I'm trying to to retrieve most recent master version from the Hexxeh/rpi-firmware which is used by Ubuntu Mate 16.04.

The rpi-update update script exist on this page but I'm unable to fishout how they check if their version is newer than my local one.

What repo file, or what CLI/Bash command cold I use to get the newest available version online?


I could do sudo JUST_CHECK=1 rpi-update but is there cleaner way?

  • They don't. It uses git
    – Milliways
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 4:23

2 Answers 2


There is a /boot/.firmware_revision file created by the installation process.

The following bash script (extracted from Hexxeh's actual rpi-update script) could be used to extract the required info:


set -o nounset
set -o errexit



# ask github for latest version hash
FW_REV=$(curl -Ls ${REPO_API} | awk '{ if ($1 == "\"sha\":") { print substr($2, 2, 40) } }')
if [[ "${FW_REV}" == "" ]]; then
        echo " *** No hash received from github: ${REPO_API}"
        # run again with errors not suppressed
        curl -L ${REPO_API}
        exit 1
        echo "latest version: $FW_REV"

# display local version hash
if [ -f "$FW_REVFILE" ]; then
        LOCAL_HASH=$(cat "$FW_REVFILE")
        echo " local version: $LOCAL_HASH"
        echo " local version: unkown"
  • this gives you a version which is installed, not the most recent version that is available for download. Also, without first running rpi-upgrade, this file does not exist.
    – HelpNeeder
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 18:13
  • I have updated the answer with an example script (containing a subset of the lines of Hexxeh's rpi-update script) to display the required information.
    – epposan
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 21:03
  • This is what I've been looking at. As the code points, I have run the CURL for the Github subversion API which gives me some information. The HEXX repo does specify the version number in their commit descriptions pretty much every time so this is what I'll be using.
    – HelpNeeder
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 15:21
  • Which of the two answers is what you've been looking for? From your comment it looks like this answer, however you have accepted the other answer as the best one...
    – epposan
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 21:18
  • Well, you just pasted piece of code letting me know 'might be somewhere there'. And you pointed out things I have already knew and prior to your answer was already scripting the answer.
    – HelpNeeder
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 2:44

This is a rough idea how I could achieve this due to the fact that the author states the kernel 'bump to' on commit comment:


import urllib, json

json_url = 'https://api.github.com/repos/Hexxeh/rpi-firmware/commits'
json_response = urllib.urlopen(json_url)
json_data = json.loads(json_response.read())

count = 0
for json_entry in json_data:
    count += 1

    for property, content in json_entry.iteritems():
        if property == 'commit' and isinstance(content, dict):
            if content['message'].find("Bump to") != -1:
                print count, ": " , property, ": ", content['message'][0:22]

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