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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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It is a God given right to every Unix/Linux user to be able to mount a hardware device on the filing system tree. It is almost like magic.
The system works like this. The kernel detects the hardware and assign a major and minor number to each block device say sda2, in which a hard disk partition belongs to. We always mount a device on the filing system tree. The branch of the tree is free to us to select but /mnt or /media is frequently used for this purpose. The mount command makes the necessary connection.
After you have finish the work you can unmount the device (/dev/sda2) or the branch (/mnt/sda2)
which is the same procedure to remove an attached hardware in a MS Windows.
There is a time lag in Linux when you ask something to be written onto the device. In other word the action takes place not alway immediately but in the back ground while the CPU is not too busy. Therefore the "umount" instruction is very important to tell the kernel, "Hey we need to split, so finish what you are doing!" before pulling out the device, otherwise a premature withdrawal of the device will to a loss of data.