Last night I was explaining to my father how to pull photos from his digital camera onto a Windows-2000 computer and print a selection off. As part of this explanation I mentioned that he should not rely on the drive letter, as it may differ depending on the number of other flash devices plugged in, virtual CD-ROMs, etc.

This remark, along with a few others, earned a wry look from my father. I started to comment that with Linux, the drive letter fiasco didn't exist thanks to the virtual file system. You just plug it in and.. - but then realisation hit me.

You just plug it in and it appears in /media/whatever, presuming that you've already wrote a rule which will match up the USB Device ID / Vendor ID etc. to the mount point, and you have the delecate balance of hotplug, coldplug, devfs, udev, plain old vanilla dev, pmount and all the rest of it set up correctly (which I did once, fleetingly). Otherwise, you're back in drive-letter land with /dev/sd[a-z][0-9]+.