Showing posts from February, 2020

The BMC is getting new tricks

On Twitter Raptor is teasing an upcoming new BMC build for all Raptor family systems (Talos II, T2 Lite and Blackbird) offering web-based environmental monitoring and firmware updates. I'm a command line jockey myself and I didn't find the previous SSH-based means too onerous, but a web-accessible environmental monitoring system could be quite useful for centralized setups (especially if there's an API or some other means to scrape the data into a dashboard). Since this data is directly served from the BMC, it would be more complete than what ibmpowernv offers now and being directly pushed should be faster than ipmitool which can take several seconds to gather information (see our DIY GNOME IPMI fan tool for a real-world example). If you can't wait, it looks like this code is publicly available in Raptor's git tree right now, but you'll have to build it yourself (you should anyway) since there don't appear to be beta builds just yet.

Firefox 73 on POWER

... seems to just work. New in this release is better dev tools and additional CSS features. This release includes the fix for certain extensions that regressed in Fx71, and so far seems to be working fine on this Talos II. The debug and optimized mozconfigs I'm using are, as before, unchanged from Firefox 67.


It was pointed out on the Raptor discussion board that the ibmpowernv hwmon module doesn't report fan speed for Raptor family systems, and I suspect this is true for most things based on the Romulus reference design (you can only see the fan of the graphics card, and of course only if it's installed). This means most of the GNOME shell extensions to display system status won't display it. However, it is accessible by talking to the BMC over IPMI, so you should be able to get it that way. Here's a quick-and-dirty method to put your Blackbird or T2 fan speed(s) into your GNOME shell (and probably works fine for other systems with IPMI-accessible fans). This is using Fedora 31; adjust for your distro to taste.

  1. First, verify that you do have fans. You'll need to do this as root: sudo ipmitool sdr type fan

    This will show output like this, after a couple seconds:

    fan0   | DDh | ok  | 29.1 | 2100 revolution
    fan1   | DEh | ok  | 29.2 | 2100 revolution
    fan2   | DFh | ok  | 29.3 | 1900 revolution
    fan3   | E2h | ok  | 29.4 | 2000 revolution
    fan4   | E3h | ok  | 29.5 | 1700 revolution
    fan5   | E4h | ok  | 29.6 | 1700 revolution
    fan6   | E5h | ns  | 29.7 | Disabled
  2. We don't want to have to constantly query the BMC as root, so create a ipmi group and put yourself in it (with vigr, vigr -s and vipw as needed). Log out and log back in, and check groups to make sure you have ipmi privileges.

  3. Create a udev rule to make IPMI group-accessible by our new group ipmi. In /etc/udev/rules.d/99_my.rules, I have

    # allow ipmi to be seen by ipmi group
    KERNEL=="ipmi*", GROUP="ipmi", MODE="0660"

    Restart your system to make sure this sticks, and/or chgrp ipmi /dev/ipmi0 ; chmod 0660 /dev/ipmi0 to make the change live. You should now be able to just do ipmitool sdr type fan as your IPMI-group user.

Now that your system is configured, let's actually integrate the output. At some point I'll maybe make this into a full-fledged extension but for prototyping and playing around purposes, there is an easier way: Argos. Though sadly the maintainer is no longer a GNOME user, the extension seems to work fine still for this purpose as of this writing.

  1. Install the Argos GNOME extension if not already done. You may wish to chmod -x ~/.config/argos/ afterwards to get the demo menu out of your menu bar.

  2. Download this simple script to format the output from ipmitool into Argos BitBar output. Its only dependencies are bash, awk and ipmitool. It gets the IPMI information, caches it (because it's expensive), and then figures out the fastest fan and puts that into the Argos button (click that for all the fans in the system, as shown in the screenshot).

  3. The script goes into ~/.config/argos, but the filename will be based on where you want it and how quickly you want it to update itself. My filename is, which says set it to position six on the right side of the shell bar (this varies on other shell components you have there) and updates every 5 seconds.

  4. Once you have selected position and interval, chmod +x ~/.config/argos/[filename].sh, Argos will automatically see it, and it will start updating at the interval encoded in the filename. If it's in the wrong place, or you don't like how quickly or slowly it updates, just rename the file and Argos will "do the right thing" live.

Do the brew*

I've long tried to position the Talos family as an upgrade path for Power Mac owners, and here's another way: the macOS Homebrew package manager has been ported to OpenPOWER.

The concept is a bit involved but most of the work has been done for you. To bootstrap Ruby requires building a version from the portable Ruby recipe, or you can borrow a ppc64le build and patch the vendor install script to find it. At that point you should be able to patch brew itself with the three patches linked in the instructions. We look forward to seeing these patches getting into Homebrew proper!

(*The authors of Talospace do not endorse the large-scale drinking of alcoholic beverages unless you are an Asgardian god or Australian. And even then.)