How to get an IDE (Travan etc.) tape drive working under Mandrake
Posted by rbTech Staff, Last modified by rbTech Staff on 05 January 2012 12:17 PM

After repeatedly fighting with IDE tape drives (read: Cheap but effective) and their reticence to work under the various versions of Mandrake that I've implemented over the years, I got it together to whip up a How-to on the subject.

The prodecure is very simple, and frankly I'm not sure as to why Mandrake has such a tough time detecting these drives and doing the right thing with them automagically, but I digress...

The Problem: Mandrake (and perhaps other flavors of Linux; not exactly sure) detects the drive, but doesn't set up the proper kernel modules and boot arguments to make the thing work.

The Solution: There are a couple *really* simple thing that you need to do to make these drives work under Mandrake (Mandriva).

 Tell the system not to try to use that device as a hard drive. You'll need to know which device your tape is on the IDE bus:
- Primary Master device (it's probably not) then the corresponding file in /dev would be /dev/hda.
- Primary Slave: /dev/hdb
- Secondary Master: /dev/hdc
- Secondary Slave: /dev/hdd
With this information in your pocket, you can add the following information to your lilo (or grub) boot config: {your tape device}=ide-tape i.e.: hdd=ide-tape Note the lack of /dev!
Add the following line to /etc/modprobe.preload (or /etc/modules.conf):
ide-tape This will tell the system how to "talk" to the tape device.
Add the following lines to /etc/rc.local:
mknod /dev/ht0 c 37 0
ln -s /dev/tape /dev/ht0
Finally, make sure you have the mt-st package installed:
urpmi mt-st
Reboot that puppy (I know, but since we've modified the kernel, we have to do it. Take a look at your uptime of 357 days and whimper quietly as you type reboot in a root console. The good news is that you'll probably not need to reboot your server again until you upgrade the entire OS...)
Once it's rebooted, you should be ablt to run mt status and get something like the following back:
# mt status
SCSI 2 tape drive:
File number=-1, block number=-1, partition=0.
Tape block size 0 bytes. Density code 0x0 (default).
Soft error count since last status=0
General status bits on (50000):
That's all there is! Hope that helps

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