SUMMARY: remote tape dump broken pipe error

From: J. Porter Clark (
Date: Mon Nov 18 1991 - 18:30:11 CST

Way back in October I asked this question:

> I've got an SS-2 running SunOS 4.1.1b doing a dump to a 1/4" cartridge
> tape drive in a remote Sun 3/460 (a Sun3x) running SunOS 4.1. The tape
> drive is /dev/rst8.
> When dumping a reasonably large file system (100MB or so), the SS-2
> dump aborts due to a "broken pipe" error. It doesn't seem to do it at
> the same point every time, although it seems to do it on the last or
> next-to-the-last tape (GRR!). It does it often enough to make the
> process useless.
> I have successfully dumped an SLC running 4.1.1b this way in the past
> with no problems whatsoever. Also, the way we routinely dump the SS-2
> is to dump it to a 3/260 running 4.0.3 which is currently defunct.
> Never seen this problem there, either.
> What gives?

I received a few replies. These suggested a wide range of things that
might be wrong. For example:

1. Need to re-run ldconfig
2. Problems with routed; use static routing instead
3. Bug in Sun's SCSI driver
4. General flakiness; just repeat the procedure until it works

I also tried replacing rmt (the program) with the one from the GNU tar

It wasn't any of these (well, it might have been 3). It turns out that
what was happening was that the tapes I was given to use were not
rewound and in fact were near the (physical) end of tape. As soon as
one puts a tape in the machine, it rewinds. And for most programs,
this makes everything okay. But it seems that this messes up something
(I don't know what) during a remote dump if it takes a long time to

Moral of the story: Rewind your tapes before dumping to them, or else
use the rewinding device to read or write to them in the first place!
(Better yet: retension them first.)

Thanks to those who sent in replies: (Russ Poffenberger)
  "Anthony A. Datri" <>
  Aydin Edguer <>

J. Porter Clark
Communications Systems Branch
(205)544-3661         FAX: (205)544-9582

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