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1. General

1.1 Why aren't you responding to my e-mail?

Like most people, I have to work to make a living. Taper is done totally voluntarily and thus earns me no $$$s. If I haven't responded within a week, repost your message. If I still have not respond it means that I can't get hold of you, or I'm too busy. Rest assured that I do answer all e-mails eventually.

1.2 Why is taper already up to version 6 when a lot of programs that have been around a lot longer are only up to versions 2,3 etc..

The version scheme for taper is version x.y.z


major version number. Generally, new version archives will not be compatible with older versions. Thus, archives created under version 2 will not be usable under version 4, and version 4 archives are not compatible with version 5. There was no public release of version 1 or 3. Version 1 was a private development and version 3 was only released to a few alpha testers and then ditched because of problems


minor version number. When new features are added, this number is increased. For example, the addition of new options would necessitate a minor version number increase


bug fix. If the new version contains minor changes or bug fixes only, then only the bug fix number is increased. If a new feature is added, then the minor version number is increased.

Taper was originally developed for my own use with no thought to public release. It was only after I saw many messages on USENET etc.. that I realized other people may benefit from taper and that's when I went public. Therefore, there has been no structured taper development plan. New features are being added as users request them, and as I try to respond as quickly as possible, taper versions have been appearing quite regularly (in some cases, days apart). Even now, I am not formulating a plan, but adding features in (rough) order of frequency that they are being requested, and how easily it can be implemented.

1.3 Does taper support parallel port drives (eg. IOMEGA, SYQUEST, Backpack)?

Some parallel port drives are supported and full details on how to compile & install it can be found at

Thanks to Jeff Blaine for this information

Note that the drive cannot do a fast fsf nor can it do a seek. Make sure the appropriate preferences are set correctly.

1.4 Does taper support the xxxxx drive?

Taper is user level program and not a low level I/O device driver. That means, it expects there to be a program that communicates between Linux and the tape drive. Examples are ftape and zftape for tape drives that connect to the floppy drive. SCSI tapes and IDE tapes are other examples of tape drives. With SCSI tape drives, chances are that support is available in the kernel. Similarly, IDE support is built into the kernel.

For other tape drives, you will have to find out if there is a device driver available. Try the newsgroups for information. Alternatively, now that Linux is mainstream, your tape drive manufacturer may have released a driver or know of the whereabouts.

1.5 Does taper support tape drives greater than 2 gigabytes?

Taper will support tape drives up to 4GB in size. This is because Linux is a 32 bit system and the size of an integer is 32 bits - ie. 4GB. It is planned to increase this to 64 bits, however, doing so will render the new archives incompatible with the old 32 bit archives. Before making archive incompatibilities, I want to have a lot of changes I can make at once, to minimize the number of archive changes. As time is limited at the moment, it may be a while before this stage is reached.

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