The Jaz Drive and Unix Systems

by David Holloway

Nevada Technical Associates, Inc.

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The Jaz drive in some ways is not very special. It is just an adaptation of a normal SCSI interface hard drive, so right away, it can be viewed by Operating Systems as just a hard drive.

What makes the Jaz drive special is that the disks are removable from the drive mechanism, and therefore if you use specially written driver software, you can treat this "hard drive" as a very large (1 Gigabyte) floppy drive, removing and inserting disks as you like.

Iomega, being a mass market driven company, has written software, or hired someone to write software, for the following operating systems for the purpose of being able to remove the disks without turning off the computer or shutting down the operating system. These systems are: DOS, MAC OS, OS/2, Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and WinNT using the following file systems: FAT, VFAT, FTFS, HPFS, and whatever Mac uses. Keep in mind that not all operating systems understand each other's file systems, even though they all recognize the disk drive. The Jaz is a snap to install in the Macintosh. For a UNIX-like Operating System, you must treat it as a permanent hard drive. However in UNIX, permanent hard drives may be "mounted" and "unmounted" without turning off the computer. The Superuser (root) may use the Jaz drive just like a large floppy drive, while normal users probably cannot.

Jaz drives may be used as FAT file systems on UNIX, or they may be used as whichever file systems is supported by your UNIX. This may require fdisk, disklabel and newfs. Backups to UNIX based Jaz drives may be performed by tar, dump, cpio, proprietary software or simple copying. Keep in mind that access is random, unlike tape.

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