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Getting System information in OSX and iOS using Delphi (XE2, XE3, XE4) Part 1

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In the following article you can learn how to use the sysctl, sysctlbyname and sysctlnametomib functions to get system information (kernel values, hardware, networking, file system, machine specific and user related data) under the OSX and iOS systems.

sysctl

int sysctl(int *name, u_int namelen, void *oldp, size_t *oldlenp, void *newp, size_t newlen);

The sysctl allows you retrieves and set system information, the data returned from the sysctl() function consists of integers (int32, int64), strings(AnsiStrings) and structs (records). this function is defined in the Posix.SysSysctl (SysSysctlAPI.inc) unit

Note : The Posix.SysSysctl unit is a partial translation the sysctl.h file.

function sysctl(name: PInteger; namelen: cardinal; oldp: Pointer; oldlen: Psize_t; newp: Pointer; newlen: size_t): Integer; cdecl; external libc name _PU + 'sysctl';

name : This parameter receive a pointer to a Management Information Base (MIB) style value, which is only a array of integers. Each element of this array must be filled with the values related to the info to read or write.

The number of elements of this array, depends of the data to be obtained or modified, most of times only we need to pass and fill a mib with 2 elements (integer values). The first element indicates the level(location) of the info and the second element indicates the value to retrieve.

These are the possible values for the first element of the mib.

           Name           Value            Description
           CTL_DEBUG      $00000005        Debugging
           CTL_VFS        $00000003        File system
           CTL_HW         $00000006        Generic CPU, I/O
           CTL_KERN       $00000001        High kernel limits
           CTL_MACHDEP    $00000007        Machine dependent
           CTL_NET        $00000004        Networking
           CTL_USER       $00000008        User-level
           CTL_VM         $00000002        Virtual memory 

Note: All these values are already defined in the Posix.SysSysctl unit.

So if we want access to the kernel related values we must fill the mib like so

var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
...
...
 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;

The second element value is related to the first level and the possible values are defined in the Posix.SysSysctl unit as well, for example to get the max processes supported by the system we must use the KERN_MAXPROC($00000006) value.

var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
...
...
 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_MAXPROC;

namelen : This parameter is the length of the mib structure.
oldp: Must be filled with a pointer to the buffer to receive. The info which can be a integer, int64, a AnsiString(MarshaledAString) or a record.
oldlen: Indicates the size of the oldp parameter.
newp: This parameter must be filled with a pointer to the buffer to with the info to set up, when you don’t modify the data you must pass a nil value.
newlen: Indicates the size of the newp parameter.

So with all the above info now you can write a function to retrieve the max processes supported, check this sample code which retrieves a integer value.

function MaxProcesses : Integer;
var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin

 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_MAXPROC;

 len := sizeof(Result);
 res:=sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), @Result, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
  RaiseLastOSError;
end;

To get a Int64 value the code is very similar, check this sample which get the size of the memory installed on the system using the CTL_HW level and the HW_MEMSIZE value.

function MemSize : Int64;
var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin
 mib[0] := CTL_HW;
 mib[1] := HW_MEMSIZE;

 len := sizeof(Result);
 res := sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), @Result, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
  RaiseLastOSError;
end;

If you want retrieve a string value, you must get the length of the value before to allocate the buffer, to do this you must pass a nil value in the oldp parameter like so.

sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), nil, @len, nil, 0)

The next code shows how to get a string(ascii) type using the sysctl function.

function KernelVersion : AnsiString;
var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
  p   : MarshaledAString;//in XE2 you can use the PAnsiChar type
begin
 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_VERSION;
 //get the length of the buffer 
 res := sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), nil, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
   RaiseLastOSError;
 //allocates the buffer
 GetMem(p, len);
 try
   res := sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), p, @len, nil, 0);
   if res<>0 then
     RaiseLastOSError;
   Result:=p;
 finally
   FreeMem(p);
 end;
end;

Finally we can use the sysctl function to retrieve complex structures(records) passing a pointer to the record to hold the data.

Try this sample which get the clock rate values from the kernel.

procedure GetClockInfo;
type
 clockinfo = record
	hz      : Integer;
	tick    : Integer;
	tickadj : Integer;
	stathz  : Integer;
	profhz  : Integer;
  end;

(*
struct clockinfo {
	int	hz;	   	/* clock frequency */
	int	tick;		/* micro-seconds per hz tick */
	int	tickadj;/* clock skew rate for adjtime() */
	int	stathz;		/* statistics clock frequency */
	int	profhz;		/* profiling clock frequency */
};
*)

var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
  clock : clockinfo;
begin
 FillChar(clock, sizeof(clock), 0);
 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_CLOCKRATE;
 len := sizeof(clock);
 res:=sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), @clock, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
   RaiseLastOSError;

 Writeln(Format('clock frequency             %d',[clock.hz]));
 Writeln(Format('micro-seconds per hz tick   %d',[clock.tick]));
 Writeln(Format('clock skew rate for adjtime %d',[clock.tickadj]));
 Writeln(Format('statistics clock frequency  %d',[clock.stathz]));
 Writeln(Format('profiling clock frequency   %d',[clock.profhz]));
end;

sysctlbyname

int sysctlbyname(const char *name, void *oldp, size_t *oldlenp, void *newp, size_t newlen);

The sysctlbyname works in the same way which the sysctl, the only difference is which the values are accessed using a alias string. because that you don’t need pass a mib structure and length to this function.

function sysctlbyname(Name: MarshaledAString; oldp: Pointer; oldlen: Psize_t; newp: Pointer; newlen: size_t): Integer; cdecl; external libc name _PU + 'sysctlbyname';

name: this parameter is the alias for the info to access and is composed by the level splus the string representation of the value to get, because that you don’t need pass a mib structure.

These are the possible values for the first level element

           Name           string 
           CTL_DEBUG      debug
           CTL_VFS        vfs
           CTL_HW         hw
           CTL_KERN       kern
           CTL_MACHDEP    machdep
           CTL_NET        net
           CTL_USER       user
           CTL_VM         vm

This is a sample list of some of the values which you can use in the name parameter of the sysctlbyname function.

     Name                            Type           
     kern.ostype                     string       
     kern.osrelease                  string       
     kern.osrevision                 integer      
     kern.version                    string       
     kern.maxvnodes                  integer       
     kern.maxproc                    integer       
     kern.maxfiles                   integer       
     kern.argmax                     integer      
     kern.securelevel                integer       
     kern.hostname                   string        
     kern.hostid                     integer       
     kern.clockrate                  struct       
     kern.posix1version              integer      
     kern.ngroups                    integer      
     kern.job_control                integer      
     kern.saved_ids                  integer      
     kern.link_max                   integer      
     kern.max_canon                  integer      
     kern.max_input                  integer      
     kern.name_max                   integer      
     kern.path_max                   integer      
     kern.pipe_buf                   integer      
     kern.chown_restricted           integer      
     kern.no_trunc                   integer      
     kern.vdisable                   integer      
     kern.boottime                   struct       
     vm.loadavg                      struct       
     vm.swapusage                    struct       
     machdep.console_device          dev_t        
     net.inet.ip.forwarding          integer       
     net.inet.ip.redirect            integer       
     net.inet.ip.ttl                 integer       
     net.inet.icmp.maskrepl          integer      
     net.inet.udp.checksum           integer       
     hw.machine                      string       
     hw.model                        string       
     hw.ncpu                         integer      
     hw.byteorder                    integer      
     hw.physmem                      integer      
     hw.usermem                      integer      
     hw.memsize                      integer      
     hw.pagesize                     integer      
     user.cs_path                    string       
     user.bc_base_max                integer      
     user.bc_dim_max                 integer      
     user.bc_scale_max               integer      
     user.bc_string_max              integer      
     user.coll_weights_max           integer      
     user.expr_nest_max              integer      
     user.line_max                   integer      
     user.re_dup_max                 integer      
     user.posix2_version             integer      
     user.posix2_c_bind              integer      
     user.posix2_c_dev               integer      
     user.posix2_char_term           integer      
     user.posix2_fort_dev            integer      
     user.posix2_fort_run            integer      
     user.posix2_localedef           integer      
     user.posix2_sw_dev              integer      
     user.posix2_upe                 integer      

Note : You can get a full list of the supported values running the sysctl -A command from a Terminal.

Finally this code shows how use the SysCtlByName function to retrieve the number of cpus installed.

function NumberOfCPU: Integer;
var
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin
  len := SizeOf(Result);
  res:=SysCtlByName('hw.ncpu', @Result, @len, nil, 0);
  if res<>0 then
    RaiseLastOSError;
end;

Note : The sysctl function runs in about a third the time as the same request made via the sysctlbyname, so when is possible uses sysctl instead.

sysctlnametomib

int sysctlnametomib(const char *name, int *mibp, size_t *sizep);

The sysctlnametomib function fill a mib structure using a alias a string. this function is intended for use by apps that want to repeatedly use the same variable.

function sysctlnametomib(name: MarshaledAString; mibp: PInteger; sizep: Psize_t): Integer; cdecl; external libc name _PU + 'sysctlnametomib';

name: ASCII representation of the value to retrieve.
mibp: pointer to the mib structure to fill.
sizep: pointer to the length of the mib structure to fill.

var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin
  len := Length(mib);
  sysctlnametomib('hw.physicalcpu', @mib, @len);
  //now the mib structure is filled with the proper values to call the sysctl function. 

Error Handling

All the above functions returns a 0 values when the execution was succefull, otherwise an error code is returned, this code can be obtained using the errno (Posix.Errno) or the GetLastError function.

The following errors may be reported (theses values and meanings are defined in the osx/ErrnoTypes.inc file)

     [EFAULT]           The buffer name, oldp, newp, or length pointer oldlenp contains an invalid address.
     [EINVAL]           The name array is less than two or greater than CTL_MAXNAME.
     [EINVAL]           A non-null newp is given and its specified length in newlen is too large or too
                        small.
     [ENOMEM]           The length pointed to by oldlenp is too short to hold the requested value.
     [ENOMEM]           The smaller of either the length pointed to by oldlenp or the estimated size of the
                        returned data exceeds the system limit on locked memory.
     [ENOMEM]           Locking the buffer oldp, or a portion of the buffer if the estimated size of the
                        data to be returned is smaller, would cause the process to exceed its per-process
                        locked memory limit.
     [ENOTDIR]          The name array specifies an intermediate rather than terminal name.
     [EISDIR]           The name array specifies a terminal name, but the actual name is not terminal.
     [ENOENT]           The name array specifies a value that is unknown.
     [EPERM]            An attempt is made to set a read-only value.
     [EPERM]            A process without appropriate privilege attempts to set a value.

This a full sample console app which summarizes this article.

{$APPTYPE CONSOLE}

uses
  //System.Classes,
  //System.Types,
  //Posix.Errno,
  Posix.SysTypes,
  Posix.SysSysctl,
  System.SysUtils;

//https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man3/sysctl.3.html
//https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man8/sysctl.8.html


function NumberOfCPU: Integer;
var
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin
  len := SizeOf(Result);
  res:=SysCtlByName('hw.ncpu', @Result, @len, nil, 0);
  if res<>0 then
    RaiseLastOSError;
end;


function MaxProcesses : Integer;
var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin

 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_MAXPROC;

 len := sizeof(Result);
 res:=sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), @Result, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
  RaiseLastOSError;
end;

function MemSize : Int64;
var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
begin
 mib[0] := CTL_HW;
 mib[1] := HW_MEMSIZE;

 len := sizeof(Result);
 res := sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), @Result, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
  RaiseLastOSError;
end;


function KernelVersion : AnsiString;
var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
  p   : MarshaledAString;//in XE2 use  PAnsiChar
begin
 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_VERSION;
 res := sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), nil, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
   RaiseLastOSError;
 GetMem(p, len);
 try
   res := sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), p, @len, nil, 0);
   if res<>0 then
     RaiseLastOSError;
   Result:=p;
 finally
   FreeMem(p);
 end;
end;


procedure GetClockInfo;
type
 clockinfo = record
	hz      : Integer;
	tick    : Integer;
	tickadj : Integer;
	stathz  : Integer;
	profhz  : Integer;
  end;

(*
struct clockinfo {
	int	hz;	   	/* clock frequency */
	int	tick;		/* micro-seconds per hz tick */
	int	tickadj;/* clock skew rate for adjtime() */
	int	stathz;		/* statistics clock frequency */
	int	profhz;		/* profiling clock frequency */
};
*)

var
  mib : array[0..1] of Integer;
  res : Integer;
  len : size_t;
  clock : clockinfo;
begin
 FillChar(clock, sizeof(clock), 0);
 mib[0] := CTL_KERN;
 mib[1] := KERN_CLOCKRATE;
 len := sizeof(clock);
 res:=sysctl(@mib, Length(mib), @clock, @len, nil, 0);
 if res<>0 then
   RaiseLastOSError;

 Writeln(Format('clock frequency             %d',[clock.hz]));
 Writeln(Format('micro-seconds per hz tick   %d',[clock.tick]));
 Writeln(Format('clock skew rate for adjtime %d',[clock.tickadj]));
 Writeln(Format('statistics clock frequency  %d',[clock.stathz]));
 Writeln(Format('profiling clock frequency   %d',[clock.profhz]));
end;

begin
  try
    Writeln(Format('max processes     %d',[MaxProcesses]));
    Writeln(Format('number of cpus    %d',[NumberOfCPU]));
    Writeln(Format('physical ram size %s',[FormatFloat('#,', MemSize)]));
    Writeln(Format('Kernel Version    %s',[KernelVersion]));
    GetClockInfo;
  except
    on E: Exception do
      Writeln(E.ClassName, ': ', E.Message);
  end;
end.

Author: Rodrigo

Just another Delphi guy.

3 thoughts on “Getting System information in OSX and iOS using Delphi (XE2, XE3, XE4) Part 1

  1. Great job, I’m from Brazil, I’m learning what’s new in Delphi XE3, but still could not find many materials that parents are you?

  2. Pingback: Getting System information in OSX and iOS using Delphi (XE2, XE3, XE4) Part 2 | The Road to Delphi - a Blog about programming

  3. Pingback: iOS iOS Version abfragen - Delphi-PRAXiS

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