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You know how in windows you have to "stop" the usb device before removing it? I don't really know what this does, and I'm wondering if I'm causing any problems by plugging and unplugging at will (when the light is not flashing, of course) in linux (suse 9.1).
No, I don't unmount it. Am I hurting anything by doing this? The icon that automatically showed up just disappears.
If it is necessary to unmount, it seems like the user-friendly thing to do would be to have a desktop link that would do whatever should be done with the click of a button. I'm sure I'm not the first person to think about this, which is why I doubt that I need to unmount it manually.
When you "stop" the device in Windows, you're doing the same thing as "unmounting" it in Linux. Like brainiac mentioned, try right-clicking a desktop icon to see if it has an unmount option. I'm 99.9% sure it will.
So what does the unmount do, and why should users care? THe unmount forces the system to sync-up the filesystem on the device. The OS (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.) buffers writes to devices; it collects them in memory. When enough has been collected, the OS will "flush" the writes in one big chunk, and start collecting again, then another flush, etc. An unmount tells the OS, "You need to flush now because you're not going to have the opportunity later." If the device is yanked before a flush occurs, there's a risk that the last "save" for a file may not be stored on disk, and hence, lost.
As far as USB-memory devices or cf-cards go, you
probably want the following two options in the fstab
/dev/sda1 /mnt/cam auto noatime,sync,noauto,noexec,user,rw
,umask=000 0 0
Given the limited number of writes those media can
handle you don't want to waste their life by writing the
date you last read a file.
So you can actually unplug it without DAMAGING data
due to write-back caching. Still not a good method, you
SHOULD unmount it, but better than nothing ;}
Thanks to everyone for the great info. I will stop being lazy and unmount it. I checked, and there is no right-click option. I would guess there would be a way to write a script of some sort (run from an icon of some sort?), but I have no experience in this. Could anyone point me in the right direction for this?
I was reading the interesting discussion and came with another question: why does it says " cannot unmount: device is busy" (sort of message) after I have typed the umount command-of course after closing all the windows?? I have to always pull my USB stick though the light is 'on' for that.
I am using Fedora core 2. And no Icon is shown when i mount it , so no chance of right clicking on it!!