USB floppy?

Donald Becker becker at
Tue Aug 29 19:44:37 PDT 2000

On Mon, 28 Aug 2000, Laurent Itti wrote:
> has anybody experience with installing Linux off a USB floppy drive?


> I did
> it on my slim laptop (no integrated floppy; just an external USB one) and


> it worked great as long as only one disk was needed (i.e., would not
> recognize the drive after the first floppy had been loaded).

And that one disk has to have an integrated ramdisk, so that the BIOS reads
the whole disk.  A boot disk that only loads the kernel and then expects to
mount the floppy will not work without some major effort.

> since modern motherboards all have USB, maybe we could forget about floppy
> drives in clusters and just have one external USB drive around for
> emergencies?
> I wonder whether that was a special feature of my laptop's BIOS of if it
> will also work with desktop motherboards?

You identified the problem: the BIOS only supports USB keyboards and mice,
and emulates PS/2 devices using hardware traps and "SMM" behind the OSes

The BIOS cannot do the same emulation for standard floppy behavior.  No
chipset has the hardware support for trapping floppy controller accesses in
the same way as keyboard controller accesses.

Donald Becker				becker at
Scyld Computing Corporation
410 Severn Ave. Suite 210		Beowulf-II Cluster Distribution
Annapolis MD 21403

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