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Re: Procedure on mounting USB/hotplug devices

On Tuesday 07 August 2007 12:23, Tim wrote:
> Tim:
> >> It was quite a few releases ago that the fstab file was subject to being
> >> rewritten automatically.  Now, automatically mounted things are mounted
> >> without altering it.
> Marko Vojinovic:
> > So you are saying that the data that was to be written in /etc/fstab is
> > now written somewhere else for "mount /media/label" to find it? Where
> > would that be? I couldn't find anything in man mount.
> No, I'm saying that dynamically connected things don't have an entry
> written for them in the fstab file, automatically.  Additional to that,
> you wouldn't mount them in that abbreviated manner, manually.

No? And what service provides automatic mounting (in runlevel 3, no X active)? 
And what if automounter doesn't work as expected?

I plug in my USB flash memory, kernel detects it, udev creates /dev/sdb for 
it, and that's it. There is nothing in /media, nothing in /mnt. I have to su 
to root, and manually mount it via

# mount -t vfat /dev/sdb /some/directory

which of course works, but is a pain since only root has privileges for 
accessing the data. So what is the name of the daemon that should do all this 
for me? (it doesn't seem to work properly, so I need to tweak with it...)


> or you can use gnome-mount to get it work out the details.

Well, I tried something like

$ gnome-mount --device /dev/sdb

and the first thing it did was to complain that there is no X running (!!), 
than it falls back to text-mode, complains that it cannot find any partitions 
on /dev/sdb, and fails. It does not detect the filesystem, it does not read 
off the label, it does not create a mount point.

But I think that the fault is in hal not providing appropriate info for it, 
since "lshal | grep sdb" returns nothing. Hal does not seem to have detected 
the flash memory, so gnome-mount knows nothing about it.

> I haven't quite got around to looking at manual mounting on FC7, it's
> working automatically for me, quite fine.

Oh, btw, it works for me also once I startx to Gnome. I just plug the flash 
and Nautilus pops up after a couple of seconds. :-) But that's not the point. 
I usually work with no X running, so I want automounting to work in the 

> I think you might want to have a look at man gnome-mount, it does detail
> a lot of things about what's involved.  Despite the name, you're not
> forced into using Gnome at the time.  Personally, I think it's a daft
> name, there doesn't appear to be a Gnome GUI, and I don't think it's a
> good idea to use a GUI name on something you might use solely on a
> text-only terminal.

I agree. However, look at what man gnome-mount says:

       gnome-mount - Mount drives and volumes using HAL and read settings from
       the GNOME desktop configuration system gconf.

       This program is used to mount and unmount file systems for GNOME  desk-
       top  users. It can also be used to eject discs from CD drives and other
       devices that needs to be ejected. For example,  iPod’s  needs  this  to
       make the "Do not disconnect" message go away.

       Normally,  this  program  is  invoked  by  software  in the GNOME stack
       (specifically gnome-vfs-daemon and gnome-volume-manager  ).  End  users
       should  never  have  to  deal  with gnome-mount directly on the command
       line, nor should they have to read this manual page.

Besides from not being intended for direct usage, I get the feeling that it 
simply does not work properly without Gnome running. It reads settings from 
gconf (which may not exist), and I just observe on my machine that it does 
work when Gnome is up, but does not otherwise.

All in all, I believe the culprit is hal in this particular case. But how do I 
get it to work?

Of course, I can always edit /etc/fstab and put in appropriate data by hand, 
and this will work, but that is a workaround, not a solution, right?

Best, :-)

Marko Vojinovic
Institute of Physics
University of Belgrade
e-mail: vmarko phy bg ac yu

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