fwupd: Auto-Quitting On Idle, Harder

In fwupd 1.9.12 and earlier we had the following auto-quit behavior: Auto-quit on idle after 2 hours, unless:

  • Any thunderbolt controller, thunderbolt retimer or synaptics-mst devices exist.

These devices are both super slow to query and also use battery power to query as you have to power on various hungry things and then power them down to query for the current firmware version.

In 19.13, due to be released in a few days time, we now: Auto-quit after 5 minutes, unless:

  • Any thunderbolt controller, thunderbolt retimer or synaptics-mst devices exist.
  • Any D-Bus client (that used or is using fwupd) is still alive, which includes gnome-software if it’s running in the background of the GNOME session
  • The daemon took more than 500ms to start – on the logic it’s okay to wait 0.5 seconds on the CLI to get results to a query, but we don’t want to be waiting tens of seconds to check for updates on a deeply nested USB hub devices.

The tl;dr: is that most laptop and desktop machines have Thunderbolt or MST devices, and so they already had fwupd running all the time before, and continue to have it running all the time now. Trading 3.3MB of memory and an extra process for instant queries on a machine with GBs of memory is probably worthwhile. For embedded machines like IoT devices, and for containers (that are using fwupd to update things like the dbx) fwupd was probably starting and then quitting after 2h before, and now fwupd is only going to be alive for 5 minutes before quitting.

If any of the thresholds (500 ms) or timeouts (5 mins) are offensive to you then it’s all configurable, see man fwupd.conf for details. Comments welcome.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.