Version 2 (modified by Gabriele Pohl, 15 years ago) ( diff )

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History of smartmontools

Smartmontools was derived directly from smartsuite. The smartsuite code was originally developed as a Senior Thesis by Michael Cornwell at the Concurrent Systems Laboratory (now part of the Storage Systems Research Center), Jack Baskin School of Engineering, University of California, Santa Cruz. You can find some information about the original smartsuite project here: Press Release 1, Press Release 2, Press Release 3. According to SSRC smartsuite is no longer maintained; the last release was in 2001.

Smartmontools was first released in October 2002. It differs from smartsuite in that it supports the ATA/ATAPI-5 standard. So for example smartctl from smartsuite has no facility for printing the SMART self-test logs, and doesn't print timestamp information in the most usable way. The smartctl utility in smartmontools has added functionality for this (-q, -l selftest, -S, -T, -v and -m options), updated documentation, and also fixes small technical bugs in smartsuite. (One example: smartsuite does not actually use the ATA SMART RETURN STATUS command to find out the health status of a disk. It instead tries to infer this from the SMART Attribute values.) See the CHANGELOG file in our repository for a summary of what's been done.

The smartd utility differs from the smartsuite smartd in major ways. First, it prints somewhat more informative error messages to the syslog. Second, on startup it looks for a configuration file /etc/smartd.conf, and if smartd finds this file, it monitors the list of devices therein, rather than querying all IDE and SCSI devices on your system. (If the configuration file does not exist, then it does query all IDE and SCSI devices.) Also, it's a well-behaved daemon and doesn't leave open file descriptors and other detrius behind. In addition, the smartmontools version of smartd can be instructed (via Directives in the configuration file) to monitor for changes in a number of different disk properties: the SMART status, failure or prefailure attributes going below threshold, new errors appearing in the ATA Error Log or the SMART Self-Test Log, and so on. smartd can also send an email warning or run a user-specified executable if it detects a problem with the disk.

The other principle difference is that smartmontools is an OpenSource development project, meaning that we keep the files in SVN, and that other developers who wish to contribute can commit changes to the repository. If you would like to contribute, please write to to smartmontools-support.

But the bottom line is that the code in smartmontools is derived directly from smartsuite and is similar. The smartsuite package can be found here.

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