As with hard disks, Linux's support for a CD or DVD drive depends on the interface through which that CD drive connects to the PC's motherboard. CD and DVD drives come with four types of interfaces:
♦ IDE or AT Attachment Packet Interface (ATAPI): ATAPI is a recent specification for accessing and controlling a CD/DVD drive connected to the PC through the AT Attachment (ATA). ATAPI is gaining popularity because it is built on the cheaper IDE interface. (ATA is the new name for IDE.)
♦ Small Computer System Interface (SCSI): SCSI is popular because of its relatively high data rates and because it can support multiple devices. The only drawback is that you need a relatively expensive SCSI controller card for the PC.
♦ Universal Serial Bus (USB): USB is a popular interface for attaching various devices from printers to scanners to PCs. There are CD/DVD drives as well as CD-R (recordable CD), CD-RW (rewriteable CD), and different types of recordable DVD (DVD-R, DVD+R) and rewriteable DVD (DVD-RW, DVD+RW) drives that attach to USB ports. USB CD/DVD recordable and rewriteable drives are popular because they can be quickly and easily moved between systems. To support USB CD/DVD drives, all you need is to enable USB mass storage support in the kernel. This causes the USB CD/DVD drives to appear as SCSI drives, but with different device names such as / dev/scd0 and /dev/scdl.
♦ Proprietary CD-ROM interfaces: In the early days of CD-ROM drives, many CD-ROM vendors provided their own proprietary interfaces between the CD-ROM drive and the PC's motherboard. Many sound cards included a built-in CD-ROM-drive interface, which is typically proprietary. The problem with proprietary interfaces is that someone has to develop a Linux driver specifically for each interface, whereas with a SCSI or IDE interface you can use a SCSI or IDE driver to access any SCSI or IDE device.
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