[LinuxBIOS] sata issues on tyan s2891

Ward Vandewege ward at gnu.org
Mon Sep 24 22:41:28 CEST 2007

Hi all,

I finally got our tyan s2891 to boot LinuxBIOS (the ck804 chipset can't
emulate SATA disks as IDE, so you need linux-as-a-bootloader + kexec to make
it boot), but it turns out there are some issues with SATA.

This machine has 4 sata ports, to three of which a drive is connected. All
drives are identical.

I'm testing using a stock, 64 bit, no special boot parameters.

When booted into the proprietary BIOS, all three drives are properly and
swiftly detected during boot.

There is a bit of confusion: the Linux kernel sees sata controller 1 as the
second controller, and sata controller 2 as the first.

The drives are physically connected to sata controller 1 (drive 1,2) and sata
controller 2 (drive 3). Position 4 on sata controller 2 is empty. 

The kernel sees the drives as controller 1 position 2, and controller 2 position

When booting with LinuxBIOS, only one of the drives is detected. (as it so
happens, drive 3 on sata controller 2). The drive in position 4 on controller
2 is half detected as you'll see in the logs - the drive type is read out,
but detection times out.

The drive at position 2 on controller 1 is not detected at all.

I have saved boot logs, lspci -vvvnx, lspci, lshw and x86info -mp output, all
of which you can find here:


The linuxbios boot log is somewhat complicated - you'll see the machine boots
a stripped-down first (from rom, LAB), and then kexecs into a

The system does boot eventually, but only because those 3 drives happen to be
configured as software raid-1. It also takes a long time for the system to
come up, because the sata detection on the drive in position 4 times out for
both kernels.

Any thoughts?


Ward Vandewege <ward at fsf.org>
Free Software Foundation - Senior System Administrator

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