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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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HOWTO: Feel Very Ignorant In One Easy Step
confused, buh?
Step 1. Try to mount a USB thumb drive on a public Linux system, using whatever documentation you can dredge off of Google..

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Could be tricky, depending on security.

You need a mount point (usually an empty directory) and you need to have ownership control of that mount point or at least read/write access.

You need to know the device file that Linux will assign to the USB gadget. This will usually be some kind of scsi virtual drive indicator, but is going to vary depending on what else is already present in the system. If you can view the console message log, you can probably find out because some message will appear when the USB device is plugged in saying that USB device such and such has been found at port something or other.

Once you know these, usually a simple mount command will do the trick. You know, I'm sure. 'mount /dev/sba /mnt/usbdrive' or whatever.

You may well need help from a system admin for determining what the device file is called though. This is a frequent enough requirement these days that it should be already worked out and posted or published somewhere, assuming the operation is permitted at all.

Mount is locked to superuser, so that's not quite going to work...

I asked an administrator of the CEC for suggestions (forwarded from the front desk receptionist). He forwarded me to the actual sysadmin. He informed me that he didn't have a clue, but he was working on it...

Usually you can use mount if you own the mount point.

Lacking that, the only way to make it work is for them to add the mount point and device to the /etc/fstab and give it the 'user' option. This requires a single mountpoint to be shared and always used by all users, but that isn't a problem in most cases.

I use this technique on my own systems at home and at work. The mount point is /mnt/qdrv. (For 'Quickidrive', the brand name of the USB device I use. It could be called anything.)

The /etc/fstab entry looks like this:

/dev/sda1 /mnt/qdrv vfat noauto,users,umask=000 1 0

And the mount command, which can be issued by anyone, is just 'mount /mnt/qdrv'. To unmount, 'umount /mnt/qdrv'.

That's what I read online- but it all requires root access to configure in the first place.

I did get a chance to talk to the administration about this. I asked at the student-run Help Desk. They forwarded me to the front desk of the Engineering School (a floor and half a building away- note that the Engineering Complex is five buildings that sort of oozed together, connected by bridge and tunnel to four other buildings, and indirectly through those and their links to five more), where the receptionist might be able to tell me where to go. That forwarded to one of the administrators (bureaucrat-type) of the CEC; he, in turn, forwarded me to the sysadmin.

The sysadmin- who, amusingly, has the same first name I do- has no clue. He informed me he'd been wanting to work on that for some time- but he kept being informed it was too low a priority, and he didn't even have one of those little drives so he could do it himself. But now that a student officially asked about it, that magically kicks the priority up several notches, so it should be set up within a few weeks...

Well, if you can pass my message on to him, it may short-circuit the wait. It's simple to set up if you have root access to create the needed mount point and fstab entry.

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