HP Proliant firmware upgrade issues

Firmware upgrades may be important in maintaining the health of your servers. While we're generally happy with HP Proliant servers, some issues invariable appear as with any complex system.

Proliant firmware upgrades on Red Hat RHEL6

Red Hat RHEL6 contains numerous version updates, and it turns out that a correction in the bash shell may cause many of HP's firmware update on-line scripts to fail!

As of this writing (August 2012) we know the following firmware update on-line scripts to be affected:

  • All disk firmware upgrades for SmartArray controllers. Affects all Proliant servers and disk types.
  • HP Lights-Out 100 (LO100) Remote Management: LO100 firmware upgrade.

Disk firmware upgrades

If you run any disk firmware upgrade script on an RHEL6 system using the sh shell, you'll get an error as in this example:

# sh CP018205.scexe
CP018205.scexe: line 92: .: CPINIT: file not found
Internal error cannot continue.  See log for details

HP's installation instructions are incomplete and ambiguous:

From the same directory, execute the Smart Component. For example: ./CPXXXXXX.scexe

I offer complete and unambiguous installation instructions which should replace HP's instructions:

From the same directory, you MUST execute the Smart Component as follows:
  chmod +x ./CPXXXXXX.scexe; ./CPXXXXXX.scexe.
Do NOT execute the Smart Component using "sh ./CPXXXXXX.scexe" as this may fail on newer operating systems.

An alternative workaround is to add "." (current working directory) to your path before executing HP's firmware update script:

export PATH=$PATH:.

This PATH is insecure and should be undone immediately after the upgrade (just logging out is the easiest way).

Firmware upgrade prerequisite packages

HP's tools usually have undocumented prerequisite packages RPM packages.

You may need to install these prerequisite packages (some must be in i686 32-bit versions):

yum install expect net-snmp redhat-rpm-config kernel-devel kernel-headers rpm-build rpm-devel binutils gcc glibc glibc-devel gawk sed pciutils
yum install libXrender.i686 freetype.i686 libXrandr.i686 libXcursor.i686 fontconfig.i686 zlib.i686
yum install libuuid.i686 libSM.i686 libXi.i686 libstdc++.i686 ncurses-libs.i686

Not all of these packages may be required for all HP firmware tools, but it may be best to have all of them.

Programming error in disk firmware update scripts

Tracing the firmware update scripts always show the error CPINIT: file not found at the following line in the script:

#if a CPINIT script exists, source it in
if test -f CPINIT; then
    . CPINIT

The line in error is the sourcing of the file component CPINIT (the shell command "." is equivalent to the command "source", see man bash). According to the bash manual page, the source command will only search the PATH variable for locations of the file to read, unless the file contains the "/" character, or if bash is running in non-POSIX mode. The correct script programming would replace the above line by:


(yes, it's that simple!).

LO100 firmware upgrade

The HP Lights-Out 100 (LO100) Remote Management: LO100 firmware upgrade version 4.23 (6 Mar 2012) fails on RHEL6:

# ./CP017117.scexe
./hpsetup: line 2: .: lo100.sh: file not found
Parameters are: --source /root
./hpsetup: line 7: lo100main: command not found

The best workaround is to add "." (current working directory) to your path before executing HP's firmware update script:

export PATH=$PATH:.

See also these webpages (in Japanese): http://jfut.integ.jp/2012/03/18/update-hp-firmware-error-on-rhel6/ and http://jfut.integ.jp/2012/04/20/update-hp-firmware-error-on-rhel6-another/.

Programming error in LO100 firmware update scripts

Unpacking the LO100 firmware update scripts:

./CP017117.scexe --unpack=setup

creates a subdirectory setup containing some script files. Line 2 of the script hpsetup contains the erroneous line:

. lo100.sh

Changing line 2 into:

. ./lo100.sh

corrects the error, and you can execute successfully the hpsetup script to update the LO100 firmware. Just as for the disk firmware scripts, the problem is that the script lo100.sh is not in the shell's PATH.

Correct usage of the bash source command

To understand why it is required to source files using the relative file path in bash, for example, ./CPINIT in stead of just the file name CPINIT, please read the analysis below.

As a simple reproducer of the above error I have attached two tiny scripts CPtest.scexe and CPINIT which mimic the error in CP016469.scexe. Please save these scripts to the same working directory on an RHEL6 system and invoke them as follows:

# sh CPtest.scexe
CPtest.scexe: line 4: .: CPINIT: file not found
ERROR sourcing script CPINIT

This table shows the results of invoking CPtest.scexe in different ways on RHEL5 and RHEL6 systems:

Invocation:                RHEL5 result    RHEL6 result
-----------------          ------------    ------------
sh CPtest.scexe            SUCCESS         ERROR
bash CPtest.scexe          SUCCESS         SUCCESS
bash --posix CPtest.scexe  SUCCESS         ERROR
./CPtest.scexe             SUCCESS         SUCCESS

The reason why some invocations have an ERROR can be learned from the bash manual-page ("man bash") under the SHELL BUILTIN COMMANDS section:

.  filename [arguments]
source filename [arguments]
Read and execute commands from filename in the current shell environment and return the exit status of the last command executed from filename.  If filename does not contain a slash, file names in PATH are used to find the directory containing filename.  The file searched for in PATH need not be executable. When bash is not in posix mode, the current directory is searched if no file is found in PATH.

and furthermore in the section INVOCATION it is explained how scripts may run in POSIX mode:

When invoked as sh, bash enters posix mode after the startup files are read.

Summary: In POSIX mode (for example, when bash is invoked as the command sh) the source command must only look for files in the shell's PATH and not in the current working directory!


  1. It is obvious from the bash manual page that the script to be sourced (for example, CPINIT) is required to be in the shell's PATH whenever the bash shell runs in POSIX mode. This explains why the above workaround of appending the current directory "." to PATH works correctly!!
  2. The bash shell, when invoked as sh, is always running in POSIX mode.
  3. The bash shell on RHEL5, when running in POSIX mode, erroneously sources the script files (for example, CPINIT) from the current directory in contradiction with the bash manual page. The fact that HP firmware update scripts can be invoked as sh CP016469.scexe on RHEL5 systems is therefore due to a bug in the bash shell version 3.2 on RHEL5 systems!

The sourcing bug in bash version 3.2 has been fixed according to the bash version 4.1 ChangeLog file:

        - change posix_initialize to turn off source/. searching $PWD when
          the file sourced is not found in $PATH.  Fixes bug reported by
          Paolo Bonzini <bonzini@gnu.org> and Eric Blake <ebb9@byu.net>

Owing to this bug fix, HP's firmware scripts may fail as described above.

IT-wiki: HP_Proliant_firmware_upgrade (last edited 2013-04-09 09:33:52 by OleHolmNielsen)