Normally when you plug a USB drive in HAL/Gnome mounts it up with the noexec option set. This might be want you want but I have a bunch of scripts that I want to be able to run straight from the thumb drive and I’m also confident that I won’t run anything that will break things so I want my thumb drive to mount with exec on. Herewith is the fix.
Open gconf-editor (Applications->System Tools->Configuration Editor) and navigate your way to /system/storage/default_options/vfat/ double click on “mount_options” and add “exec” to the list. Remount the USB drive and you are done.
FWIW I’m in the old style Unix camp on this and would prefer to see the option configured from a flat file somewhere in /etc, the stuff configurable by gconf-editor is baroque enough that GUI-only type users probably shouldn’t be touching it any-way and having the option buried in a database somewhere meant that I couldn’t find it with find/grep and had to resort to Google. Life is tough at the command line :)