Win98 -- all kidding aside

Jimmy Montague rhetoric102 at
Wed Jul 30 23:51:55 UTC 2008

On Wed, 2008-07-30 at 13:33 -0400, Bart Silverstrim wrote:
> Jimmy Montague wrote:
> > I remember being in a computer shop in 1993 or 94 (I forget just which)
> > and seeing Linux for sale on CD for an insignifican amount, like $1.69
> > or some such. 
> I believe Linux was announced as a "non minix" in 91. Slack came out in 
> 93. Maybe that's what you saw.
> > So Linux had been released to the public at that time. It was in
> > development at that time. And at that time, floppy drives were as common
> > as the fleas in your underwear, Mr. Silverstrim. The floppy was then and
> > remained for several years thereafter the most common means of getting
> > data in and out of a PC.
> And the interweb was around then too. Tape drives used to be popular as 
> well. Terminals were more popular than PCs for decades. What is your 
> point? Because it *used* to be popular we have to keep that albatross 
> around our collective necks forever?
> *Constant* backwards compatibility, never severing ties to ancient 
> technology, adds complexity. Floppies are bad for storage, 
> period...unreliable, and don't hold much data at all, and bang-for-buck 
> it's simply cheaper to use a USB drive of some form to hold your data.
> And I also stated to stick the @#$@# floppy, "mount" it to something 
> like /dev/floppy, and do what LINUX USED TO DO BACK IN THE 90'S to get 
> your data.
> The pretty icon on your desktop is using mechanisms that, AS I STATED, 
> weren't used then. They're RELATIVELY NEW. AND the floppy drive DOESN'T 
> NOTIFY the OS when the media is altered, UNLIKE CD drives and USB buses.

The pretty icon on my desktop WAS in common use back then. Windows 3.1
and the Mac OS used it. OS-2 used it. The GUI itself was in common use
at the time. All of those systems managed floppies with ease. Thus when
the Linux people took up the challenge of developing a GUI, floppy
management should have been one of the basics they accomplished at the

> > And so I say: Linux should from the very first have mastered the art of
> > controlling a floppy drive. 
> It works fine.

For those who have never worked from the command line, it doesn't work
at all. Ubuntu is a GUI on top of Linux. Maybe the developers' problem
is that they still think of Linux in that way. They'd do better to get
used to the idea that for 98 percent of the computer-using human race,
the command line is some of that "creaky technology" upon which you heap
your contempt. The message of the GUI is -- has always been -- that the
command line is dead.

> "man mount".
> navigate to /mnt/<mountpoint.
> *tada*

That makes absolutely no sense to me. I never found /mnt/<mountpoint. I
did find a lot of supposedly useful information that might as well be
written in Sanskrit.

> >As far as I can tell, Linux has never done
> > so. 
> It's right in what I said to you previously.
> >Having tried several flavors of Linux over the years (Red Hat,
> > Mandrake, Mandriva, Xandros, Caldera, several other flavors whose names
> > I cannot recall, Ubuntu, Kbuntu, and now Ubuntu again), I can also say
> > that I'm unaware of any Linux distro that ever handled floppy drives
> > with the ease that MacIntosh (another Unix system) and the PC have
> > always accomplished that chore.
> put in floppy.
> "mount /dev/floppy /mnt/floppy"
> "cd /mnt/floppy"
> "ls"

So I just did that. And I get:
root at cyanide:~# mount /dev/floppy /mnt/floppy
mount: mount point /mnt/floppy does not exist
root at cyanide:~# cd /mnt/floppy
bash: cd: /mnt/floppy: No such file or directory
root at cyanide:~# ls
Desktop  Documents  Examples  Music  Pictures  Public  Templates  Videos
root at cyanide:~# 

> Oddly enough that isn't that different then what I was using in the 
> 90's. Became simpler, as a matter of fact, since I'm not worrying as 
> much about filesystem support or specifying filesystems.
> Can't do it anymore because none of my systems have floppies anymore.

As I've just demonstrated using "terminal," you are right: You can't do
it anymore and if my result means anything, you probably never could do

> > If YOU know how to make Ubuntu 8.04 perform with floppies, Mr.
> > Silverstrim, I'd suggest you explain how to do so rather than autoboot
> > into a state of denial or start throwing rhetorical sandbags about how
> > wonderful Linux is and how unreasonable I am to ask a modern OS to
> > perform a task that ought to be so simple. 
> Well, since you're hurling insults at me, let's reread my first response 
> to you.

The reason I "hurled" certain statements at you is that you don't know
what you're talking about. You can't tell me how to use the GUI to make
Ubuntu mount a floppy with the name of my choice. You can't tell me how
to use the GUI to format a floppy using the format of my choice.

You DID tell me how to use the command line to achieve precisely
> "use the mount command, do what is needed from /mnt/floppy, then unmount 
> it. Otherwise you're probably dealing with a Nautilus problem or 
> automounting problem..."

There again, it's the creaky old command-line brain trying to solve a
problem with the GUI using creaky old command-line solutions. New users
are coming to Linux because Ubuntu and other such distros collectively
boast that we don't need to use the command line any more. Seems the
Ubuntu people forgot about mossbacks like you.

> Mount command. Another one to follow that up if you're going to insult 
> me rather than ask what I'm talking about, "man mount".
> Nautilus? Not around in "93 or 94". Nor the automatic filesystem 
> mounting system. Both new.

This isn't 1994. Seems somebody forgot to tell you that, too.

> >As far as I can tell, my
> > asking Ubuntu to manage floppies is like asking Einstein to manage a
> > ball-peen hammer.
> More like asking him to use a cell phone to text his faves, since the 
> automatic mounting system/Nautilus weren't around then.
> > So, Mr. Silverstrim: Can you tell me how to make Ubuntu manage my floppy
> > drive or not? If the answer is not, then point me to someone who can do
> > so or butt out of this thread.
I see you're not going to tell me how to make Ubuntu manage my floppy
drive. You're not going to butt out either. Instead, you're going to
> Two can stop acting like a jerk
blah blah blah mount point blah blah blah creaky tech blah blah media
inserted blah and some other blah.

Thanks for treating me to a sample episode of the Mossback Linux
Propaganda Hour.

Is there anybody here who can make the Ubuntu GUI work with my floppy

Let me know, please.

Thanks for your patience and for mine.


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