Chapter 3. DVD, CD-ROM, Floptical, and Floppy Disk Drives

This chapter discusses the software that accesses and uses DVD, CD-ROM, floptical, and floppy disk drives. It contains the following sections:

If you prefer a GUI to the IRIX command-line interface, the Removable Media Manager (accessed from the System Manager) provides a graphic interface for performing many of the tasks described in this chapter.

Floppy Disk, CD-ROM, and DVD Filesystems

IRIX allows you to mount and use filesystems on floppy disks, floptical disks, CD-ROMs, and DVDs. You can use these filesystems on your own system, or you can export them via NFS for use on other systems (if you have NFS installed). See the ONC3/NFS Administrator's Guide for information on exporting filesystems.

The mediad daemon monitors the removable media devices on a system. When media is inserted, mediad scans the media for filesystems and mounts them. The operating instructions for these kinds of filesystems are similar and are covered in detail in the mediad(1M) reference page.

Note: Only one instance of mediad is allowed per system. That is, two invocations of mediad for the same device generate an error.

IRIX supports the following DVD, CD-ROM, floptical disk, and floppy disk filesystem formats:

  • FAT (MS-DOS)

  • HFS (Macintosh)

  • EFS and XFS (IRIX filesystem)

  • ISO 9660

  • Photo CD

  • High Sierra

  • Music CD format

  • UDF

Refer to the mediad(1M) reference page for a complete list of devices supported by mediad, and refer to the filesystems(4) reference page for details concerning supported filesystems.

CD-ROM and DVD Filesystems

mediad monitors CD-ROM and DVD drives, waiting for a CD-ROM or DVD to be inserted. When a CD-ROM or DVD is inserted, the filesystem it contains is mounted if the filesystem is in UDF, EFS, HFS, ISO 9660, or High Sierra format. When a CD or DVD containing a valid filesystem is inserted, it is automatically mounted on /CDROM (for the first drive) and /CDROM2, /CDROM3, and so on for additional drives.

When you are finished using the filesystem, issue the eject command and mediad will attempt to unmount the filesystem. If the unmount is successful, it ejects the CD-ROM or DVD. When mediad is running, however, any user can unmount and eject a CD-ROM or DVD with the eject command.

Note: IRIX supports writeable UDF fileystems on DVD-RAM media and hard disks only. IRIX support for UDF filesystems does not include support for playing DVD movies.

Floppy Disk Filesystems

Note: In this chapter, the term floppy disk drive also applies to a floptical drive because both are configured and used in the same manner.

Filesystems on floppy disk drives are controlled by the mediad daemon. mediad scans the hardware inventory for devices it knows about and automatically begins monitoring them, waiting for a disk to be inserted. Floppy disk drives are mounted on /floppy if the disk is in FAT (MS-DOS) or HFS (Macintosh) format. If you have more than one floppy disk drive, floppy disks in additional drives are automatically mounted on /floppy2, /floppy3, and so on.

To prevent mediad from monitoring a device, put a command like this in the file /etc/config/mediad.config:

ignore device /dev/scsi/sc0d4l0 

For complete details, refer to the mediad(1M) reference page.

When you are through using the floppy disk, issue the eject command and mediad attempts to unmount the filesystem. If the unmount is successful, it ejects the floppy disk immediately.

Configuring Floppy Disk Drive Device Files

There are a number of SCSI floppy disk drives available for use with your system. To install a floppy disk drive on an IRIX system, follow the hardware documentation that is furnished with your drive to connect it to the computer.

If you are adding a floppy disk drive to a system that does not have one, the software configuration is taken care of automatically when the system boots. When the system boots, if hinv indicates that a floppy disk drive is installed but that there is no link to it through the /dev special device files, the MAKEDEV program is automatically invoked to add the proper device files. For more information on the MAKEDEV program, refer to IRIX Admin: Disks and Filesystems .

If you are installing a floppy disk drive after your initial system installation, perform the following steps:

  1. Install the hardware.

  2. Log in as root (superuser) and enter these commands:

    cd /dev 
    ./MAKEDEV floppy 

    The MAKEDEV program creates the appropriate device nodes.

If you have removed a floppy disk drive and are installing one of a different type, follow these steps:

  1. Install the hardware.

  2. Log in as the superuser and enter these commands:

    cd /dev/rdsk
    rm fds*
    ./MAKEDEV floppy

    The MAKEDEV program creates the appropriate device nodes according the SCSI controller, floppy disk drive number, and type of floppy disk drive. For example, a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive configured as drive 2 on SCSI controller 0 has the device node


    There are various options for the different kinds of floppy disk drives that are supported. For example, your device node could use any of the following options, depending on which option suits the hardware you are installing:


    (720 KB, 3.5" floppy)


    (1.44 MB, 3.5" floppy)


    (20.1 MB, floptical)


    (360 KB, 5.25" floppy)


    (720 KB, 5.25" floppy)


    (1.2 MB, 5.25" floppy)

  3. Use the following command to link your floppy disk drive device node with a convenient filename for access, typically /dev/floppy. Substitute the device node information for your type of floppy disk drive for the node name used here:

    ln -s /dev/rdsk/fds0d2.3.5 /dev/floppy 

Using Floppy Disk Drives

This section describes how to copy files to and retrieve files from floppy and floptical disks, regardless of whether the disk is in Macintosh, DOS, or IRIX filesystem format.

Note: The term floppy disk is used interchangeably with floptical disk in this section.

Using DOS and Macintosh Floppy Disks

The mediad daemon automatically determines the format of a floppy disk inserted in your drive and, if it is a DOS or Macintosh floppy disk, automatically mounts the filesystem on your default mount directory. Once the filesystem is mounted, you can use typical IRIX commands such as cd, ls, and pwd with it. See the mediad(1M) reference page for complete information.

Using a Floppy Disk Drive for IRIX File Transfer

You can use a floppy disk drive like a tape drive for IRIX file transfer. Use the standard tape archive commands to write files to the floppy disk if the disk is formatted. Use the mkfp command to format an unformatted floppy. See the mkfp(1M) reference page for additional information.

When you place files on a floppy disk, make a note on the disk label of the format or the exact command used to place the files on the floppy disk. This makes it easy for you (and others) to retrieve the files from the floppy disk. Also, whenever possible, change directories to the directory that contains the file and place the file on the floppy disk using a relative pathname, rather than specifying the absolute pathname.

Also be aware that using a floppy disk to transfer files to systems made by other manufacturers may mean that the same tools are not available on the receiving system. The tar, cpio, and dd tools are usually available on all UNIX systems.

In the following examples, the floppy disk drive device name is given as /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5. Your actual device name may be different.

Floppy Disk File Transfer With tar

To place a copy of the file transfer.file on a floppy disk with the tar command, use the syntax

tar cvf /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 transfer.file 

To retrieve the file, use the command

tar xvf /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 transfer.file 

To retrieve all files from a tar floppy disk, use the command

tar xvf /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 

or for high-density floppy disks

tar xvf /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5hi 

For complete information on tar and its options, see the tar(1) reference page.

Floppy Disk File Transfer With cpio

To copy files to floppy disk with cpio, use the command

ls transfer.file | cpio -oc > /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 

To retrieve the file again, use the command

cat /dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 | cpio -i 

For complete information on cpio and its options, see the cpio(1) reference page.

Floppy Disk File Transfer With dd

This dd command copies a file to the floppy disk

dd if=transfer.file of=/dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 conv=sync 

The following command extracts the same file

dd if=/dev/rdsk/fds0d3.3.5 of=transfer.file conv=sync 

Note: dd works only with single files. You can use tar or cpio to create an archive file, though, and then use dd to transfer that archive. If you attempt to extract the file on another brand of workstation and experience an error, try adding the conv=swab statement to your extraction command line. For complete information on dd, see the dd(1) reference page.