[hobbit] A combo message of questions

Henrik Storner henrik at hswn.dk
Sun Jan 23 13:51:37 CET 2005

In <41F382C2.5070902 at cisco.com> Charles Jones <jonescr at cisco.com> writes:

>I have several questions, so I'm just going to ask them all at once :)


>1. Is there any way to define the amount of space put between displayed 
>groups? When I use several group-compress sections in bb-hosts, hobbit 
>renders the page with a rather large amount (seems like 6+ lines) of 
>blank space between them.  I have lots of hosts and want to get as many 
>of them on the page as I can.

Each group goes into a HTML "table", and there is currently two
"<br>" tags between each table. This is not configurable, the layout
of the page is deeply embedded in the bbdisplay/pagegen.c code.

(Which is annoying, because it ought to be easy to modify the layout
of the webpages. But that's another story).

Two "<br>" tags might be a bit much. I've dropped one of them in the
next version, let me know if you think that's better.

>2. It would be nice to be able to use regular expressions in the 
>"expect" option of bb-services. For instance I want to check the status 
>of several IRC servers, and they all have different output in response 
>to telnetting to them, but they all have the word "NOTICE", I would like 
>to be able to do something like: expect ".*NOTICE.*", so that I could 
>use one check for multiple servers.

OK, not terribly difficult to do, and it would make sense to use 
regex'es throughout (you can do it with the http content checks).

>3. Whenever I use the "apache" keyword in bb-hosts, it crashes hobbit, 
>and subsequently everything turns purple.  I made sure the host I had 
>specified had the server-status option configured and enabled. I would 
>happily provide dumps and do any troubleshooting you need, as I would 
>really like to have the apache performance graphs.

I'd like to know exactly which program is crashing. I suppose it's the
bbtest-net tool which is the one that performs the "apache" test - if
it crashes, then all of your network tests should go purple. Does it
work any better if instead of the "apache" keyword you define an http
content check like this: www.foo.com # cont=apache;;.

This should give the same result.

>4. Is there any way to put a header OVER a displayed group-compress? Any 
>text you specify next to group-compress gets put in the column over the 
>hostnames, Is it possible to have an option to have that text go 
>centered over the entire group (over the column headers)?

Yes, like this:

title All of my Web servers
group-compress Extranet servers
group-compress Intranet servers

See the description of the "title" tag in the bb-hosts(5) manpage.

>5. What rules does hobbit follow for looking up hostnames?

1) If there's a "testip" tag on the host entry in bb-hosts, it uses
   the IP-address from the bb-hosts file.
2) Hostname lookup (either /etc/hosts or DNS)
3) If lookup fails, use IP-address from bb-hosts

See the description of the bbtest-net "--dns" option. This is slightly
different from Big Brother, which uses the bb-hosts IP for ping-tests,
but hostnames for TCP tests.

>6. bb-services has an option to give a service multiple names. It would 
>be nice to be able to define multiple ports as well, or even better by 
>specifying them in bb-hosts.

You can. If you want to check ssh on port 8022, put "ssh:8022" in the
bb-hosts file. bb-services just defines the default port.

>For example if I want to check an IRC server, it is easy to create an
>irc service in bb-services, but if I want to check multiple ports of
>the same service on the same hosts, I would have to make multiple
>service definitions. How about being able to define a service, and
>have some keyword for port that indicates the port(s) are passed from
>bb-hosts, and then in bb-hosts you would specify the port,
>ie. " irc.bar.com # conn irc:6667 irc:6668 irc:6669"

OK, this is a bit more complicated because it would require bbtest-net
to merge the results of those three tests into one status-message.
That is not being done for simple TCP tests, only for http tests
currently. Right now, You'll have to set these up as individual

>7. Do you accept donations via PayPal? I would like to send you a 
>donation for all your hard work. :-)

No, but I do have a wishlist at amazon.co.uk - just search for my
name "Henrik Stoerner" on their wishlist page.


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