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I was wondering what "loop" mean in this usage of mount:

mount -t iso9660 -o loop matlab.iso  /media/cdrom0

Is it a type of device? What does this device type "loop" mean? Can I choose other device types for the iso file? Thanks!

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

A "loop" device in Linux is an abstraction that lets you treat a file like a block device. It's specifically meant for a use like your example, where you can mount a file containing a CD image and interact with the filesystem in it as if it were burned to a CD and placed in your drive.

You can find more information on Wikipedia.

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The loop option to mount (it's not a type, it's an option) tells mount that this is a "loopback" device - a regular file to be used as a block device.

In the background, mount sets up a loopback device (/dev/loopX), then mounts that at /media/cdrom0.

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