Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Formatting tool for USB-FDD (Linux)

The modern computers doesn't have any floppy drive on board. I know, I know, now it is outdated. And better use USB flash disk. My computer doesn't have any floppies too, but up to now floppy disks is a cheap way for Office documents to travel from one computer to another. Recently I had such task - write MS '.doc' file onto floppy disk. It was intended for old computer without any USB port ;-)

I used external floppy USB drive on my Linux box. It calls UFI device. A UFI Device is a removable-media mass storage subsystem, which connects to a Host computer via its Universal Serial Bus (USB) port. The Host and UFI Device communicate by exchanging Command Blocks, data, and status information. The method used to transport this information over the USB is defined by the Bulk-Only or CBI transport specifications. This specification defines the UFI Command Set, which was designed to interface Floppy Disk Drives to the USB. The “USB Floppy Interface” (UFI) Command Set is based on the SCSI-2 and SFF-8070i command sets.

Other words, Linux normally works with such floppy disk. But Linux doesn't support floppy format for such devices. So, if you need format floppy, you have to install the special utility which support UFI Command Set. So, finally to say - setup UFIformat utility. It is console based utility. Run it as:
# ufiformat /dev/sda
And do High-level formatting by:
# mkfs.vfat -I /dev/sda
All should be done by this.