IT87 Linux Driver For Supporting Many Motherboard Sensors Is Facing Death
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 17 July 2018 at 02:37 PM EDT. 28 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
While Linux hardware support for desktop PCs has advanced a great deal over the years, one area that continues to struggle is support for fan/thermal/power sensors on many of today's motherboards. This area has struggled with not enough public documentation / data-sheets from ASIC vendors as well as not enough upstream Linux kernel developers being interested in the hwmon subsystem. The IT87 Linux driver for many common Super I/O chips found on countless motherboards is unfortunately facing a downfall.

There has been the upstream IT87 hwmon Linux driver, but it rarely sees new improvements. Hwmon subsystem maintainer Guenter Roeck has been maintaining an IT87 driver out-of-tree for users, complete with DKMS support for making this driver easily deployable on kernel versions of your choice, but now he is going to be removing this driver's sources.

Guenter Roeck had been maintaining the IT87 driver code out-of-tree sort of as a stop-gap measure for easily delivering updates outside of the kernel cadence and not having to abide by the conventional upstream Linux kernel standards of code review, etc. There's nothing stopping that out-of-tree code from making it into the mainline kernel but motivated developers willing to test and review the code in order to meet the mainline kernel standards.

But if anyone wants to help get the IT87 patches to mainline or simply keep the code for your own hardware if relevant, time is running out as Roeck plans to remove the code. In a notice he posted:
DRIVER REMOVAL NOTICE
=====================

I have been unable to meet support demands for this driver, resulting in unpleasant experience and frustration for everyone involved.

Consequently, the driver will be removed from github, effective August 1, 2018. Interested parties are encouraged to clone the driver before that time and to start maintaining it on their own.

The code is via this GitHub repository. The IT87 mainline Linux driver will remain unaffected albeit it's not as up-to-date as the out-of-tree code with the latest fixes and improvements. Roeck recently commented that for the upstream driver it would be "very difficult and work intensive for the upstream kernel to catch up." He has also closed the tickets pertaining to this out-of-tree driver code.

This out-of-tree IT87 driver code is needed for getting the motherboard sensors working on many modern motherboards from the ASUS X470 PRIME to X399A PRIME to various Lenovo desktops and many other Ryzen motherboards.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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