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Has anyone ever had any experience of connecting a USB (or Firewire) external Hard Disk Drive device to a Linux system? I want to do this with a 320GB LaCie ...
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  1. #1
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    Question USB external Hard Disk Drive & Linux


    Has anyone ever had any experience of connecting a USB (or Firewire) external Hard Disk Drive device to a Linux system?

    I want to do this with a 320GB LaCie d2 QUADRA device for backup purposes - SuSE Linux 10.2. Reading the manual on the LaCie web-site, I get the impression that it can only be used with Windows and Mac OS 10 - presumably because it is formatted as NTFS (which is not normally supported by Linux).

    I suspect that if one were to reformat it as ext3, ReiserFS or whatever, it should work. However, I would like to know before I shell out for one.

    Any feedback much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer aliov's Avatar
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    the Lacie usb drive should runs under Linux without any problem, however for the NTFS partition i think (i'm not sure ) that suse 10.2 still offer a Read only for NTFS partitions, (as suse 10.1).
    For for it's compatibility this should works without any problem, i remember i friend wants to send me some movies and he has this USB drive, so i connect it to my Slackware Box, and the HAL recognize it and mount it without any problem.


    Regards.
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    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    All USB external hard drives and flash drives are what is known as UMS - Universal Mass Storage. They all follow the same protocols and use the same drivers. Generally these devices are formatted with FAT32 or FAT16 to ensure maximum compatibility but occasionally they are formatted using NTFS to allow large file support. You can format the drive any way you want to when you plug it in. I have several external drives formatted in ext2/3, FAT32 and ReiserFS.

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    Many thanks for your responses. I will go ahead and get the LaCie and give feedback when I have got it working (or not!).

    Because of the capacity (320Gb), I suspect that it will have been configured as NTFS which is probably what causes the problem.

    I have emailed LaCie asking their advice and expressing surprise at their ignoring Linux - I did do this even before reading Aliov's comment about not buying hardware where the manufacturer fails to recognise the existence of Linux

  5. #5
    Linux Engineer aliov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surv1v0r View Post
    I did do this even before reading Aliov's comment about not buying hardware where the manufacturer fails to recognise the existence of Linux


    Yes you right, all the Linux problems comes from the outside , i mean the companies wish close their driver source . so it's a great idea to pay attention to this.

    Best Regards.
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    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    I'd be very surprise if LaCie aren't very helpful to you. They actually have very good support for Linux. They are the only company to support LightScribe drivers and software under Linux and in fact sell harddrives that run live versions of Linux (Mandrake at the time I saw it).

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    Linux Engineer aliov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtomrodney View Post
    They are the only company to support LightScribe drivers and software under Linux and in fact sell harddrives that run live versions of Linux (Mandrake at the time I saw it).
    Thanks a lot for this useful information bigtomrodney ,
    because usually i'm interested to the Full Linux compatible Hardwares, so this is a new one in my list , so in my work we can buy from them safely.

    Regards.
    Linux is not only an operating system, it's a philosophy.
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    Banned CodeRoot's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Never buy a piece of hardware from a company which doesn't support Linux
    Good idea! I like it...

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    I have now actually got hold of a 320GB LaCie d2 QUADRA. It's quite a cool unit actually, offers eSATA, USB2, Firewire 400 & 800 connection options - decisions, decisions - why can't I have Ethernet as well


    I can see this device in Windows & Linux:
    o Windows - under Computer Management, it is shown as Disk 1 - Unknown - 298.09Gb. Not yet shown as a USB device
    o RedHat Fedora Core 2 - shown as LaCie - 298.0Gb - /dev/sda6
    o SuSE Linux 10.2 - shown as LaCie - hfsplus - 298.09Gb - /dev/sda6

    I am pretty confident that if I partition and format it (probably as reiserfs) under Linux it will work. On reflection and based on this site, I will use ext3.


    As an experiment, I reformatted a 128Mb USB DISGO Thumb drive from FAT to reiserfs to work under SuSE Linux and used it without problem. Strangely enough, when I reformatted it back to NTFS to work under Windows, it seemed to have lost some space (about 5Mb) - the same happened with, FAT32 & FAT. I haven't explained or resolved this yet although it may have something to do with space reserved for the journal?


    EDITED: I have had a response from LaCie that reads:
    Thank you for contacting LaCie Technical Support. The biggest disk's work with linux as long as you have support for firewire and USB hard drives. Which I'm sure you do. The 320GB just needs to be formatted which ever way you want. Just format it like you would an internal hard drive on Linux.
    I can't quite see why they shouldn't include this on their web-site, in their documentation and on the packaging?

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    LaCie USB disks work with Linux but are unsupported.

    I sent the following query to LaCie:
    Since the LaCie disks seem to work with Linux, is there any particular reason that you seem to make absolutely no mention of Linux on your web-site, in any documentation or on any packaging?
    They replied as follows:
    Because there is no support for Linux on many of our products. If we supported them we would let you know what you needed and how to get the drive to work. There is not much that is special about Linux to get external drives to work, but we would have to do a lot of changes to say we support Linux.
    What a sad state of affairs

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