42, was: [PARPORT] [ANNOUNCE] ftape-4.x-beta-7, featuring parallel port drives

Claus-Justus Heine (claus@momo.math.rwth-aachen.de)
19 Jul 1998 15:28:49 +0200

Ford Prefect <spider@joshua.interpow.net> writes:

> > - try to format a cartridge with the parallel port Ditto 3200 (untested,
> > but should work)
> I don't know if I've mailed you about this before, I know I mentioned it

Actually, there is a backlog of over 700 unread messages in my ftape
mail folder. So, you might have mailed me before ...

> If you have need for another guinea pig, just drop me a line, I'd be more
> than happy to help contribute to this project in any way I can.

Great! So, get ftape-4.x-beta-7 from my web page and give it a
try. Please don't try to format a cartridge unless you have other
programs that can do so if ftape fails.

What you can do:

0) test whether the beast compiles at all. There shouldn't be any
    warnings or errors.

    Afterwards, you can either do "make install" which will install
    the modules in /lib/modules/<kernel_version>/misc and create the
    necessary device nodes in /dev/

    Or leave the modules in ftape-4.x-beta-7/modules/, run the script
    ftape-4.x-beta-7/scripts/MAKEDEV.ftape yourself. In this case you
    should change to the modules directory before trying to load the
    modules, and you should append a ".o" suffix to the modules names,
    i.e. do "insmod ftape.o" instead of "insmod ftape".

i) The first step is to determine whether the bpck-fdc.o driver
    detects your tape drive:

    insmod ftape
    insmod bpck-fdc

    should suffice. In case of success, you'll find something like

bpck-fdc.c (bpck_fdc_log_adapter) - bpck floppy tape at 0x378, mode 4 (EPP-32), delay 0

    in your kernel log file. Of course, the IO base (here: 0x378) and
    the parport protocol (here: EPP-32) may be different, depending on
    your hardware configuration and the capabilities of your parallel

ii) Try whether the bpck-fdc.o driver can do anything else beside
    detecting your tape drive. Load the VFS interface with

    insmod zftape

    and run some tape commands that cause tape motion:

    mt -f /dev/nqft0 reten

    is a good example. It winds the cartridges to EOT, and then back
    to BOT. If this succeeds, then you know that bpck-fdc.o can send
    tape commands to the Backpack tape driver.

iii) The "reten" command doesn't cause any data transfer between the
    host and the tape drive. The next step is to try to read the
    header segments:

    mt -f /dev/nqft0 status

    This should produce some status messages that are more or less
    self explanatory. In any case, there shouldn`t be an error

iv) Do a small sample backup, e.g. try to backup the /bin subdirectory
    or similar:

    tar -cvf /dev/nqft0 /bin

    If this completes successfully, then rewind the cartridge

    mt -f /dev/nqft0 rewind

    This will take a while, and ftape will update the header segments
    when the tape reaches BOT, don't be alarmed if the tape winds a
    little back and force when it reaches BOT.

    Then try to read the backup back:

    tar -tvf /dev/nqft0

If you indeed dare to test formatting of cartridges, then you need to
get the ftape-tools package first. You can get it from the same
location where you got ftape-4.x-beta-7 from. The ftape-tools package
contains some useful tools:

ftmt -- a slightly modified version of the GNU "mt" program that
        knows about some non-standard ftape specific ioctls

ftformat -- interface to ftape's formatting ioctls. There is a man
        page for ftformat contained in that package.

.... and some other small utilities, including a more or less
usefulless tcl/tk frontend.

Actually, I'd like to have another look at ftformat first. I think it
should work, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Actually, when all of the above small tests are successful, then you
may want to perform a backup of your entire system.

There is another point that I haven't tested yet: if there is a hard
write error, i.e. if ftape detects a media defect during writing, then
ftape will try to recover, mark the bad spot as bad and continue. For
this to work ftape needs to move around the data already written to
the parport tape drive. I think that it works, but I haven`t tested it
yet with the bpck-fdc driver.

If anything goes wrong, then please send me the debug messages
produced by the ftape driver.

Good luck


  Claus-Justus Heine             

PGP Public Key: http://www-math.math.rwth-aachen.de/~LBFM/claus/claus-public-key.asc

Ftape - the Linux Floppy Tape Project WWW : http://www-math.math.rwth-aachen.de/~LBFM/claus/ftape Mailing-list: linux-tape@vger.rutgers.edu

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