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Questions

Which OS does Canister support?

Canister requires macOS 10.12 Sierra or newer.

Which LTO generations does Canister support?

All generations from LTO-5 and up are supported. As Canister works with LTFS, LTO-4 and older are not supported.

Which hardware does Canister support?

Canister supports all LTO drives that are connected through SAS, which tends to be all standalone desktop units. Those tend to use either Thunderbolt, SAS through a PCI card like ATTO, or SAS into a device that translates it to Thunderbolt like a or Sonnet with an ATTO card.
Fibre Channel drives are also supported, although Canister doesn't detect which driver your FC device requires - you'll have to find that out yourself.
Tape libraries are supported as far as they have drives connected through SAS, but Canister will not offer control of the tape robot, as of now.

Is Canister compatible with Apple silicon?

Yes - as of version 21.1, Canister is natively compatible with Apple silicon (e.g. M1 Macs). You can update Canister in-app, or download the latest release here. To upgrade a legacy Canister license (starting with id) to please reach out.

Where can I download legacy Canister releases?

Version 20.1 is available for download here and received support until Dec 31th 2020. Note: no support for Big Sur. To upgrade a legacy Canister license (starts with id) please reach out.

What about the mLogic LTFS Utility?

The mLogic LTFS Utility was a light version of Canister that used to be included with every mLogic purchase. With the changes Big Sur brought along, the mLogic app has been replaced by a full-blown Canister, which is included with every mTape purchase since Winter 2020 - whether purchased through us or through mLogic or a reseller.
The mTape app is no longer supported nor available for download. It will not work on Big Sur, whether it's Intel or Apple silicon. Also, the mTape app uses a legacy license provider so we can unfortunately no longer help out with deactivations.
Every existing mTape licensee can reach out to use for a discount to crossgrade to Canister, courtesy of mLogic.

Can I delete files from a tape?

The short answer is "no, LTFS does not support file deletions". The only way to remove data from a tape is to erase it.
The long answer: it's possible to remove files from the index partition (by accessing a tape with Finder or Terminal and deleting files) but this will only make them vanish from the index; it will not clear the space used by the deleted files. As rolling back a tape will make the deleted files available again, it's not a security mechanism either, so don't bother.

Should I keep any free space, like with a hard disk?

No need to, Canister already does this for you. Canister reserves 5% of a tape's size for the index and to make sure there's room for data overflow. You can decrease this amount using this Terminal command:
defaults write nl.syncfactory.Canister.Mac ReservedTapeIndexPercentage n where n stands for the percentage integer, e.g. 5 for 5%.
Beware: if you put to much data on a tape without room to spare for the index, LTFS won't be able to finish writing the index, and thus not allow you to mount it afterwards.

What is the difference between formatting and erasing?

It's the same thing.

Can I rename a tape?

LTFS only allows a name and serial to be set for a tape when formatting.

Does Canister use LTFS to manage tape backups? What's the difference between using LTFS and TAR in the Terminal?

Canister uses LTFS. The difference between TAR and LTFS is that LTFS is a file system. That means your OS already has the tools included to work with LTFS, which in turn means no vendor lock-in for you. With TAR, you're always relying on a vendor's app to work and will be in trouble if that vendor happens to go out of business. With LTFS, that will not happen.

Can tapes made on Windows be ready by Canister, and vice-versa?

Yes, if the Windows software is capable of working with LTFS, that works. A Windows version of Canister is in active development.

Is it possible to add multiple folders in one transfer?

This is currently unsupported due to LTFS introducing fragmentation when transferring multiple folders. Mechanisms to prevent this and allow transfers from folders on the same volume are in active development.

Is it possible to skip or disable verification?

You can safely skip verification by clicking the [X] next to a transfer when the copy part finishes. Disabling verification altogether can be done in the Preferences:
Disable verification

I'm moving to a new computer, what do I need to migrate?

First of all, deactivate Canister in-app or through the online License Manager so you free up your license to be used on the new computer.
You also might want to move your Catalogs, Manifests, and log files too. In Finder, navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Canister. Select the Transfer Logs, Warning Logs, Manifests, and Catalogs folders, right-click and Compress.

Migrating Catalogs

Copying a Catalog without compressing it first will take a long time, so we recommend creating a zip file first, and then copying that to the same folder on the new computer.
If you find compressing through Finder takes a long time, a much faster alternative is to use uncompressed TAR. In Terminal, navigate to the folder ~/Library/Application Support/Canister. Then, use this command to create an archive:
tar -cvzf canister_catalogs.tar.gz .
You can copy this archive to a new machine, then unpack it with a free app like Unarchiver.

My LTO device displays an error code. What does it mean?

Every LTO drive is essentially a computer, and as such follows its own instructions and error handling. Most drives have a single-character display (SCD) to tell you how it's doing. It's behind a black see-through panel so you won't see it except when booting (a countdown shows) or when an error is stated.
Anytime there is a number or letter visible on the front of your LTO drive, the software is not able to communicate with the drive. Refer to this list of SCD error codes to find out how to resolve the issue at hand:
Resolving errors with the LTO tape drives
As these are hardware errors, get in touch with your vendor to sort out the issue if needed.
Orange J on the display? You are trying to load a too new tape into an older generation LTO drive.

Disabling SIP

Does your IT department refuse to install macFUSE? They're saying it requires System Integrity Protection to be disabled? They're saying KEXTs are legacy and that there should be a system extension to replace them? Send them this:
SIP does not block KEXTs from running. Also, SIP is not involved in working with LTO, and should never be disabled.
With Big Sur, Apple introduced system extensions as a replacement for kernel extensions. System extensions are by no means grown up enough to replace system extension - especially not those in use by pro storage devices. If it would be possible, they would be ported today. Until system extensions are on par with kernel extensions, this is the status quo.
Apple did not kill KEXTs, but with Apple silicon, it introduced Security Policies. The default setting prevents even Apple-authorized KEXTs from being installed out of the box. The only thing macFUSE requires is a one-time lowering of the Security Policy, and then right after installation, to be raised again. This is not just the case for macFUSE but also true for _every_ RAID controller and HBA that lives inside storage. It's not something to be afraid of, takes one minute to do, and we documented the process in detail here:
Last modified 26d ago