lm sensors

Pam Huntley phuntley at us.ibm.com
Fri Aug 30 23:20:50 CEST 2002

Hi Phil,

I've contacted the hardware engineers, they appear to be willing to work on
this.  Apparently they were working on it before, but something happened.
No one gave me a very specific answer, so I'm really not sure what the
history is (so I'm also not sure if it has been fixed in newer hardware or

I gave them your contact information (email).  I haven't heard if they'll
contact you directly or not, as they are in Japan, they might just send me
stuff and let me pass it on to you. I should know more next week when they
respond to my email.

As far as detecting IBM, I think you are on the right track.  My
understanding is that both the vendor flag "IBM" and the MTM (machine type
and model) are located in the BIOS, and that you can access this using
SMAPI calls.  We used to use DMI on our older machines, I'm not sure if it
will work on the newer ones.  Again, I write mostly GUI software, so I'm a
little fuzzy on things like BIOS, but I can probably get more specifics if
this is something you need to know more about.  I believe you can actually
get the MTM and just test the type to make sure it's a ThinkPad, and that
way you won't have to disable it for ALL IBM machines.  Hopefully we can
get the specs to you and you won't have to disable it at all.

I'm hoping that we can get you what you need, I'll keep you posted as to
what I know.


Pamela Huntley, IBM PCD Software Development
Phone: (919) 543-3598   Email: phuntley at us.ibm.com

|         |           phil at netroedge.co|
|         |           m                |
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|         |           08/27/2002 01:51 |
|         |           PM               |
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  |       To:       Pam Huntley/Raleigh/IBM at IBMUS, sensors at Stimpy.netroedge.com                                                         |
  |       cc:                                                                                                                           |
  |       Subject:  Re: [ltp] lm sensors                                                                                                |
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Hi Pam, thanks for the note and any help you can provide.

Right now, we don't have any contacts from IBM.  We've been working
with 'Joe from Australia' (a reverse engineering hardware hacker) who
has provided us with some valuable information as to how the Thinkpads
use the 24RF08 chip.  A while ago we seemed to be close to talking
with some engineers at IBM about this, but it fizzled out at the last

It's good to hear that this issue is solved for newer Thinkpads.  We
got a report that the symptom may have resurfaced in Intellistations
which seem to have the same or similar RFID functionality?  We haven't
been able to confirm this, though.

Right now, we are working to get Lm_sensors included as a standard
installment in the Linux kernel (2.5.x series).  The hold up is this
Thinkpad issue.  Alan Cox has suggested we fix or workaround the
issue before he allow our code to be included.

In our previous discussions with IBM (a while ago now), an engineer
suggested we simply detect and disable our code for their hardware.
This is also what Alan Cox viewed as a potential stop-gap solution
prior to kernel inclusion.  So, we are moving forward to use DMI to
detect for the presence of IBM hardware (by brand), and then disable
our code.  Unfortunately, this disables support for a majority of IBM
hardware which our code runs happily on (like servers for which admins
rely upon our code to monitor the health of).

Ideally, we would love to get help confirming what device is the
culprit (we suspect the 24RF08 and clones).  Then, we would like to
find a way to safely detect the device(s), and avoid or properly drive
it.  This would be a more preferred solution than dropping support for
the entire IBM brand!


On Tue, Aug 27, 2002 at 12:56:41PM -0400, Pam Huntley wrote:
> Hi Phil,
> I work in Personal Computing at IBM, doing software development.  Part of
> my job is now doing Linux-related work, and a small part of that is
> to help out the Linux community wherever possible.  I don't actually do
> hardware development, but I know the people that do, and in some cases
> been able to get information released for Linux purposes.
> I meant to respond to you on this issue earlier, but I just got busy on
> other projects...  :-/ At any rate, has anyone at IBM been working with
> on this at all?  I just recently started doing Linux work, so I'm not
> completely sure of the history, but my understanding was that for newer
> machines (T23+), this had been fixed, or had a workaround in place in the
> BIOS.  I'm trying to get more information from my manager now.
> As for the older machines, it looked like on the mailing list you had
> gotten information about how to test for IBM machines.  If you tell me
> kind of information you need (you'll have to be specific, I don't know
> that much about hardware), then I can put in a request to have the
> information released to the Linux community (ie you).  I'm not sure how
> successful it'll be, the hardware guys are kind of leery about releasing
> information, but at least I can ask.  On some occaisions it's worked. :-)
> Pam
> ============================================
> Pamela Huntley, IBM PCD Software Development
> Phone: (919) 543-3598   Email: phuntley at us.ibm.com
> |---------+-------------------------------->
> |         |           phil at netroedge.com   |
> |         |           Sent by:             |
> |         |           owner-linux-thinkpad@|
> |         |           bm-soft.com          |
> |         |                                |
> |         |                                |
> |         |           08/24/2002 08:53 PM  |
> |         |           Please respond to    |
> |         |           linux-thinkpad       |
> |         |                                |
> |---------+-------------------------------->
>   >

>   |
>   |       To:       linux-thinkpad at www.bm-soft.com
>   |       cc:
>   |       Subject:  Re: [ltp] lm sensors
>   |
>   |
>   >

> On Sat, Aug 24, 2002 at 05:38:03PM +0200, Bill Mair wrote:
> >
> > > On Fri, 23 Aug 2002, SMichelle wrote:
> > >[...]
> > > You should be able to ovverride the dependency: Check rpm's man page.
> > > If kde _needed_ lm_sensors, it would have run it, and your machine
> > > would already be hosed.
> >
> > How very true, sad but true. Does anyone know why KDE lists lm_sensors
> > a pre-req ?
> Probably because there are a number of GUI hardware health monitors
> for KDE (e.g. things that go in the dock to show CPU temp and such).
> > Do any of you IBMers know if there has been any progress made on this ?
> > As I said before (a long time ago), no mortal LTPer is going to beta
> > possible fixes (way toooo dangerous), this is something that REALLY
> requires
> > IBMs support and attention.
> We've given up on IBM, but we've had some help from other sources.
> We just received samples of what could be the chip which is suspect
> (Atmel AT24RF08).  We will try to play with it to see if we can
> explain why our code causes it to puke.  Even from looking at the
> datasheet it isn't clear why.
> Without proper documenation, access to helpful IBM engineers, or even
> a Thinkpad... we are doomed to progress only very slowly.  Rest
> assured, though, that we are trying hard to fix this.  Even Alan Cox
> has asked us to fix this specific issue (or at least detect IBM
> hardware and disable our code) before it will be allowed into the
> 2.5.x kernel.
> BTW- if anyone out there wants to help out by donating a vulnerable
> Thinkpad for testing, or for testing code themselves, please let me
> know.
> Phil (Lm_sensors cofounder)
> ----- The Linux ThinkPad mailing list -----
> The linux-thinkpad mailing list home page is at:
> http://www.bm-soft.com/~bm/tp_mailing.html

Philip Edelbrock -- IS Manager -- Edge Design, Corvallis, OR
   phil at netroedge.com -- http://www.netroedge.com/~phil
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