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Re: question concerning autofs, usbfs and vfat

Robert Cates wrote:
Hi all,

to get right straight to my question – i was wanting to know which is the proper file system to choose for a (normal) USB 2.0 data/flash stick – autofs, usbfs or maybe vfat? The stick is of course usable under Windows as well as linux (from kernel 2.4.x). I believe I need to set this in the fstab file, correct?

I think there is some confusion as to the meaning of some of the fields in the mount command output, specifically the value for 'type'.

The type 'vfat' is a real file system type, same as ext3 or xfs. For simplicity, I will call the others 'pseudo' types, specific to some type of software that is running on the system. The "autofs" type is printed when the automount daemon is running, "usbfs" refers to the USB subsystem software.

Though these "pseudo" types are printed by the mount command, they are only part of the picture. The rest of the picture is the actual file system type on the device in question (the USB stick, in your case). This may be VFAT or NTFS (which is becoming more common, particularly on larger devices like USB hard disks).

To summarize: If you have automount installed and the configuration set up in /etc so it works, you would see something like this:

automount(pid8835) on /var/autofs/misc type autofs \

in the mount out put. If you configured the auto.misc file for access to CD and DVD drives (as I have) and you had a cd in the drive and accessed the automount defined path (or a link to it), you would then also see, in the mount output, something like this:

/dev/hdc on /var/autofs/misc/cd0 type iso9660 (ro,nosuid,nodev)

Note that the type in this line is the actual file system type on the CD.

My problem leading up to this question is – twice now in the past couple of weeks I had my machine lockout access to various services, actually pretty much all services, including mail (courier/postfix), web (apache 2.2), SSH, DNS, just to name the main ones. This time I found something odd – a message telling me that the autofs had a problem because of bogus options. This lead me to believe the problem came from me mounting my USB 2.0 data stick which I use to backup data. After transferring the data, I umount the file system. The only other thing I’ve done prior to the last occurrence was that I updated the kernel to 2.6.18-6-686.

So, have you configured automounter to do your USB mounting for you? Or, are you using default setup for USB devices as provided by KDE or GNOME? Or, do you mount it manually?

Knowing the answer to this could help determine the cause of the error message from autofs, which may or may not be related to the hosed system issue.

It may also help to see the content of the /etc/auto.* files.

Any and all info/help on this matter will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance,


Bob McGowan

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