The release notes for example to date 2019-07-10 shows

* Linux kernel 4.19.57
* Raspberry Pi firmware cb3a32adf39f45a49be454e30c7464920ad7c605

After an update I can verify the current kernel version with uname -r. At How can I determine the current firmware version number? I have found how to get the current firmware version:

rpi ~$ sudo /opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd version
Jul  9 2019 14:37:58
Copyright (c) 2012 Broadcom
version d2b1b7fb01475cb3914b2086299e32d724e832f1 (clean) (release) (start)

But as you can see it does not match the release note.

How can I verify the Raspberry Pi firmware version from the release notes?

  • @PeterGreen Do you know how to verify the Raspberry Pi firmware version noted in the release notes?
    – Ingo
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 6:42
  • Have you tried asking this is the raspberrypi.org forum? @Dougie may have some clues?
    – Seamus
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 4:33
  • and I wonder if they refer to the same firmware package? The vc in vcgencmd refers to the VideoCore component of Raspberry Pi, but are there other components with firmware? That seems likely (to me), and the Wikipedia article on the VideoCore technology is an interesting read for RPi watchers. You can follow this Q on github if interested.
    – Seamus
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


I think I have an answer to this - actually one of the maintainers of the GitHub repo for Raspberry Pi firmware has answered your question. The Q&A is #1407 under the GitHub Issues tab.

The answer is not as detailed as I would have liked, but to my reading, it seems there is one repo to house the compiled/binary firmware for Raspberry Pi, and another repo to house the source code. The compiled/binary Raspberry Pi firmware is housed on the GitHub repo linked above. The repo containing the source code for the Raspberry Pi firmware is "unpublished/closed-source". The Wiki page for the Raspberry Pi (compiled) firmware repo tells the same story.

And so the answer seems to be this:

  • The 160-bit hash reported by vcgencmd is the hash of the firmware's source code - source code that is housed in an unpublished/closed-source repo.

  • The 160-bit hash in the release notes is the hash of the compiled/binary firmware repo hosted on GitHub.

  • Consequently, the release/commit date is all you have to rely upon. The dates are at least close - I assume there may be a time lag between committing the source files, and committing the binaries since they occur on different repos.

Finally, there's a related Q&A here... this question has been around for a while.

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