Floppy disks

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Summary help replacing me
This article discusses methods of using floppy disks on Arch Linux.

Introduction

Altough rarely used nowdays, one still might need/want to use a floppy disk (for example, I practice guitar to backing tracks played from my Yamaha keybord, which has only a flopp disk drive interface). Common tasks with floppies are described bellow, with available tools to acomplish them.

Installation

Kernel module

Most of the floppy drives should be supported by stock kernel (mine always were). External USB drives might be an exception - I haven't tested that yet. Module floppy is used as a drifer for floppy drives.

$ locate floppy.ko
/lib/modules/2.6.30-ARCH/kernel/drivers/block/floppy.ko
$ pacman -Qo /lib/modules/2.6.30-ARCH/kernel/drivers/block/floppy.ko
/lib/modules/2.6.30-ARCH/kernel/drivers/block/floppy.ko is owned by kernel26 2.6.30.4-1

As you can see, it comes with the stock Arch kernel.

Module floppy is not loaded automatically by default for me. I load it manually each time I use floppy disk"

$ modprobe floppy

Packages

There are two packages in the Arch package repository I know of - dosfstools and mtools. Respective commands belong to these packages (grepped output of pacman -Ql dosfstools mtools):

dosfstools /sbin/dosfsck
dosfstools /sbin/dosfslabel
dosfstools /sbin/fsck.msdos
dosfstools /sbin/fsck.vfat
dosfstools /sbin/mkdosfs
dosfstools /sbin/mkfs.msdos
dosfstools /sbin/mkfs.vfat
mtools /usr/bin/amuFormat.sh
mtools /usr/bin/floppyd
mtools /usr/bin/floppyd_installtest
mtools /usr/bin/lz
mtools /usr/bin/mattrib
mtools /usr/bin/mbadblocks
mtools /usr/bin/mcat
mtools /usr/bin/mcd
mtools /usr/bin/mcheck
mtools /usr/bin/mclasserase
mtools /usr/bin/mcomp
mtools /usr/bin/mcopy
mtools /usr/bin/mdel
mtools /usr/bin/mdeltree
mtools /usr/bin/mdir
mtools /usr/bin/mdu
mtools /usr/bin/mformat
mtools /usr/bin/minfo
mtools /usr/bin/mkmanifest
mtools /usr/bin/mlabel
mtools /usr/bin/mmd
mtools /usr/bin/mmount
mtools /usr/bin/mmove
mtools /usr/bin/mpartition
mtools /usr/bin/mrd
mtools /usr/bin/mren
mtools /usr/bin/mshowfat
mtools /usr/bin/mtools
mtools /usr/bin/mtoolstest
mtools /usr/bin/mtype
mtools /usr/bin/mxtar
mtools /usr/bin/mzip
mtools /usr/bin/tgz
mtools /usr/bin/uz

Common tasks

Here are the commands needed to perform the most common tasks. In all examples, I suppose /dev/fd0 to be the linux device for the floppy drive. By default, all these tasks need to be performed as root (unless you use Sudo or something similar).

Format

$ mkfs.msdos /dev/fd0

Mount

$ mount -t vfat /dev/fd0 /media/floppy

Troubleshooting

Things like this can happen:

$ mkfs.msdos /dev/fd0 
mkfs.msdos 3.0.5 (27 Jul 2009)
mkfs.msdos: unable to get diskette geometry for '/dev/fd0'

Which means: "Get a new floppy." Sorry (happened to my only disk available when writing this..).

More Resources

Todo