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How to configure the Linux kernel/drivers/char/ftape

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Howto configure the Linux kernel / drivers / char / ftape


Ftape configuration


  • Option: ZFTAPE
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off/module) Zftape, the VFS interface
    • depends on FTAPE
      Normally, you want to say Y or M. DON'T say N here or you WON'T BE ABLE TO USE YOUR FLOPPY TAPE DRIVE.
      The ftape module itself no longer contains the routines necessary to interface with the kernel VFS layer (i.e. to actually write data to and read data from the tape drive). Instead the file system interface (i.e. the hardware independent part of the driver) has been moved to a separate module.
      To compile this driver as a module, choose M here: the module will be called zftape.
      Regardless of whether you say Y or M here, an additional runtime loadable module called `zft-compressor' which contains code to support user transparent on-the-fly compression based on Ross William's lzrw3 algorithm will be produced. If you have enabled the kernel module loader (i.e. have said Y to "Kernel module loader support", above) then `zft-compressor' will be loaded automatically by zftape when needed.
      Despite its name, zftape does NOT use compression by default. The file <file:Documentation/ftape.txt> contains a short description of the most important changes in the file system interface compared to previous versions of ftape. The ftape home page <http://www.instmath.rwth-aachen.de/~heine/ftape/> contains further information.
      IMPORTANT NOTE: zftape can read archives created by previous versions of ftape and provide file mark support (i.e. fast skipping between tape archives) but previous version of ftape will lack file mark support when reading archives produced by zftape.


  • Option: ZFT_DFLT_BLK_SZ
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"Default block size"

    • depends on ZFTAPE
    • default "10240"
      If unsure leave this at its default value, i.e. 10240. Note that you specify only the default block size here. The block size can be changed at run time using the MTSETBLK tape operation with the MTIOCTOP ioctl (i.e. with "mt -f /dev/qft0 setblk #BLKSZ" from the shell command line).
      The probably most striking difference between zftape and previous versions of ftape is the fact that all data must be written or read in multiples of a fixed block size. The block size defaults to 10240 which is what GNU tar uses. The values for the block size should be either 1 or multiples of 1024 up to a maximum value of 63488 (i.e. 62 K). If you specify `1' then zftape's builtin compression will be disabled.
      Reasonable values are `10240' (GNU tar's default block size), `5120' (afio's default block size), `32768' (default block size some backup programs assume for SCSI tape drives) or `1' (no restriction on block size, but disables builtin compression).

"The compressor will be built as a module only!"

    • depends on FTAPE && ZFTAPE


  • Option: ZFT_COMPRESSOR
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off/module)
    • depends on FTAPE!=n && ZFTAPE!=n
    • default m


  • Option: FT_NR_BUFFERS
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"Number of ftape buffers (EXPERIMENTAL)"

    • depends on FTAPE && EXPERIMENTAL
    • default "3"
      Please leave this at `3' unless you REALLY know what you are doing. It is not necessary to change this value. Values below 3 make the proper use of ftape impossible, values greater than 3 are a waste of memory. You can change the amount of DMA memory used by ftape at runtime with "mt -f /dev/qft0 setdrvbuffer #NUMBUFFERS". Each buffer wastes 32 KB of memory. Please note that this memory cannot be swapped out.


  • Option: FT_PROC_FS
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) Enable procfs status report (+2kb)
    • depends on FTAPE && PROC_FS
      Optional. Saying Y will result in creation of a directory `/proc/ftape' under the /proc file system. The files can be viewed with your favorite pager (i.e. use "more /proc/ftape/history" or less /proc/ftape/history or simply cat /proc/ftape/history). The file will contain some status information about the inserted cartridge, the kernel driver, your tape drive, the floppy disk controller and the error history for the most recent use of the kernel driver. Saying Y will enlarge the size of the ftape driver by approximately 2 KB.
      WARNING: When compiling ftape as a module (i.e. saying M to "Floppy tape drive") it is dangerous to use ftape's /proc file system interface. Accessing `/proc/ftape' while the module is unloaded will result in a kernel Oops. This cannot be fixed from inside ftape.


"Debugging output"

    • depends on FTAPE
    • default FT_NORMAL_DEBUG


  • Option: FT_NORMAL_DEBUG
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) Normal
      This option controls the amount of debugging output the ftape driver is ABLE to produce; it does not increase or diminish the debugging level itself. If unsure, leave this at its default setting, i.e. choose "Normal".
      Ftape can print lots of debugging messages to the system console resp. kernel log files. Reducing the amount of possible debugging output reduces the size of the kernel module by some KB, so it might be a good idea to use "None" for emergency boot floppies.
      If you want to save memory then the following strategy is recommended: leave this option at its default setting "Normal" until you know that the driver works as expected, afterwards reconfigure the kernel, this time specifying "Reduced" or "None" and recompile and install the kernel as usual. Note that choosing "Excessive" debugging output does not increase the amount of debugging output printed to the console but only makes it possible to produce Excessive debugging output.
      Please read <file:Documentation/ftape.txt> for a short description how to control the amount of debugging output.


  • Option: FT_FULL_DEBUG
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) Excessive
      Extremely verbose output for driver debugging purposes.


  • Option: FT_NO_TRACE
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) Reduced
      Reduced tape driver debugging output.


  • Option: FT_NO_TRACE_AT_ALL
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) None
      Suppress all debugging output from the tape drive.


"Hardware configuration"

    • depends on FTAPE


"Floppy tape controllers"

    • depends on FTAPE
    • default FT_STD_FDC


  • Option: FT_STD_FDC
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) Standard
      Only change this setting if you have a special controller. If you didn't plug any add-on card into your computer system but just plugged the floppy tape cable into the already existing floppy drive controller then you don't want to change the default setting, i.e. choose "Standard".
      Choose "MACH-2" if you have a Mountain Mach-2 controller. Choose "FC-10/FC-20" if you have a Colorado FC-10 or FC-20 controller. Choose "Alt/82078" if you have another controller that is located at an IO base address different from the standard floppy drive controller's base address of `0x3f0', or uses an IRQ (interrupt) channel different from `6', or a DMA channel different from `2'. This is necessary for any controller card that is based on Intel's 82078 FDC such as Seagate's, Exabyte's and Iomega's "high speed" controllers.
      If you choose something other than "Standard" then please make sure that the settings for the IO base address and the IRQ and DMA channel in the configuration menus below are correct. Use the manual of your tape drive to determine the correct settings!
      If you are already successfully using your tape drive with another operating system then you definitely should use the same settings for the IO base, the IRQ and DMA channel that have proven to work with that other OS.
      Note that this menu lets you specify only the default setting for the hardware setup. The hardware configuration can be changed at boot time (when ftape is compiled into the kernel, i.e. if you have said Y to "Floppy tape drive") or module load time (i.e. if you have said M to "Floppy tape drive").
      Please read also the file <file:Documentation/ftape.txt> which contains a short description of the parameters that can be set at boot or load time. If you want to use your floppy tape drive on a PCI-bus based system, please read the file <file:drivers/char/ftape/README.PCI>.


  • Option: FT_MACH2
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) MACH-2


  • Option: FT_PROBE_FC10
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) FC-10/FC-20


  • Option: FT_ALT_FDC
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...
    • (on/off) Alt/82078


"Consult the manuals of your tape drive for the correct settings!"

    • depends on FTAPE && !FT_STD_FDC


  • Option: FT_FDC_BASE
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"IO base of the floppy disk controller"

    • depends on FTAPE && !FT_STD_FDC
    • default "0"
      You don't need to specify a value if the following default settings for the base IO address are correct: <<< MACH-2  : 0x1E0 >>> <<< FC-10/FC-20: 0x180 >>> <<< Secondary  : 0x370 >>> Secondary refers to a secondary FDC controller like the "high speed" controllers delivered by Seagate or Exabyte or Iomega's Ditto Dash. Please make sure that the setting for the IO base address specified here is correct. USE THE MANUAL OF YOUR TAPE DRIVE OR CONTROLLER CARD TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT SETTING. If you are already successfully using the tape drive with another operating system then you definitely should use the same settings for the IO base that has proven to work with that other OS.
      Note that this menu lets you specify only the default setting for the IO base. The hardware configuration can be changed at boot time (when ftape is compiled into the kernel, i.e. if you specified Y to Floppy tape drive) or module load time (i.e. if you have said M to Floppy tape drive).
      Please read also the file <file:Documentation/ftape.txt> which contains a short description of the parameters that can be set at boot or load time.


  • Option: FT_FDC_IRQ
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"IRQ channel of the floppy disk controller"

    • depends on FTAPE && !FT_STD_FDC
    • default "0"
      You don't need to specify a value if the following default settings for the interrupt channel are correct: <<< MACH-2  : 6 >>> <<< FC-10/FC-20: 9 >>> <<< Secondary  : 6 >>> Secondary refers to secondary a FDC controller like the "high speed" controllers delivered by Seagate or Exabyte or Iomega's Ditto Dash. Please make sure that the setting for the IO base address specified here is correct. USE THE MANUAL OF YOUR TAPE DRIVE OR CONTROLLER CARD TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT SETTING. If you are already successfully using the tape drive with another operating system then you definitely should use the same settings for the IO base that has proven to work with that other OS.
      Note that this menu lets you specify only the default setting for the IRQ channel. The hardware configuration can be changed at boot time (when ftape is compiled into the kernel, i.e. if you said Y to Floppy tape drive) or module load time (i.e. if you said M to Floppy tape drive).
      Please read also the file <file:Documentation/ftape.txt> which contains a short description of the parameters that can be set at boot or load time.


  • Option: FT_FDC_DMA
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"DMA channel of the floppy disk controller"

    • depends on FTAPE && !FT_STD_FDC
    • default "0"
      You don't need to specify a value if the following default settings for the DMA channel are correct: <<< MACH-2  : 2 >>> <<< FC-10/FC-20: 3 >>> <<< Secondary  : 2 >>> Secondary refers to a secondary FDC controller like the "high speed" controllers delivered by Seagate or Exabyte or Iomega's Ditto Dash. Please make sure that the setting for the IO base address specified here is correct. USE THE MANUAL OF YOUR TAPE DRIVE OR CONTROLLER CARD TO DETERMINE THE CORRECT SETTING. If you are already successfully using the tape drive with another operating system then you definitely should use the same settings for the IO base that has proven to work with that other OS.
      Note that this menu lets you specify only the default setting for the DMA channel. The hardware configuration can be changed at boot time (when ftape is compiled into the kernel, i.e. if you said Y to Floppy tape drive) or module load time (i.e. if you said M to Floppy tape drive).
      Please read also the file <file:Documentation/ftape.txt> which contains a short description of the parameters that can be set at boot or load time.


  • Option: FT_FDC_THR
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"Default FIFO threshold (EXPERIMENTAL)"

    • depends on FTAPE && EXPERIMENTAL
    • default "8"
      Set the FIFO threshold of the FDC. If this is higher the DMA controller may serve the FDC after a higher latency time. If this is lower, fewer DMA transfers occur leading to less bus contention. You may try to tune this if ftape annoys you with "reduced data rate because of excessive overrun errors" messages. However, this doesn't seem to have too much effect.
      If unsure, don't touch the initial value, i.e. leave it at "8".


  • Option: FT_FDC_MAX_RATE
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"Maximal data rate to use (EXPERIMENTAL)"

    • depends on FTAPE && EXPERIMENTAL
    • default "2000"
      With some motherboard/FDC combinations ftape will not be able to run your FDC/tape drive combination at the highest available speed. If this is the case you'll encounter "reduced data rate because of excessive overrun errors" messages and lots of retries before ftape finally decides to reduce the data rate.
      In this case it might be desirable to tell ftape beforehand that it need not try to run the tape drive at the highest available speed. If unsure, leave this disabled, i.e. leave it at 2000 bit/s.


  • Option: FT_ALPHA_CLOCK
    • Kernel Versions: 2.6.15.6 ...

"CPU clock frequency of your DEC Alpha" if ALPHA

    • depends on FTAPE
    • default "0"
      On some DEC Alpha machines the CPU clock frequency cannot be determined automatically, so you need to specify it here ONLY if running a DEC Alpha, otherwise this setting has no effect.


Linux Kernel Configuration

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