Problem saving to floppy disk!

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Problem saving to floppy disk!

Postby stuarte9 » Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:24 pm

Hi,

I'm currently having a problem saving files to 3 1/2 " floppy disk and was wondering if someone could offer any suggestions as to how to resolve this.

I'm using openSUSE 12.3 and KDE 4 on a P4 system.

The floppy drive is properly cabled up and is enabled in the B.I.O.S. and in fact is the third boot device. I should also state that the floppy disk is not(!) write protected. The little "window" in the disk top right hand corner is "closed".

In Dolphin, the device appears near the bottom of the left hand column, above the entry for the usb flash drive.

Using Dolphin, I can not only "see" the directories/files on the floppy disk but can also read them into relevant applications, for example, a ".doc" file into Libre Office Writer.

However, when I try to save a ".doc" file to the floppy disk, a dialog box appears with the following text.

"Error saving the document List:
/var/run/media/suse/disk/List.doc does not exist"

In the above text, "suse" is just the username.

This error message is true in that it appears each time I try to save this new file to disk.

Has anyone seen this type of error before ?

Does anyone know how to fix this ?

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help with this.

Stuart
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Postby guy » Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:10 pm

Have you tried saving to HD then copying across to floppy?

Like any other external or media device, a floppy drive has to be "mounted" on the Linux filesystem. Floppy drives are unusual in that the eject button is purely physical and pressing it, e.g. swapping disks, while the drive is mounted can cause problems because the OS doesn't know you just did that. The floppy driver seems to take what precautions it can against that, but it is still a bit clunky and can itself cause odd effects. I don't know if what you are seeing might be one of them.

Also, when the disk actually gets written to depends on your device settings. If the OS writes immediately to disk, making many small writes can take ages and really slow you down. So there is another mode in which the OS writes to a cache. The disk itself is not written to until it is unmounted, so you only have one wait. Sorry I can't remember the magic words or GUI location, this PC doesn't have a floppy drive.

I always try to stick rigorously to the prcedure:
1. Insert floppy
2. Mount drive
3. read/write as desired
4. Unmount drive
4. Eject floppy

Not sure if all that helps?
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Postby johnhudson » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:51 pm

The problem is that your system is treating the floppy as a removable device rather than a fixed one.

That is why you are getting a message that it does not exist.

Assuming it is a fixed one, you need to check the entry in fstab. It should read:

/dev/fd0 /media/floppy0 auto rw,user,noauto

This means that it is not mounted when you boot because it has to have a floppy in to be moutable. When you put a floppy in or take one out, you may need to issue the relevant mount and umount commands - or you may be able to right click on the /media/floppy0 icon and do it that way.

As I have the floppy drive on a very old machine, this may be one of those 'features' that has got left out of more modern DEs over the years. PCmanFM still has it on the older machine.
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Postby stuarte9 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:37 pm

Hi,

Thank you both for the speedy replies.

@guy:
Yes I did try saving to HD then copying across to floppy. This gave the same result as I mentioned in my original post in this thread. With respect to the drive eject button activity not being "caught" by the OS, I really was not aware of that. With respect to the drive using a cache, how do I check that this is indeed happening ? What do I look at ? BTW, thanks for both these points. :-)

@johnhudson:
Yes, the floppy drive is a fixed one. I've now copied fstab to fstab_original and added
/dev/fd0 /media/floppy0 auto rw,user,noauto
to the end of fstab. I can now access the floppy drive to read files, as I previously could, provided that I take the following action. I must load a floppy disk into the drive after the B.I.O.S. "Boot Floppy Seek" has finished. (Failure to do so causes other boot problems.) This is workable.

When I run Dolphin, the floppy drive initially(!) does not show. However, if in Dolphin's left hand column I right click on an empty space under "Devices" and select "Show All Entries" from the pop up menu, then an entry for the floppy drive does then appear under "Devices". When I click on that entry the floppy drive is accessed and the files and directories are thereby made available, for reading!

(I then went into Yast/Security and User/User and Group Management where I found that user suse did not have floppy in their list of groups. Group floppy has now been added to suse's list of groups. I'm not sure if this was an oops(!). :-) )

This is fine as far as it goes. However, I still can't save a file to floppy disk. The problem now seems to be one of permissions. Using gEdit I prepared a small .txt file and tried to save that to the floppy disk. gEdit responded with the following error message:

"Could not save the file /media/floppy0/save_test.txt.
You do not have the permissions necessary to save the file. Please check that you typed the location correctly and try again."

I am familiar with using chmod to change the access permissions on a file. So I opened a terminal where I found that /media/floppy0 was owned by root. I then executed the various incarnations of chmod "copied and pasted" below.

dhcppc0:/media> su -
Password:
dhcppc0:~ # cd /media
dhcppc0:/media # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 7168 Jan 1 1970 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # chmod 777 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 7168 Jan 1 1970 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # chmod +777 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 7168 Jan 1 1970 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # chmod u=rwx floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 7168 Jan 1 1970 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # chmod u=rwx,g=rwx,o=rwx floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 7168 Jan 1 1970 floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # chmod a+rwx floppy0
dhcppc0:/media # ls -l
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 7168 Jan 1 1970 floppy0

As you can see, floppy0 has stubbornly refused to change its access permissions. I've verified (most of) these usages of chmod with "LINUX IN A NUTSHELL" 3rd Ed., Chapter 3 "Linux Commands", p.63, chmod, "Examples".

What am I missing/have forgotten here ?

If someone could point me in the right direction to solve this last small problem I would be very grateful.

Thanks in advance.

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Postby nelz » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:00 pm

What filesystem do you have on the floppy disk? If it is FAT, you cannot apply Linux file permissions to it. Instead, add umask=0 to the list of options in fstab. That makes all files and directories world writeable, the equivalent of chmod 777.
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Postby guy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:12 pm

Once the thing is working, the easiest way to tell is by checking the disk activity. If it lights up and whirrs for ages every time you write to it, then it is writing as you go. But if it sits quiet when you write to it, the OS is cacheing your writes.

The exact buzzwords to set this behaviour probably depend on your distro/toolset, GUI tools have arbitrary menus and may be leaving the past behind anyway so maybe bash is your best option. Sorry I can't help more.
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Postby johnhudson » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:53 pm

My experience on my old floppy drive is that there is only any noise during writes if I exceed a certain quota of data. Otherwise, it is all cached until I issue umount, when it is written to the disk.

I certainly haven't had any difficult writing to the floppy as an ordinary user with the fstab settings I mentioned. So I am slightly puzzled about this. Maybe this is a query for Hardware forum on the openSUSE forums.

Incidentally, next time you try to install a new version of openSUSE, put a disk in the drive throughout the install - it won't install if there isn't a disk in the drive because the drive will not respond - and then check fstab to see if it has.
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Postby stuarte9 » Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:18 pm

Good afternoon all,

@johnhudson:
Thanks for that tip about leaving a floppy disk in the drive all the way through an install of openSUSE. It worked!

The "alert" box that pops up in the screen lower right hand corner when you pop in a thumb/flash drive now has an icon for the floppy next to which is the usual list of suggested applications. Clicking on the File Manager icon starts Dolphin which itself now has a small icon for the floppy drive in its left hand list of devices and can display the contents of the floppy disk.

Having seen the above, I didn't bother to look in fstab. It didn't seem necessary.

Thanks again.

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Re: Problem saving to floppy disk!

Postby Alex01UK » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:01 pm

stuarte9 wrote:Hi,

I'm currently having a problem saving files to 3 1/2 " floppy disk and was wondering if someone could offer any suggestions as to how to resolve this.
t


Please excuse my ignorance, but wtf is a floppy disk? ;)
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Postby dandnsmith » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:36 am

A 3.5 inch square plastic case which contains a coated disk (magnetic). Capacity limited - 360K 720K 1.7MB.
Used to be present on all systems as the primary boot device - but not many have them now
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Postby johnhudson » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:07 pm

Nah! That's not the real thing - the real thing was a piece of 8" circular magnetic tape inside a cardboard folder not dissimilar to an LP sleeve with a slot through which it could be read which could hold 128KB on either side, initially developed by IBM for backups but taken up by hobbyists in the 1970s as an improvement on saving to tape recording tape.

The 3½" version was a late-comer on the scene, as was the plastic case - but if you've ever wondered why a hard-drive is labelled C: in certain well-known computers, it's because drives A: and B: were always for the two floppy drives.

The first computer I used had an amazing two double-sided 8" floppy disks labelled A:, B:, C: and D: giving a total of 512KB (though A: held the OS and some programs had to spill over onto B: in order to work).
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Postby dandnsmith » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:01 am

If you want to argue about 'the real thing' (I was explaining the 3.5 inch mentioned), then you should remember that the IBM original was 5.25 inch, and the 8inch was used by Xerox (I think) and was the boot disk for the LISP machine which was the programmers dream of the time.
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Postby guy » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:58 am

I do struggle with the newer, smaller variants you microcomputer folks love to bring on. The first magnetic floppy disk I ever came across was a large-diameter type (probably 8" or 12") used by an analogue voice recorder, ca.1968. No slotted cardboard envelope, just slip it out of its sleeve and plonk it on the gramophone-style record/playback machine like any other audio disk of the period and off you go. It was an obsolescent-looking curiosity even then, and a poor loser in quality not only to my reel-to-reel tape (Best of the Beach Boys anybody?) but even to the wax cylinder still used by my Dad's office Dictaphone.

But what I don't know is which came first - was an analogue medium adapted for digital use, or vice versa? As I struggle to recall, I have vague memories of the kid who brought it into school saying something about the voice recorder being a failed spinoff from something hi-tech his dad's company was working on, but that is very unreliable. Names? No chance, sigh.
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Postby johnhudson » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:06 pm

dandnsmith wrote:If you want to argue about 'the real thing' (I was explaining the 3.5 inch mentioned), then you should remember that the IBM original was 5.25 inch, and the 8inch was used by Xerox (I think) and was the boot disk for the LISP machine which was the programmers dream of the time.


Not according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_floppy_disk; my brother who worked on IBM machines in the 1970s remembers them as temporary storage. I didn't encounter them until CP/M.
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Postby Nuke » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:39 pm

I still have a couple of 5.25" floppies, for keepsake. They came from work. I hated them, and when I ordered my first PC, which would have had a 3.5" and 5.25" drives (a common transitional arrangement at the time) I told them to omit the 5.25".

I have about two hundred 3.5" floppies, and a PC that can read them. I ought to go through them one day and take off anything I might still need.

I even have about thirty 3" floppies from a 1980's Amstrad.
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