Picking Linux Compatible Hardware

Fortunately, the vast majority of removable-media devices are compatible with Linux, with the caveat that the IEEE-1394 and USB 2.0 interfaces are still fairly new. You'll find the best support for ATA and SCSI devices.

Linux treats most removable-media devices as if they were hard disks. This is true of all of the Iomega, magneto-optical (MO), Castlewood Orb, and removable disk drives shown in Table 2.5. These devices are often partitioned like hard disks and mounted via entries in /etc/fstab, as described in the upcoming section, "Configuring Removable Media." Floppy disks usually aren't partitioned, and indeed removable-media devices in general don't need to be partitioned and sometimes aren't.

CD-R and recordable DVD drives are generally accessed via the SCSI generic device driver. There are standards for such devices, so all modern drives should work with Linux CD-R packages.

Most tape drives use standard tape-device protocols. These should work for almost all SCSI and ATA devices, but other interface types are riskier. I recommend doing a web search to check on compatibility of specific devices. The floppy and parallel ports aren't used by modern tape drives; they're used only for old low-capacity units. The ftape kernel drivers support them, if you happen to have an old legacy drive.

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