The 2.08 version of ftape included in the 5.2 base sysatem
is hopelessly obsolete. It won't support any modern tape
drives. Hans has a stable 4.x release now.
Thank you for the suggestion. It has been noted. This matter is best
taken up on one of the kernel development mailing lists. Information
on why it is not presently included in the kernel that we shipped can
be viewed at http://www.linuxhq.com/HOWTO/Ftape-HOWTO-4.html#ss4.2.