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Old 10-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Using floppy diskettes with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

I have many MS Word (.doc)documents stored on standard IBM-formatted 3.5", 1.44 MB floppy diskettes that I want to use in a computer that has Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed.

The OS recognizes the computer's FD DRIVE, but not the diskettes. All input from the GUI returns the following msg:
"Cannot mount the location. No media detected."

Both the drive and the diskettes are fully operational with a Windows OS installed.

The Ubuntu OS came on a live CD in a book by Mike Saunders. The book does not even mention Floppy disk useage. Mark Sobell's tome on Ubuntu only skims the subject then loses me with compex, CLI-based, geek-speak.(I will master it. I will. I will)

While Ubuntu is new, I am not averse to working from the CLI and can understand its use. However, any procedures offered in a response to this post should be given in detil and made as simple as possible. Thanks in advance.

ADDENDUM 10-5-12

YOW! Didn't expect such a response. Thanks to all. Still working thru the options.

Just one comment to the anti-floppy crowd. Not to disparage other media, (I use them all) but I've been using fd's for 27 years and have found them to be stable, reliable, IDEAL media FOR TEXT. A single 1.44MB fd can hold over 300 pages of text with plenty of room for editing. Double that when you format them to 2.88 MB. I've stored text on them for years at a time and have never lost data. The few times I've found bad ones, they have been bad right out of the box. I've never had one fail in use, they can be used and reused until the plastic covers wear out, and they cost a fraction of what other media cost. To paraphrase the late Charleton Heston, "I'll give up my floppy discs (and drives) when they pry them out of my cold, dead, hands". Of course, they do not work for music, anything video-intensive (even sill photos), back-ups, etc.

Last edited by ceoself; 10-03-2012 at 05:57 PM. Reason: typographical error
Old 10-01-2012, 07:47 PM   #2
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This thread from the Ubuntu forum might help:
Old 10-01-2012, 09:44 PM   #3
John VV
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Ubuntu 10.04 long term support

is now getting a bit old , so it should still see the floppy drive (fd0)

new OS's do not even look for the old 3.5 drives

but you will probably have to manually mount the disket

mkdir /mnt/floppydisk
mount -t vfat /dev/fd0 /mnt/floppydisk
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Old 10-02-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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floppy disk

According to a Ubuntu forum (14-1-2009) from Ubuntu 8.10 fordwards the module floppy is not loaded by default.
1) edit /etc/modules
add a line saying floppỳ

2)add in /etc/fstab

/dev/fd0 /media/floppy0 auto rw, user noauto, exec, utf8 0 0

3)create a floppy0 directory in /media

that worked me in 2009
Old 10-03-2012, 07:04 AM   #5
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If you have any trouble with the proposed solutions, another way would be to boot the computer from an older Ubuntu live cd, or Knoppix.

As I did work much with floppy disks in the past, I would advice you to copy your floppies to some other medium. In the late "floppy disk era"(late '90s and early '00s) the quality was very bad. I remember that I found often 1 or even 2 defective disks in a 10 piece pack. They were rather unreliable and couldn't support many successive write/erase cycles.
Old 10-03-2012, 09:51 AM   #6
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You should immediately copy these files from floppy to a more secure media like a usb key, cdrom, hard drive, etc. Floppy discs have a limited lifespan and are notoriously unstable over time. You should have done this long ago.
Old 10-03-2012, 10:35 AM   #7
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DVDs & CDs have a longer shelf life, but are not immune from the same (kind of shelf life) problems as floppies.
Old 10-03-2012, 03:54 PM   #8
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Wonder if you could borrow a usb floppy. I have used them for the last few year since no computer has a native floppy drive anymore. They simply mount the floppies.

About the best way to save data is a hard drive that is only used for backup. In all cases the floppy or cd (burned ones) are simply going to fail soon.
Old 10-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #9
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from the old ubuntu thread posted above
it looks like there was a bug in using floppies
and seeing as they are not being made any longer it was a very LOW priority

also this is the older 10.04 lts ( not the current 12.02 long term support )

also the OP has NOT responded

so it is fixed and just not marked as solved

or went someplace else .
Old 10-07-2012, 12:47 AM   #10
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RE: Ny original post on Ubuntu 10.04 and Floppy Disks

Contrary to speculation, I have not gone AWAY. However, I HAVE worked through most of the applicable replies to my original post, along with several hundred pages of after-market documentation and I have not found a solution.

The odd thing I HAVE found is that the OS appears to have all the file entries and packages that it needs to USE floppy
disks. The GUI is clearly set up to do so. Likewise, Open Office is set up for it.

RE: The post by John VV
I have not, yet, tried the CLI entries that you recommend. I will, soon.

RE: Those who have suggested using other media
You DO offer useable work-arounds and I appreciate the response. However, I would really like to have the Ubuntu OS DO what it is ADVERTISED and designed to do.

Meanwhile, I am treating this foray into Linux as a non-essential learning experience. To date, the curve is a bit steep and the cost/benefit ratio a bit high but I will persist (for a while) and will appreciate the time and effort of those who offer their assistance. Thanks to all.
Old 10-08-2012, 12:37 AM   #11
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I think the issue is with your machine or bios setup somehow. I actually still have a floppy drive, and I can confirm that with Ubuntu 12.04, the floppy drive definitely works. I still think floppies are junk, unreliable, and you should get your files off them and on to something more modern and cross-compatible. The quality of floppy disks these days is poor, to say the least.
Old 10-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #12
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The problem has been solved. As Archimedes (287-212 BCE) is reputed to have exclaimed, "Eureka!" (I've got it). Well, at least, I've got PART of "it".

1. Get Mark Sobell's book A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO UBUNTU LINUX (or by "hook or by crook", a copy of the live DVD it includes) and install the OS that comes on the DVD. (Prentice Hall, 3rd Edition, 2010/2011 [@$55.00, out the door, California money, from Barnes and Noble]

NOTE: If installing on an older system, the process hangs at @95% complete. Be patient. Don't interfere. It's worth the wait. From time to time, your HDD will blink or flicker and the optical drive will spool up and down to tell you that your old work horse is doing its job. On a Pentium III with only 678 MB of ram, the install took 1.5 hours; most of it at the 95% mark. But, don't dispair, once installed, the OS speeds along at a good clip.

ALSO: The system may ask you for a "Keyring Password". By that it means the password to your wireless/other network.

2. At the desktop, go to Places>Floppy Disk and double-click it. (Nautilus puts an icon on the desktop and sets the system up to use floppy diskettes.)

3. Thereafter, clicking the FDD icon, anywhere, opens the diskette ("disc")for use.

4. By going to Applications>Office>Open Office>Word Processor, you can then chose the vendor's format that you want to use to read/write/save/retrieve the text that you want to save to or is already stored on, a standard, IBM-formatted
3.5", 1.44 MB floppy disc.
NOTE: Once you choose, the office program's text format, you STAY in it until you change it, again.

My "mission" is to figure out why the live CD that came with Mike Saunders' book (Haynes Publishing) did'nt work. The obvious conclusion, at least, is that the bug has NOTHING to do with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

When I have accomplished my "mission", I'll post the results.

Meanwhile, Hail Linnux! Hail Ubuntu!, I go where no sane person ought to go; May the venerable floppy disc live long and prosper.

PS: BigRig's hyper link in the first reply in this thread was particularly useful. Cudos to BigRig. Thanks to all. Ciao.


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