Technology

End Of An Era: Linus Torvalds Marks Floppy Disks ‘Orphaned’

Recently, Linus Torvalds added a software commit on Github containing the code to patch drivers for native floppy disk controllers. In the commit, Linus has left a subtle hint about the end of an era. He mentions that Jiri, a popular Linux kernel developer, no longer has a working floppy disk, which is why Linux is marking the floppy driver as “orphaned.”

The commit reads, “Actual working physical floppy hardware is getting hard to find, and while Willy was able to test this, I think the driver can be considered pretty much dead from an actual hardware standpoint.” Linus has ensured that support still exists for USB floppy drives.

At the back of our mind, we have already accepted that floppy disks have gone obsolete but Linus’ words hit right in the feel.

The iconic storage device has been replaced by USB drives and SSDs over the past decade. The icon of a floppy disk can still be found in the save button in popular text editors.

One of the reasons why floppy disks have vanished over the years is the need for excessive storage. Floppy disks did not evolve much with time, unlike the case with USB drives, which is why we’ve reached a point now where the hardware has been marked orphaned by Linux.

In the memory of floppy disks, here are some facts about the retro hardware:

  • Floppy disks usually exist in three different sizes – 8 inches, 5.25 inches, and 3.5 inches.
  • IBM is the company behind the invention of floppy disks
  • The reason why floppy disks are called ‘floppy’ is flexible material of the original designs and the plastic casing surrounding the actual magnetic disk included a fabric lining that existed in earlier designs.
  • If you store two floppy disks together, they do not get corrupted due to the low level of magnetism in each of the disk.

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