[conspire] Floppy drive on today's Linux

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jun 7 22:48:59 PDT 2010

Quoting Roger Chrisman (roger at rogerchrisman.com):

> And the last line in dmesg is:
> [ 2351.124256] FAT: Unrecognized mount option "utf8" or missing value

On reflection, here's what I think is going on:

Xubuntu, like a lot of other distros, has been haring off after the
shiny new-ish UTF-8 character set, and making it the default for a lot
of core system operations.

VFAT just isn't going to be a plausible place to put UTF-8 character
data, because MS-DOS is just that old, and isn't likely to be extended
to new and fancy charsets.

Given that you want to be able to _mount_ VFAT-formatted floppies (as
opposed to just using the mtools on them), you are likely to need to
specify some very explicit mount options for /dev/fd0 in the /etc/fstab
file, to overcome the system's determination to try to use UTF-8 even in
daffy places like DOS floppies.

Here's a shot at what you might want:

/dev/fd0  /mnt/floppy   vfat  users,rw,noauto,umask=000,iocharset=iso8859-1,codepage=437      0   0

(That's a single line.  Sorry.)

Decoding the options column:

users = This mount can be mounted or umounted by any user, not just root.
rw = read/write (as opposed to ro=read-only)  (It's a default, so you
         can actually omit the 'rw' stuff entirely, really.)
noauto = Don't automatically mount this floppy if it happens to have a 
         disc in the drive at boot time.  (Default = auto.)
umask=000 = Don't unset any bits in files available on this mount,
            resulting in default permissions on it of 777 aka world-writable.
iocharset=iso8859-1 = the Latin1 character set, really close to old ASCII
codepage=437 = Use plain ASCII for 'short' 8.3 filenames

Note:  In my prior message, where I wrote that you might put 'none' in
the options field of /etc/fstab, that should have been 'defaults', which
is what I meant to say.

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