Mailing List FAQ

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The OpenNMS FAQ Maintained by Tarus Balog <tarus(at)opennms.org>, v1.0, 01 Jan 2005

The OpenNMS Discourse forumhave become rather successful as a channel for discussion of all aspects of the OpenNMS project and application. As is often a result with such lists, increased in the volume of traffic has prompted users to call for a FAQ to help maintain the signal-to-noise ratio. If you would like any help from the OpenNMS Discourse forum, this is the place to start!

Preface

Credit

I borrowed the format and a large amount of text for this document from the Triangle Linux Users Group FAQ (http://www.trilug.org/faq/TriLUG-faq.txt) written by Tanner Lovelace.

About the Document

This document is a collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for the OpenNMS Project. It is mainly intended as a helpful reference point for the OpenNMS Discourse forum, though it is a good starting point for anyone interested in OpenNMS in general.

Contact

If you have any suggestions, additions, or corrections for this document, please contact Tarus Balog (tarus(at)opennms.org).

OpenNMS in General

These are general questions about OpenNMS.

What is OpenNMS?

OpenNMS is an enterprise-grade network management platform built using the open-source development model. This means that the software code is available at no cost, and it is developed by a large, geographically diverse group of people. Unlike other open-source management tools, OpenNMS was designed from the beginning to scale to tens of thousands of devices (hence the term "enterprise-grade") and the goal is to have virtually unlimited scalability.

What does OpenNMS do?

Currently, OpenNMS focuses on three main things:

1) Service Monitoring: it monitors network services like web servers, databases, DNS servers, etc.

2) Data Collection: Using SNMP, OpenNMS will collect performance data about the network.

3) Event Management and Notifications: OpenNMS includes a robust event management and notification system.

How much does OpenNMS cost?

The OpenNMS software is, and always will be, published under the GNU General Public License (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/licenses.html#TOCGPL) which qualifies it as "free" (as in freedom) software.

Who is OpenNMS?

OpenNMS is a community of programmers and network management professionals who are tired of the status quo with respect to commercial enterprise-grade network management solutions. Too expensive and too hard to maintain, they are dedicated to providing an alternative using open-source.

The OpenNMS community is best defined by the project Discourse forum, the website and the chat.

The OpenNMS trademark is owned by The OpenNMS Group, Inc. (see 2.6 below).

What is opennms.org?

The opennms.org domain is the home of the OpenNMS project. The website http://www.opennms.org is a Wiki, a collaborative publishing tool that is maintained by the community to help promote the OpenNMS application. If you have specific questions about OpenNMS, be sure to check out FAQ section of the Wiki.

In addition, the Discourse Forum (discussed in section 3 below) ist the best resource for a newcomer to ask questions and learn about the application. Like many projects, the documentation could be better (many contributors would rather spend time working on the application versus writing documents) but please check out the documentation on Sourceforge before asking any questions in Discourse.

What is opennms.com?

The OpenNMS Group (http://www.opennms.com) is a company dedicated to promoting and supporting the OpenNMS project. They provide commercial services and support for OpenNMS, and can help reduce the network management costs of almost any organization.

Who "runs" OpenNMS?

Inasmuch as OpenNMS can be "run", it is maintained by a number of people, most of whom can be found on the main OpenNMS page on GitHub (https://github.com/OpenNMS/opennms).

Please note that no one gets paid to work on OpenNMS. Even the most fanatical of OpenNMS maintainers, those from The OpenNMS Group, get paid to support their paying customers and not to provide free support. That said, almost all of those people who keep OpenNMS going spend a large amount of time in Discourse and on the chat providing help.

OpenNMS Discourse Fourum

Questions and "Netiquette" for the Discourse forum.

What is the OpenNMS Discourse Forum?

The OpenNMS Discourse Forum is a hosted by the Discourse project within their volunteer program Free hosting for open source.

Currently, there are several OpenNMS categories.

Community Support
This is the place for asking questions and requesting help when you try to get OpenNMS installed or you have a running system and have issues with it’s configuration.
Knowledgebase
Find or create articles to solve specific known problems or instructions how to diagnose problems with OpenNMS and it’s components.
Town Square
Topics that don't need a category, or don't fit into any other existing category.
Development
Discussions about changing code and alternate the way how OpenNMS works. Submitting pull requests, configuring development environments, coding conventions, and so forth.
Site Feedback
Discussion about this site, its organization, how it works, and how we can improve it.
Announcements
Get notified about latest changes in the software, security updates, events, meet ups and trainings in our community.

What is "appropriate content" for each of the categories in OpenNMS Discourse?

The rules for "appropriate content" on the OpenNMS lists are simple:

o Be courteous to others in your postings (no personal attacks on the list please and no profanity)

o Try to stay on topic, or at least post items that are of interest to the group

o No advertising, and no spam (although the OpenNMS Group may post the very rare announcement about commercial services, mainly to alert people that they exist).

In addition, the following guidelines are also a good starting point:

o The category Town Square is for the discussion of all topics related to OpenNMS and network management in general. Please feel free to ask question you may have as either an OpenNMS beginner, intermediate, or expert in the Community Support section. We currently have all levels of experience subscribed and you are likely to find someone who can either help out with answers or point you towards further help.

o When posting a "It Does Not Work" message, read the How to ask good questions article make it easier for them to help you.

o You are likely to get help from someone with "@opennms.org" in their e-mail address. Please remember that no one gets paid to answer questions on the list, and you should view the help you get in that context. Unless instructed to by the list member, please do *not* write that person directly for personal one-to-one help, and don't cross-post to the list and to their personal e-mail address. Unlike private e-mail, questions posted to the list can help others and help make the community stronger.

The folks who make OpenNMS the success it is do so because they believe in the product and the community, and they will help you if they have time. Really. They will.

o Occasionally the topcs can drift slightly off-topic, it happens. This is a community. The best thing to do in those occasions is to just wait and let the thread die. Past experience has shown that attempts to squelch a particular topic usually result in a flame war that dwarfs the off-topic thread. Before you respond with a'THIS IS OFF TOPIC' sit back and read your response. Does it contribute? Is it merely prolonging a thread that would otherwise have died? Will it cause the list to errupt in flames (most likely)? If so, don't post it.

Finally, before asking a question on Discourse it might help to read How To Ask Questions The Smart Way (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html) by Eric Raymond.

Why wasn't my question answered?

There can be a number of reasons. Usually it is because there was not enough information. Remember to include the O/S, OpenNMS version and how it was installed. OpenNMS has a very "chatty" log system, and those logs can often identify the problem quickly. Locate the OpenNMS logs directory (usually /var/log/opennms) and run "grep ERROR *" and "grep FATAL *" to see if there are any severe log messages, and you may want to include them in your post.

Another reason why you might not receive an answer to your question might be that your question displays a "certain expectation". Most of the people in Discourse are volunteers and they do reply and contribute either in their free time or in a few minutes they might be able to spare while actually working for somebody else. In both cases, it's precious time and in most cases it's sort of "expensive" time as well. So before posting a question to Discourse, please read the FAQ. And while you are reading the FAQ, try to understand which function of OpenNMS might provide what you are looking for. Once you have found out that, search for the term on this wiki. You can try google as well. Or any other search engine you like - sometimes people put OpenNMS-hints on their own blogs.

As said before, if you want somebody to do that work for you, consider commercial support.

This should however not discourage you - if you have looked at the examples and the documentation and still can't get it to work, share. We do like to help people and we want to see OpenNMS working for you, so we will certainly try to help. That might (see again, above) mean that we say at one point: Please look for commercial support.

Can I repost my question?

Certainly, but please wait a decent amount of time (several days to a week). If you need more rapid response, please consider commercial support.

I don't want to play anymore. Can you delete me?

Once you have created an account in Discourse you can delete your acccount following the instructions here: https://meta.discourse.org/t/leaving-a-forum-deleting-your-own-account/10732/6

Yes, it does require a password, and you may not have set one or your may have forgotten it. Do not panic - there is a "Forgotten Your Password" button that will mail it to you.

Information about this FAQ

Maintainers

o Tarus Balog is the current maintainer. (tarus(at)opennms.org)

o Tanner Lovelace <lovelace(at)wayfarer.org> and Ed Hill <edhill(at)eh3.com> wrote the TriLUG FAQ, on which this was based.

Changelog

o Mon Jan 03 2005 - Tarus Balog - created the first version of this FAQ.

o Mon Jan 18 2019 - Ronny Trommer - replaced the mailing list with Discourse.