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3. Supported Hardware

This section lists the CD-ROM drivers and interfaces that are currently supported under Linux. The information here is based on the latest stable Linux kernel, which at time of writing was version 2.0.31. A development kernel (2.1.x versions) is also available but is not guaranteed to be stable.

This information is only valid for Linux on the Intel platform. Much of it should be applicable to Linux on other processor architectures, but I have no first hand experience or information.

3.1 ATAPI CD-ROM Drives

ATAPI (ATA Packet Interface) is a protocol for controlling mass storage devices. It builds on the ATA (AT Attachment) interface, the official ANSI standard name for the IDE interface developed for hard disk drives. ATAPI is commonly used for hard disks, CD-ROM drives, tape drives, and other devices. Currently the most popular type of interface, it offers most of the functionality of SCSI, without the need for an expensive controller or cables.

The Linux kernel has a device driver that should work with any ATAPI compliant CD-ROM drive. Vendors shipping compatible drives include Aztech, Mitsumi, NEC, Sony, Creative Labs, and Vertos. If you have recently purchased a CD-ROM drive, especially if it is quad speed or faster, it is almost guaranteed to be IDE/ATAPI.

3.2 SCSI CD-ROM Drives

SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) is a popular format for CD-ROM drives. Its chief advantages are a reasonably fast transfer rate, multi-device capability, and support on a variety of computer platforms. Some disadvantages of SCSI are the need for a relatively expensive controller card and cables.

Any SCSI CD-ROM drive with a block size of 512 or 2048 bytes should work under Linux; this includes the vast majority of CD-ROM drives on the market.

You will also need a supported SCSI controller card; see the SCSI HOWTO for more information on interface hardware.

Note that some CD-ROMs include a proprietary controller with a modified interface that is not fully SCSI compatible (e.g. it may not support adding other SCSI devices on the bus). These will most likely not work under Linux.

3.3 Proprietary CD-ROM Drives

Several CD-ROM drives using proprietary interfaces are available; the interface is often provided on a sound card. Simple interface cards equivalent to that provided on the sound card are also available. These drives generally tend to be lower in cost and smaller than SCSI drives. Their disadvantages are the lack of standardization and expandability.

Note that proprietary interfaces are sometimes erroneously referred to as IDE interfaces, because like IDE hard disks, they use a simple interface based on the PC/AT bus. To add to the confusion, some vendors, most notably Creative Labs, have shipped many different types of CD-ROM drives and have offered proprietary, SCSI, and ATAPI interfaces on their sound cards.

The table below lists the proprietary CD-ROM drives that are known to be supported under Linux. Drivers for additional devices may be available in the latest development kernels or as kernel patches. The latter can most often be found at Also check the README files included with the kernel distribution, usually installed in /usr/src/linux/Documentation/cdrom, for the latest information.

                Proprietary CD-ROM Drives

Vendor          Model           Kernel Driver   Notes
------          -----           -------------   --------
Panasonic       CR-521          sbpcd           Note 1
Panasonic       CR-522          sbpcd           Note 1
Panasonic       CR-523          sbpcd           Note 1
Panasonic       CR-562          sbpcd           Note 1
Panasonic       CR-563          sbpcd           Note 1
Creative Labs   CD-200          sbpcd
IBM             External ISA    sbpcd           Note 2
Longshine       LCS-7260        sbpcd
Teac            CD-55A          sbpcd
Sony            CDU-31A         cdu31a
Sony            CDU-33A         cdu31a
Sony            CDU-535         sonycd535       Note 3
Sony            CDU-531         sonycd535
Aztech          CDA268-01A      aztcd           Note 4
Orchid          CDS-3110        aztcd
Okano/Wearnes   CDD110          aztcd
Conrad          TXC             aztcd
CyCDROM         CR520ie         aztcd
CyCDROM         CR940ie         aztcd
GoldStar        R420            gscd            Note 5
Philips/LMS     CM206           cm206           Note 6
Mitsumi         CRMC LU005S     mcd/mcdx        Note 7, 8
Mitsumi         FX001           mcd/mcdx        Note 7, 8
Optics Storage  Dolphin 8000AT  optcd
Lasermate       CR328A          optcd
Sanyo           H94A            sjcd
various         various         isp16           Note 9
MicroSolutions  Backpack        bpcd


  1. These drives may be sold under the names Creative Labs, Panasonic, Matsushita, or Kotobuki.
  2. This drive is the same as a Panasonic CR-562.
  3. May also be sold under the Procomm name.
  4. This driver is for the CDA268-01A only. Other models, including the CDA268-03I and CDA269-031SE are not proprietary and should use the IDECD (ATAPI) kernel driver.
  5. May also be sold as part of a Reveal Multimedia Kit.
  6. The Philips CM205 is not supported by this driver, but there is a separate alpha release driver available from in /pub/Linux/kernel/patches/cdrom/lmscd0.4.tar.gz
  7. May also be sold under the Radio Shack name.
  8. There are two drivers available. "mcd" is the original one, and "mcdx" is a newer driver with more features (but possibly less stable).
  9. This driver works with CD-ROM drives that are attached to the interface on an ISP16, MAD16 or Mozart sound card.

If a drive listed here is not supported by your kernel, you probably need to upgrade to a newer version.

If your drive is not one of the models listed here, particularly if it was bought recently and is quad speed or faster, it probably uses the IDE/ATAPI interface listed in a previous section. The single most common error among Linux CD-ROM users is to assume that any drive connected to a SoundBlaster card should use the SBPCD driver. Creative Labs and most other vendors are no longer selling proprietary interface drives, they are following the standard ATAPI/IDE interface.

3.4 Parallel Port Drives

Some vendors sell CD-ROM drives that attach via a parallel port. The only drive of this type that is currently supported in the Linux kernel is the MicroSolutions Backpack.

Linux kernel drivers for several more of these drives are available separately as kernel patches or loadable modules. For the latest information check

3.5 Alternate Drivers

There is an alternate kernel driver available for Panasonic/Matsushita CR-56x drives written by Zoltan Vorosbaranyi. It can be found at

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