Intel ICH7 SMBus support, ichsmb(4)

Miroslav Lachman 000.fbsd at
Thu Sep 11 11:49:54 UTC 2008

Jeremy Chadwick wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 11:51:52AM +0200, Miroslav Lachman wrote:
>>Are you still actively working on bsdhwmon and do you plan to support  
>>non-Supermicro servers?
> Yes, I'm still actively working on it -- it is in no way shape or form a
> dead project.  Most of the delays of releasing the software are caused
> by the following:
> * No man page or decent documentation -- this is a big show-stopper
> for me.  I hate writing man pages (I write them by hand; I do not
> believe in using irritating tools to try and do the work for me), and
> writing one takes quite a bit of time to continually look up troff
> syntax and what not,
> * Code comments need to be added and cleaned up -- I need to document
> my functions better so anyone examining the source can understand it,
> * Badly-written Makefile with lots of hard-coded settings and options --
> I need someone with better familiarity with Make to assist in cleaning
> this up,
> * Supermicro not providing me some necessary details (such as how
> to deal with the 5VCC/5VDD bug on some motherboards), resulting in
> that specific voltage being calculated wrong -- I've looked at the Linux
> lm-sensors project to try and get answers, but their code is absolute
> spaghetti and heavily abstracted,
> * Many testers not getting back to me with results of their tests --
> I've mailed many of the ones who wanted to test, but got no response
> from them, indicating they lack time or lost interest in helping,
> * Some users requesting additional features too soon, such as: support
> for a configuration file, customisable output, and ISA I/O port
> support.
> I suppose a lot of these could be addressed if I released the code in a
> preliminary fashion (providing folks the ability to help me with
> documentation, etc.).  Hmm... Yeah, I should really get a beta tarball
> up, and/or make a FreeBSD port for it already (since I am a ports
> committer).
> Also, I recently discovered that at EuroBSDCon, Constantine Murenin will
> be giving a talk about the OpenBSD Hardware Sensors Framework:
>  This makes me makes me wonder if
> the project is being re-considered for FreeBSD (it was committed to
> CURRENT in October 2007 and then backed out after being referred to as a
> "festering junkpile that does not belong in the kernel", reference:
> If it is being reconsidered, I think it would make *much* more sense for
> me to spend my time getting ICHx SMBus support working under that, since
> the framework provides an interface for me to work with.
> To answer your 2nd question: yes, I plan on supporting other
> motherboards and products.  The reason that is on hold/back-burner is:
> * I have contacts at Supermicro who can provide me full register
> details and provide overall support/help when I need it.  I have none of
> this with Sun, nVidia, IBM, nor Intel.  I can assure you that if I mail
> the general "Technical Support" lists these companies have, the support
> folks will /dev/null my mails, or simply go "What is this?  SMBus slave
> hardware chip what?  What the hell is that?  Whatever..." and ignore the
> mail because it's outside of the norm.
> I do not believe in "randomly probing the SMBus" to try and find things
> by trial and error -- the risks are huge!  People don't realise that
> reading registers can cause interrupts or features to be reset or
> disabled on the chip, which could cause the entire machine (or maybe
> just the SMBus layer) to lock up.  I can assure you none of the bsdhwmon
> testers will put up with those risks, as most of them are doing testing
> on actual production servers and are trusting my "play it safe"
> judgement...
> * I want to get a good, solid list of Supermicro servers officially
> supported before moving on to a mix-match of other hardware.  I do have
> very basic support for an AMD-based H/W monitoring chip used in a
> Supermicro board, but there's no SMBus driver available on FreeBSD for
> that chipset, so bsdhwmon can't work with it.
>>I wrote you an e-mail in June about my interest  in testing thist
>>project on my servers, but got no reply.
> Hmm...  I've looked through my mail archives for all of 2008, and I
> don't see any mail from you pertaining to bsdhwmon.  I do see other
> mails (discussing GRUB, ATA problems, etc.) but nothing about bsdhwmon.
> I was grepping for 'Miroslav', looking specifically in my mailbox
> dedicated for koitsu at  Could you resend it?

re-sent with subject "[Fwd: bsdhwmon [was: Re: cpufreq broken on core2duo]]"

>>I have some Sun Fire X2100 M2 (nVidia chips), IBM x335 (Intel), IBM x336  
>>(Intel) servers and one Supermicro X6DHP-8G (Intel) server.
> Thanks.  I'll add these to my list of servers that I should try to focus
> on in the near future (since you have hardware available for testing),
> and mark you down as the contact I should refer to for help/testing.

Thank you for your time and for informations!

As I have mostly Sun Fire X2100 M2 servers, I have one as spare / 
testing machine, where I can test potentially "dangerous" code, or give 
you full access with remote Java based KVM if needed (Sun eLOM).

Miroslav Lachman

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