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Re: argh! linux and floppies

Marc Wilson wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 29, 2006 at 07:08:53PM -0600, Kent West wrote:
>> sudo fdformat -n /dev/.static/dev/fd0u1440
> I have to wonder how you came up with that, vs reading the man page for
> fdformat(8).

Because the man page for fdformat only mentions the /dev/fd* paths, but
such paths do not exist on either of my two Sid boxes running 2.16
kernel. The problem was not one of failing to autodetect the floppy
parameters, which is what the man page mentions (see below); the problem
was that the path was not found. At one point something printed on the
screen (via dmesg? I don't remember) which indicated a /dev/.static
directory in relation to udev, so I went a'hunting and found these
device files there.

>   That tells you to use setfdprm(8) to set the parameters of the
> generic device before trying to use it.

Also, everything I was able to find via Google and a specific
instruction on this list mentioned using "fdformat -n ...fd0u1440" or
"...fd0H1440". Whereas the man page for fdformat does indeed mention
using setfdprm, it says it in this geekspeak, which is typical of Linux

> The  generic  floppy  devices, /dev/fd0 and /dev/fd1, will fail to work
>        with fdformat when a non-standard format is being used, or if
> the  for-
>        mat  has  not been autodetected earlier.  In this case, use
> setfdprm(8)
>        to load the disk parameters.

If I study on this hard enough, I can eventually make sense of it, but
it's kind of like reading the King James version of the Bible: it may be
majestic and grand and eventually understandable, but for most
"non-professional" readers, they just basically go "Huh?"

And the man page for setfdprm? Ag! I *never* would have figured out from
that man page that setfdprm was of any value to me. Never. Ever.

> Further, why wouldn't you just use superformat(1)?

Because I have never heard of it before.

>   It usually does a MUCH
> better job with marginal media than fdformat(8) does, and it'll invoke
> mformat for you when it's done.

Reading the manpage for superformat, again, I'm stunned at how little
knowledge I would have gleaned from this vast repository of information
about the utility, and never would have figured out that it does better
with marginal media than fdformat does if you hadn't mentioned it. I'll
go try it here in a sec ("No! No more "sec"s! I'm sick and tired of
"sec"s!" (Read it out loud if you have to in order to get the joke.))


I know you didn't intend it, but your phrases "how did you come up with
that" and "why wouldn't you use foo" felt like "Gee, you're stupid for
doing things that way" phrases to me, and being as this is morning and
I'm not a morning person, that put me into defensive mode such that I
then irrationally struck out at Linux documentation. Sorry for my hot
reaction. (How do you do a sheepish smiley?)

On the other hand, you've provided some helpful information here to
which I was previously not privy. Thanks!

Kent West
Westing Peacefully <http://kentwest.blogspot.com>

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