FDWRITE(1) BSD General Commands Manual FDWRITE(1)NAMEfdwrite — format and write floppy disks
SYNOPSISfdwrite [-v] [-y] [-f inputfile] [-d device]
The fdwrite utility formats and writes one and more floppy disks. Any
floppy disk device capable of formatting can be used.
The fdwrite utility will ask the user (on /dev/tty) to insert a new
floppy and press return. The device will then be opened, and queried for
its parameters, then each track will be formatted, written with data from
the inputfile, read back and compared. When the floppy disk is filled,
the process is repeated, with the next disk. This continues until the
program is interrupted or EOF is encountered on the inputfile.
The options are as follows:
-v Toggle verbosity on stdout. Default is ``on''. After
device is opened first time the format will be printed.
During operation progress will be reported with the
number of tracks remaining on the current floppy disk,
and the letters I, Z, F, W, R and C, which indicates
completion of Input, Zero-fill, Format Write, Read and
Compare of current track respectively.
-y Do not ask for presence of a floppy disk in the drive.
This non-interactive flag is useful for shell scripts.
Input file to read. If none is given, stdin is
-d device The name of the floppy device to write to. Default is
The fdwrite utility actually closes the device while it waits for the
user to press return, it is thus quite possible to use the drive for
other purposes at this time and later resume writing with the next
The parameters returned from device are used for formatting. If custom
formatting is needed, please use fdformat(1) instead.
The fdwrite utility was planned as a tool to make life easier when writ‐
ing a set of floppies, one such use could be to write a tar-archive:
tar cf - . | gzip -9 | fdwrite-d /dev/fd0.1720 -v
The main difference from using tar(1)'s multivolume facility is of course
the formatting of the floppies, which here is done on the fly, thus
reducing the amount of work for the floppy-jockey.
The fdwrite utility was written while waiting for ``make world'' to com‐
plete. Some of the code was taken from fdformat(1).
The program has been contributed by Poul-Henning Kamp ⟨phk@FreeBSD.org⟩.
Diagnostics are less than complete at present.
If a floppy is sick, and the inputfile is seekable, it should ask the
user to frisbee the disk, insert another, and rewind to the right spot
This concept could be extended to cover non-seekable input also by
employing a temporary file.
An option (defaulting to zero) should allow the user to ask for retries
in case of failure.
At present a suitable tool for reading back a multivolume set of floppies
is missing. Programs like tar(1) for instance, will do the job, if the
data has not been compressed. One can always trust dd(1) to help out in
this situation of course.
BSD September 16, 1993 BSD