The v2.0.x versions of the kernel include version 2.08 of
recommend, however, that you grab the latest version of the full source
code package for
ftape. It is a newer version, includes files that
are not included in the kernel v2.0.X distribution, and includes much
better documentation about how to install
The v2.1.x and later versions of the kernel include the version 3.04
I recommend that you download the latest stable version of
which is 4.02 at the time of this writing and is available from
as well as from
You probably should also grab the
ftape-doc and the
ftape-tools package that are available from the same locations.
If you still want to use the
ftape-2.08 which is shipped with the
v2.0.x kernels, then you get a version of the driver which is really
out of date and doesn't support QIC-3020 tapes at 2Mbps correctly,
neither does it support the Ditto 2GB drives nor the Ditto Max drives
nor any kind of parallel port tape drive. The section
gives detailed information about which version of the
supports which hardware.
ftape-4.x use the file system interface that
was implemented for a branch release which was called
zftape. Actually, the module that implements the VFS
Virtual File System) interface of
ftape-4.x still is called
zftape.o and its
inside the kernel tree reside in
ftape-2.x (i.e. the version still contained in the v2.0.x kernel)
uses another file system interface, that was implemented by
ftape's original author Bas Larhoven.
The conceptional difference between
ftape-2.x and later versions
ftape is the way file marks are implemented.
Floppy tape devices don't have real file marks.
File marks are used to distinguish different backup sets if you write multiple backup sets to a tape. SCSI and QIC-150 tapes have real file marks, i.e. between two different backup sets there is a region on the tape that is written special data to so that the drive logic can detect that marker when the tape is wound with (possibly) high speed over those file marks.Because the goal of
ftape'sfile system interface was from the beginning on to provide an interface that could be used with standard Unix-like tape utilities (i.e.
mt) the developers of
ftapestarted to emulate file marks by storing the positions on the tape where a file mark should be located in certain fields of the header segments.
header segments refers to a region at the beginning of the tape sized two times 29k to hold some important information about the tape format and size and some status information.
QIC standards already designate a special region to
store such information in, the so called volume table
ftape-3.x this volume table segment is used
instead of using unused data fields in the header segment. As a result
it is possible to use your tape cartridge with different operating
systems in the sense that your Win or DOS backup program will realize
that certain regions of the tape cartridge are already occupied with
ftape-3.x and later will detect the regions used by
those DOS and Win programs. However, you can't extract a DOS backup
set under Linux or extract a volume written by
ftape under DOS,
safe you write your own software to do that.
There are certain differences in the IOCTL
This IO control interface is used by e.g.interface between
mtto rewind the tape or skip to the next file mark or do any other tape operation.
ftape-3.xand later. A detailed description can be found in the
ftape-manualcontained in the
ftape-docpackage. See Getting Ftape.
Formatting of cartridges is supported with
ftape-3.x and later
only. Please get the
ftape-tools package that contains the
ftformat program that interfaces to the driver to format
Getting Ftape. The
ftape-tools package comes with (more or less) detailed
documentation, so the case of formatting cartridges is not dealt with
in this document.
ftape-3.x supported user transparent on-the-fly compression in
software. This feature (or bug) has vanished in
it made further improvements concerning the realiability of backups
very very hard. This means,
ftape-4.x comes without compression
However de-compression of compressed archives produced with
ftape-3.x is supported in order not to brake existing backup
programs where a user-level filter would not suffice to preserve
compatibility. Think, e.g., of
taper which calls the
ioctls itself instead of relying on the
mt program to perform
ftape-manual contained in the
ftape-doc package contains
much more detailed information about
ftape`s file system
interface as well as implementation notes which by far exceed the
scope of this HOWTO. See
Getting Ftape for
informations about where to obtain the manual.
The following section provides some useful information to get you going with the installation of v4.x which is not shipped with the kernel source tree yet but has to be downloaded separately, see the section Getting ftape above.
Once you've downloaded the source code (probably
ftape-4.02-tar.gz), untar it. You can do this by determining what
directory you want the source code to be located in. I recommend
~/src. When the tar file is extracted,
it will dump everything into a
ftape-4.02 subdirectory, so that
you'll end up, in the example I've given, with something like
NOTE: you cannot compile
ftape-4.02 into your v2.0.x
kernel. Instead, configure your kernel to not compile the
ftape driver and follow the installation instructions in the
ftape-4.02 distribution and install
ftape-4.02 as a module.
README file. The
README is required reading. It's
the top of the tree, so to speak. If there are specific files that
README tells you to read then read them. It will make the
process much less complicated.
Do NOT proceed with compiling the package until you have read the
README files and the
Afterwards you need to edit the
MCONFIG file and configure you
package according to your hardware. The
MCONFIG file contains lots
of explanations so it should be fairly easy to go along with it.
However, most of the hardware configuration can be done via setting
parameters during module load time so most parameters specified in the
MCONFIG simply give the default configuration, but you don't
need to recompile the driver to change IO addresses or interrupt
settings. The file
INSTALL and the file
contain examples how to specify the proper module parameters when
loading the kernel modules, so I won't go into further detail here.
If you are using a Linux-v1.3.x kernel, you should consider moving to v2.0.x. v1.3.x was the development release prior to the production release v2.0.x.
ftape-4.02will be included into the v2.2.x kernel, but this isn't clear at the time of this writing. This HOWTO will be revised appropriately when this has become clear. So long you have to refer to the previous section Installing the driver with v2.0.x and earlier kernels and disregard the contents of this section.
The Linux kernel v2.1.x and later already include
ftape-4.x so you
don't need to download the
ftape-4.x kernel driver package.
ftape-4.x as included in the v2.1.x versions of the kernel can be
completely configured using the kernel configuration menus (either with
make menuconfig or
make xconfig. Also, there is online help
available that documents each parameter setting which I won't repeat
The various boot- and loadtime parameter settings are explained in the file
of the Linux-v2.1.x and later kernel distributions.
If you want to follow the development of the
ftape driver, you
should subscribe to the Linux Tape mailing list
[email protected]. To do so you need to send an email
subscribe linux-tape' (in the body) to
[email protected]. When you subscribe, you will be sent
a greeting mail, which will tell you how to submit real mails and how
to get off the list again. Store this email in a safe
Please note that I do not, repeat DO NOT, have any special powers with regard to this mailing list. If you're stuck on the list, don't bother to tell me that. I can only shrug and send you my sympathy (but that won't get you off the list).
If you use your floppy tape drive with the standard FDC then the floppy
drive and the floppy tape drive cannot run concurrently as they share
the same hardware, the FDC, and the
floppy and the
driver do not talk to each other. Thus, if you have mounted a floppy
and then try to access the tape drive,
ftape will complain that it
cannot grab IRQ6 and then die. This is especially a problem when
designing a emergency disk for use with ftape. This solution is to
either load the boot/root disk into a ramdisk and then unmount the
floppy, or have two floppy drive controllers.