Olympus D-150 Camera


In March 2002, I spotted a good deal on an Olympus D-150 digital camera at my local Costco. At ~$150 it was too good to pass up, with 1.3 Mpixel resolution and 3x Optical zoom - lower resolution than what was commonly available, but compact and cheap. After doing a cursory glance at the major digital photography sites (my favorite is here) and not turning up anything seriously negative, I bought one. Once I got it home and cut it out of the plastic package, I asked the obvious question: Is it compatible with Linux? To my disappointment, the answer was "Almost".

The reason for this is detailed here: apparently, the good folks at Olympus screwed up and got the bulk data signature wrong - it should have been "USBS", but the D-150 sends "USBU". Windows doesn't check the signature and doesn't care. Linux is more careful and rejects the apparently malformed data.

The authors of the Linux USB Storage driver have chosen not to support the malformed Olympus data, but they are good enough to suggest how we might alter their driver to handle the error. Unfortunately, the recommended fix also breaks the driver for other compliant devices. Of course there's no need for this - we can support both the broken D-150 as well as the rest of the world with only a slight impairment of our ability to detect errors in the USB interface.

My patch for the USB Storage driver declares an additional bulk data signature and checks for both this one and the regular one. Either one will satisfy the driver - anything else is considered erroneous and results in the data being rejected. The patch is against the 2.4.18 kernel, but it's simple and should be easily backported to any other 2.4.x kernel.

Great News (2003-06-09)

Several Linux Distros are including this patch (or one like it):

More Great News (2003-11-23)

Starting with kernel 2.4.22 this patch is no longer necessary. The stock USB storage driver has been updated to recognise Olympus cameras.

Compiling and Using

To begin, grab the patch for your kernel from below.

uncompress the patch: gzip d150-patch.2.4.xx.gz
cd to /drivers/usb/storage
apply the patch: patch -p0 < (path to the patch)/d150-patch.2.4.xx
recompile your kernel modules & install them. If you don't know how to do this, google around for instructions - I can't really help too much with your unique system configuration.

Once you've got the updated usb-storage driver installed, plugging in your D-150 camera should load the driver module and hook it to the scsi subsystem. Check the /proc/scsi/scsi file for details - you should see the camera listed in there. If you see it, mount it someplace convenient and start copying to/from it. Remember to unmount it before you unplug the USB cable and everything should be just fine.

Automatic Mounting

There are a lot of ways to automatically mount a usb-storage device. Here are a few that I've tried:


On my RedHat 7.3 system, I have in the past set up the HotPlug system to automatically mount the camera when it is connected to the USB port, but for some unknown reason this has ceased to work (I suspect it's due to the fact that the script is called 'usb-storage' which is specifically a no-no). You can try it though by following these steps:

First create the directory /mnt/camera, then add the following line to your /etc/fstab file:

/dev/sda1 /mnt/camera vfat noauto,owner 0 0

Finally, create the file /etc/hotplug/usb/usb-storage with the following:

# hotplug script to mount the usb-storage device
# on /mnt/camera
mount /mnt/camera

Use 'chmod' to make this file executable ('chmod +x usb-storage'). After rebooting, anytime you connect the camera to the computer it will automatically be mounted. You will still need to unmount the camera manually before disconnecting it.

If you're running 'magicdev' as on my RH7.3/Gnome system, an icon for the camera will appear on your desktop when the HotPlug system mounts it. You can then unmount it from the GUI when necessary without becoming root. Yay magicdev!


This seems to work, but has the disadvantage that you must know that you've connected the camera. Basically the Linux autofs system will automatically mount a filesystem when you try to access it and the device containing the filesystem is available. To configure this, first edit the /etc/auto.master file and uncomment the line referring to the misc system:

/misc    /etc/auto.misc    --timeout=60

Then, add the following line the the /etc/auto.misc file:

usb        -fstype=auto        :/dev/sda1

Then, start the autofs system:

/etc/init.d/autofs start

Now whenever you access the directory /misc/usb, if the camera is plugged in it will be mounted there.

You still have to unmount the camera by hand before unplugging it though.


You can get the Nautilus desktop to mount the usb-storage device for you as well. First, add the following line to /etc/fstab:

/dev/sda1               /mnt/usb                auto    rw,noauto,user  0 0

then add the directory /mnt/usb

mkdir /mnt/usb.

Now,  log out and log back into your user session. Right-click on the desktop and select the Disks->usb item. This should mount the camera on your desktop. You can unmount it by right-clicking on the icon and selecting Unmount.

Automount Improvements

All of these techniques are hampered by the fact that you have to hard-code the device (/dev/sda1) into the configuration. If you have more than one usb-storage device, this breaks down since they are allocated different names as they are discovered (sda1, sdb1, etc). Ideally, there would be a usb-storage hotplug script that could determine the proper device and mount it. So far I haven't figured out how to make that work.

Future Improvements

With the present patch, signatures of either 'USBU' or 'USBS' are sufficient to declare a bulk data transfer as good. A more robust error detection scheme would key off the vendor/device id so that only the correct signature would be selected according to the device which sent the data.

Since the ambiguity in the present patch is just one bit out of thousands in a bulk data transfer, this probably isn't a big enough improvement to make it worthwhile. I don't believe that the USB protocol applies any Forward Error Correction or detection such as CRCs or checksums, so the only errors that could be detected by the Bulk Data Signature are errors within the signature itself.

Supported Models

The following cameras are known to work with this patch:
Olympus D-150 Zoom
Olympus C-220 Zoom
Olympus D-520 Zoom

If you know of any others, please let me know.


For 2.4.18 kernels: d150-patch.2.4.18.gz.
For 2.4.19 kernels: d150-patch.2.4.19.gz.
For 2.4.20 kernels: d150-patch.2.4.20.gz.
For 2.4.21 kernels: d150-patch.2.4.21.gz.
For 2.4.22 kernels: No patch necessary!

Please let me know if this is useful for you.

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Eric Brombaugh