Reading 9-track tapes in Linux

Doc Shipley doc at
Sun Jul 3 15:20:25 CDT 2005

Vintage Computer Festival wrote:

> The dd command I used is simple:
> dd if=/dev/st0 of=tape.img
> I've since learned that I want to use the /dev/nrst0 device handle so that
> the tape does not rewind after every file operation.  That's handy, but
> doesn't solve the problem.

   That also only reads 1 record from the tape.  I've had good luck with 
Michael Sokolov's tape utilities (mktape?), and not-wonderful luck in 
general extracting non-Unix tapes in Linux.  NetBSD or FreeBSD tend to 
be a little less idiosyncratic about the tape devices themselves.

   You may also, depending on your SCSI adapter and the tape drive, need 
to tell the drive either the block size explicitly (each time it 
changes) or set it to variable.  If I'm having trouble reading a stacked 
tape (multiple files), that's usually the problem.  And in Linux, YMMV 
with the variable setting.

> I tell ya, I can understand that complicated shit will take time, but when
> something that should be easy gives me more grief than the most difficult
> things I've ever worked on, it makes you wonder.

   I think the "should be easy" part was the crucial mistake.  ;)


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