Is there a driver wish-list somewhere online?

OK, I admit it. I’ve become spoiled and lazy.

Over the past few years I’ve loaded and configured Linux (mostly openSUSE) onto a number of different computers for various friends. And with the notable exception of Intel integrated graphics on some laptops, everything has “just worked”. It didn’t seem to matter what kind of hardware, as long as I used a current version of whatever distro, all of the graphics, sound, USB, storage, wireless hardware worked.

So imagine my consternation when I plugged a couple of SATA drives into ports GSATA3_6/GSATA3_7 on my Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 mobo only to see that openSUSE 12.1 couldn’t find them. It took a few minutes before it dawned on me that there was probably no suitable driver for the hardware. So I moved the cable over to the SATA3_4/SATA3_5 ports and the OS found the drives right away.

According to the Gigabyte manual, GSATA3_6/GSATA3_7 (as well as the 2 eSATA ports on the back panel) are connected to Marvell 88SE9172 devices while the other SATA ports come from the AMD SB950 Southbridge. Doing an “lspci -v” I could see that the Marvell devices are there at 03:00.0 and 07:00.0, but the “Kernel driver in use” line was conspicuously absent for those 2 devices.

My searching shows that a lot of other people are also trying to find linux drivers for this device, but Marvell doesn’t even acknowledge it’s existence on their website. I initially thought it might be a custom spin for Gigabyte, but I find that other mb OEMs are also using it.

I have found references to other Marvell SATA controllers, with indications that drivers for them might be incorporated into the 3.x kernel. But openSUSE 12.1 already has the 3.1 kernel, so no joy there.

All of the linux driver web sites I’ve found seem to have had no updates in 2 or more years, so that’s why I’m posting this query here.

Is there a current driver wish-list web site where I can add my vote to the requests for an 88SE9172 driver?


Is The Linux Driver Project

It seems to still be maintained, as there are updates from February of this year.

The only problem is that not all of the pages are in English, and it’s been 40 years since I fluently read or spoke Russian, so there’s lots of rust.

Oh well, better than nothing


So, I found a suggestion you could run this command as root at bootup:

/bin/echo 1b4b 9192 > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ahci/new_id

It might be worth a try. You could add this to the script /etc/init.d/boot.local as root if it does make any difference. I also have a bash script you can use to try kernel 3.3.1, just to see if that might help as well:

S.A.K.C. - SUSE Automated Kernel Compiler - Version 2.62 - Blogs - openSUSE Forums

The latest kernel is here:

Just a few suggestions…

Thank You,

Another tardy response. Too many higher priority (according to She who must be obeyed) projects.

Thanks for the suggestion James, but No Joy. And absolutely no difference.

Just out of curiosity, what’s the significance of “1b4b 9192” going to .ahci/new_id? According to lspci(8), the Marvell 88SE9172 has a device ID of 917a and a subsystem ID of b000. Again, just curious.

It might be worth a try. You could add this to the script /etc/init.d/boot.local as root if it does make any difference. I also have a bash script you can use to try kernel 3.3.1, just to see if that might help as well:

S.A.K.C. - SUSE Automated Kernel Compiler - Version 2.62 - Blogs - openSUSE Forums

I’m not sure I’m ready to build a kernel yet, it’s been over 35 years since I did that on a regular basis (Version 7, System III, SVR2/3/4). Maybe if all else fails…

Thanks anyway,


So you could try using your ID then. Sub system does not matter, but make does. Can we assume the make is also 1b4b and use its ID of 917a then as in …

/bin/echo 1b4b 917a > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ahci/new_id

Which is trying to get its make and ID recognized under the driver type ahci as I understand it. Also, since drivers are mainly supplied by the Linux kernel, the suggestion to go up to say kernel 3.3.2 using SAKC might also work for you and is at least worth a try.

Thank You,

Thanks. I guessed it was something like that. Can you point me to any docs that describe sysfs in more detail than what I’ve found in the Wikipedia references and at the Linux Documentation Project.? Everything I’ve seen talks about how it came into being, but they all treat it like a black box, and don’t get even close to describing how or why to do something like you suggested I try.

Oh, and I did try

echo 1b4b 917a >/sys/bus/pci/drivers/ahci/new_id

It made no difference. I also downloaded the source tarball from kernel. org, but I don’t have a lot of hope for that, either. I did a

grep -ri --exclude-dir=firmware* 917a *

but only found a couple of entries for code pages. Just to confirm that the grep(1) command was properly formatted, I also did a

grep -ri --exclude-dir=firmware* 1b4b *

and did find some entries for Marvell in (as expected) the drivers directory.

I guess I’ll just have to brush up on my Russian and go hang out at the Linux Driver Project.

Thanks again,


So I have no magic here, but when I found that one odd fix it seemed like it was worth a try anyway. If there is any kind of source code for the exact model, said to work with a Linux kernel, let me know and we will try to give that a try.

Thank You,

Agreed, definitely worth a try.

And thanks for trying.

I guess it’s another object lesson for me to not be so complacent about the devices used by a motherboard manufacturer when I build a new system.


I might also add that while I certainly want/try to get all built-in components to work, I have also just disabled and replaced sound and network devices before with something known to work with Linux. When you look at something as complex as a motherboard, as you might use in a clone PC construction, getting the big things right like CPU, memory and disk operation working is a must. If I have to buy something else for other such things as sound, I then do so. For instance, I have had great luck using Creative sound cards with Linux even as sound comes built into everything else. And almost without exception, I have had much better luck with good sound in Linux because of it. Just “working” is not the whole story because I have found other oddities such as poor sound, noise when moving a mouse around, odd situations where a web movie might have no sound even as openSUSE general sound works, headphone jacks not working or main sound not muting or optical out not working and on and on. So, I am sold on Creative Sound cards and only had trouble with but one Creative model sound card. All of this is compared to built-in sound issues, most often made by RealTeK sound chips. Next problem is wireless, again most often built-in with Laptops yet it seems you have only a 50/50 chance what ever you got will work with Linux. I have found a little research can help locate a USB model most likely to work with Linux and worth the extra cost over hours and hours spent trying to get some hookamooka device to work. Its worth while to stick with a business laptop version as built by Dell when trying to get good Linux support. Of course, buying any laptop pre-loaded with Linux is a very good move as well. Anyway, just some random thoughts on getting hard ware to work in Linux.

Thank You,