I have an old Colorado 250MB tape drive, which connects to the PC's floppy controller, that I'd like to use to read a QIC-80 cartridge.

I know that very old versions of the Linux kernel used to have the ftape driver built into them (which would theoretically let me read the raw data from the tape), but I've never actually used it, and I'm not sure how to get it to work properly.

I've connected the tape drive to the PC, booted into Linux, and executed the following:

$ sudo modprobe ftape

That seemed to load the ftape driver successfully, but I still don't see any new devices under /dev that are related to the tape drive, e.g. /dev/qft0.

I then tried the following:

$ sudo /dev/MAKEDEV ftape

...but that still didn't create any new devices under /dev. I assume I must be missing something very simple. Does anyone have any previous experience getting ftape set up?

  • you should actually modprobe zftape (note the "z"). That should load ftape as well.
    – tofro
    Sep 25 '19 at 9:35
  • Shouldn't that be an answer then? Sep 25 '19 at 14:53
  • @tofro Please post this as an answer. There's no requirement for answers to be longer than this, if that's all it takes to answer the question, and if it does answer the question the OP should be able to accept it.
    – wizzwizz4
    Sep 26 '19 at 21:06
  • @wizzwizz4 I'm pretty sure it isn't the full answer and would like to see some confirmation from Dmtry. modprobing the wrong module doesn't explain why MAKEDEV doesn't work properly.
    – tofro
    Sep 26 '19 at 22:05
  • 1
    And... that did the trick! Running modprobe zftape caused the devices to appear, and I was able to read the tape! Sep 29 '19 at 2:06

(Credit goes to @tofro for the answer) The actual command to activate ftape is:

$ sudo modprobe zftape

This loads both zftape and ftape, and creates all the necessary devices under /dev, so there's no need to run MAKEDEV.


To verify that the module has loaded, use cat /proc/devices and verify that there is an entry for device 27.

Once that has worked, use sudo /dev/MAKEDEV qft to create the device special files if they are not present.

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