Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 18th Sep 2012 21:45 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Microsoft and RIM have announced that RIM has licensed Redmond's exFAT patents. The press release contains a ridiculous amount of hyperbole nonsense, and if you translate it into regular people speak, it basically comes down to RIM paying Microsoft protection money for stupid nonsensical software patents. Ridiculous articles like like this make it seem as if we're talking about patents on major technological breakthroughs, but don't be fooled: this is because for some inexplicable reason, we're using crappy FAT for SD cards.
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RE: Metadata
by UltraZelda64 on Wed 19th Sep 2012 01:44 UTC in reply to "Metadata"
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

Problem is, FAT gets incredibly inefficient the larger you make your partition. You would have to be nuts to actually want to format a 128GB drive or partition with FAT, and I wouldn't really want to make a FAT partition with a size of 64GB either. There's a reason Microsoft has placed an artificial limitation in Windows and FDISK versions starting with Windows 98 (though maybe excluding Windows ME): FAT SUCKS on larger volumes.

It's not just to get you over to NTFS (although that is no doubt the primary reason). But in this case, they're actually right: it does make more sense to use NTFS instead of FAT on larger partitions. Far more sense, in fact. Cluster sizes jump from 16K to 32K in volumes over 32GB, leading to more slack space, especially if you have a decent number of small files. The larger the partition is, the larger the file allocation table becomes, to the point of being a massive waste of space on its own. The FAT, quite literally, gets fat.

Only potential exception: flash memory devices. NTFS is not designed to work well with those and their finite number of writes per block. I guess if you're only going to put a bunch of large videos and similar files on it you might be fine, but watch out for another potential problem: FAT has a file size limit of 4GB. Sorry, no full-size DVD images here.

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/partSlack-c.html [slack space]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/partCluster-c.html [partition/cluster sizes]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/partFAT32-c.html [FAT sizes]
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/part.htm [the whole site]
http://www.allensmith.net/Storage/HDDlimit/FAT32.htm [another site with some information]

I was forced at one point to use FAT32 to format one of my external hard drives to be able to use it to play music from while playing my Xbox 360. If I had the choice to use another file system, I would not have resisted at all. Even NTFS would have been nice--another Microsoft file system that is much faster, more efficient and more reliable with large drives, but the system would only accept FAT.

FAT just sucks, and exFAT is every bit as bad when it comes to these patents that Microsoft was granted and is enforcing. Not to mention its support outside of Windows before Vista sucks, as does its use as a general cross-platform-compatible "universal" file system.

Edited 2012-09-19 01:58 UTC

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