Best of Technical Support

Questions and Answers
Where's My FireWire CD-ROM?

I recently bought a Sony R505 laptop and when I tried to install SuSE Linux, I discovered that after the boot, Linux could not see the CD-ROM. It turned out that the docking station where the CD-ROM lives is accessed from the computer via FireWire somehow.

—Steven Smith,

Your confusion may be due to differing procedures for the various distributions available. For SuSE, there is a basic HOWTO guide in their knowledge base, which you can access by visiting This should get you headed in the right direction.

—Chad Robinson,

I Have No Qt and I Must Run KDE 3.0

Are there RPM packages for the latest versions of Qt and KDE?


To locate RPMs, I find to be a helpful portal. In this case, there is a page specifically for Qt and KDE: On that page I note that Qt 3.x is still listed as a development package, but it is available.

—Chad Robinson,

Raiders of the Lost DDS-3 Tape

I'm trying to read a DDS-3 tape made on an HP9000 machine running HP-UX 11. I'm trying to read it using my Linux server that runs Red Hat 7.2 ( kernel). The Linux server tape drive is a Sony SCSI device, /dev/st0. The tape contains Oracle export files of a large Oracle database. The HP machine is no longer available, and I'm trying to rebuild the DB on Linux. When I try to read the tape with either tar -tvf /dev/st0 or tar -xvf /dev/st0 I always get:

Input/Output error at the beginning of the tape, error is not
recoverable, exiting now


—Adrian Manship,

Check two things related to the tape drive. First, DDS drives support the concept of hardware compression, which may have been used by HP-UX and may not be enabled by Linux. If there is a mismatch in this setting, that can cause problems reading the tape.

Second, although tar itself is a relatively standard format, is it possible that the tape was not created using tar? Depending on the version of Oracle used to create the tape, it may have internal support for reading/writing tape devices as backup media. Check a small sample of the file to be sure it is actually in tar format by running dd if=/dev/st0 of=/tmp/tape bs=512 count=16, replacing the bs value with a block size that works well for your drive and the count value with a count that yields a sufficient number of those blocks to take a quick look. This example will read 8K from the tape.

Perhaps the tape itself is bad. If it succeeds, you should be able to use a hex editor or text editor that can handle high-ASCII characters without choking to verify the format of the contents of the tape. In case you aren't familiar with the general format, each file entry should start with its filename, followed by a header that contains miscellaneous file information such as size and permissions, followed by the file itself.

—Chad Robinson,

The easiest thing to do, would be to buy/borrow/steal a similar machine to do the restore.

—Christopher Wingert,

I used to work with HP-UX DDS tapes, and most of the time they were used with the cpio utility. Keep in mind that cpio is a complicated utility with many options, so check the manual pages (man cpio) and play around with some of the options. Be careful not to write your tape accidently; I suggest that you physically enable the write-protect feature on the cartridge. Look at for a simple cpio tutorial.

—Felipe E. Barousse Boué,

No Screensaver for root

When I sign on using root, the screensaver does not work. When I sign on with another ID, it does. How can I make it work when signed on as root?

—James Logan,

xscreensaver will not work as root on purpose. It's a security feature; you're not supposed to run X as root (log in as a user and use su - where needed). This is explained in the FAQ, along with a solution to how to run X programs as root if you need to (

—Marc Merlin,



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Thanks. I found the help I needed.