In an effort to iron out one of the big wrinkles in the Four Thirds partnership, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sigma have jointly announced today a new global system for updating Four Thirds lens firmware.
According to a press release filed today, the three manufacturers "have joined forces to launch an online firmware update service that will enable users to easily update the firmware in interchangeable DSLR lenses compliant with the Four Thirds System Standard, even when the camera and lens are not made by the same manufacturer."
"Scheduled to start on October 15, 2008, this new joint service is the first of its kind in the industry."
Prior to this change, in order to update firmware for one brand of lens, users had to push the update through a body of the same brand. Hence, a shooter with an Olympus body and a Panasonic/Leica lens couldn't update the lens's firmware, and vice-versa.
Under the new arrangement, users of either body brand (third partner Sigma makes no Four Thirds bodies at the moment) can head straight to the Joint Update Service portion of Four-Thirds.org, which houses links to the latest firmware updates as well as info on how to get the most up-to-date firmware for your lens/body combination.
Olympus, Panasonic, and Sigma all have addition information on the new Joint Update Service on their respective websites as well.