ANNOUNCE: bios_dev_name tool, 0.1 release

Ragnar Kjørstad dell at
Sat Dec 2 08:25:13 CST 2006

On Wed, Nov 29, 2006 at 05:15:09PM -0600, Matt Domsch wrote:
> 3) bios_dev_name ( -
>    intended to be a udev helper.  For example, something like:
> KERNEL=="eth*", ACTION=="add", PROGRAM="/usr/sbin/bios_dev_name -i %k", NAME="%c"
> which, given the kernel's name for a device, retreives the
> BIOS-expected name, and sets it to that.  Alternately, it can be
> integrated into SuSE's rename_netiface script as demonstrated in the
> patch included in the release.  As a udev helper, it doesn't need
> config files to accomplish its work.


> Right now #1 uses a hard-coded breadth-first search algorithm; #2 uses
> the PCI IRQ routing table and breadth-first.  #3 is the same as #2
> algorithm-wise, but is written in C rather than perl/shell to be more
> available as a udev helper.

This means that if the udev helper is used on non Dell systems it may
swap the ordering where it was not supposed to, right?

> In the future, the SMBIOS Working Group has a proposal to add explicit
> BIOS device naming assignments to the SMBIOS tables.  This will let
> the OS query SMBIOS directly to find out the name a given device
> "should" have (from the BIOS perspective).  I expect bios_dev_name to
> be able to take advantage of this when included in the spec and
> implemented in system BIOS.

Excellent. I think this is the real fix.

However, it's probably going to take a bit of time before this gets
implemented both in BIOS and in the distributions. So, in the mean time:
1. How can the udev helper be used in a heterogenous environment with
   some 9G Dell systems and some system from other vendors that may have
   the another device ordering? Is the best solution to _only_ install
   the udev helper on the 9G Dell systems (and other systems with the
   same kind of device ordering), or is there another way? I like the
   approach in your kernel patch here - it will fix the problems on 9G
   Dell automatically, make it easy to specify that other systems need
   the same fix, and yet not create problems on systems that depend on
   the old device ordering.
2. Any signals that Red Hat and SuSE will pick this up? (I guess it
   depends on #1). Only for new releases, or will there be updates for
   existing distributions available?
3. How can the udev helper be added to existing distributions. In other
   words, how can the helper be used from anaconda and autoyast to get
   the device ordering right during installation over the network.

Ragnar Kjørstad
Software Engineer
Scali -
Scaling the Linux Datacenter

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