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DELL critical BIOS update

The danger of an outdated DELL BIOS and how to fix it

CRITICAL DELL BIOS UPDATE

DELL is my go-to computer brand because of how well Linux works on their PCs.

Sometimes, before I reinstall Fedora, I quickly spin up a temporary Linux distribution to see what’s new. If you have come to the fedorum.com website then you know that the main topic here is Fedora Linux. Knowing what other distributions have to offer is key to using the best option which is why I tested openSUSE Tumbleweed.

Had Fedora 37 come out on time, there would have been no reason to experiment with openSUSE. Since it didn’t happen, I went ahead and did a quick net install which went as smooth as expected. Gnome 43 and Kernel 6.x immediately impressed me.

Is openSUSE Tumbleweed underrated?

Many Linux users state that openSUSE Tumbleweed is underrated. While that might be true, I say there is a reason for everything. The most important advantage of running Fedora is getting BIOS and firmware updates via Gnome Software. Running openSUSE for a couple of weeks made me realize how important that feature is. For some reason, openSUSE did not inform me of critical BIOS updates and I assumed that everything is OK.

Dell engineers have implemented a feature which gives every device they sell a service tag. That tag is unique and helps me to look up my Inspiron 3440 on their website. Once I entered it, DELL shows a list of available updates as pictured below.
The most important entry is listed at the op and was just published on October 11, 2022.

DELL critical BIOS update
Image of Dell critical BIOS and firmware udpates

The real reason why Fedora is my number one Linux distribution

It always amazes me when someone states that the best Linux distribution is (insert your favorite brand here). What good is it to brag about some “Linux distribution” if it fails at the most important tasks. After all, the Gnome, KDE or XFCE desktops perform almost the same tasks and are independent of the underlying distribution. This means that if one uses the Gnome desktop, the distribution Gnome runs on is kind of irrelevant. Gimp runs no different on Manjaro, Arch or Ubuntu and, for reasons of honesty, even Windows 10 or 11. At the end of the day, it’s the work or completion thereof that counts.

Stick to virtual machines

This event has taught me an important lesson. When experimenting, stick to virtual machines and NEVER install on bare metal. Had I not caught this by accident, then I would have stuck with Tumbleweed for the time being. The consequence would have been that critical system patches would have been missed and that is not a risk I want to take in 2022.

Use a flash drive to update your system BIOS
If you don’t use Fedora (or Ubuntu?) then you can still update your system BIOS by visiting your device manufacturers website and manually downloading the (most likely) .exe file to a flash drive. From there, you can boot into the BIOS setup and manually apply the upgrade.

Conclusion

When choosing a Linux distribution, look at the most important parts first. Can it handle secure boot and if so, does the kernel support all of my hardware. Besides the main computer, there are drawing tablets, musical keyboards and audio interfaces that also must work.

For me, Fedora checks all of those boxes and then some. I look forward to eventually switching to Fedora 37 but am not in a hurry to do so because right now, Workstation 36 does everything I need to do.
I host a local mirror of a dozen or more websites and experience no downtime when I work on games with the Godot engine or Blender. It all just works day after day without missing a beat.

As for opeSUSE, well, we live in a world where being number 2 no longer counts. Although there is nothing wrong with this distribution, there is also no reason to leave Fedora. This is especially true as Fedora gains a larger install base and will continue to grow once the next version is ready.

If you are still using the default operating system that came with your computer then read up on how you can try Linux on your existing setup without actually installing anything.

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