Two months ago, I decided to try openSUSE for the first time. After trying both the rolling release and stable versions, I concluded that I didn't like either of them. So, I just resorted to installing KDE Neon. I downloaded the ISO file from the official site, as usual, and then, I burned it using a startup disk creator, as usual. I don't remember if I used the native openSUSE program or GNOME Multiwriter because I didn't think it would matter at the time.
In the next two months, I experimented with a lot of programs and features on KDE Neon. Fast-forward to last week, I decided it would be a good idea to make a fresh install to get rid of any files that were left of the intense experimentation. So, I would simply format the USB drive and burn a newer KDE Neon ISO image on it. I tried to format it with the KDE Partition manager utility, but then, I realized something was different. I couldn't format it, because it was read-only.
Nothing within KDE Partition manager helped, so I installed Gparted. Nothing, it displayed a message saying that it couldn't format the ISO9660 partition nor create a new partition table. Then, I tried a lot of commands. Some of them. And, BTW, the USB doesn't have the physical switch to protect it.
sudo dosfsck -a /dev/sdb fsck.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24) open: Read-only file system
sudo mkfs /dev/sdb mke2fs 1.44.1 (24-Mar-2018) /dev/sdb contains a iso9660 filesystem labelled 'neon user 20200409-11:26' Proceed anyway? (y/N) y /dev/sdb: Read-only file system while setting up superblock
sudo fsck.vfat -f -v /dev/sdb fsck.fat 4.1 (2017-01-24) open: Read-only file system
sudo hdparm -r0 /dev/sdb && sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb /dev/sdb: setting readonly to 0 (off) readonly = 0 (off) dd: failed to open '/dev/sdb': Read-only file system
I'll also put the output of lsblk:
NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT loop0 7:0 0 55M 1 loop /snap/core18/1880 loop1 7:1 0 29.8M 1 loop /snap/snapd/8140 loop2 7:2 0 29.9M 1 loop /snap/snapd/8542 loop3 7:3 0 55M 1 loop /snap/core18/1754 sda 8:0 0 931.5G 0 disk ├─sda1 8:1 0 731M 0 part /boot └─sda5 8:5 0 930.8G 0 part └─sda5_crypt 253:0 0 930.8G 0 crypt ├─neon--vg-root 253:1 0 929.8G 0 lvm / └─neon--vg-swap_1 253:2 0 976M 0 lvm [SWAP] sdb 8:16 1 29.5G 0 disk ├─sdb1 8:17 1 1.5G 1 part └─sdb2 8:18 1 2.3M 1 part sr0 11:0 1 1024M 0 rom
So, according to my previous knowledge, and confirmed by what I read, ISO9660 isn't writable. If a drive had that file system, it would work as an expensive CD. Still, I thought there could still be a way to empty the drive. After all, to use a drive to install a distro, it has to use the ISO format. That's what I don't understand. I've created bootable USB drives a lot of times. I even tested two versions of openSUSE, so the drive was ok until I used it to install KDE Neon. Something that I've definitively done at least ten times without any issues. I can't wrap my head around what could have happened. If someone had any ideas, I would be very grateful.