December 9, 2003

Making USB storage devices work seamlessly under Linux

Author: Lee Schlesinger

What do you do when your ISP tells you the reason your Windows box can't connect to the network is because its network drivers got corrupted? You download new drivers using your Linux client and use Sneakernet to move them to Windows. USB storage devices like M-Systems'DiskOnKey are extremely useful for ad hoc chores like this, and I was lucky to have one on hand. But how to make Linux mount the device as seamlessly as Windows does?

You turn to the Web, of course, and find that someone has solved the problem for you. In this case, "someone" was Konstantin Riabitsev of Duke University.. In a posting last summer to a Red Hat mailing list, Riabitsev shared a shell script that made my life easier. You put his script in the location he specifies, copy a few lines from your system's usb.distmap file and paste them into usb.usermap, changing one string, and you're done. When you insert a USB storage device into one of your system's USB ports, an icon called SDA appears on the desktop. Though SDA usually indicates a SCSI disk, it sometimes represents USB storage as well. You can click on it to access files just as you can on any other drive icon.

If you have a USB storage device, copy this utility and install it on your computer now, before you need it.

As for me, I've accelerated my timetable for migrating all my applications off my Windows client and onto Linux. About the only thing holding me back is the lack of a good graphical backup client for the Linux desktop. Alas, in this case, a search of the Web failed to turn up a good application.

Click Here!