Software Packages and the Update Mechanism

NVIDIA provides additional NVIDIA® Jetson™ Linux software components and updates in APT (Debian) repositories, accessible through the apt utility.


These packages are only verified with the root filesystem shipped in this L4T BSP release.

Installing Additional Packages

NVIDIA maintains the following APT repositories:

  • For NVIDIA® Jetson AGX Orin™

  • For NVIDIA® Jetson Orin™ NX and NVIDIA® Jetson Orin™ Nano

The package nvidia-l4t-apt-source is preinstalled in the Jetson Linux root file system. It identifies the platform it is running on and adds the appropriate repositories to the software source list.

The packages in the APT repositories are signed with GPG keys. The corresponding public key is preinstalled in the Jetson Linux root file system. Once the repositories are added to the source list, apt can download and install packages.


The APT repositories described here are also used to upgrade existing packages and install packages that NVIDIA adds to the set initially installed with Jetson Linux. For more information, see Updating a Jetson Device.

Repackaging Debian Packages

You can use the script to repackage the existing Jetson Linux Debian packages. The script can be found in the directory Linux_for_Tegra/tools/Debian/. Refer to the Linux_for_Tegra/tools/Debian/nvdebrepack.txt file for more information.

Building Kernel Debian Packages Yourself

You can customize the Jetson Linux kernel by getting the kernel source packages, making your changes, and building the Debian packages.

This section describes the package dependencies and scripts that NVIDIA uses to build the kernel packages. You can use the package as a reference to create your own Debian packages.

Using the Repackager Tool

The repackager is a tool that allows users to extract a subset of the necessary files from the Debian package archives in the Jetson Linux BSP for their own distributions. Users who do not need the complete set of libraries, scripts, and packages, but still want to get Jetson support, can use the repackager tool to customize their environment.

The repackager tool also comes with a dependency checker script that validates whether the subset of files the users packaged includes the necessary dependencies.


To see the latest input parameters run the -h option in the repackager.

In the following examples, the version information in the Debian file names are substituted with the $VERSION symbol for clarity. Here is an example of an actual file name:


Converting a Debian File

To convert a Debian file, run the following command:

./ -c nvidia-l4t-core_$VERSION.deb

The files in the Debian file will be repackaged into a tar file.

Converting Multiple Debian Files

To convert multiple Debian files, run the following command:

./ -c nvidia-l4t-core_$VERSION.deb,nvidia-l4t-cuda_$VERSION.deb

The files these Debian files will be packaged into two separate tar files.


The Debian files should be separated by commas.

Converting all Debian Files Under BSP

To convert the Debian files under BSP, run the following command:

./ --convert-all

The Debian files in BSP will be packaged into their own tar files.

Converting a Subset of Files and Placing the Output in the Designated Directory

To convert a subset of files and place them in the appropriate directory, run the following command:

./ -c nvidia-l4t-core_$VERSION.deb -p sample_pullfile.txt -o $HOME/output/

The sample pull file keeps a list of files users want to package from a Debian file. The resulting tar file will only contain the files that are being pulled and will be placed in the designated directory.


You can use the Pull option only when you convert one Debian file.

The format of the pull files should be in a relative path in a Debian, and here is an example of the format:


Converting Files to Different Paths

To convert files to different paths, run the following commands:

./ -c nvidia-l4t-core_$VERSION.deb -t

The transform option works sequentially as sed, and it moves files on the original path to the new path. Therefore, the files in Debian that are in the usr/lib/tegra/ directory will be placed in the usr/lib/nvidia directory, and the usr/bin directory will be placed in the usr/sbin directory.


Here is some additional information:

  • To avoid an unintended transform result, use the fully qualified path.

  • The old and new path should be separated by a comma, and each transform relation should be separated by a comma.

Printing Out the Dependencies of a Converted Debian File

To print out the dependencies of a converted Debian file, run the following command:

./ -c nvidia-l4t-core_$VERSION.deb -d

With the -d option, the file dependencies in the Debian file will be printed on screen.


If there is a filename that is specified using the -d option, the dependency list will be saved to the file.

Ignoring the Dependency Check Failure

To ignore the dependency check failure, run the following command:

./ -c nvidia-l4t-core_$VERSION.deb -p sample_pullfile.txt -i

When there is a pull option, the repackager will check whether the dependency has been met. For users who do not care whether the dependency has been met, the ignore option will print only warnings when the dependency check does not pass. For example, this option can be useful when you repack a Debian into multiple tar files and split dependencies across the tar files.

Working with the Packages

The kernel packages are all open source, and three of the four kernel packages are in public_sources.tbz2. You can download the archive from the NVIDIA Developer Center.

This archive contains another archive named kernel_src.tbz2, which in turn contains three directories of header files:

  • nvidia-l4t-kernel/

  • nvidia-l4t-kernel-dtbs/

  • nvidia-l4t-kernel-headers/

The Guide for Debian Maintainers provides guidelines to modify the open source files and create new Debian packages from these files.

For information about nvidia-l4t-jetson-io, the fourth package, refer to nvidia-l4t-jetson-io.

Package Dependencies

Most Jetson Linux Debian packages depend on the nvidia-l4t-core package, which prevents package installation on an incompatible Jetson platform, such as installing a Jetson software package on a non-Jetson device. If nvidia-l4t-core detects an incompatible platform, it will not perform the installation.

nvidia-l4t-core also prevents a partial upgrade, in which one Jetson Linux package upgrades to a new major release, but other Jetson Linux packages that depend on it are also not upgraded. Partial upgrades can cause compatibility issues between firmware, programs, and libraries that have been upgraded and ones that have not.


nvidia-l4t-kernel contains files for the Jetson Linux kernel.

Prerequisites and Dependencies

Here are the prerequisites for this package:

  • nvidia-l4t-core (must match this package’s major release)

Here are the dependencies for this package:

  • nvidia-l4t-tools

  • nvidia-l4t-init

Package Scripts

This package has a post-installation script that you can get by extracting the .deb file and completes the following actions:

  • Executes depmod -a.

  • Creates a dpkg trigger file named /usr/lib/linux/triggers/<release>.

    The trigger invokes actions defined in /etc/kernel/postinst.d to update initramfs/grub configs/… when the kernel is updated. This conforms to the standard Ubuntu kernel update procedure.


nvidia-l4t-kernel-dtbs contains files for Jetson Linux’s device tree blobs (DTBs).

The package installs the .dtb files in /boot/. When you flash a board, it installs the .dtb file that is used by that board in /boot/dtb/ by checking the board specification against the DTBs’ compatibility information.

Prerequisites and Dependencies

Here are the prerequisites for this package:

  • nvidia-l4t-core (must match the major release for this package)

Here are the dependencies for this package:

  • device-tree-compiler

  • nvidia-l4t-kernel

Package Scripts

This package has a post-installation script, which you can get by extracting the .deb file, and completes the following actions:

  • Decompiles the .dtb file used by the board in /boot/dtb/ and gets the bootargs property in the /chosen node.

  • Decompiles the corresponding .dtb file in /boot/ and substitutes the bootargs property from step 1 in the resulting .dts file.

  • Recompiles the .dts file to a .dtb file and puts it in /boot/dtb/.


nvidia-l4t-kernel-headers contains Jetson Linux kernel header files.

Prerequisites and Dependencies

Here are the prerequisites for this package:

  • nvidia-l4t-core (must match this package’s major release)

Here are the dependencies for this package:

  • nvidia-l4t-kernel

  • libc6

  • libssl1.1

Package Scripts

This package has no package scripts.


nvidia-l4t-jetson-io contains Python scripts that are used for Jetson I/O functions.

Prerequisites and Dependencies

Here are the prerequisites for this package:

  • nvidia-l4t-core (must match this package’s major release)

Here are the dependencies for this package:

  • mount

  • python3

  • util-linux

  • nvidia-l4t-kernel

  • device-tree-compiler

You can also get the dependencies by extracting the Debian file.

Package Scripts

This package has no package scripts.

Over-the-Air Update

An Over-the-Air (OTA) Update allows you to update NVIDIA Jetson devices and host computers for Jetson development.

Jetson Linux supports the following OTA types:

  • Debian package management-based OTA can update Jetson devices that run Jetson Linux or Jetson components on a host computer.

  • Image-based OTA allows you to create OTA payload packages and can update the full image that is running on a Jetson device, partition by partition. The following sections describe both forms of OTA.

Updating from the NVIDIA APT Server

The first OTA update type uses Debian packages obtained from an NVIDIA APT server. You can use this form of OTA update to update a Jetson device running Jetson Linux or to update NVIDIA JetPack™ components that are installed on a host computer that runs Ubuntu. The APT server maintains respective groups of Debian packages for each purpose.

This section describes the tools and packages that provide basic support for Jetson Linux.


To update JetPack and Jetson Linux components to a new JetPack release on a system where both are installed, see the instructions in the JetPack documentation.

NVIDIA does not recommend installing OTA Debian packages on a Jetson Linux release earlier than release 32.3.1, or on a system that is based on Ubuntu without the customization of Jetson Linux.

Upgrading from release 32.x to release 35.x is not supported. Only release 34.x is currently supported. Check the /etc/nv_tegra_release directory on your Jetson for the current software version.

Updating a Jetson Device

Use the appropriate procedure below to update your system:

Updating to a New Point Release

  1. Enter the following command:

    $ sudo apt update

    apt reads a list of packages from the remote APT repository and identifies new and upgradable packages.

  2. Enter the following command:

    $ apt list --upgradable

    apt displays a list of new and upgradable packages.

  3. To install the basic packages for Jetson Linux, enter the following command:

    $ sudo apt upgrade
  4. Reboot your Jetson device after the upgrade is finished.

Updating to a New Minor Release

  1. Open the apt source configuration file in a text editor, for example:

    $ sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nvidia-l4t-apt-source.list
  2. Change the repository name and download URL in the deb commands.

    The original commands are:

    deb <release> main
    deb<platform> <release> main


    • <release> is the release number of the minor release to which you want to update. For example, to update to minor release 36.3, replace <release> with r36.3. OTA updates to the latest point release of the specified minor release.

    • <platform> identifies the platform’s processor:

      • t234 for NVIDIA® Jetson Orin series

    For example, if the current release is release 35.1, and your platform is Jetson AGX Orin series, the commands are:

    deb r36.3 main
    deb r36.3 main
  3. Save and close the source configuration file.

  4. Enter the following commands:

    $ sudo apt update
    $ sudo apt dist-upgrade

    If apt prompts you to choose an option to fix local modified configuration file, reply Y for yes (to use the NVIDIA updated version of the file).

    If you are upgrading from release 34, install the following new packages manually:

    $ sudo apt install nvidia-l4t-openwfd nvidia-l4t-vulkan-sc-dev nvidia-l4t-vulkan-sc-samples nvidia-l4t-vulkan-sc-sdk nvidia-l4t-vulkan-sc nvidia-l4t-jetsonpower-gui-tools
  5. When the upgrade is finished, reboot the Jetson device.


  • The do-release-upgrade command is disabled because Jetson Linux does not officially support Ubuntu release 22.04 at this time.

Real-Time Kernel Using OTA Update

The real-time (RT) kernel can be installed with a Debian package management-based OTA on Jetson devices running Jetson Linux or Jetson components on a host computer.

Installing the Real-Time Kernel Packages on a Jetson Device

  1. Open the apt source configuration file in a text editor, for example:

    $ sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nvidia-l4t-apt-source.list
  2. Add the RT kernel repository:

    deb <release> main


    • <release> is the release number of the minor release to which you want to update. For example, to update to release 36.3, replace <release> with r36.3. OTA updates install the latest version of the specified release.

  3. Save and close the source configuration file.

  4. Enter the following command:

    $ sudo apt update
  5. Install the RT kernel packages:

    $ sudo apt install nvidia-l4t-rt-kernel nvidia-l4t-rt-kernel-headers nvidia-l4t-rt-kernel-oot-modules nvidia-l4t-display-rt-kernel
  6. Reboot your Jetson device after the installation is finished:

    $ sudo reboot

Removing the Real-Time Kernel Packages on a Jetson Device

  1. Remove the RT kernel packages with the below command:

    $ sudo apt remove nvidia-l4t-rt-kernel nvidia-l4t-rt-kernel-headers nvidia-l4t-rt-kernel-oot-modules nvidia-l4t-display-rt-kernel
  2. Reboot your Jetson device:

    $ sudo reboot

Switch to a Different Kernel

Once you have installed the real-time kernel on your device, you may want to switch between the real-time kernel image and the original generic kernel image without re-installing or removing kernel packages. You can do this by editing /boot/extlinux/extlinux.conf and setting the DEFAULT property to specify the kernel you want to boot. Set DEFAULT to real-time for the real-time kernel, or to primary for the generic kernel.:

DEFAULT real-time

Updating a Host

NVIDIA provides a group of Debian packages that add or update Jetson Linux support components on the host computer.

Preparing the Host Computer to Install Jetson Linux Support Components

  1. To install the public key of the x86_64 repository of the public APT server, enter the following command:

    $ sudo apt-key adv --fetch-key
  2. Add the following x86_64 repository to the host system’s source list.

    • For an Ubuntu 20.04 host:

      deb <relno> main
    • For an Ubuntu 22.04 host:

      deb <relno> main

    Where <relno> is the current release’s full release number as specified in the Release Notes.

  3. Enter the following command:

    $ sudo apt update
  4. Use apt to download and install the required packages.

    $ sudo apt-get install cuda-toolkit-12-2 cuda-cross-aarch64-12-2 nvsci

    libnvvpi3 vpi3-dev vpi3-cross-aarch64-l4t python3.9-vpi3 vpi3-samples vpi3-python-src nsight-systems-2023.4.3 nsight-graphics-for-embeddedlinux-2023.3.0.0

Debian Packages on the NVIDIA APT Server

This section lists the Debian packages maintained on the NVIDIA APT server for a Jetson device or a host.

Update Packages for Jetson Devices

Here is a list of the OTA update packages for BSP on Jetson devices as of Jetson Linux release 36.3.

Refer to List of JetPack OTA Packages in JetPack SDK for a list of other OTA packages and instructions to apply the packages.


The component group for the following table is BSP.


Purpose of the Package


Jetson GPIO library (common files).

The source files are in


The NVIDIA IGX bootloader update payload.


Systemd shutdown hook for The NVIDIA IGX.


NVIDIA graphics libraries including GL and EGL.


The Jetson APT source list.


The Tegra bootloader update payload.


Tegra camera libraries and utilities.


Jetson Linux system configuration files.


Jetson Linux core system libraries including RM, DLA, PVA, and so on.


CUDA lower lever driver, cuDLA user space library, and CUDA forward compatibility layer.


The Jetson APT source list for dGPU.


The Kernel module parameters for dGPU.


The enabling iGPU on dGPU script.


The xorg.conf for dGPU.


Display kernel modules including modeset and DRM drivers for Orin and later chips.

The source files are in


NVIDIA DLA compiler


The service for installing GPU driver.


Firmware for Tegra SoC and a few WiFi chips that are used by Jetson.


Tegra GBM backend and EGL platform GBM implementation.


Graphics demonstration sources and binaries.


Gstreamer applications and plugins for Jetson Linux.


Jetson Linux system init files and systemd services.


Jetson Linux init RAM disk package.


Jetson-io tool to reconfigure the 40-pin expansion header on Jetson platforms.

Refer to Running Jetson-IO in Configuring the Jetson Expansion Headers for more information.


The Multimedia API is a collection of lower-level APIs that support flexible application development by providing better control over the underlying hardware blocks.


The GUI Tool that is used to configure power on Jetson.


The Jetson Linux kernel image and modules.

The source files are in


The Jetson Linux kernel dtb files.

The source files are in


The Jetson Linux kernel headers for local development.

The source files are in


The Jetson Linux OOT modules header.


The Jetson Linux OOT modules.


The Jetson Linux multimedia libraries.


The Jetson Linux multimedia utility libraries.


The Fan control service and utility for Jetson.


The NVML for Tegra.


The nvpmodel tool is used to manage power profiles and adjusts the maximum clock frequencies for the CPU, GPU, memory controller, and miscellaneous SoC clocks with the number of CPU clusters online.


The GUI version of the nvpmodel tool.


NvSci is a set of communication interface libraries out of which CUDA interops with NvSciBuf and NvSciSync.


The Jetson Linux OEM configuration utility.


The Tegra Open Source WiFi Display (OpenWFD) user space driver.


OP-TEE Trusted Applications, user space libraries/daemon, and demonstration applications.


The Programmable Vision Accelerator (PVA) user-mode driver and interface library.


The Programmable Vision Accelerator (PVA) user-mode driver and interface library.


Various system tools for Jetson.


The Vulkan SC runtime package.


The Vulkan SC dev package.


The Vulkan SC samples package.


The Vulkan SC SDK package.


The Wayland package.


The Weston-related files including utilities, API and backend libraries, icons, and images.


The NVIDIA X11 configuration tool.


The XUSB firmware to be loaded by bootloader to enable USB device at boot time.


The Jetson GPIO library package (Python 2).

The source files are in


The Jetson GPIO library package (Python 3).

The source files are in

Update Packages for Hosts

The following table lists Jetson Linux support components that you can install with apt on a host, and the packages that contain them.

Component group



  • cuda

  • cuda-12-2

  • cuda-cccl-12-2

  • cuda-command-line-tools-12-2

  • cuda-compat-12-2

  • cuda-compiler-12-2

  • cuda-crt-12-2

  • cuda-cudart-12-2

  • cuda-cudart-dev-12-2

  • cuda-cuobjdump-12-2

  • cuda-cupti-12-2

  • cuda-cupti-dev-12-2

  • cuda-cuxxfilt-12-2

  • cuda-demo-suite-12-2

  • cuda-documentation-12-2

  • cuda-driver-dev-12-2

  • cuda-drivers

  • cuda-drivers-535

  • cuda-gdb-12-2

  • cuda-gdb-src-12-2

  • cuda-libraries-12-2

  • cuda-libraries-dev-12-2

  • cuda-minimal-build-12-2

  • cuda-nsight-12-2

  • cuda-nsight-compute-12-2

  • cuda-nsight-systems-12-2

  • cuda-nvcc-12-2

  • cuda-nvdisasm-12-2

  • cuda-nvml-dev-12-2

  • cuda-nvprof-12-2

  • cuda-nvprune-12-2

  • cuda-nvrtc-12-2

  • cuda-nvrtc-dev-12-2

  • cuda-nvtx-12-2

  • cuda-nvvm-12-2

  • cuda-nvvp-12-2

  • cuda-opencl-12-2

  • cuda-opencl-dev-12-2

  • cuda-profiler-api-12-2

  • cuda-runtime-12-2

  • cuda-sanitizer-12-2

  • cuda-toolkit

  • cuda-toolkit-12

  • cuda-toolkit-12-2

  • cuda-toolkit-12-2-config-common

  • cuda-toolkit-12-config-common

  • cuda-toolkit-config-common

  • cuda-tools-12-2

  • cuda-visual-tools-12-2

  • gds-tools-12-2

  • libcublas-12-2

  • libcublas-dev-12-2

  • libcufft-12-2

  • libcufft-dev-12-2

  • libcufile-12-2

  • libcufile-dev-12-2

  • libcurand-12-2

  • libcurand-dev-12-2

  • libcusolver-12-2

  • libcusolver-dev-12-2

  • libcusparse-12-2

  • libcusparse-dev-12-2

  • libnpp-12-2

  • libnpp-dev-12-2

  • libnvidia-cfg1-430

  • libnvidia-cfg1-535

  • libnvidia-common-430

  • libnvidia-common-535

  • libnvidia-compute-430

  • libnvidia-compute-430

  • libnvidia-compute-535

  • libnvidia-compute-535

  • libnvidia-decode-430

  • libnvidia-decode-430

  • libnvidia-decode-535

  • libnvidia-decode-535

  • libnvidia-encode-430

  • libnvidia-encode-430

  • libnvidia-encode-535

  • libnvidia-encode-535

  • libnvidia-extra-535

  • libnvidia-extra-535

  • libnvidia-fbc1-430

  • libnvidia-fbc1-430

  • libnvidia-fbc1-535

  • libnvidia-fbc1-535

  • libnvidia-gl-430

  • libnvidia-gl-430

  • libnvidia-gl-535

  • libnvidia-gl-535

  • libnvjitlink-12-2

  • libnvjitlink-dev-12-2

  • libnvjpeg-12-2

  • libnvjpeg-dev-12-2

  • libxnvctrl-dev

  • libxnvctrl0

  • nsight-compute-2023.2.2

  • nsight-systems-2023.2.3

  • nvidia-compute-utils-430

  • nvidia-compute-utils-535

  • nvidia-dkms-430

  • nvidia-dkms-535

  • nvidia-driver-430

  • nvidia-driver-535

  • nvidia-fs

  • nvidia-fs-dkms

  • nvidia-gds

  • nvidia-gds-12-2

  • nvidia-headless-430

  • nvidia-headless-535

  • nvidia-headless-no-dkms-430

  • nvidia-headless-no-dkms-535

  • nvidia-kernel-common-430

  • nvidia-kernel-common-535

  • nvidia-kernel-open-535

  • nvidia-kernel-source-430

  • nvidia-kernel-source-535

  • nvidia-modprobe

  • nvidia-settings

  • nvidia-utils-430

  • nvidia-utils-535

  • xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-430

  • xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-535

CUDA cross-compile

  • cuda-cccl-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-cross-aarch64

  • cuda-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-crt-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-cudart-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-cupti-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-driver-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-nsight-compute-addon-l4t-12-2

  • cuda-nvcc-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-nvml-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-nvrtc-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-nvtx-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • cuda-profiler-api-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libcublas-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libcudla-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libcufft-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libcurand-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libcusolver-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libcusparse-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libnpp-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libnvjitlink-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • libnvjpeg-cross-aarch64-12-2

  • nsight-compute-addon-l4t-2023.2.2

Computer Vision

  • libnvvpi3

  • vpi3-dev

  • vpi3-cross-aarch64-l4t

  • python3.10-vpi3

  • vpi3-samples

  • vpi3-python-src


  • nvsci

Developer Tools

  • nsight-systems-2024.2.2

  • nsight-graphics-for-embeddedlinux-2023.4.1.0

Customizing Debian Packages

You can customize Debian packages to help you implement your solution, for example, by adding support for your carrier board. Refer to Repackaging Debian Packages and Building Kernel Debian Packages Yourself for more information.

Downloading Debian Packages for Later Use

As an alternative to installing Debian packages on a Jetson device or host from the APT server, you can download packages, store them, and manually install them later.

To download packages, open the NVIDIA Jetson repository in a web browser. This page displays a list of Debian packages for each JetPack release and processor. Each package name is a hyperlink; to download a package, click its link.

Updating Jetson Linux with Image-Based Over-the-Air Update

Image-Based Over-the-Air Update is a failsafe way to update the BSP on a Jetson device by writing pre-generated images to its partitions. For example, this would allow you to perform an OTA update from version 36.3.0 to a future version.

Image-based OTA also supports updates between versions with different partition layouts that require layout changes during the update. For example, image-based OTA currently supports updates from version 35.5.0 to version 36.3.0.

Updates to Jetson Linux release 36.3.0

Carrier board


From release

Jetson AGX Orin

All Jetson AGX Orin series modules

35.5.0, or 36.3.0

Jetson AGX Orin Industrial

35.5.0, or 36.3.0

Jetson Orin NX/Nano

All Jetson Orin NX/Nano series modules

35.5.0, or 36.3.0


This release does not support OTA updates on Jetson devices with UEFI secure boot enabled. Refer to UEFI Secureboot in Secure Boot for more information.

To upgrade from 35.5.0 to this release, you can directly apply an OTA update. It is necessary to upgrade both chains to this release by performing the OTA update twice. If you are upgrading from a version earlier than 35.5.0 to this release, please first upgrade to 35.5.0, and then upgrade to this release. For example, if upgrading from 35.4.1, you should first upgrade to 35.5.0 and then from 35.5.0 to this release. See Examples for more details.

Terms and Abbreviations

This section uses the following terms and abbreviations:

  • Bootloader update payload (BUP): This file contains firmware binaries of each type needed to update a Jetson device.

  • Over-the-air (OTA) update: The Jetson Linux feature that enables you to update Jetson devices.

  • Top of tree (ToT): The latest revision of a file in a source control system, such as Git.

High-Level Flow

Here is the workflow for an image-based OTA update:

  1. Prepare an OTA payload package on the host machine.

  2. Trigger the OTA process on the target device.

Preparing the OTA Payload Package

The current Jetson Linux BSP provides the necessary tools to generate the OTA payload package in the OTA tool package. To download the OTA tool package, go to Jetson Linux page.

The OTA tool package can be used to create the OTA payload package for the following use cases:

  • Updating a full system

  • Updating the bootloader only

  • Updating the rootfs only

The generated OTA payload package is in the ota_payload_package.tar.gz archive, and the OTA payload package includes images for the partitions that need to be updated.


NVIDIA recommends applying a security mechanism, such as a signature or encryption, to this package.

Upload ota_payload_package.tar.gz and the OTA tools package ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 to your OTA server.

Triggering the OTA Process

You are responsible for writing the OTA client service that triggers the OTA process, and the service must include the following steps:

  1. Download the ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 OTA tool package and the ota_payload_package.tar.gz OTA payload package from your own OTA server.

    <rel> is the current release number, for example 36.3.0.

  2. Validate the downloaded OTA payload package and its contents according to your own security requirements.

  3. Use the tool in the OTA tool package to trigger the OTA update. The tool decompresses the OTA payload package and prepares it for OTA update. The tool handles cases where a partition layout change is involved and not involved, and where rootfs A/B is enabled and disabled.

Preparing for an Image-Based OTA Update

To prepare for an image-based OTA update, the following steps need to be completed on the host machine and the target device.

Steps Performed on the Host Machine
  1. Set the BASE_BSP environment variable to the complete pathname of the Linux_for_Tegra/ directory for the base BSP. (The base BSP is the BSP release that needs to be updated, for example, r35.5.0.). For example, set BASE_BSP by running this command:

    $ export BASE_BSP=/home/username/R35.5.0/Linux_for_Tegra
  2. Get the package for the current release of Jetson Linux and unpack and apply its sample root file system.

  3. Go to the directory that contains the current BSP package and enter the following commands:

    $ tar xpf jetson_linux_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2
    $ cd Linux_for_Tegra/rootfs/
    $ sudo tar xpf ../../tegra_Linux_sample-root-filesystem_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2
    $ cd ..
    $ sudo ./
  4. Set the environment variable TARGET_BSP to the complete pathname of the Linux_for_Tegra/ directory for current BSP release. For example, set TARGET_BSP by running this command:

    $ export TARGET_BSP=/home/username/R36.3.0/Linux_for_Tegra
  5. Install the ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 OTA tool package to ${TARGET_BSP}:

    $ cd ${TARGET_BSP}/../
    $ sudo tar xpf ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2
  6. To generate the OTA update payload package, enter the following commands:

    $ cd ${TARGET_BSP}
    $ sudo -E ./tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade/ \
            [-s] [-b] [-r] [-u <PKC_key_file>] [-v <SBK_key_file>] [-o <rootfs_updater>] \
            [-f <rootfs_image>] [--external-device <external_device>] [-S <rootfs_size>] \
            <target_board> <bsp_version>


    • -s, -b, and -r can be used independently or combined into a single term, such as -sb or -sr.

      • -s: Skip generating the rootfs image. Use this option if a rootfs image has been generated or specified with the -f option.

      • -b: Generate an OTA payload package to only update Bootloader. This option is meaningful only for an update without layout change.

      • -r: Generate an OTA payload package to only update rootfs. This option is meaningful only for an update without layout change.

    • <PKC_key_file> is an optional PKC key file, and it must be the same as the file that was used to flash images to the target board.

    • <SBK_key_file> is an optional SBK key file, and it must be the same as the file that was used to flash images to the target board.

    • <rootfs_updater> specifies the script that will be be used to update the rootfs partition. (Refer to Updating the Rootfs Partition with a Customized Updater and Image for more information.)

    • <rootfs_image> is the path of the rootfs image to be written to the rootfs partition.

      The default rootfs is built from ${TARGET_BSP}/rootfs, and this option allows you overwrite the default rootfs image with a self-generated rootfs image. An example is an image that is cloned from a Jetson device that has been completely customized with a ToT release of Jetson Linux.

    • <external_device> specifies the external device to be upgraded, and nvme0n1 is the supported device.

    • <rootfs_size> specifies the size of rootfs partition on external device. It is only valid when --external-device option is set. KiB, MiB, GiB short hands are allowed.

    • <target_board> is the appropriate configuration name:

      • For Jetson AGX Orin P3701-0000(32GB) or P3701-0004 (32GB) or P3701-0005 (64GB): jetson-agx-orin-devkit

      • For Jetson AGX Orin Industrial P3701-0008: jetson-agx-orin-devkit-industrial

      • For Jetson Orin NX P3767-0000(16GB) or P3767-0001(8GB): jetson-orin-nano-devkit

      • For Jetson Orin Nano P3767-0003(8GB) or P3767-0004(4GB) or P3767-0005(8GB): jetson-orin-nano-devkit

    • <bsp_version> is the base BSP version, in the form Rmm-n, where mm and n are the major and minor version numbers. For example, R35-5 specifies base BSP version 35.5.x.

The script generates the ota_payload_package.tar.gz file under the ${TARGET_BSP}/bootloader/<target_board>/ directory.

The ota_payload_package.tar.gz archive that the script generates from the default rootfs occupies about 2.5GB, and a self-generated rootfs might yield a larger or smaller archive. To apply the image-based OTA, and decompress the archive on the Jetson device, requires at least 7GB of free space.


Step 6 in Steps Performed on the Host Machine uses the Jetson Linux sample rootfs from Linux_for_Tegra/rootfs/ to build the OTA package.

If you customized the sample rootfs, for example, add required libraries and binaries into the rootfs and apply them before running this script.

To implement a complete OTA solution, place the OTA tool package and OTA payload package on your OTA server .

Steps Performed on the Jetson Device
  1. Download the ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 OTA tool package and the ota_payload_package.tar.gz OTA payload package to the target board.

  2. Create a directory to hold files that were generated in the OTA update process.

  3. Set the WORKDIR environment variable to the complete pathname for this directory.

  4. Unpack ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 into the ${WORKDIR} directory.

  5. Create a /ota/ directory.

  6. Place the ota_payload_package.tar.gz OTA payload package in the /ota/ directory.

  7. Unpack the OTA payload package and prepare to start OTA:

    $ cd ${WORKDIR}/Linux_for_Tegra/tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade
    $ sudo ./ /ota/ota_payload_package.tar.gz
  8. If no error occurred in step 7, reboot the target board. Otherwise, resolve the error before continuing.

    After executing this step, the target board boots to the recovery kernel, which runs the OTA update process. If an unexpected power loss or reset occurs during the OTA update process, the target device can reboot into the recovery kernel and continue the update. The maximum number of times the target device reboots and continues the update is determined by the OTA_MAX_RETRY_COUNT script variable, which defaults to 0 (zero). If the update fails more than the specified number of times, the target device boots to the recovery kernel and enters the bash shell. You can change the value of OTA_MAX_RETRY_COUNT in ${TARGET_BSP}/tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade/

    On the target device, if the update process fails, the logs are stored in the /ota_logs/ directory, and these logs record the details about the OTA update process. If this process successfully completes, by default, the logs are automatically deleted. To save logs for a successful OTA, see Reserving logs requirement in Miscellaneous Customization.


To create a complete, secure OTA update solution, you must complete the following tasks:

  • Implement an OTA client that executes this procedure on the target device.

  • Apply security mechanisms according to your security policy requirements.

Utility to Trigger an OTA

The utility is used to trigger the OTA, and image-based OTA supports updates between versions with or without partition layout changes. The OTA supports updates whether rootfs A/B is enabled or disabled. You do not need to be aware of the difference because the utility handles both cases. is included in ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2. It finally executes to trigger OTA update.

Backing Up and Restoring Files on the APP Partition

The script in the ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 backs up and restores files on the APP partition during OTA update. It is located in the Linux_for_Tegra/tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade/ directory.

Edit the ota_backup_files_list.txt configuration file to add the pathnames of files that will be preserved after the OTA update. The distributed version of ota_backup_files_list.txt contains the following:

# All the files or directories should be listed with absolute path
# Example:
# etc/passwd
# opt/nvidia

Pathnames are written in relative form, but the names are always interpreted relative to the file system root. You can think of the names as absolute pathnames from which the leading slash is omitted.

You can add comment lines starting with a pound sign (’#’) in column 1.


The script packs the listed files into a .tar.gz archive. You can select other ways to back up and restore these files based on your own requirements.

OTA Upgrades on an External Device

Jetson devices support booting from external storage devices, such as an NVMe. To apply an image-based OTA on Jetson devices, the script provides the --external-device and -S options to generate an OTA payload package for external storage devices.

To flash a Jetson device with an external storage device, refer to Flashing with initrd in Flashing Support for more information.

OTA Upgrades with Disk Encryption Enabled

Jetson devices support disk encryption on internal or external devices, and the rootfs partition is encrypted. To apply an image-based OTA on Jetson devices with disk encryption enabled, set “ROOTFS_ENC=1” when running the script to generate an OTA payload package. You can also specify the key file for disk encryption by using the -i option.

To enable disk encryption on Jetson devices, refer to How to Create an Encrypted Rootfs on the Host in Disk Encryption.


Please make sure that the ${TARGET_BSP}/bootloader/eks_t234.img contains the same keys as the ones exist in the EKS partition on the device to be updated before generating OTA payload package. To generate “eks_t234.img”, please refer to Tool for EKB Generation in OP-TEE.

Complete and Secure the OTA

NVIDIA provides the basic functionality of updating the system through the OTA update process. You must modify the process and create a complete and secure OTA solution. Depending on your needs, your modified process might have to meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Encrypting OTA update payloads

  • Hosting OTA update payloads on an OTA update server

  • Triggering an OTA update when an update is found on the OTA server (a function of the OTA update client on the target device)

  • Authenticating the OTA update server

  • Decrypting OTA update payloads

  • Determining when to apply OTA update payloads


If you customized the released BSP, for example by customizing the rootfs or the recovery image, you must modify some files in the distributed image-based OTA update process to apply the image-based OTA update solution. The following sections provide information about the customization types and the OTA update changes that the types require.

Rootfs Customization

Rootfs customization comprises:

  • Adding or removing files in the rootfs.

  • Modifying the files in rootfs.

These changes require the following:

  • Applying changes to the rootfs.

Recovery Image Customization

Recovery image customization comprises:

  • Adding some files to the recovery initrd.

These changes require the following:

  • Editing the provided file recovery_copy_binlist.txt to specify the file systems and pathnames of any files you want to add to the recovery image. See the same file for an explanation and examples of how to make the changes.

Recovery Task Customization

In the recovery kernel, the script will be executed as a task runner. It will execute OTA tasks in a sequential order. To add a task to be run when recovery kernel is running, you must complete the following tasks:

  1. Place the script files that execute tasks into the Linux_for_Tegra/tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade/ directory. Make sure the script files have execution permission.

  2. Modify the OTA_TASKS and the OTA_TASK_NEEDED_FILES in nv_ota_customer.conf to add these script files.

    • The script files whose names are listed in the OTA_TASKS are OTA tasks which will be executed in order by the task runner. Insert the script file name at a proper position.

    • The script files whose names are listed in the OTA_TASK_NEEDED_FILES are the files needed by OTA tasks. Add the script file name into the list if any.

  3. Re-generate the OTA update payload package.

Miscellaneous Customization
  • Ethernet connectivity requirement

    If you want to ensure that no update is performed unless a stable Ethernet connection is available, enable OTA update’s Ethernet connectivity requirement by setting the property REQUIRE_ETHERNET in nv_ota_customer.conf. This setting makes Jetson device check Ethernet connectivity before starting OTA. If no connection is found, it attempts to establish one by rebooting.

    This requirement is disabled by default because a Jetson device does not use Ethernet as its primary means of connectivity.

  • Reserving logs requirement

    Logs are automatically deleted after the OTA successfully completes. To save logs for debug purposes, you can set the RESERVE_LOGS property to true in nv_ota_customer.conf. After the OTA finishes, this setting saves all the logs in the /last_ota_update_log directory.

Updating the Rootfs Partition with a Customized Updater and Image

When you generate an OTA payload package (step 7 in Steps Performed on the Host Machine), you can specify the rootfs updater with the -o option and specify the rootfs image with the -f option.

The rootfs updater is a script that writes the rootfs image to the rootfs partition. It is called with appropriate command line parameters and options by several Jetson Linux utilities and services, such as OTA update. NVIDIA provides a default rootfs updater named which is in the distribution archive ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2.

The default rootfs updater’s usage is:

$ [-p <devnode>] [-d <workdir>] <image>


  • <devnode> is the device node path of the rootfs partition, for example, /dev/mmcblk0p1.

  • <workdir> is the path of the OTA work directory, for example, /ota_work.

  • <image> is the path of the rootfs image, for example, /ota_work/system.img.

If you create a customized rootfs image, you must specify a rootfs updater that can process that image. The rootfs updater you specify must expect the same arguments and options as Depending on your needs, the updater might (or might not) use these arguments and options.

User Release Version

An image-based OTA supports an update from the BSP version to the same BSP version. For example, for an OTA update from version 36.3.0 to version 36.3.0 with a updated rootfs and with a updated user version number.

The user release version is defined in Linux_for_Tegra/nv_tegra/user_version and the valid value is between 0.0~999.999. During generating rootfs image, the user release version defined as USER_VERSION in Linux_for_Tegra/nv_tegra/user_version is to be copied into the file /etc/user_release_version in rootfs.

Updating the ESP Partition

To manually update the ESP partition, complete the following steps:

  1. Download the ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 OTA tool package. <rel> is the current release number, for example, 36.3.0.

  2. Copy the OTA tool package to the Jetson device’s filesystem and extract the package. For example, you can copy the OTA tool package to the /opt/ directory and extract it.

  3. Copy the new ESP partition image to the Jetson device’s filesystem. For example, you can copy the esp.img to /opt/ directory.

  4. To update the ESP partition, use the tool in the OTA tool package:

    $ cd /opt/Linux_for_Tegra/tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade/
    $ sudo ./ esp /opt/esp.img
  5. If no error occurred in step 4, reboot the Jetson device.


NVIDIA provides several examples of how to apply an image-based OTA update:

  • Generating an OTA payload package for OTA updates from R35.5.0 to the latest R36 version.

  • OTA from R35.5.0 to the latest R36 version.

  • OTA from a version earlier than R35.5.0 to the latest R36 version.

  • Using a golden image in the OTA update.

For more information about these examples, see the Linux_for_Tegra/tools/ota_tools/version_upgrade/Image_based_OTA_Examples.txt file, which is in the ota_tools_<rel>_aarch64.tbz2 OTA tool package.