[GreatFET] Update on GreatFET firmware and software

Dominic Spill dominicgs at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 18:59:22 EDT 2018

Hi all,

tl;dr development pace is picking up, there will likely be breaking
firmware changes, we'd like you to try it, DFU mode can be used to recover
if things go awry.

This email is probably of most interest to those who have a GreatFET (or
Xplorer) board, or anyone who is interested in the current development
status of GreatFET firmware and software.

We're actively working towards two software releases over the next couple
of months.  The first will be a "pre-release", which will solidify the
interface between the host-side software and the firmware running on the
device. Hopefully, by getting this locked down first, we should avoid
complex upgrade paths in the future.

The second release will be a 2018-xx release, which will add new features
and command line tools, and be our first fully fledged release, with
firmware binaries and everything.  You can see our current planning for
these releases here: https://github.com/greatscottgadgets/greatfet/projects

As we work on the host-device interface, there are going to be a number of
large firmware and interface changes. During this time, you'll likely want
to update your host and device together -- trying whenever possible to keep
the host and device versions matched. It's also likely that the GreatFET
software will have "bumps" in the upgrade path -- where the "greatfet
firmware" utility may not work for upgrading firmware. If this happens, you
can always use the GreatFET's DFU mode to upload firmware -- instructions
are included in the README for the firmware.

We can't promise that building and running from the git master branch won't
be a little painful-- but we'd like to encourage anyone who is using
GreatFET to update to the latest code as often as possible to help us with
testing. If you run into issues, there are usually helpful folks idling in
the GreatFET IRC channel (#GreatFET) on Freenode.

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