Ask SIPB - April 25, 2003
Want to read various computer media, like CDs and DVDs on Athena, but
weren't sure how? In this week's column, we cover reading media on
What kind of media can I use on Athena?
You can use floppy disks and CD-ROMs on all Athena machines. The
Black Dell and IBM workstations have CD-RW drives. The Sun Blade 150
and a few of the Sun Blade 100 machines have DVD-ROM drives. Some Sun
and Linux workstations, located in the W20-575, 4-035, 12-182, 37-318,
and 56-129 clusters, have Zip 250 drives capable of reading both Zip
100 and Zip 250 disks. Some other clusters may also have Zip drives.
How do I use floppy disks on Athena?
For DOS (or Windows) floppies, do "add mtools". The most common
commands are "mdir a:" to see the files on a floppy, "mcopy
a:file_name" to copy file_name from the floppy to your Athena account,
and "mcopy file_name a:" to copy a file to a floppy. You may also
find the graphical user interface "mtoolsfm" useful. For more
information, see the OLC Stock answer at http://web.mit.edu/answers/workstations/ws_dos.html.
Be aware that many of the Dell Athena machines have faulty floppy
drives. If you discover such a machine, send mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org with the
Alternatively, on Sun machines, you can run
volcheck and then use
/floppy. You can then access the disk drive as you would normally through Athena.
Also the building 37 Windows Athena cluster has machines running
Windows with which you can easily access PC floppy disks.
For Macintosh-formatted floppies, do "add hfstools", then "xhfs" will
start a graphical user interface to access your floppy.
How and where can I read from CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs on Athena?
The process for reading CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs on Athena is the same.
The exact method, however, depends on the machine platform you are
using. On Solaris, run
volcheck and then access the
/cdrom/whatever. On Linux, run
/mnt/cdrom instead, and access the drive through
How do I play audio CDs on Athena?
You can use the
xmcd program in the
locker. To start the program, type
athena% add sipb; xmcd
&. Several other programs, (insert programs here), are also
available for use on Athena. You can find them listed on the GNOME
How can I watch a DVD movie on Athena?
On an Athena machine with a DVD-ROM drive, you can watch a DVD movie
by using the
ogle program in the
locker. To do so, type:
Other options for playing DVD-ROMs include
athena% add outland; ogle
xine is also available in the
If you have a personal Athena machine, you can also download and
How and where do I write to CD-Rs or CD-RWs on Athena?
The software necessary for writing to CDs is available in the
cdrecord locker. The readme file located in
/mit/cdrecord/README provides detailed instructions.
Additional information, including writing to audio CDs, can also be
How can I write to DVDs? What DVD formats are supported?
While no public cluster machines can write to DVDs, there are a few
resources available at MIT.
The New Media Center, located in 26-139, has several machines with
DVD-RAM drives. To learn the combo to this Macintosh cluster, type
athena% tellme nmccombo. Once thre, you can use Roxio
Toast or iDVD to write to your DVD-RAM media.
SIPB, located in W20-557, also has a DVD writer capable of writing
DVD-R and DVD-RW discs. To use it, simply come into the SIPB office
and ask us. The actual burning is the same as that for a CD-R, except
that you want to use
How do I watch Quicktime or other movies on Athena?
You can use the
xine program in the outland. To start
athena% add outland; xine.
To ask us a question, send email to email@example.com. We'll try to answer you
quickly, and we can address your question in our next column. You
can also stop by our office in W20-557 or call us at x3-7788 if you
need help. Copies of each column and pointers to additional
information are posted on our website: http://www.mit.edu/~asksipb/