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Old 08-26-2011, 03:45 AM
Fernando Cassia
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

Surely I'm missing something, but shouldn't there be an uption on the
right-click menu over a pen drive, to format the drive?. Can't find
it.

I go to Computer, select the KINGSTON device, right click, properties,
and I see the following tabs:

Basic, Emblems, Permissions, Open with, Notes

Nowhere is there any option to "format drive".

I know I can probaly just format it from Bash, but I'm curious of what
is the expected way to initiate a drive format from the Gnome GUI....

I'm using an ancient system with Fedora 10 here... uname -a
2.6.27.41-170.2.117.fc10.i686 #1 SMP Thu Dec 10 11:00:29 EST 2009
i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux


FC
PS: The options available on the pop-up menu for the drive object are:

Open
Open with other application
Copy
Rename
Unmount volume
Properties
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Old 08-26-2011, 04:31 PM
Bryce Hardy
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM, Fernando Cassia <fcassia@gmail.com> wrote:

> I know I can probaly just format it from Bash, but I'm curious of what
> is the expected way to initiate a drive format from the Gnome GUI....
>
> I'm using an ancient system with Fedora 10 here... uname -a
> *2.6.27.41-170.2.117.fc10.i686 #1 SMP Thu Dec 10 11:00:29 EST 2009
> i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux

As a workaround, use Gnome Disk Utility, (search yum for
gnome-disk-utility if not already installed.) Hopefully it's available
for F10, I wouldn't know for sure. Hope this helps.

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Old 08-26-2011, 04:49 PM
Fernando Cassia
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 13:31, Bryce Hardy <brycehardy@gmail.com> wrote:
> As a workaround, use Gnome Disk Utility, (search yum for
> gnome-disk-utility if not already installed.) Hopefully it's available
> for F10, I wouldn't know for sure. Hope this helps.

Thanks Bryce!

For the record, is there a Format option available in the current F15,
when you right-click on a removable storage device? Just curious...

FC
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Old 08-26-2011, 05:05 PM
"Kevin J. Cummings"
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On 08/26/2011 12:49 PM, Fernando Cassia wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 13:31, Bryce Hardy <brycehardy@gmail.com> wrote:
>> As a workaround, use Gnome Disk Utility, (search yum for
>> gnome-disk-utility if not already installed.) Hopefully it's available
>> for F10, I wouldn't know for sure. Hope this helps.
>
> Thanks Bryce!
>
> For the record, is there a Format option available in the current F15,
> when you right-click on a removable storage device? Just curious...

I would guess that it would depend on your definition of "format".

Linux does not have a program called "format". What most people think
of of "format" is actually a combination of other programs, most notibly
laying down a file system (and not formatting the drive).

A pen drive does not need a low level format (the program which lays
down tracks and sectors on a floppy or hard disk drive). The pen drive
is more akin to system memory where the storage "locations" are already
done in hardware. For the most part, a pen drive is just a sequence of
logical blocks of some default size.

[Remember, that pen drives have a finite limitation on the number of
writes that will succeed before the drive starts to "fail".]

You can choose to partition your pen drive, or not. fdisk (or any of
the so called XXXdisk programs) can write a partition table to your pen
drive so that you can have multiple partitions if you so desire.

Most pen drives come already "formatted" with a VFAT or NTFS file system
already on the drive. But this is really just a file system laid down
on the physical media. (Some come with a partition table, some don't.)
If you require a different file system, you should use the mkXXfs
programs to write out the type of file system you want on the drive.

Most of these functions can be done from the disk utility programs which
probably got installed in your installation (unless you did a minimal
installation).

I hope this was useful.

> FC

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Old 08-26-2011, 05:26 PM
Fernando Cassia
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 14:05, Kevin J. Cummings
<cummings@kjchome.homeip.net> wrote:
> A pen drive does not need a low level format

A pen drive is a "mass storage device" per USB specs. It doesn't
matter if the data is then stored magnetically on a spinning disk, on
flash memory, or hammered in wood by a robotic arm.

"low level formatting" does not exist anymore on PCs since the advent
of the IDE interface, unless you use a manufacturer-provided service
utility.

I'm perfectly aware of the difference between partitioning and
formatting. Formatting, as you well explain, is erasing the contents
of a partition by laying out a new filesystem...

The fact that a FAQ like the following needs to exist shows the
user-hostile nature of Linux in some instances... Yes, a user who
plugs a removable storage device might want to format it...

FAQ: How to format a Flash drive in Linux
http://www.ehow.com/how_5092605_format-flash-drive-linux.html

...and having to call GPartEd instead of showing a "format" option on
the object' s pop-up menu is just stupid. I don't want to edit
partitions, I want to do a quick format on the device to make 100%
sure any hidden auto-executable win32 code is erased.

I'm not 100% sure now, but I believe even 1992's IBM OS/2 2.0 featured
a "format" option on any drive object's pop-up menu

FC
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:16 PM
Bryce Hardy
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 9:49 AM, Fernando Cassia <fcassia@gmail.com> wrote:

> For the record, is there a Format option available in the current F15,
> when you right-click on a removable storage device? Just curious...

No, for one thing there are no desktop icons in Gnome 3, and
right-clicking its entry in the Nautilus sidebar only offers to open
or safely remove it.

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Old 08-26-2011, 06:17 PM
Fernando Cassia
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 15:16, Bryce Hardy <brycehardy@gmail.com> wrote:
> No, for one thing there are no desktop icons in Gnome 3, and
> right-clicking its entry in the Nautilus sidebar only offers to open
> or safely remove it.

I should file a RFE then...

FC
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:08 PM
"Kevin J. Cummings"
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On 08/26/2011 01:26 PM, Fernando Cassia wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 14:05, Kevin J. Cummings
> <cummings@kjchome.homeip.net> wrote:
>> A pen drive does not need a low level format
>
> A pen drive is a "mass storage device" per USB specs. It doesn't
> matter if the data is then stored magnetically on a spinning disk, on
> flash memory, or hammered in wood by a robotic arm.

Of course the drive has to be capable of reading what it wrote. B^)

> "low level formatting" does not exist anymore on PCs since the advent
> of the IDE interface, unless you use a manufacturer-provided service
> utility.

No, the tool may be harder to find, but the need for it still exists.
You've obviously never had to reformat an IDE disk drive when power was
inexplicably lost during a write cycle and the write head wrote garbage
across some sectors that used to be properly formatted. This is a
function of how well the disk was designed and implemented. If you do
the same on a solid state device, you might write random data to a
random location, but that's about all. The actual blocks remain intact,
and don't ever need to be reformatted.

> I'm perfectly aware of the difference between partitioning and
> formatting. Formatting, as you well explain, is erasing the contents
> of a partition by laying out a new filesystem...

I do not agree with your "redefinition" of the term formatting. Perhaps
its my history of writing formatting programs on CP/M and ZCPR back in
the days of ST-506 disk drives, and 5.25" and 8" floppies.

I wasn't sure what you actually understood given the nature of the
question and your not wanting to use the proper tools to accomplish your
end.

If you question was solely why doesn't the UI provide the option, then
you should file a BZ against the program in question.

> The fact that a FAQ like the following needs to exist shows the
> user-hostile nature of Linux in some instances... Yes, a user who
> plugs a removable storage device might want to format it...

S/he might want to change the file system on it, yes. S/he might want
to change the partitioning of it, yes. Both are best done from the
proper disk utilities. I have found that Disk Utility (in the System
Tools menu) allows you to "format" the drive, if that's what you really
want to do, but I rarely find the need to use it. Most people use pen
drives as inter-machine data transport (what we used to call "sneaker
net"), and require that it contain a file system that can be utilized on
the least common denominator system (usually Windows).

Personally, I feel that if you know enough about Linux to want to
re-format a pen drive, you know enough about the proper tools required
to do it. YMMV.

> FAQ: How to format a Flash drive in Linux
> http://www.ehow.com/how_5092605_format-flash-drive-linux.html
>
> ...and having to call GPartEd instead of showing a "format" option on
> the object' s pop-up menu is just stupid. I don't want to edit
> partitions, I want to do a quick format on the device to make 100%
> sure any hidden auto-executable win32 code is erased.

So, file a bugzilla request. It sounds like its functionality that used
to be there and now isn't....

> I'm not 100% sure now, but I believe even 1992's IBM OS/2 2.0 featured
> a "format" option on any drive object's pop-up menu

Yes, another piece of software that was afraid to do something too
different from Windows.... but, Unix (and Linux) pre-dates Windows (at
least Windows 95....)

> FC

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Old 08-26-2011, 08:42 PM
Fernando Cassia
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 17:08, Kevin J. Cummings
<cummings@kjchome.homeip.net> wrote:
>> I'm not 100% sure now, but I believe even 1992's IBM OS/2 2.0 featured
>> a "format" option on any drive object's pop-up menu
>
> Yes, another piece of software that was afraid to do something too
> different from Windows....

Oh, give me a break. You´ve obviously never heard of (much less used)
the object oriented "Workplace Shell" (WPS) desktop. Neither Windows
nor any Linux desktop ever came close to its OO-functionality.

Thanks for the help with the formatting issue, anyway.

FC
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:55 PM
Alan Cox
 
Default Brain fart: no format option on a pen drive pop-up menu?

> No, the tool may be harder to find, but the need for it still exists.

Most drivers cannot be 'reformatted' in the sense of putting back down
address marks. They simply don't work like that any more.

> You've obviously never had to reformat an IDE disk drive when power was
> inexplicably lost during a write cycle and the write head wrote garbage
> across some sectors that used to be properly formatted. This is a
> function of how well the disk was designed and implemented. If you do
> the same on a solid state device, you might write random data to a
> random location, but that's about all. The actual blocks remain intact,
> and don't ever need to be reformatted.

Actually its a good deal more complicated in both cases. The disk is a
storage system pretending to be a bunch of sectors on a bit of spinning
glass and will manage such things internally along with the need to
rewrite sectors now and then if adjacent sectors to the sides of it have
been written a lot and other such magic.

The fact it looks like a bunch of blocks on an ISA bus with some DMA glue
added is simply layer upon layer of compatibility magic which really only
gets broken in the mainstream for AHCI, and even then the disk pretends
to be a 'disk' in the ancient sense as does flash.

In the flash case a lot of management is needed for wear and because you
cannot erase single sectors so need to do some quite complex block
management.

> > FAQ: How to format a Flash drive in Linux
> > http://www.ehow.com/how_5092605_format-flash-drive-linux.html

Which isn't actually formatting as such, it's merely updating the
partition data and maybe writing some sectors. In the case of FAT that is
going to involve writing the FAT and root directories so will do the job
quite fine anyway as far as I can see.

> > I'm not 100% sure now, but I believe even 1992's IBM OS/2 2.0 featured
> > a "format" option on any drive object's pop-up menu
>
> Yes, another piece of software that was afraid to do something too
> different from Windows.... but, Unix (and Linux) pre-dates Windows (at
> least Windows 95....)

No another meaningless option that wouldn't actually do anything.

If you want to blank a drive into a new file system format you just need
to be sure to clean up any confusing superblocks and get the type right.
For the same fs you will hit the metadata anyway.

And if you want to blank a disk you need to issue a security erase
command, not just overwrite the data. The latter does not do what you
would always want on modern storage systems, particularly flash.

Alan
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