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1) Questions about the driver

  1.1) I'm trying to do a send message command, but it fails.  Why
       can't I do this?

     You know too much about IPMI :-).  OpenIPMI does all this work
     for you.  To send a message out on IPMB, you set up an IPMB
     address and send the message to that address (without all that
     nasty send message stuff).  It's much easier.  Try it, you'll
     like it.

  1.2) I *really* want to do a send message command.  How do I do it?

     Sorry, you can't.  It's not that I have it out for you, it has to
     do with the technical details of IPMI.  If you have multiple
     users of an IPMI system, you have to have a central mechanism to
     manage information.  You have sequence numbers that have to be
     assigned and managed; if the same applications used the same
     sequence numbers then chaos would ensue.  Since the OpenIPMI
     driver allows multiple users (and has users both inside and
     outside the kernel) it can't allow users to directly do send
     message commands.


2) Questions about the library.

  2.1) Why is ipmi_ui so ugly?

     Well, ipmi_ui is a test program that I wrote for my own purposes.
     I'll try to clean it up in the future and make it into something
     useful, and it's certainly ugly, but it's primarily for my
     testing.

     In general, it has been replace with the ipmish command, which
     provides a much more consistent interface to the system.  It is
     much more consistent and is well documented.  It is perhaps not
     quite as nice for interactive use.


  2.2) What if I just want to send some IPMI commands.

     Then "ipmicmd" is the tools for you.  It can connect to a system
     interface or to a LAN connection and let you directly enter
     commands.


  2.3) I'm trying to write a little program that comes up and queries a
     few things.  Can I use the OpenIPMI library to do that?

     Yes, you can.  In the ipmi_open_domain() command, you can turn on
     and off the things you want, so you can trim down the startup
     process to speed it up.


  2.4) Why can't I just perform an operation and immediately get the
     results?  Why all these callbacks?

     Read the documenation for details.  The OpenHPI interface
     (http://openhpi.sourceforce.net) is expected to sit on top of the
     OpenIPMI library and provide an interface more like that.  Plus,
     you can write your own wrappers to do it.  It's not possible to
     write event-driven wrappers on top of a non-event-driven
     interface.


  2.5) Can I have multiple OpenIPMI session from different programs to
     the same interface?

     Certainly.  I do it all the time :-)

     The main problem is the System Event Log (SEL).  Somebody has to
     delete items from the SEL.  You have a couple of options...

     If you don't care about the SEL, then set the SEL rescan time to
     zero with ipmi_domain_set_sel_rescan_time() or disable it with
     the startup options.  This will turn off the SEL completely.

     If you do care about SELs on multiple programs, you will have to
     develop a protocol between all the users.  You have to have a way
     to let all the listeners get all the SELs, but still delete items
     from the SEL in a timely manner.  I recommend that you set the
     SEL rescan time to a value, and for every event receive wait
     double that value before deleting it.  OpenIPMI will correctly
     handle multiple things deleting items from the SEL.


  2.6) Can you open more than one IPMI session from OpenIPMI?

     Certainly.  You can create as many connections and domains as you
     like, the library has no limitiation.


  2.7) I have an xyz computer, does OpenIPMI support it?

     That depends on a lot of things.  Does the box have IPMI?  Most
     systems do not, it's currently mostly on high-end system.  If the
     system does have IPMI, OpenIPMI will probably support it.  It may
     not support the full function of your system though.  Output
     devices are not defined by the IPMI spec, so they are all OEM and
     require custom code to control them.  Sensors that do not appear
     in an SDR repository will not be supported without custom code.
     Any things custom to the system will probably not be supported.


  2.8) What interfaces does OpenIPMI support?

     OpenIPMI currently supports system interfaces through the
     OpenIPMI device driver and LAN interfaces.  It does not support
     serial interfaces or any type of callback devices.


  2.9) Does OpenIPMI support ICMB?

     Not currently, although it shouldn't be hard to add.


 2.10) How do I learn more about IPMI?

     Not much information currently exists.  The OpenIPMI web site has
     a pointer to the specs and the documentation that comes with
     IPMI, but the spec is very hard to read and the documentation is
     really more marketing level.  The documentation that comes with
     OpenIPMI provides a more gentle introduction to IPMI (you should
     certainly read it before you read the spec) but it's more focused
     on OpenIPMI, not IPMI proper.

     Someone needs to write a book (and it's not going to be me).


 2.11) What does OpenIPMI do?

     OpenIPMI attempts to handle a lot of the difficult parts of IPMI
     for the user; as much as it can without making too many policy
     decisions for the user.  For instance, it:
     * Fetches all the SDRs and translates them into sensors and
       entity information.
     * Manages access to the SEL.
     * Handles the interface, which is especially hard for LAN
       connections.
     * Handles fetching FRU information for entities.
     * Lets you deal directly with sensors and entities.
     * Periodically scans all the information it manages to see if
       it has changed.
     * Decodes incoming events, correlates them with sensors,
       translates raw values into useful values, and delivers them
       with the sensor object.
     * Allows OEM code to plug in to fix up things and present
       non-standard devices through standard interfaces.
     Basically, the user just has to start up the connection and wait
     for things to happen.  As OpenIPMI finds things, it will report
     them and the user can take action.  It is designed to remove the
     low-level details from the user's concern and only present the
     things the user is really interested in handling.


 2.12) I don't like the way OpenIPMI does x.

     You may disagree with implementation decisions I have made and
     that's fine.  You can make suggestions, submit patches, and work
     with me on this.  Or you may write your own IPMI library.  Or you
     may pillage OpenIPMI to get what you want.  Like Linus holds
     final say on what goes into his distribution of Linux, I hold
     final say on what goes into my distribution of OpenIPMI.  But
     that doesn't mean you can't do your own work on it.


 2.13) Why did you write OpenIPMI?

     OpenIPMI was originally written to support a customer who needed
     an interface for their IPMI platform.  It was also designed with
     HPI in mind, for something to implement as the base to an HPI
     library.


 2.14) I just want to use pieces of OpenIPMI, can I?

     Well, it's open source.  But unfortunately, OpenIPMI is not
     terribly modular as a whole.  Certain parts (the interface code,
     for instance) can be used stand-alone.  But SDRs, MC, SELs,
     domains, sensors, etc. all know about each other.  It's somewhat
     inescapable, really, the concepts are intertwined.  It would be
     fairly easy to take any individual piece of the code (the sdr.c
     code, for instance) and change it to work in a different system,
     but you would have to change the code to do that.


 2.15) Why is the OpenIPMI interface the way it is (bad, good, ugly,
     elegent, simple, obtuse, etc)?

     My basic philosophy of API design is:

     1) Users should only have to deal with the objects they really
        care about.  You should distill the interface down to what the
        user really cares about.  Think about it from the user's point
        of view and implement what they want.

     2) Users (especially me) have a hard time dealing with large
        numbers of types.  Distill the types down to the essentials.
        Don't overload types with information that doesn't belong in
        them, either.  Essentials are essentials; don't go beyond
        them, though.

     3) Interfaces should be designed with extensibility in mind.  All
        types should be opaque pointers so that the internal
        representation and implementation can change without the
        binary or logical interface changing.  If you make an
        exception on this, it better be for a really good reason.

     4) Use the basic types of the language as much as possible.  It's
        better to have more functions than types.

     I'm very picky about this.  I have seen too many bad APIs; ones
     based on the implementation, not the needs of the user.


 2.16) My IPMI system has some broken information in it.  Can I fix it
     in OpenIPMI?

     Sure.  You can write OEM code that ties in to when objects are
     added to the system and fix them up as necessary.  The details
     of this are beyond the scope of the FAQ, but you can look in
     lib/oem_*.c for examples.


 2.17) It takes a long time to find all the information about a system
     on IPMB.  What's the deal?

     Unfortunately, the base library can't really know what exists or
     where it should exist, so it has to scan everything on the bus.
     You can write an OEM plugin or scan the addresses you are
     interested in by hand.

     If you don't care about the information, as of version 1.4.4 you
     can skip those steps via options to the ipmi_open_domain()
     function or the startup parms to ipmish or the Perl interface.


 2.18) I want to know when OpenIPMI is done finding everything in the
     system.

     Unfortunately, there is no concept of "done" in IPMI.  IPMI
     allows a dynamic environment with elements of the system coming
     and going.  You need to re-think your philosophy here and design
     software that can dynamically manage elements of the system
     coming and going.  OpenIPMI will tell you when it finds things,
     and then you can manage them.

     But bowing to popular demand, though, the 1.4 version of OpenIPMI
     adds a "done" callback to the ipmi_open_domain function that lets
     you know when OpenIPMI has finished the first pass of everything
     (SDRs, SELs, FRUs, IPMB scan).  There is no guarantee that it
     found everything in the first pass, and you should handle
     dynamically adding things later.


 2.19) How do I build the Perl interface?

     The Perl interface uses swig 1.3.22 or later, which is available
     from http://www.swig.org.  That must be installed and in your
     path to build the Perl interface.  You must also have the
     development libraries for Perl installed, of course.


 2.20) How do I catch SNMP traps with OpenIPMI?

     Although OpenIPMI has infrastructure to handle traps, it does not
     catch them for you.  You have to provide the software to catch
     the traps and then you can tell OpenIPMI about them.  The
     ui/basic_ui.c code has some example SNMP trap code using the
     netsmp and ucsdsnmp libraries.

 2.21) Why does it take a long time to get events from OpenIPMI?

    The standard interface to the event log is polled, and the polling
    time is 5 seconds by default.  You can change the polling time if
    you don't care about the additional load.

    A system interface (SMI) does have an immediate event receive
    capability; when an event comes in it goes into the system log and
    into a queue.  OpenIPMI does nt enable tis by default, you must
    enable it yourself with a "Set BMC Global Enables Command".

    LAN interfaces may be capable of sending SNMP traps when an event
    comes in.  This is through the Platform Event Traps and is fairly
    complicated.  OpenIPMI provides a way to configure this more
    easily, but you still have to know what you are doing.  See
    question 2.20 for how to handle these traps.

 2.22) What crypto does OpenIPMI implement/use?

    OpenIPMI implements MD2 and MD5.  It's questionable whether those
    are crypto algorithms or not, but I'm including them just to be
    sure.

    For the IPMI 2.0 RMCP+ algorithms, OpenIPMI requires the OpenSSL
    package.  OpenIPMI will work without OpenSSL, but then it will not
    be able to use the advanced encryption algorithms.  The algorithms
    used by OpenIPMI are: HMAC-SHA1 (96 bit) and HMAC-MD5 (128 bit) for
    authentication and integrity.  AES-CBC (128 bit) is the only option
    for encryption. In the future, RC4 (40 bit and 128 bit) may be
    implemented per the spec.

    The OpenIPMI authentication/encryption framework is pluggable and
    users could write their own algorithms if they wish.

2.23) How do I interpret the OpenIPMI numeric error values?

    Nothing should really be printing these values except for logs and
    tracing.  However, a lot of these come out from sample
    applications.  However, I'll go over a little to make tracing and the
    like easier.

    The top 8 bits of an error are the error type (basically where the
    error came from).  The rest of the value is the error itself; make
    sure to use the proper IPMI_xxx_ERR_VAL() to extract it.  The
    error types are:

    * 00 - An OS error or an error from OpenIPMI itself.  These are
           standard errno values and can be decoded with strerror()
           and friends.
    * 01 - An error from the remote management controller (An IPMI error).
           You can look these up in the IPMI manual.
    * 02 - RMCP+ error.  These are in the IPMI LAN section of the IPMI
           manual.
    * 03 - SoL (Serial Over LAN) errors.  These are in the SoL section
           of the IPMI manual.

    You can convert any of these errors to a human-readable (currently
    English only) string using ipmi_err_get_string().  See
    include/OpenIPMI/ipmi_err.h for more details on these things.