Manipulating disk devices for use in embedded Linux devices is similar to what you do in Linux workstations or servers. In the following, we will concentrate on only those aspects that differ from conventional disk manipulations. I encourage you to consult other documents discussing Linux system maintenance in general, such as Running Linux, to get the rest of the details.
A CompactFlash (CF) card is accessible in Linux in two ways: either as an IDE disk, when plugged in a CF-to-IDE or a CF-to-PCMCIA adapter, or as a SCSI disk, when accessed through a USB CF reader. In practice, it is often convenient to use a USB reader to program the CF card on the host while using a CF-to-IDE or a CF-to-PCMCIA adapter in the target to access the device. Hence, the CF card is visible as a SCSI disk on the host, while being seen by the target as an IDE disk. The fact that the same CF card can be accessed through two very different kernel disk subsystems can be problematic, however, as we'll see during the configuration of LILO for a CF card in Chapter 9. Of course, there would be no problem if a CF device would always be accessed through the same disk subsystem.
To access the CF card through a USB CF reader on the host, you must have kernel support for USB storage devices. Most distributions are shipped with USB device support built as modules. Therefore, all you have to do is load the appropriate USB modules and SCSI disk drivers on your host:
modprobe usb-storage ...