USB on Debian Potato? - Hardware

This is a discussion on USB on Debian Potato? - Hardware ; I've got a 12-year-old Gateway PC that is running Debian potato. The PC has two usb ports on the backside, but I've never before tried to use them. I need to replace that computer, and I've just bought a Dell ...

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Thread: USB on Debian Potato?

  1. USB on Debian Potato?


    I've got a 12-year-old Gateway PC that is running Debian potato. The PC
    has two usb ports on the backside, but I've never before tried to use
    them.

    I need to replace that computer, and I've just bought a Dell Inspiron
    530 that I'm going to put Debian on. I need to be able to transfer my
    files from the old PC to the new PC. On the old PC, I do my backups via
    a Travan IDE tape drive. I wasn't able to get a compatible tape drive on
    the new PC, so I'm planning to use a flash drive for backups on the new
    PC (and later, a big external disk).

    I'm hoping to be able to do the transfer of my files using the flash
    drive, but when I plug it into the usb port on the old machine, it
    briefly lights up, then goes dark, and there is no change in the "fdisk
    -l" or "dmesg" output (both before and after a reboot). So apparently I
    don't have support for usb in that potato operating system.

    Does anyone know if it's possible to get usb to work with potato? I
    don't want to upgrade that machine to a later version of Debian, because
    I need both PCs to work during the transition period, and I'm afraid an
    upgrade will probably break something that I don't want to take time to
    fix (since I'll hopefully be retiring that machine soon,
    and I want to spend my available time trying to get the new machine to
    work).

    Any advice much appreciated.

    Mike Fontenot

  2. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Mike Fontenot wrote:
    > I've got a 12-year-old Gateway PC that is running Debian potato. The PC
    > has two usb ports on the backside, but I've never before tried to use
    > them.
    >
    > I need to replace that computer, and I've just bought a Dell Inspiron 530
    > that I'm going to put Debian on. I need to be able to transfer my files
    > from the old PC to the new PC. On the old PC, I do my backups via a
    > Travan IDE tape drive. I wasn't able to get a compatible tape drive on
    > the new PC, so I'm planning to use a flash drive for backups on the new
    > PC (and later, a big external disk).
    >

    Can you write your files onto the Travan IDE drive and then
    move the IDE drive to the new machine? I imagine you could if the new
    machine has a spare IDE slot. I had a worse Travan type drive that used a
    floppy controller; if yours is actually one of these, you could plug its
    controller into the floppy slot of the m.b.


    --
    .~. Jean-David Beyer Registered Linux User 85642.
    /V\ PGP-Key: 9A2FC99A Registered Machine 241939.
    /( )\ Shrewsbury, New Jersey http://counter.li.org
    ^^-^^ 20:20:01 up 4 days, 1:08, 5 users, load average: 4.06, 4.11, 4.13

  3. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    ["Followup-To:" header set to comp.os.linux.hardware.]
    Mike Fontenot staggered into the Black Sun and said:
    > I've got a 12-year-old Gateway PC that is running Debian potato.
    > I need to replace that computer. I need to be able to transfer my
    > files from the old PC to the new PC.


    The old box has a NIC, doesn't it? If so, the solution is easy:
    crossover cable. Heck, if the new box is new enough, its NIC will
    be able to autodetect and swap Rx and Tx on its own, so you can just use
    an ordinary length of Cat5.

    > briefly lights up, then goes dark. Apparently I don't have support
    > for usb in that potato operating system.


    Which kernel did Potato use? You need 2.4 for USB support, and
    depending on how new the USB drive is, you may need a recent revision.
    An easier solution is in the first paragraph.

    > Does anyone know if it's possible to get usb to work with potato?


    Upgrade the kernel to the latest 2.4 (or 2.6) you can find, and it
    should work. The easiest solution is in the first paragraph.

    --
    Due to inflation, your 40 acres and a mule have now been reduced to
    400 square feet and a guinea pig.
    My blog: http://crow202.org/wordpress/
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see

  4. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Hello,

    Dances With Crows a écrit :
    >
    > Which kernel did Potato use?


    IIRC, Debian potato included at least a 2.2.19 kernel.

    > You need 2.4 for USB support


    Huh ? Linux 2.2.19 has plenty of USB support, including for USB mass
    storage devices.
    But maybe potato did not have fancy hotplug features yet, so you may
    need to explicitly load the required modules : usb-storage,
    usb-uhci|uhci or usb-ohci depending on the USB host controller type...
    Check the kernel logs with dmesg to see what happens when the device is
    plugged or the module is loaded.

    > Upgrade the kernel to the latest 2.4 (or 2.6) you can find, and it
    > should work. The easiest solution is in the first paragraph.


    Potato modutils wouldn't support 2.6 kernels, and I am not even sure
    about 2.4 kernels.

  5. Re: USB on Debian Potato?


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  6. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Dances With Crows wrote:
    >
    > The old box has a NIC, doesn't it? If so, the solution is easy:
    > crossover cable. Heck, if the new box is new enough, its NIC will
    > be able to autodetect and swap Rx and Tx on its own,
    > so you can just use
    > an ordinary length of Cat5.


    I don't know enough to understand your solution. Is a NIC an ethernet
    port? If so, both computers have one. Assuming that's what you mean,
    how do I get the two computers to talk to each other? Can I mount an
    old-system filesytem on the new system, and then do a "cpio -p ..." to
    transfer everything under some directory on the old system to a
    directory on the new system?

    The new computer was just purchased new from Dell. What's a "Cat5"
    cable? The only ethernet connections I've ever made are between my old
    computer and the cable modem, and I don't know if that's "crossover" or
    "straight-through".

    I've also got a wireless hub that has a couple of ethernet ports on it
    (that's how I'm actually currently connecting my old computer to the
    cable modem). I suspect I could use that to maybe get a remote
    filesystem mounted, but I've never done that and don't currently know
    how to do it. I HAVE been able to ftp some files between my old sustem
    and my wife's MAC that way, but that wouldn't be practical for the
    transfer of a very large directory tree (because I think the "mput" of
    ftp only takes a list a files)...I think I need to be able to mount a
    remote filesystem on one of the machines.

    > Which kernel did Potato use? You need 2.4 for USB support, and
    > depending on how new the USB drive is, you may need a
    > recent revision.


    I don't remember what it is...how do I find out?

    Mike Fontenot

  7. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Jean-David Beyer wrote:
    >
    > Can you write your files onto the Travan IDE drive and then
    > move the IDE drive to the new machine? I imagine you could
    > if the new
    > machine has a spare IDE slot. I had a worse Travan type
    > drive that used a
    > floppy controller; if yours is actually one of these,
    > you could plug its
    > controller into the floppy slot of the m.b.


    I don't know much about what's inside the case of my new computer...Dell
    didn't provide much info. I've been assuming that IDE is old
    technology, and that I wouldn't be able to move the tape drive to my new
    machine, but maybe that IS possible.

    The tape drive isn't the earlier one that was driven like a floppy...and
    besides, I ordered the new computer with a floppy, so there might not be
    another floppy slot available anyway.

    Mike Fontenot

  8. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    On Friday 25 July 2008 19:25, someone identifying as *Mike Fontenot* wrote
    in /comp.os.linux.hardware:/

    > Dances With Crows wrote:
    >>
    >> The old box has a NIC, doesn't it? If so, the solution is easy:
    >> crossover cable. Heck, if the new box is new enough, its NIC will
    >> be able to autodetect and swap Rx and Tx on its own,
    >> so you can just use an ordinary length of Cat5.

    >
    > I don't know enough to understand your solution. Is a NIC an ethernet
    > port?


    NIC = Network Interface Connector.

    > If so, both computers have one. Assuming that's what you mean,
    > how do I get the two computers to talk to each other? Can I mount an
    > old-system filesytem on the new system, and then do a "cpio -p ..." to
    > transfer everything under some directory on the old system to a
    > directory on the new system?


    Yes, provided that one of the computers is running an NFS server and the
    other one has NFS client support built into the kernel - or at the very
    least as a loadable module.

    > The new computer was just purchased new from Dell. What's a "Cat5"
    > cable?


    A Category 5 ethernet cable. Comes as UTP or STP, but STP is more expensive
    and UTP is already quite good for Gigabit networking if you use a Cat 5E
    cable.

    > The only ethernet connections I've ever made are between my old
    > computer and the cable modem, and I don't know if that's "crossover" or
    > "straight-through".


    Typically that would be a "straight" cable. Crossover cables are used
    between computers without that the connection passes through a router,
    switch or hub.

    > I've also got a wireless hub that has a couple of ethernet ports on it
    > (that's how I'm actually currently connecting my old computer to the
    > cable modem). I suspect I could use that to maybe get a remote
    > filesystem mounted, but I've never done that and don't currently know
    > how to do it. I HAVE been able to ftp some files between my old sustem
    > and my wife's MAC that way, but that wouldn't be practical for the
    > transfer of a very large directory tree (because I think the "mput" of
    > ftp only takes a list a files)...I think I need to be able to mount a
    > remote filesystem on one of the machines.


    Look into NFS.

    >> Which kernel did Potato use? You need 2.4 for USB support, and
    >> depending on how new the USB drive is, you may need a
    >> recent revision.

    >
    > I don't remember what it is...how do I find out?


    uname -a

    .... will tell you all about the kernel you're running.

    --
    *Aragorn*
    (registered GNU/Linux user #223157)

  9. Re: USB on Debian Potato?


    OK, "uname -a" returns

    Linux C188603-B 2.2.19pre17 #1 Tue Mar 13 22:37:59 EST 2001 i686 unknown

  10. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    On Friday 25 July 2008 19:48, someone identifying as *Mike Fontenot* wrote
    in /comp.os.linux.hardware:/

    >
    > OK, "uname -a" returns
    >
    > Linux C188603-B 2.2.19pre17 #1 Tue Mar 13 22:37:59 EST 2001 i686 unknown


    So your kernel is a 2.2.19, with a prepatch for the -17 subrelease.
    Typically "pre" kernels are experimental releases.

    I haven't exactly been following the thread, but since you were advised that
    you need at least a 2.4 kernel, you're going to have to upgrade at least
    your kernel, but more ideally would be to have an entire distribution that
    was built for a 2.4 generation kernel, as many things may break while
    running on the newer kernel.

    The 2.4 generation was a major step up from the 2.2 generation, just as the
    2.6 generation is a major step up from 2.4. There might be inconsistencies
    and all whole new range of bugs if you were to use a 2.2-built distribution
    with a 2.4 kernel. They would not be major things, but little, annoying
    and impossible to fix bugs.

    --
    *Aragorn*
    (registered GNU/Linux user #223157)

  11. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Mike Fontenot wrote:
    > Jean-David Beyer wrote:
    >> Can you write your files onto the Travan IDE drive and then move the
    >> IDE drive to the new machine? I imagine you could if the new machine
    >> has a spare IDE slot. I had a worse Travan type drive that used a
    >> floppy controller; if yours is actually one of these, you could plug
    >> its controller into the floppy slot of the m.b.

    >
    > I don't know much about what's inside the case of my new computer...Dell
    > didn't provide much info. I've been assuming that IDE is old technology,
    > and that I wouldn't be able to move the tape drive to my new machine, but
    > maybe that IS possible.


    Probably possible. I bought my motherboard in very late 2003, and it has two
    IDE slots, each of which takes two devices. While some machines no longer
    come with floppy drives (and good riddance, I think), I think they all have
    one or two IDE slots. They usually have a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive plugged
    into one of them, and the rest are often free.
    >
    > The tape drive isn't the earlier one that was driven like a floppy...and
    > besides, I ordered the new computer with a floppy, so there might not be
    > another floppy slot available anyway.


    If you needed a floppy slot to read your backup tapes, you could unplug the
    floppy drive, and plug in the floppy controller just to recover the data.

    But that does not seem to be the issue in this case. I am almost certain you
    have an available IDE channel even if you had a CD-ROM reader-writer in one
    and a DVD reader-writer in another (some people do this). Most machines have
    a hard drive in one of those and a spare.
    >
    > Mike Fontenot



    --
    .~. Jean-David Beyer Registered Linux User 85642.
    /V\ PGP-Key: 9A2FC99A Registered Machine 241939.
    /( )\ Shrewsbury, New Jersey http://counter.li.org
    ^^-^^ 14:20:01 up 4 days, 19:08, 4 users, load average: 4.24, 4.15, 4.18

  12. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Aragorn wrote:
    >
    > On Friday 25 July 2008 19:25, someone identifying as *Mike Fontenot* wrote
    > in /comp.os.linux.hardware:/
    >
    > > Is a NIC an ethernet port?

    >
    > NIC = Network Interface Connector.
    >
    > > If so, both computers have one. Assuming that's what you mean,
    > > how do I get the two computers to talk to each other?
    > > Can I mount an
    > > old-system filesytem on the new system, and then
    > > do a "cpio -p ..." to
    > > transfer everything under some directory on the old system to a
    > > directory on the new system?

    >
    > Yes, provided that one of the computers is running
    > an NFS server and the
    > other one has NFS client support built into the
    > kernel - or at the very
    > least as a loadable module.


    But without the NFS stuff, I can presumably do an ftp between the old
    and new machine, right? So, if I can find enough space on my (old) disk
    somewhere, I could use cpio to create a big cpio file of all (or maybe
    just a portion) of the directory tree I want to transfer, and then just
    ftp that big file. I might not have enough space to do all of that at
    once, but could probably do it in several smaller chunks.
    That sounds like the only solution I've heard that might not require
    installing any addtional software, or even opening up either case.

    Mike Fontenot

  13. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Mike Fontenot staggered into the Black Sun and said:
    > Aragorn wrote:
    >> Mike Fontenot wrote in /comp.os.linux.hardware:
    >> > Is a NIC an ethernet port?

    >> NIC = Network Interface Connector.
    >> > If so, both computers have one. Assuming that's what you mean, how
    >> > do I get the two computers to talk to each other?

    >> Yes, provided that one of the computers is running an NFS server


    There are ... problems with NFS. It's comparatively easy to cause a
    kernel hang/OOPS with NFS, for one thing. If these machines are not
    going to be connected all the time, it's probably not worth setting NFS
    up.

    > But without the NFS stuff, I can presumably do an ftp between the old
    > and new machine, right? That sounds like the only solution I've heard
    > that might not require installing any addtional software,


    One of the machines has to be running an FTP server. Since it's not
    that common to need one of those, you may not have one installed. It's
    probable that you have sshd running on at least one machine, though.
    With sshd, you can use scp, or rsync, or sftp, or any of a few GUI
    frontends to those things. (Try typing sftp://user@host/ into a
    Konqueror window, substituting a valid hostname and a valid username.)

    --
    Jesus is the best radio producer in the beans. We need some saliva
    and pickles to get mad. --MegaHAL, "The Best of MegaHAL"
    My blog: http://crow202.org/wordpress/
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see

  14. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    On Thu, 24 Jul 2008 17:55:18 -0600, Mike Fontenot wrote:

    > Any advice much appreciated.
    >
    > Mike Fontenot


    Hi, Mike. While I generally agree with others advice here, I have a few
    things that might help.

    Debian GNU/Linux Potato is AKA Debian 2.2.

    Information on it can be found at

    http://www.debian.org/releases/potato/

    This includes two install guides, that may address some issues such as
    USB and NFS:

    Installing Debian Potato

    http://www.debian.org/releases/potato/installguide/

    Debian GNU/Linux 2.2 -- Installation Manual

    http://www.debian.org/releases/potato/installmanual

    The packages for Potato can be browsed and downloaded at:

    http://archive.debian.org/dists/potato/

    The reason I bring up package availability is because the 2.4 Linux
    kernel once worked under Potato, but was not "officially" supported,
    according to my research:

    Running Linux 2.4.x with Debian GNU/Linux 2.2

    http://www.debian.org/News/2001/20010415

    I hope this information gives you some ideas so that you can narrow down
    the options for your project to the sanest path.

    (Personally, I think that using scp over Ethernet is what I would choose
    given the nature of the project.)

  15. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Jean-David Beyer wrote:
    > Mike Fontenot wrote:
    >> I've got a 12-year-old Gateway PC that is running Debian potato. The PC
    >> has two usb ports on the backside, but I've never before tried to use
    >> them.
    >>
    >> I need to replace that computer, and I've just bought a Dell Inspiron 530
    >> that I'm going to put Debian on. I need to be able to transfer my files
    >> from the old PC to the new PC. On the old PC, I do my backups via a
    >> Travan IDE tape drive. I wasn't able to get a compatible tape drive on
    >> the new PC, so I'm planning to use a flash drive for backups on the new
    >> PC (and later, a big external disk).
    >>

    > Can you write your files onto the Travan IDE drive and then
    > move the IDE drive to the new machine? I imagine you could if the new
    > machine has a spare IDE slot. I had a worse Travan type drive that used a
    > floppy controller; if yours is actually one of these, you could plug its
    > controller into the floppy slot of the m.b.


    If you only need to transfer your current files from the old PC to the
    new one (read: you don't need to access your tape archive from the new
    PC) I would prefer a transfer of the files over a network connection
    as mentioned earlier in this thread.
    If a transfer over the network isn't possible I would start (temporary)
    moving hardware from the old to the new PC too. But I would move the HD
    instead of the tape drive, and eliminate the intermediate use of tapes
    to transfer the files.

    Regards,

    Kees.

    --
    Kees Theunissen.

  16. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Dances With Crows wrote:
    > One of the machines has to be running an FTP server. Since it's not
    > that common to need one of those, you may not have one installed. It's
    > probable that you have sshd running on at least one machine, though.
    > With sshd, you can use scp, or rsync, or sftp, or any of a few GUI
    > frontends to those things. (Try typing sftp://user@host/ into a
    > Konqueror window, substituting a valid hostname and a valid username.)


    If the OP wants to backup hard links, devices files and other tricky things
    like that I'd be tempted to do something like this from the old machine:

    tar cf - / | ssh userid@newmachine "cd /backup; tar xf -"

    In other words, on the old machine start tarring up the filesystem starting
    at / Then open an SSH session to the new machine, and pipe the tarfile thus
    created over to it. Change to directory /backup and untar the stream
    received from the pipe over SSH.

    This just needs an SSH client and tar on the old machine, and needs no disc
    space there.

    You should be able to do something similar with cpio - just use '-' as input
    or output filenames.

    If there are lots of files you can tweak it by making tar send compressed
    files, having SSH do the compression ( -C ), or choosing a faster cipher
    ( -c blowfish ). It depends on the relative speed of CPUs against network.

    Theo

  17. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Theo Markettos wrote:

    > [...]
    > This just needs an SSH client and tar on the old machine, [...]


    Thanks for the info, Theo. I've got tar (and have used
    it a LOT) on my old
    pc, but I don't think I've got SSH...at least,
    "man ssh" and "man SSH"
    don't find anything. Someone recommended "scp",
    and "man" didn't find
    anything for that on my machine, either.

    Mike Fontenot

  18. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Mike Fontenot wrote:
    > Thanks for the info, Theo. I've got tar (and have used it a LOT) on my
    > old pc, but I don't think I've got SSH...at least, "man ssh" and "man SSH"
    > don't find anything. Someone recommended "scp", and "man" didn't find
    > anything for that on my machine, either.


    You'd probably want to install the ssh package (which includes scp and sftp
    too). As potato is old you might need to change a few lines in your
    /etc/apt/sources.list - see here:
    http://www.debian.org/releases/potato/

    Then plug the potato machine into a network that has internet access and do:
    apt-get update
    apt-get install ssh

    That should get you an ssh client without disturbing other things too much.
    I wouldn't leave it connected to the net for more than necessary as I have
    no idea what state the security of potato is like these days - last updates
    were released 5 years ago.

    Theo

  19. Re: USB on Debian Potato?

    Theo Markettos wrote:
    >
    > You'd probably want to install the ssh package
    > (which includes scp and sftp
    > too). As potato is old you might need to change
    > a few lines in your
    > /etc/apt/sources.list - see here:
    > http://www.debian.org/releases/potato/
    >
    > Then plug the potato machine into a network that has internet access and do:
    > apt-get update
    > apt-get install ssh
    >
    > That should get you an ssh client without
    > disturbing other things too much.


    Many thanks, Theo.

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