mt - control magnetic tape drive operation
mt [-V] [-f device] [--file=device] [--rsh-command=command] [--version] operation [count]
This manual page documents the GNU version of mt. mt performs the given operation, which
must be one of the tape operations listed below, on a tape drive.
The default tape device to operate on is taken from the file /usr/include/sys/mtio.h when
mt is compiled. It can be overridden by giving a device file name in the environment
variable TAPE or by a command line option (see below), which also overrides the environ-
The device must be either a character special file or a remote tape drive. To use a tape
drive on another machine as the archive, use a filename that starts with `HOSTNAME:'. The
hostname can be preceded by a username and an `@' to access the remote tape drive as that
user, if you have permission to do so (typically an entry in that user's `~/.rhosts'
The available operations are listed below. Unique abbreviations are accepted. Not all
operations are available on all systems, or work on all types of tape drives. Some opera-
tions optionally take a repeat count, which can be given after the operation name and
defaults to 1.
Write count EOF marks at current position.
fsf Forward space count files. The tape is positioned on the first block of the next
bsf Backward space count files. The tape is positioned on the first block of the next
fsr Forward space count records.
bsr Backward space count records.
bsfm Backward space count file marks. The tape is positioned on the beginning-of-the-
tape side of the file mark.
fsfm Forward space count file marks. The tape is positioned on the beginning-of-the-
tape side of the file mark.
asf Absolute space to file number count. Equivalent to rewind followed by fsf count.
seek Seek to block number count.
eom Space to the end of the recorded media on the tape (for appending files onto
rewind Rewind the tape.
Rewind the tape and, if applicable, unload the tape.
status Print status information about the tape unit.
Rewind the tape, then wind it to the end of the reel, then rewind it again.
erase Erase the tape.
mt exits with a status of 0 if the operation succeeded, 1 if the operation or device name
given was invalid, or 2 if the operation failed.
Use device as the file name of the tape drive to operate on. To use a tape drive
on another machine, use a filename that starts with `HOSTNAME:'. The hostname can
be preceded by a username and an `@' to access the remote tape drive as that user,
if you have permission to do so (typically an entry in that user's `~/.rhosts'
Notifies mt that it should use command to communicate with remote devices instead
of /usr/bin/ssh or /usr/bin/rsh.
Print the version number of mt.
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