Today a simple trick.

It is sometimes needed for us, amigans, to access the internal hard drive (or compact flash) that fits normaly inside our beloved Amiga 1200.

Many articles around the internet speak about accessing it from Win-UAE under Windows, but I did not find many of them speaking about accessing it under Ubuntu.

Fortunately for us, linux include FFS support natively in the kernel. Anyway, it is not automatic, and we have some steps to follow to mount it.

I assume you know how to disconnect the drive from inside your A1200, and how to connect it to your ubuntu box. I will only speak about terminal commands there.

Know the physical device the HD mounts on :

First, run this command WITHOUT the drive connected : ls -la /dev/sd*
you should get something like this.

jess@hades:~$ ls -la /dev/sd*
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   0 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   1 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   2 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   3 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda3
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  16 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  17 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  18 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  21 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb5
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  22 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb6
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  32 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdc
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  33 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdc1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  34 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdc2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  48 May  2 15:56 /dev/sdd
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  64 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sde
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  80 Apr 16 14:21 /dev/sdf
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  96 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdg
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 112 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdh
now, connect the amiga hd/cf to your computer and let’s launch the same command.

jess@hades:~$ ls -la /dev/sd*
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   0 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   1 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   2 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,   3 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sda3
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  16 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  17 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  18 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  21 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb5
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  22 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdb6
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  32 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdc
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  33 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdc1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  34 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdc2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  48 May  2 15:57 /dev/sdd
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  49 May  2 15:57 /dev/sdd1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  50 May  2 15:57 /dev/sdd2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  51 May  2 15:57 /dev/sdd3
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  64 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sde
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  80 Apr 16 14:21 /dev/sdf
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8,  96 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdg
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 112 Apr 11 14:16 /dev/sdh

Normally, your ubuntu see some more devices. I’ve bolded them. This is where your volumes are recognized.

Getting more informations on the volume :

jess@hades:~$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sdd
[sudo] password for jess:

Disk /dev/sdd: 7994 MB, 7994327040 bytes
246 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1023 cylinders, total 15613920 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000


Disk /dev/sdd doesn't contain a valid partition table
This does not give us many informations, but at least we can see it is certainly FFS (512 bytes sector size), and that is seems healthy, as it is simply recognized by the system.

Mount the amiga hard drive :

We now know how to see which devices the amiga hd is, so now it is time for mounting it. Automount does not work (at least there with my Ubuntu 12.04LTS server light install). The filesystem FFS, for ubuntu, is known as “AFFS”. Here I’ll just mount the volume inside the common /mnt directory. The command should then be, for sdd1 partition (most commonly the SYS: partition of your amiga) :

sudo mount -t affs /dev/sdd1 /mnt


So let’s mount :

jess@hades:~$ sudo mount -t affs /dev/sdd1 /mnt
mount: warning: /mnt seems to be mounted read-only.
get into it and list the files:

jess@hades:~$ cd /mnt
jess@hades:/mnt$ ls
C               Games         Programs                T.info
C.info          Games.info    Programs.info           Tools
Classes         Icons         Rexxc                   Tools.info
Classes.info    Icons.info    Rexxc.info              Trashcan
Demos           L             S                       Trashcan.info
Demos.info      Libs          S.info                  Utilities
Devs            Libs.info     StartupSequenceBCK.abs  Utilities.info
Devs.info       L.info        Storage                 WBGames
Disk.info       Locale        Storage.info            WBGames.info
ENV             Locale.info   System                  WBStartup
Expansion       MyFiles       System.info             WBStartup.info
Expansion.info  MyFiles.info  T                       WBStartupM
Fonts           Prefs         Temp
Fonts.info      Prefs.info    Temp.info

Isn’t it pretty great ?

Remount it in R/W :


jess@hades:/$cd /
jess@hades:/$ sudo mount -o remount,rw /dev/sdd1 /mnt

Maybe there could be a better way to do this, but when I try the “-o rw” in the mount command, it still mount it as read only.

Geting back to your Amiga :

When I got back to my amiga, linking back my CF to my system and booting up, it didn’t see my files, but the filesystem was 700Mb in use, about the size I’ve copied to it…

Using disksalv with “salvage” mode. I got the files, but it took hours.

Did I umount badly the volume under linux ?

I’ll search the solution later…

Usefull ressources :

– technical information on the FFS implementation in linux :  http://home.elka.pw.edu.pl/~mszyprow/programy/asfs/asfs.txt

– just a page with a “yes, you can do it” : http://www.tldp.org/FAQ/Linux-FAQ/partitions.html#can-linux-access-amiga-file-systems

– the wikipedia speaking about SFS file system : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_File_System

– some informations on “how you mount an unknown filesystem” in ubuntu : http://askubuntu.com/questions/95391/how-do-i-mount-an-sd-card

– a very nice article which does different things, with a kernel that does not support FFS : http://gareth.halfacree.co.uk/2013/03/mounting-amiga-ffs-hard-drives-under-linux