw.zip),
  • safely remove the USB drive,
  • shutdown and turn off your XO laptop,
  • make sure the battery is in place and locked,
  • make sure the power cord and adapter are plugged in, the battery indicator must be on,
  • insert the USB drive into the XO laptop,
  • hold down the X game key while pressing and releasing the power button,
  • wait for the message asking you to release the game keys, and then release the X game key,
  • wait for update messages to be displayed,
  • wait for the XO laptop to reboot.

Troubleshooting

If a USB drive is ignored by the XO:

  • check that the USB drive has a folder named boot,
  • check that the boot folder has a file bootfw.zip for an XO-1, bootfw1.zip for an XO-1.5, bootfw2.zip for an XO-1.75, or bootfw4.zip for an XO-4,
  • check that the USB drive has a partition table type of "DOS MBR" rather than "GPT", see also supported combinations,
  • try a different USB drive,
  • try a different USB port,
  • if you can't find a USB drive that will work, and you have root access on the laptop, you may place the ZIP file in the /boot or /bootpart directory,
  • check that the firmware actually needs upgrading; the USB drive will seem to be ignored if the version on the drive is equal to or earlier than the version on the laptop.

If the XO is faulty, firmware upgrade may not begin:

  • if the display does not light up, or the XO icon does not appear, see fix clock for upgrading firmware using a serial adapter.

Getting Help

You may write to help@laptop.org if you have problems with these steps.

How did we do this?

This section is for firmware developers.

The change is to assume a persistent developer key is always present, by replacing " dk" find-tag dup if nip nip then with true in the persistent developer key check word.

References: