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I have a Dell Precision M3800 and an OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock.  They both work together beautifully and everything seems to just work.  I haven't tried the FireWire yet, but the Ethernet, USB3, DisplayPort and sound work great out of the box.

My system isn't completely happy with just yanking out the Thunderbolt cable and has occasionally hung when I've removed the dock; other times it has been fine. I would like to find a safer way and was hoping there might a mechanism where I could tell my system I was going to unplug and to gracefully take down the interfaces first.

I've tried searching for packages and info on Thunderbolt support in Linux and have only found Greg KH's blog saying that it will just work, but not mentioning any tools.

I haven't found any Thunderbolt-related packages in the Ubuntu repos for my 15.10 install.

Are there tools or /proc or /sys nodes I could use for this?

  • firewire works perfectly and is able to run soundcards with very low latency – Amias Nov 25 '18 at 22:32
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Thunderbolt is basically a PCIe bus exposed in the form of a user-friendly, pluggable interface. As you can imagine, hot-plugging a PCIe card in any machine isn't something you can expect to consistently do without problems - unless extreme care has been taken by the manufacturers of the host and removable devices as well as the developers of the mainboard firmware, device firmware, OS kernel, and device drivers.

All that is to say, there's a huge surface area of potential bugs and issues that would prevent this hot-plug from working the way we'd want it to. My recommendation would be to use a debug kernel and try to break into the debugger when it freezes - if you can, then it's probably not a hardware or firmware issue. Instructions on doing that are probably a little beyond the scope of the question or my reply here, but resources are available online that make this a bit easier.

Now if you want a means by which you can manually eject the device prior to yanking it, you can try the following:

After identifying the device address in the system in the output of lspci command, where DDDD:BB:DD.F is the Domain:Bus:Device.Function of the thunderbolt peripheral in question:

05:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
06:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
06:03.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
06:04.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
06:05.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
06:06.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
07:00.0 System peripheral: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Port [Cactus Ridge] (rev 03)
08:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Controller [Cactus Ridge]
09:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation DSL3510 Thunderbolt Controller [Cactus Ridge]

you can execute the following:

echo "1" | sudo tee /sys/bus/pci/devices/DDDD\:BB\:DD.F/remove > /dev/null

Which should trigger the unload routines in the kernel and the driver (and possibly even in the device firmware), after which you might be able to eject it more-safely. (A grep in a subshell can obviously take the place of the DDDD:BB:DD.F for ease-of-use in the future).

Upon replugging the device, it might become necessary to manually rescan:

echo "1" | sudo tee /sys/bus/pci/rescan > /dev/null

(Or it might not be needed.)

I haven't used Linux in a while as I'm almost exclusively FreeBSD and OS X these days, so please forgive me if I'm off the mark on anything here.

  • thanks for the pointers , its seems my system shows its thunderbolt parts differently , not sure which is the thunderbolt ? amias@rome:~$ lspci 00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor PCI Express x16 Controller (rev 06) 00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset 08:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 157e 0a:00.0 System peripheral: Intel Corporation Device 157d 0b:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 156d 0c:00.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Device 156d – Amias Mar 1 '16 at 13:22
  • See the vendor deviceid database here: pci-ids.ucw.cz/read/PC/8086 - you have quite a few matching thunderbolt results. – Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Mar 1 '16 at 15:14
  • 1
    With Linux kernel 4.13 the situation around Thunderbolt (3) improved quite a bit. For instance the Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 Dock now comes back online after suspend/ resume on current Debian 10 Buster (Testing) in contrast to the behavior of Debian 9 Stretch with kernel 4.9. Unplug/ replug still has issues – AdamKalisz Oct 29 '17 at 20:50
  • I second that, the mainline 4.13 kernel provides really strong thunderbolt support for displays, not having great luck with other peripherals and wired network yet. – Brandon Bertelsen Nov 4 '17 at 17:01
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it seems that if you lspci -vt you get a tree diagram that makes it a lot easier to spot the thunderbolt controller.

heres my output

amias@rome:~$ lspci -vt

-[0000:00]-+-00.0  Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor DRAM Controller
       +-01.0-[02-03]----00.0  NVIDIA Corporation GK107GLM [Quadro K1100M]
       +-02.0  Intel Corporation 4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller
       +-03.0  Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor HD Audio Controller
       +-04.0  Intel Corporation Device 0c03
       +-14.0  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB xHCI
       +-16.0  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family MEI Controller #1
       +-1a.0  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB EHCI #2
       +-1b.0  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset High Definition Audio Controller
       +-1c.0-[04]--
       +-1c.2-[06]----00.0  Intel Corporation Wireless 7260
       +-1c.3-[07]----00.0  Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTS5249 PCI Express Card Reader
       +-1c.4-[08-40]----00.0-[09-40]--+-00.0-[0a]----00.0  Intel Corporation Device 157d
       |                               \-01.0-[0b-40]----00.0-[0c-40]--+-00.0-[0d]----00.0  Fresco Logic FL1100 USB 3.0 Host Controller
       |                                                               +-01.0-[0e]----00.0  Intel Corporation I210 Gigabit Network Connection
       |                                                               +-02.0-[0f]----00.0  Fresco Logic FL1100 USB 3.0 Host Controller
       |                                                               +-03.0-[10]----00.0  LSI Corporation FW643 [TrueFire] PCIe 1394b Controller
       |                                                               +-04.0-[11]--
       |                                                               \-05.0-[12-40]--
       +-1d.0  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family USB EHCI #1
       +-1f.0  Intel Corporation HM87 Express LPC Controller
       +-1f.2  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family 6-port SATA Controller 1 [AHCI mode]
       +-1f.3  Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller
       \-1f.6  Intel Corporation 8 Series Chipset Family Thermal Management Controller

this allowed me to find 1c.4 which appears to be my thunderbolt controller.

I then used mahmoud's suggestion to hit the remove node , this did seem to disconnect my thunderbolt dock cleanly , however when i reinserted it locked hard. This would suggest that other drivers are not so happy with the hotplugging or i would need to reset the thunderbolt device.

Either way , it was worse than just pulling it out.

I guess for now i just need to ensure everything is saved before undocking. I would welcome further suggestions if there are any.

  • 1
    It seems newer kernel versions are better at this , using 18.10 the hotplug is pretty much seamless including LVM mounting. – Amias Jan 22 at 9:23
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You can try suspending your system to RAM and then pull out the cable. This seems to be the only way I can unplug my Lenovo Thunderbolt 3 dock without rebooting.

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