Sunday, 1 February 2009

Canon and Linux, part 4

For the background to this post, see part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Having had no news from Canon for nearly a month, I was about to send them another message when I received the following email from their helpdesk:

Recently you placed a Support Request with Canon Support Centre.

To ensure you received the best possible service we would like to confirm that your request has been handled satisfactorily before it is closed. A description of your request follows:

Please use the following URL to confirm whether your service request is complete or still needs to be addressed: some long URL


So I went to the URL provided and responded by saying that I had not had a reply at all and that my request was still open. I then received the following email the very next day:

Please find attached that latest firmware version for your EOS 5D (Version 1.1.1).

As requested I am sending it to you in a ZIP file as the EXE download is not suitable for your Linux operating system.

Please go to the following link where you can find instructions on how to upload the firmware to your camera.

Please take careful note to the End Users Licence agreement at the bottom of the page.

Also I would like to state that you have decided to take full responsibility for the installation of the firmware, and we have sent the firmware in this format knowing that you agreed to our conditions.

At last, I had a version of the firmware that I could unpack on Linux! It was then just a matter of following the instructions:

  1. Unpack the zip file and extract the .fir file that it contains;
  2. Format a memory card in the camera;
  3. Move the .fir file to the top directory of the newly formatted memory card;
  4. Insert the memory card back into the camera and upgrade the firmware.

All went without a hitch. Considering that the only reason a computer is needed in order to upgrade the firmware is to copy the .fir file to the memory card unmodified, Canon has no real software to write: any computer that can write to the memory card can do that. Therefore, I fail to see why Canon insist on providing versions of their firmware that can only be unpacked on Windows or Mac OS-X and why they go through such an effort to explicitly shift the responsibility of the upgrade to me because I use Linux. Well I suppose the reason they do this is to limit the number of variations they have to support in testing firmware upgrades. But surely, there is a better way to distribute firmware that would not require me to explicitly contact customer support for it.

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