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OpenBSD 3.9 Adds Sensor Framework 85

wbglinks writes to tell us ZDNet is reporting that the newest version of OpenBSD will include a sensor framework to help system administrators keep tabs on the environmental conditions of their servers. From the article: "At present, there are a number of commercial products that allow the environmental conditions of servers to be monitored, but different brands of server require different products. For example, Dell PowerEdge servers use the Embedded Server Management tool, while Sun Fire Servers use Sun's Remote System Control. This can make server management tricky when running a heterogeneous architecture. OpenBSD 3.9, which is scheduled for release on 1 May, includes support for the sensors and the sensor management tools used on a number of architectures."
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OpenBSD 3.9 Adds Sensor Framework

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  • by cabinetsoft ( 923481 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:28AM (#15001674)
    De Raadt has already been using the sensor framework to monitor the machines running in the project's server room. "I now get a call on my cell phone whenever something is wrong in the machine room," he said.
    and I bet the temperature warning reads something along the lines of "Link to your site posted on"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    while Sun Fire Servers

    Finally some use for BeOS' is_computer_on_fire() [] function!
    • That's an expensive one to debug!
    • int32 is_computer_on(void)

      Returns 1 if the computer is on. If the computer isn't on, the value returned by this function is undefined.

      ... what? Is this real? It looks it, but... WTF?

      • Be had some funky functions thrown in - Newton was just as bad (I seem to remember something like hold_your_horses).
  • what's the situation in Linux? Is this the same thing as the 'hardware sensors' modules in the kernel?
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Sounds to me more like that AND the framework for centrally managing all the platforms at the same time. That is what is missing. A standard way to manage all those sensor readings centrally.

      However it will most likely not be truly cross platform. I will be waiting for the Windows versions very eagerly. When you start talking about heterogenous environments, there will be Windows servers around. You can't get around that no matter how zealot and OSS fundamentalist you are.
      • However it will most likely not be truly cross platform. I will be waiting for the Windows versions very eagerly. When you start talking about heterogenous environments, there will be Windows servers around. You can't get around that no matter how zealot and OSS fundamentalist you are. Mostly likely it will portable - like most of OpenBSD's code. Just don't expect them to port it for you. With some effort, probably it would work on unix services for windows (which is based on openbsd btw).
    • what's the situation in Linux? Is this the same thing as the 'hardware sensors' modules in the kernel?

      Pretty much, but this is the OpenBSD version so it will be better for a number of vague and poorly defined reasons.

      Also it will be more secure. You wouldn't want someone to hack in and find out the temperature of your server would you? That's what will happen if you don't use OpenBSD.
  • Which means... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MadMirko ( 231667 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:58AM (#15001756)
    ... they add support for BMC and IPMI?

    Which, while fine in itself, is hardly a groundbreaking achievment for an OS, or is it? At least Windows has done that for years, and I believe Linux does as well (at least we have a working "sensor" implementation on a few RedHat / HP servers).
    • We will also add support for this in INM if possible.
    • Re:Which means... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I've got a RedHat ES3 server on a HP Proliant. The server support pack from HP is quite horrible, force installing rpms all over the place and apparently requiring the modules to be reinstalled if/when the kernel is updated.

      It would be great if there was a standard framework as a part of ES3, which then required just a few discrete drivers installed to read the sensors, much like how the RAID controller and NICs are supported - hopefully not needing re-installation each time the kernel is upgraded, and cer
    • Linux has many hw/temp sensor monitors and programs (mbmon, lbmon, etc). However (like all major sub-systems in Linux), it does not have a framework to give you a single set of commands that work with all hw/temp sensors out there.

      If you want to monitor systemX, you use programX. If you want to monitor systemY, you use programY. And so on. (It's like the horrid mess that is ifconfig/iwconfig/wiconfig/athctl/younameitctl).
  • Welcome to.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ( 653730 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @08:19AM (#15001819)
    "There is a significant new sensor framework [in OpenBSD 3.9], which supports voltage sensors, fan sensors, temperature sensors, and so on," said de Raadt. "Such a feature is still missing in Linux and other major operating systems."

    There we go []
    • Doesn't he know lm_sensors is available for Linux? I've been using it for as long as I can remember to monitor the temperature, voltage, fans, etc. When I saw this announcement I was kind of startled that OpenBSD *hasn't* had this sensor support for so long, yet people consider it a production operating system. How can it be production if you don't know whether or not your CPU fan has died and your CPU is melting? I guess they're trying to say lm_sensors isn't included in the vanilla kernel, but a lot o
      • Theo wants it both ways, he proudly boasts "I don't know what other OSes do, I don't use them" until someone tells him that his feature isn't on Lunix and then it's in the press release.

      • Re:Welcome to.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Triumph The Insult C ( 586706 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @11:31AM (#15003007) Homepage Journal
        this sensor framework is integrated into the base install. it is managed and developed by the openbsd developers, not a third party group where changes still have to get imported

        the framework supports a lot of sensors. along with sensorsd(9), it is a large improvement over what has been available for other OSes
        • oops. that should have been sensorsd(8)
        • You know, the Linux sensor developers ARE Linux developers (in charge of a given subsystem>), it's not a "third party group" where "changes still have to be imported" - in Linux the hardware monitoring features, IPMI etc have been in the mainline tree - and shipped in distros with commercial support etc - for years.

          I really don't see the difference, except that OpenBSD seems to be the one who is catching up.
      • I have not had such great luck with lm_sensors. I usually run IBM hardware (not a lot of choice in the matter), and it wasn't until pretty recently that you could get lm_sensors to work on a lot of it. This seems to have a lot to do with the corruption issues lm_sensors initially had with Thinkpads--the developers seem to have been (justifiably) skittish about IBM hardware. The versions of lm_sensors packaged with the distributions we use (enterprise versions of SUSE and Red Hat) have also been well behind
  • Have I been missing this section this whole time, or is this something new?
  • for me (my whole world is snmp, it seems) I'd want to know if there is any good progress on getting remote mgmt via snmp working better than it has, in the past.

    for example, sun has the 'platform mib' and 'entity mib' and in these two (as a sum) you can get voltage and fan speed and temperature and even alerts (traps) when thresholds are reached.

    I have not seen the entity mib (for example) on ANY lower end unix platform (freebsd, linux, etc). maybe I have to be the one to write one...

    getting sensor data ha
  • Some are taking a more external route, and are more concerned with data-center level monitoring than system-level. Degree Controls ( has a new product/service initiative called Adaptivcool which works to monitor and control (intelligently) airflow in a datacenter. Good stuff.
  • The 2.6.X linux kernels all have support for 1wire sensors through a built in kernel module.

    For those of you who aren't familiar with 1wire networking, I suggest checking out [] for examples of those devices.
  • by WoTG ( 610710 )
    The article specifically mentions Dell boxes, I wonder what features are available for whitebox servers. I guess it would depend on the motherboard features?
  • I thought Slashdot readers were opposed to sensorship. (*Rimshot*)
  • Wow, this latest move is sure to rocket OpenBSD to the top.

    I mean, the network performace will likely still suck [], especially compared to the competition, but at least now we can monitor our servers!

    Big Brother's [] given us this capability for years. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday March 27, 2006 @07:59PM (#15007302) Journal
    This "New Sensor Framework" has been in the mainline kernel since 3.5, and working quite well, thank you. I certainly wish other OSes would get this stuff built-in (of course OpenBSD is also lacking a lot of good features that FreeBSD/Linux DO have).

    Setting up lmsensors was an infuriating and disgusting mess on Linux. After an hour of kernel recompliations, and i2c/lmsensors version mis-matches, I just gave-up. I decided to simply parse the output of mbmon (most trivial setup, EVER!).

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.