The PhoneBoy Blog


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USB Thumb Drives in Linux

One of the more useful things I saw in an off-site meeting I had with my coworkers and bosses earlier this week was the USB flash memory drive that are about the size of a thumb. My bosses were using a flash-memory drive to move powerpoint slides between their respective laptops. I suppose they could have used infrared or any other number of methods, but this basically worked. I decided that I needed one to move data between my corporate laptops, which are frequently connected via VPN to the corporate network and not able to communicate to anything outside of the corporate network as a result. My challenge is that one of my corporate laptops is Windows, the other is Linux.

I went out to Target (I had to go there for a different reason) and ended up picking up a 128mb Lexar Media “JumpDrive.” Supposedly didn’t require drivers in Win2000/XP, nothing about Linux support of course. While I was in the airport, I plugged the drive into my Linux laptop. Took me several minutes to figure out how it was “recognized”: as an “emulated” SCSI device. I could simply mount device /dev/sda1 as a vfat filesystem. Mounted right up. There were files on the device (a PDF explaining how to use their “password protection” software as well as the software itself), which got promptly removed. Had to do some twiddling with the fstab so that I could mount the drive and manipulate files as an ordinary user.

I haven’t tried to plug this device into my Win2k laptop yet, but I suspect that it will have no problems reading/writing files that I copy over to this drive. I used the drive to transport this blog entry from my Linux laptop to my Linux desktop, Nice to know that it “just works” like that. Knoppix makes use of USB memory drives as well, I’ll have to try it what I can sometimes.

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