FreeBSD Desktop – Part 17 – Automount Removable Media

In this article in the FreeBSD Desktop series I will introduce various methods to automatically (or not) mount external/removable devices such as USB or eSATA disks/pendrives or SD/microSD flash cards.

You may also check earlier articles of the FreeBSD Desktop series:

One of the FreeBSD daemons is devd(8) – the device state change daemon that provides a way to have userland programs run when certain kernel events happen. Such events are when new block device appears/disappears from the /dev directory.

For this problem about 2013 I created a devd(8) based solution – the automount daemon. Its workflow is very simple. When new ada/da/mmcsd* device appears then it tries to detect the filesystems on these partitions/slices and mount them. It you remove such device (device disappears) then it forcefully unmounts it and cleans used mountpoint from the /media directory.

It is available on GitHub - https://github.com/vermaden/automount - and in the FreeBSD Ports as sysutils/automount port. You can also install it as pkg(8) package. Its 2018 and various other solutions appeared in the meantime. One is the included in the FreeBSD base system autofs(8)/automount(8)
subsystem.

The other one is dsbmd/dsbmc – a media mounting daemon/automounter for FreeBSD with optional graphical GTK+ frontend. There is also FreeBSD base system solution called autofs(8) which I was not able to make work.

Below I will try to compare all their features, strengths and weaknesses.

  • sysutils/automount
    + can customize mount options for each filesystem type
    + written in POSIX /bin/sh script – easy to modify
    + can open selected file manager when device is inserted
    + provides /var/log/automount.log log file
    + supports MTP devices (Android phones for example)
    + supports XFS and HFS
    - does not support BTRFS (can be added)
  • sysutils/dsbmd
    + can customize mount options for each filesystem type
    + supports MTP devices (Android phones for example)
    + provides graphical fronted in GTK+ toolkit
    + can open selected file manager when device is inserted
    + supports BTRFS/HFS/XFS
    + provides /var/log/dsbmd.log log file
    - sometimes hangs at 100% cpu usage
  • autofs(8)
    + supports MTP devices (Android phones for example)
    + is available in the base system
    - does not allow custom mount options per filesystem
    - does not provide log file
    - does not support BTRFS/HFS/XFS (can be added)
    - mount being done only after interaction with /media/* dir
    - removed device is not unmounted automatically

Up to this day I used mine sysutils/automount exclusively as removable devices automount solution. For Android phones I used simple-mtpfs command within xterm(1) terminal. I tried sysutils/dsbmd along with sysutils/dsbmc-cli and GTK+ graphical sysutils/dsbmd frontend and I really liked it but it sometimes fails me with 100% cpu usage and requires restarting. That does not happen withΒ sysutils/automount which just works so I will stick to it but I will provide an update later with results after longer period of testing the sysutils/dsbmd daemon.

sysutils/automount

First I will describe daemon that I used since 2013. The sysutils/automount solution. Its installation and setup is very easy, just add the automount package using pkg(8). Nothing more is needed as the pkg(8) will restart devd(8) after adding new configuration files.

# pkg install automount

One of the nice features of sysutils/automount is /var/log/automount.log log file which has all details about mounted filesystems.

% tail /var/log/automount.log
2018-10-08 12:18:45 /dev/da0s1: mount (fat)
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0: detach
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0: mount point '/media/da0' removed
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0s1: detach
2018-10-08 12:19:23 /dev/da0s1: mount point '/media/da0s1' removed
2018-10-09 11:38:14 /dev/da0: random wait for '0.1' seconds before 'attach' action
2018-10-09 11:38:14 /dev/da0: attach
2018-10-09 11:38:14 /dev/da0: mount (exfat)
2018-10-09 11:44:02 /dev/da0: detach
2018-10-09 11:44:02 /dev/da0: mount point '/media/da0' removed

The sysutils/automount comes with /usr/local/etc/automount.conf configuration file which has these options on my box.

% cat /usr/local/etc/automount.conf
USERUMOUNT=YES
ATIME=NO
REMOVEDIRS=YES
FM="caja --browser --no-desktop"
USER=vermaden
ENCODING=pl_PL.UTF-8
CODEPAGE=cp852

Besides not supporting (yet) MTP devices it just works. It is also very simple solution and being written in POSIX /bin/sh script it is very easy to modify it to one’s needs.

sysutils/dsbmd

The second option is the sysutils/dsbmd solution. Check the links below for more detailed description of this automounting daemon.

To install the dsbmd/dsbmc/dsbmc-cli trio just use pkg(8).

# pkg install dsbmc-cli dsbmc dsbmd

To configure dsbmd/dsbmc/dsbmc-cli trio these steps are needed.

1. Add dsbmd_enable=YES to your /etc/rc.conf file.

2. Install additional filesystems support depending on your needs:

  • fusefs-exfat
  • fusefs-gphotofs
  • fusefs-ntfs
  • fusefs-simple-mtpfs (MTP)
  • fusefs-ext2
  • fusefs-hfsfuse
  • fusefs-lkl

3. Add these lines below to your ~/.xinitrc file (or ~/.xsession).

# DSB AUTOMOUNTER
  dsbmc-cli -a &
  dsbmc &

You will then see the dsbmc icon in the system tray area.

dsbmc-tray

By default dsbmd will mount storage devices as regular user but You need to make sure that vfs.usermount=1 is in your /etc/sysctl.conf file and applied.

After I put the FAT32 or exFAT USB device it was automatically mounted.

/dev/da0 on /media/da0 (msdosfs, local, nosuid, mounted by vermaden)

The configuration file is available at /usr/local/etc/dsbmd.conf location. The dsbmd also comes with /var/log/dsbmd.log log file.

% tail /var/log/dsbmd.log
dsbmd: Killing blocking process 85421 ... on Thu Oct 11 16:48:10 2018
dsbmd: Sending SIGTERM to 85421 ... on Thu Oct 11 16:48:10 2018
dsbmd: Command /usr/local/sbin/mount.exfat ${DSBMD_DEVICE} "${DSBMD_MNTPT}" executed by UID 1000 failed with code 15: No error: 0 on Thu Oct 11 16:48:11 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 mounted on /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:48:12 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 unmounted from /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:49:09 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 mounted on /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:49:15 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 unmounted from /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:49:16 2018
dsbmd: Client with UID 1000 disconnected on Thu Oct 11 16:52:53 2018
dsbmd: Client with UID 1000 connected on Thu Oct 11 16:52:55 2018
dsbmd: Device /dev/da0 mounted on /media/GKPGE by UID 1000 on Thu Oct 11 16:58:22 2018

The dsbmd can also be configured with many useful options like mount(8) options for each filesystem type separately.

% grep _opts /usr/local/etc/dsbmd.conf | sed 's|\#\ ||g' | awk '{print $1}' | sort -u
cd9660_opts
exfat_opts
ext_opts
ext4_opts
msdosfs_opts
ntfs_opts
ufs_opts

The main GTK+ dsbmc window looks as follows.

dsbmc-prefs.jpg

You can also disable automatic mounting and can mount devices by hand with dsbmc tool.

dsbmc-mount.png

… or unmount them.

dsbmc-unmount.png

It is also a solution used in the NomadBSD portable distribution.

It sometimes fails with 100% cpu usage or with error message as this one:

dsbmc-error

autofs(8)

Last one is the FreeBSD base system solution.

To enable it one should do these steps:

  1. Add autofs_load=YES to your /boot/loader.conf file.
  2. Add autofs_enable=YES to your /etc/rc.conf file.
  3. Uncomment the /media -media -nosuid line in /etc/auto_master file.
  4. In the /etc/devd.conf file you need to add (or uncomment) the following content.
    notify 100 {
      match "system" "GEOM";
      match "subsystem" "DEV";
      action "/usr/sbin/automount -c";
    };
    
  5. To have MTP support you will also have to install sysutils/fusefs-simple-mtpfs and add the /mtp -simple-mtpfs -allow_other line to the /etc/auto_master file. Along with fuse_load=YES in the /boot/loader.conf file.

After doing all these I restarted the autofs(8) daemons.

# grep -r autofs_enable /etc
/etc/rc.d/automountd:rcvar="autofs_enable"
/etc/rc.d/autounmountd:rcvar="autofs_enable"
/etc/rc.d/automount:rcvar="autofs_enable"
/etc/defaults/rc.conf:autofs_enable="NO" # Run autofs daemons.
# /etc/rc.d/automountd onestop
# /etc/rc.d/autounmountd onestop
# /etc/rc.d/automount onestop
# /etc/rc.d/automountd onestart
# /etc/rc.d/autounmountd onestart
# /etc/rc.d/automount onestart

Now after attaching the USB drive the /var/log/messages file shows following information.

# tail /var/log/messages
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: ugen2.4:  at usbus2
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: umass0 on uhub4
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: umass0:  on usbus2
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: umass0:  SCSI over Bulk-Only; quirks = 0x8100
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: umass0:4:0: Attached to scbus4
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus4 target 0 lun 0
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: da0: {USB DISK 3.0 PMAP} Removable Direct Access SPC-4 SCSI device
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: da0: Serial Number EC0068F1F89A7D02
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: da0: 40.000MB/s transfers
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: da0: 14786MB (30283008 512 byte sectors)
Nov 21 13:37:42 t420s kernel: da0: quirks=0x3

When you now check the contents of the /media directory it will contain the da0 dir.

# ls -l /media
total 1
drwxr-xr-x  3 root  wheel  512 2018.11.21 13:37 da0/

The drive/directory is not mounted yet, but when you will try to access that da0 dir (for example display its contents with ls(1) or try to enter it with cd(1) command) then it will get automatically mounted).

# mount | grep media
map -media on /media (autofs)
# ls /media/da0
NLUUG/  OTHER/
# mount | grep media
map -media on /media (autofs)
/dev/da0 on /media/da0 (msdosfs, asynchronous, local, noatime, nosuid, automounted)

After I removed the USB drive the /media/da0 directory remained mounted.

# tail /var/log/messages
Nov 21 13:52:48 t420s kernel: ugen2.4:  at usbus2 (disconnected)
Nov 21 13:52:48 t420s kernel: umass0: at uhub4, port 2, addr 4 (disconnected)
Nov 21 13:52:48 t420s kernel: da0 at umass-sim0 bus 0 scbus4 target 0 lun 0
Nov 21 13:52:48 t420s kernel: da0: {USB DISK 3.0 PMAP}  s/n EC0068F1F89A7D02 detached
Nov 21 13:52:48 t420s kernel: (da0:umass-sim0:0:0:0): Periph destroyed
Nov 21 13:52:48 t420s kernel: umass0: detached
Nov 21 13:52:49 t420s kernel: uhub_reattach_port: giving up port reset - device vanished

The autofs(8) subsystem did not unmounted it automatically.

# mount | grep media
map -media on /media (autofs)
/dev/da0 on /media/da0 (msdosfs, asynchronous, local, noatime, nosuid, automounted)

Of course manual unmounting by hand works (umount /media/da0) but its not what you expect from automounting daemon. It is not very suitable for the desktop usage because of the need to manually ‘access’ the created /media/* directory each time to make it mount.

History

Historically was also sysutils/am-utils – the Berkeley Automounter and Suite of Utilities – and sysutils/automounter which provides scripts to dynamically configure amd(8) daemon.

UPDATE 1 – Make autofs(8) Work

I have reworked the autofs(8) section to make it work. Thanks to the author of the autofs(8) subsystem – trasz – for showing me the source of the problem. The needed entry in the /etc/devd.conf file was missing in the original post. Now it works as advertised, at least for mounting. I am still not able to make it unmount the directory automatically after USB drive removal.

UPDATE 2 – The sysutils/automount 1.5.9 Update

Recently I implemented MTP support (Android phones for example) into the sysutils/automount script. I also added HFS and XFS support. Various fixes and other speed improvements were done (like removal of unneeded __random_wait() function or DELAY time reduction from 1 to just 0.1 second).

The new version is not yet available in the FreeBSD Ports (or packages). Grab it directly from the GitHub page available here:

The ‘manual’ installation is not hard, first built these Ports (or add as packages):

  • sysutils/exfat-utils (for exFAT support)
  • sysutils/fusefs-exfat (for exFAT support)
  • sysutils/fusefs-ntfs (for NTFS read write support)
  • sysutils/fusefs-ext4fuse (for EXT4 support)
  • sysutils/fusefs-simple-mtpfs (for MTP support)
  • sysutils/fusefs-hfsfuse (for HFS support)
  • sysutils/fusefs-lkl (for XFS support)

Then download automount/automount.conf/automount_devd.conf files from GitHub page. Put them into appropriate places and make automount executable. Then restart the devd(8) daemon.

# fetch https://raw.githubusercontent.com/vermaden/automount/master/automount
# fetch https://raw.githubusercontent.com/vermaden/automount/master/automount.conf
# fetch https://raw.githubusercontent.com/vermaden/automount/master/automount_devd.conf
# cp automount.conf      /usr/local/etc/automount.conf
# cp automount_devd.conf /usr/local/etc/devd/automount_devd.conf
# cp automount           /usr/local/sbin/automount
# chmod +x               /usr/local/sbin/automount
# /etc/rc.d/devd restart

Now plugin Your USB thumb drive and have fun πŸ˜‰

Also forgot one thing, it also requires x11/zenity port or package for MTP.

EOF
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18 thoughts on “FreeBSD Desktop – Part 17 – Automount Removable Media

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      1. vermaden Post author

        As I checked I had these lines in /etc/devd.conf file:


        % grep -C 3 automount /etc/devd.conf
        notify 100 {
        match "system" "GEOM";
        match "subsystem" "DEV";
        action "/usr/sbin/automount -c";
        };

        Like

    1. Edward Tomasz Napierala

      Are you sure it’s not in the examples section, though? The examples in that file are somewhat confusing – they are not commented out using ‘#’ signs, but rather with ‘/*’, or something like that, in the beginning.

      Like

      Reply
      1. vermaden Post author

        You are right … seems I need to test it again πŸ™‚


        (...)
        /* EXAMPLES TO END OF FILE
        (...)
        notify 100 {
        match "system" "GEOM";
        match "subsystem" "DEV";
        action "/usr/sbin/automount -c";
        };

        Will update the original post when I will get next stint of ‘free’ time.

        Thanks for pointing that out.

        Like

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