[Nut-upsdev] Usage of 'alarm_(init|set|commit)'

Arjen de Korte nut+devel at de-korte.org
Thu Aug 9 11:02:53 UTC 2007

As can be seen in the trunk, I'm working on the alarm functions in NUT.
Only two drivers actively use these at the moment and I intend to add a
third one to that (usbhid-ups, in an effort to clean up the mess we
created there with undocumented status flags).

At the moment, docs/new-drivers.txt says about the alarm functions the

	"There is no official list of alarm words as of this writing, so
	 don't use these functions until you check with the upsdev list."

So there we go... :-)

I think the alarm_* functions are an excellent way to convey informative
messages about UPS status/problems to an operator (a human, if we
disregard the trained monkeys some people may use). Therefor, I want to
propose that we use a free format here and not a list of predefined status
words for the following reasons:

1) Situations that need to be dealt with immediately (in a matter of
seconds) are dealt with through 'ups.status'. This requires automatic
parsing and therefor we are restricted here to a fixed set of status

2) Alarms typically can't be solved without intervention of an operator
and don't require *immediate* action. This means they don't need to be
parsed automatically, hence we're not restricted by a fixed set of status

3) We don't want to loose information by grouping similar, but not
entirely identical situations under one alarm report. Instead, we want to
be as precise as possible, in order to help the operator resolve the

Any thoughts?

Best regards, Arjen
Eindhoven - The Netherlands
Key fingerprint - 66 4E 03 2C 9D B5 CB 9B  7A FE 7E C1 EE 88 BC 57

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