Working with case-sensitive CD-ROM images on Linux

I bought a CD-ROM, The World of Patterns. It’s supposed to work on ‘Any computer with an Internet browser and a CD-ROM drive’. Guess I don’t just have any computer, then …

The disk — an interesting mathematical/artistic study of patterns — is arranged as a tree of HTML files, with internal links and images. This is how the folders appear on my computer:

├── art
│   ├── islam
│   ├── preislam
│   └── pstislam
│   ├── latt
│   ├── other
│   └── quilts
│   ├── modern
│   │   ├── large
│   │   ├── patch3
│   │   └── patch4
│   └── usa
├── info
├── maths

All neatly lower case, as one might expect. Unfortunately, the internal links are hard-coded to access links such as /art/Islam/over.htm, and Linux, being good and literal, can’t find the upper case ones.

Unfortunately, the majority of computers quietly ignore the case of letters on removable media. Linux’s insistence on being correct is at odds with what is generally considered useful. But there’s a way around this. You can give the mount command options to tell it to be more chill about case:

sudo mount -t iso9660 -o loop,check=relaxed,map=normal,norock,nojoliet disk.iso /mnt/scratch/

This works for me quite well:

Screenshot from 2015-09-08 10:57:54

The CD-ROM is interesting, if a little dated. The author has gone on to produce the website, a huge database of historical tile patterns.

my only gripe with the heron

I’m quite happy with Ubuntu. If a user didn’t have to be tied into specific, Windows-only applications, I’d recommend it. It’s stable, fast, intuitive and pretty.

My one annoyance is what the latest release has done to CD/DVD drive naming. In the past, my machine’s first DVD drive was hda. For no reason whatsoever, Ubuntu decide to call it sr0. Similarly, the drive’s name for command-line tools now has a different specification.So all my applications need to be told where the drives are; a pain.

Maybe I’ve been at this too long – I still like to use applications that I can see what’s running in the background, so I use grip over gstreamer (mainly because, unless you’re using lame, I’m not listening to your mp3s),  cdrdao over (whatever the young kids are using today to burn gapless audio). At the very least, I would have liked to get a summary of changes when I upgraded Ubuntu. Better still, I’d have liked a list of reasons for the changes. Unless my CD/DVD drive is now faster and more secure, why change?