The floppy formatting utility

This utility program low-level formats floppy disks. This utility is capable of formatting floppies in LS-120 "Superdisk" ATAPI IDE drives, in addition to the standard floppy controller drives. ATAPI IDE floppy format required Linux kernel 2.4.10, or higher. For earlier kernel versions:

The patch file linux-2.4.0.patch.txt is for kernel 2.4.0.

The patch file linux-2.4.0-0.96.patch.txt is for the 0.96 version of ide-floppy.c

The patch file linux-2.4.7.patch.txt is for kernel 2.4.7.

The patch file linux-2.4.7-ac3.patch.txt is for kernel 2.4.7-ac3.

The patch file linux-2.2.16.patch.txt is for kernel 2.2.16 (and 2.2.17, probably).

Please don't ask me how to apply kernel patches. If you know how to build and compile the Linux kernel, you know how to apply kernel patches.

The floppy utility can still be used without applying these patches. You'll just get a jazzed-up version of fdformat.

WARNING: Do not attempt to format 120 mb super-floppies. There's nothing in the floppy utility that blocks any attempt to issue a request to format a disk, if the floppy drive claims it can do so. Some LS-120 drives claim to be able to format 120 mb super-floppies, even though these disk are factory-formatted, AND CANNOT be user-formatted. An attempt to do so will permanently destroy the superfloppy disk.


To compile this floppy utility you need to install the libpopt library. It is a small library used to parse command line arguments. It is included in most Linux distributions by default. If you don't have it, grab it from and install it.

You will also need to have the GTK toolkit installed in order to compile the GTK front end to the floppy utility. Without the GTK toolkit only the command-line utility will be compiled and installed.

Compiling the floppy utility is straightforward:

make install (if you care, you can simply run it from the current directory

On older Linux distributions, the --with-olddev option to the configure script may be required. This uses older floppy device driver node naming convention. Specify this option if /dev/fd0H1440 exists on your machine.

That's it. By default, floppy will install in /usr/local/bin, and use /usr/local/etc/floppy as its configuration file. The configure script accepts the usual options:


--prefix=/usr --sysconfdir=/etc

This configuration installs /usr/bin/floppy, and uses /etc/floppy as its configuration file.

The floppy utility can also be built by RPM:

rpmbuild -ta floppy-version.tar.(gz|bz2)

Please see the installed manual page for instructions on using the floppy utility.

Red Hat and Fedora distributions

Red Hat/Fedora includes the console floppy binary in "util-linux-ng", but does not include floppygtk, the GTK wrapper. Including floppygtk makes util-linux depend on X, which will not work very well.

The easiest way to get floppygtk working with Fedora or commercial Red Hat distributions is to use this mouthfull:

rpmbuild -ta --define '_prefix /usr/local' \
             --define '_mandir /usr/local/share/man' \

floppy and floppygtk will now install into /usr/local, and the Gnome link will start the /usr/local version. The only problem is that running 'floppy' from gnome-terminal will run the gtk-wrapperless /usr/bin version. So you can't start the GTK wrapper from a gnome-terminal window, but the Gnome menu link will work.