The Linux installation was also easy. The ORB device acts like an OnSpec device, which is supported by Linux. Here is a quick installation guide, followed by the steps.
/sbin/modprobe paride /sbin/modprobe on26 /sbin/modprobe pd mknod /dev/pda5 b 45 5 mount -tmsdos /dev/pda5 /mnt/orb
The first step is to load the necessary modules. Three modules are required, and unless you link them in your kernel, you need to load them when you boot up. The first module is paride, the parallel driver which handles IDE devices. The second is the OnSpec26 driver, which should find the drive. The pd module should load the disk.
Once the drive and disk are found, you need to mount the disk. By default, the media is formatted as an extended FAT16 partition. The first four partitions in a Linux file system are “primary”; number five and up are called “extended”. This means you need to create a device named pda5. The mknod command will do just that. The mount command will mount the partition in /mnt/orb, assuming you have created that directory.
If you have problems mounting the drive, you may want to look in your syslog files. These should contain report messages from the module's loading and tell you what is wrong.
The first time I used it, I noticed how silent it was. You can't even hear it write to the disk. When you first insert a disk, you hear the same sound as when you boot a system, and the BIOS loads the hard drive. When the disk is loaded, you can mount it and read/write directly to the disk.
I noticed two problems when working with the ORB. First, when the system has large files to write to a removable ORB media, it becomes very occupied and unresponsive during the time it is writing to the disk. I am assuming this is because it has to write via the parallel port, and the system needs to send the data at a fixed speed and compression.
The other thing I noticed is the speed, which while better than every other removable media I have tried in the past, is still not as good as an internal IDE drive. The 2MB/sec advertised is the burst speed. I found the write speed to be around 100 to 200KB/sec, transmitting around 10MB in a minute.
With its low cost, ease of use and included software, the ORB is a good product to buy. Now I use it to do all of my local backups and store important archive files which I may need in the future, such as Netscape Communicator and Word Perfect 8.
I think the Castlewood ORB is the best removable media yet, and it is great that it works in most popular operating systems including Windows, OS/2, DOS and Linux. I would like to see Castlewood provide formal support for Linux and their web site advertise the fact that ORB works on Linux.
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