May
07
2009

How to make USB and DVD ROM drives work on Fedora 10

Lately, I’ve been working on Asterisk PBX related articles, but today we’re going to tackle a common problem with Fedora 10: getting drives to mount to the Desktop.  If you are experiencing trouble, the likely cause is that your current user, does not have permissions to access that hardware.  The reason for this has a lot to do with the security model of Linux.

In the old days computers came on large mainframes.  It was not practical for engineers and scientist to have their very own main frame, so Unix was designed to be a multi-user operating system.  Everyone connected their own keyboard & monitor.  The permission structure was set so only certain individual accounts could do certain things.  Like say, reboot a system or delete a database.

By contrast Microsoft Windows(thru XP) is a single user operating system.  In Windows you can create extra accounts, but any of those accounts can execute arbitrary code from anywhere in the file system (c:\\ drive).  Which is a big reason for the many attacks on Windows systems.

Recently my friend got a virus that made XP unbootable and stole his World of Warcraft account login and password.  The hacker then used that information to login to his account, change his password, and his accounts valid email address.  The hacker then sold all his gear and used his character to scam other people in bad trades.  The account became banned for “economic extortion” before my friend could get his Windows XP machine back up and running.  Now he runs WoW on WINE/Fedora 10.

An appeal to Blizzard got his account back after several days and many emails. My friend requested that they check the IP address of the hacker and compare that to his previous logins.  What if the virus had collected his bank account credentials instead?  In a way he got lucky.

Goals of this Post:

– correct authorizations in Fedora 10 and allow access to USB and DVD – ROM devices

It seems odd that someone would be unable to access a USB thumb drive on any modern desktop computer, but Red Hat the maker of Fedora Linux is far more interested in their commercial offering, Red Hat Enterprise Linux(RHEL).  They model RHEL development on previous versions of Fedora.  So desktop integration is obviously not their top priority; stability and security is.  This neglect has allowed rival Unbuntu Linux to come in and snatch up the Linux desktop market.  Big mistake Red Hat…  however with a little work we can make Fedora 10 desktop work well without them.

So to correct the permissions issue(from Gnome) start by clicking, System –> Preferences –> System –> Authorizations.  Fedora may ask you for your ‘root’ password.

fedora10-authorizations-usb

fedora10-authorizations-usb

Set access to allow anyone to mount and unmount USB and other devices!  I hope this helps.  It’s frustrating dealing with these little things, but hey, “it’s free”!  If it doesn’t take, leave a comment below and I’ll try to help.





No Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment